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Selfies inspire creative self-expression at UCA

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) have challenged young designers and creatives from Kent and Medway to think differently about the role of the ‘selfie’ through an Alternative Selfie Competition.

The competition asked 13-18 year olds to step away from the traditional ‘selfie’ style and use their imaginations to portray their personalities through different mediums.  

“Smartphone technology and social media have transformed the way in which we communicate, and rightly or wrongly, the ‘selfie’ has become the medium of choice for many of our young people to express themselves and connect with their friends and influencers,” says Emma Bunyard, UCA Collaborative Outreach Manager.

“We wanted to challenge the next generation of creatives to think differently about ‘selfies’ by encouraging them to use this medium as inspiration for expressing themselves and their creative talents in other ways, ones that don’t just involve a selfie stick!”

This year’s entries saw students present their artwork through film, paintings, textiles and photography, and were curated into an exciting exhibition in the Zandra Rhodes Gallery at UCA Rochester, where over 100 guests attended the private view and the winners were announced.  

“The standard of the entries was outstanding and showcased the breadth of creative talent that young people in Kent and Medway have to offer,” Emma said.

“For many, the private view was the first time they had visited a gallery or university and was a brilliant opportunity for young people, parents and schools to come together to celebrate our region’s exceptionally talented students and the role social media can play in inspiring creativity.” 

Congratulations to the following prize winners:

  • 1st prize – David Rabin, home-schooled 
  • 2nd Prize – Luke Sackree, Highworth Grammar School
  • 3rd Prize – Alex Lama, The Norton Knatchbull School
  • Public vote winner – Elizabeth Lowe, Fulston Manor School

Entries were judged by a panel of creative practitioners, that included:

  • Kris Locke, UCA Creative Workshop Tutor and fine artist
  • Danielle Baker, Schools Manager at Artswork
  • Michelle Gregson, Programme Manager at the Royal Opera House Bridge
  • Chris Wraith, Course Leader for Further Education at UCA
  • Claire Parsons, Schools Manager for KaMCOP

UCA’s next creative competition will be launching in the Autumn term. To view the artwork from this year’s winners and to register to receive competition information, visit: