The competition will run from September 2021 over the autumn and spring terms during which time we will be offering free workshops for up to 35 state schools (on a first come first served basis).  The competition will culminate in the summer of 2022 with a professional exhibition of selected children’s work at The Higgins Bedford.  Winners and their families and teachers will be invited to a prizegiving and preview event in July.


We are excited to announce that our theme this year isFuture Bedford’.

The Harpur Trust has been in Bedford for a very long time (over 450 years) and the town has changed a lot over those years.  Thinking ahead to the next 20, 50, 100, 200 or even 450 years, what do you hope Bedford will look like?  What sort of place would you like it to be? What might our community look like? How might we live?

We want you to really use your imagination and come up with your vision for our town.  Pick ANY year in the future and make sure you incorporate your chosen date into your picture. What sort of community will we have?  What will our buildings look like? How will we travel? What will we wear? What will our environment look like? What would be your Perfect Future Bedford?

We would like you to get really creative and we would love you to describe your future Bedford by including some text on the back of your piece.  If selected for our exhibition, we will use this alongside the picture.

You can use any medium, but it must be able to fit within an A4, A3 or A2 sized frame.


To help you prepare your pupils for the competition, we are also offering all state schools the opportunity to apply for one of 35 free workshops focussed around the theme of the competition, exploring a variety of art mediums and techniques.

Workshops will be allocated on a first come first served basis (a maximum of one workshop per school).

In addition, The Harpur Trust and The Higgins Bedford are offering 2 further workshops specifically for staff which will be hosted at The Higgins Bedford.

Inset for Art Teachers/co-ordinators are running on the following dates:       

20 October 2021 4-6pm 

16 November 2021 4-6pm

New for 2021Subject to demand, we plan to hold a live or zoom session on ‘Using art to support Pupil Wellbeing’ – date to be confirmed but this is likely to be in the Spring Term.


To apply online for a Visiting Artist Workshop and/or a staff inset workshop, please CLICK HERE.  Alternatively, you can download a printable form (scroll down to the download section) and send it to:

Sarah Elam, The Harpur Trust, Princeton Court, Pilgrim Centre, Brickhill Drive, Bedford MK41 7PZ


The competition is open to all 4-18 year olds at school within Bedford Borough, who can enter individually or through their school.  Schools can enter in one or more of the following categories, but no more than 8 entries per age category should be submitted:

Category 1Ages 4-7Reception, Years 1 and 2
Category 2Ages 7-11Years 3, 4, 5 and 6
Category 3Ages 11-14Years 7, 8 and 9
Category 4Ages 14-16Years 10 and 11
Category 5Age 16-18Years 12 and 13


It is important that you read this section carefully and that you ensure all work adheres to the requirements.  If artwork does not comply we regret that we may not be able to accept it.

Artwork submitted must be 2D (by this we mean it should be relatively flat and suitable for framing with glass). If it can’t be framed we can’t use it.

Size should be either A4, A3 or A2 (this is to enable us to frame selected entries in a cost effective way).

Entries can be produced on paper, fabric or even on a ceramic tile but they must adhere to the size guidelines above.

Work should arrive unmounted and unframed.

Entrants can use a range of materials and techniques from the following list: drawing (e.g. pencil, pen, crayon, pastel, etc.), painting, printmaking, collage and montage (photography can be integrated into the piece but we will not accept a standalone photographic entry).

Each school can submit a maximum of 8 entries per age category.


Judging will take place in April 2022 and winning schools will be notified on 15th May 2022.  Around 120 – 140 entries will be selected for display at a public exhibition at The Higgins Bedford from Saturday 09 July 2022 to Sunday 04 September 2022.  Entries will be judged on both originality and creativity and judges will be looking for an imaginative response to the themes.  Judges will also look at:

– Content – what story does the picture tell or what message does it give?

– Composition – where and how is everything placed?

– The atmosphere and mood created by the piece.

– Whether the entrant has fulfilled the requirements set out in the criteria section.


3 Prizes will be awarded in each of the following age-groups: 4-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-16
&  16-18years

1st Prize:£300 of vouchers for the school£60 of vouchers for the child.
2nd Prize:£200 of vouchers for the school£30 of vouchers for the child.
3rd Prize:£100 of vouchers for the school£15 of vouchers for the child.
Harpur Trust Choice AwardArt Therapy workshop for pupils£60 vouchers for the child

Entrants whose work is selected for the exhibition will have their work professionally framed (pupils can keep the framed work at the end of the exhibition).  We will also provide them with a certificate.