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Yorkshire photographer Asha Munn snaps up Koestler Award for work with young offenders

  • Date: 3 October 2011
  • Area: North
A man and woman stand outdoors in park setting - they are looking at a row of visual arts work which has been reproduced onto banners

Me Myself & I, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2010. Credit: Asha Munn

A Grants for the arts recipient's digital art project with young offenders has been selected from over 7,600 entries as the winner of a major national award.

Otley based photographer Asha Munn was presented with the Under 18's Special Award for Encouraging Employment at the recent Koestler Awards. The prestigious awards programme which has been running for almost 50 years, was established by the Koestler Trust - a national charity which celebrates artistic achievement by offenders, promoting the arts in special institutions and encouraging the acquisition of creative skills as a means to rehabilitation. Entries were judged by a panel of leading artists and writers including Grayson Perry and Jeremy Deller.

The winning project entitled Me, Myself & I invited seven young people at high risk of re-offending to explore self portraiture through digital photographic art, resulting in an exhibition of their work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park last year. The programme was designed to encourage development of new practical and creative skills, as well as promoting ownership and self confidence, with each participant aiming towards a Bronze Arts Award - a national qualification managed by Trinity College London in association Arts Council England that encourages young people to develop as artists and arts leaders.

Asha specialises in working with young people at risk, and she has recently completed another project in Sheffield where she has been working with school children to document the closure of their school.

Me, Myself & I was supported through Arts Council England's Grants for the arts programme, an open application funding scheme that awards National Lottery funds to great arts projects across England.

Asha said: 'I'm thrilled that the project has been recognised with such a prestigious award. I developed the programme to give young offenders the opportunity to create pieces of work personal to them, so it is fantastic to have national recognition for their work.'

'The successful completion of the project and learning that occurred has given me much more confidence in myself as an individual artist. The partnerships that were built during the project still continue to develop and lead to new opportunities. Me, Myself & I would certainly not have been possible without the continued support of Arts Council England and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.'

Jim Tough, Area Executive Director, Arts Council England said: 'This award is great news for all involved. Our Grants for the arts programme supports arts activities that get people involved in the arts and help artists to develop their work. Me, Myself & I is exactly the kind of positive learning experience that our funding can help to provide, both for the artist and those taking part. Asha's work shows how people can use creativity to help young people discover their true potential.'

Members of the public will have another opportunity to view the award winning work when it goes on show again from October this year at Yorkshire Sculpture Park's brand new Learning Centre.