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The Science Museum announce a stress-themed competition

The Science Museum announce a stress-themed competition - Winners will be invited to a celebrity prize-giving ceremony and exhibition of entrants work to be held in the Science Museum at the beginning of 2003.

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The Samaritans, in conjunction with The Science Museum Naked Science today announced their plans to launch a stress-themed competition aimed at 15 to 24 year olds running from 3rd September until 31st January 2002. A panel of celebrity judges and experts in their field will choose the winners from three categories, comprising traditional, digital and written work in two age groups, 15 to18 years and 19 to 24 years.

Winners will be invited to a celebrity prize-giving ceremony and exhibition of entrants work to be held in the Science Museum at the beginning of 2003. Winners in each category will receive 500 and runners up prizes of 100 and 50 will be awarded to the second and third place entrants.

Using the theme of stress, the competition gives young designers, photographers, digital artists and writers the chance to express how they and their peers deal with the effects of daily life in one of the categories below, whilst offering an opportunity to have their work displayed to a wider audience:

  • Traditional: photography, drawings, sketches, cartoons or paintings or other 2-D artwork
  • Digital: animated digital files, video, audio, graphics or other digital medium
  • Written: original lyrics, poems or other written expressions

All entries will be judged by a panel of experts from the creative arts, including artist Sam Taylor-Wood, poet Patrick Jones, DJ Judge Jules and editor of Creative Review, Patrick Burgoyne.

The competitions stress theme and age range was informed by the results of a national stress survey carried out earlier this year on behalf of The Samaritans. The results showed that people between the ages of 15 and 24 were most likely to be brought down by stress, to feel isolated or alone, that there is no one they can turn to or even suicidal. It also showed that a common response to these feelings was to drink alcohol or watch TV which can make these feelings seem worse in the long run.

Chief executive of The Samaritans, Simon Armson, said, "Stress today takes a very high toll on young peoples lives. It is an unavoidable consequence of modern life, but suppressing feelings of distress can exacerbate emotional problems. The Samaritans believes its vital to talk about feelings but recognises that it can be hard. The Stressed Out competition provides an outlet for people to communicate their emotions through creative expression and to share their experiences with others."

Dr Deborah Scopes, Naked Science programme co-ordinator, The Science Museum, said, "Scientists have shown that stress is not all bad. We need some of the effects of stress to be able to function well. But too much stress is not good for us and certain people are more vulnerable to its effects than others. This is a unique opportunity for people to visit the Stressed Out website to understand more about stress, its impact on our health and to investigate ways in which we can avoid its harmful effects."

Judge Jules, DJ, commented, "I'm lucky, because when I get stressed my job is what helps me get over it. there's nothing that comes close to the feeling I get when I'm on the decks for getting rid of any tension or worries I've got. But it's not as easy as that for some people - which is why I'm supporting The Samaritans' creative competition. Hopefully it will encourage younger people to de-stress positively too."

In previous years, entrants have included Julia Fullerton-Batten, a young photographer who has gone on to a establish a successful career as a commercial photographer, forming part of the Maverick Artist agency collective, and other well known names.

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