The Bright Awards — celebrating young creative talent

4 years ago by

Written by Analiese Jackson, Media Design School

Last week, the winners of the 2017 Bright Awards were announced, to the delight of schools and secondary school students across the country. The Bright Awards, believed to be the first competition of its kind run in New Zealand, sought out digital design submissions from Year 11 – 13 students across Aotearoa to demonstrate how students across the country are bringing their creative craft to life.

The Bright Awards were created by Auckland’s Media Design School to recognise New Zealand’s up-and-coming emerging creative talents in five distinctly different categories: Animation, Graphic Design, Games, Web and Interactive, and Photography.

The competition, which was open to submissions for eight weeks, received a large volume of submissions in all five of the design categories from over 60 secondary schools across New Zealand, from as far north as Kerikeri to Invercargill in the south.

For Media Design School’s Bachelor of Media Design programme coordinator Jim Murray, the prospect of being the Head of Jury for a competition that “celebrated and showcased the wealth of creative talent emerging from New Zealand’s secondary schools” was an exciting one.

Prior to joining Media Design School, Jim had more than fifteen years’ experience in the field of media design, six of which were spent at Interbrand, one of the world’s leading brand consultancies. “I joined the education sector from industry in order to support emerging creative talent, so for me being part of the Bright Awards was a great fit,” says Jim.

Jim, who says that the calibre of work submitted from across New Zealand is “refreshingly diverse”, says that the one aspect that did shine through in all five categories was the student’s willingness to “…embrace technology and play and experiment in this space.”

One of the main incentives for senior secondary school students to enter the Bright Awards was a significant cash prize: each category winner was awarded $1000 for themselves and $3000 for their school so that they could continue nurturing their student’s creative abilities.

These prizes, says Jim, are reflective of the amount of time and effort that each school and student spent on their respective entries. “It’s worth noting that there’s obviously a lot of hard working and inspiring teachers supporting these year 11 – 13 students. The calibre and breath of work submitted for this award is a credit to the support network provided for these young creatives, so I am particularly happy that the schools have been recognised alongside the students themselves.”

As for what Jim believes that designers and artists in the field could do to support aspiring young creatives who wish to pursue a career in the creative sector?

“For me, the most valuable asset that designers could provide would be to give their time. The time given to engage with schools by inspiring and feeding back real-world industry experience and insights. Time is invaluable.”

Animation Winner: Anna Kong, Saint Kentigern College

Graphic Design HC: Sasha Meyer, Columba College

Games Winner: Dominic Beaton, St Johns College

Graphic Design Winner: Lucy Beres, Columba College

Photography Winner: Liam Ferry, Inglewood High School

Web Winner: Gideon Wislang, Whangaparaoa College

Graphic Design HC: Gracie Allen Manktelow, Aquinas College

The Bright Awards finalists and category winners for 2017 are:
ANIMATION CATEGORY WINNER: Anna Kong, Saint Kentigern College: Why do we DO what we do – Narrative Project.
ANIMATION CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Zoe McCracken, Epsom Girls Grammar: Humdrum!?
ANIMATION CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Alistair William Kincaid, Saint Kentigern College: Chi Chi.
GAMES CATEGORY WINNER: Dominic Beaton, St Johns College: Higher Tower.
GAMES CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Ruoyun Zhang, Takapuna Grammar School: Collection of Hatched Eggs.
GAMES CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Joshua Alain Dormer, Kerikeri High School: Faller.
GRAPHIC DESIGN CATEGORY WINNER: Lucy Beres, Columba College: Black, White and the Inbetween.
GRAPHIC DESIGN CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Gracie Allen Manktelow, Aquinas College: Cutting Shapes.
GRAPHIC DESIGN CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Sasha Meyer, Columba College: Ecosong Campaign.
PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY WINNER: Liam Ferry, Inglewood High School: Photography.
PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Babette Morris, Otumoetai College, Untitled.
PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Joshua Astwood, Inglewood High School: My Photos.
WEB AND INTERACTIVE CATEGORY WINNER: Gideon Wislang, Whangaparaoa College: Slash Host.
WEB AND INTERACTIVE CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Gus Clelland, Hobsonville Point Secondary School: Drive Electric App.
WEB AND INTERACTIVE CATEGORY – HIGHLY COMMENDED: Orlando Parisblue, Onslow College: Priscilla.
2017 Bright School of the Year Award: Inglewood High School, New Plymouth.

See more from Media Design School at:


Up Next...

From The Archives: By Day/By Night — Jonty Valentine, Whitecliffe

This article was originally published in 2016. Welcome again to our 2016 By Day/By Night series. Here we profile a range of design teachers from our tertiary institutions to find out what projects they’re involved in outside of work hours, and how their personal creative endeavours feed back into their teaching roles. Today we speak…

More from 'Design for Social Good'...

Fresh from the field — Talking Minds, DHW Lab

This week’s Fresh from the Field features the Talking Minds website, an excellent example of co-design and collaboration recently created by the DHW Lab. If you’ve got new or recent work that you’d like to share in our weekly Fresh from the Field series email Zoë for details. Talking Minds is a website co-designed with young New Zealanders…