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Top young animators honoured in Manchester

29 Jun 2009

Some the UK’s best young animators have been recognised at a special awards ceremony in Manchester.

Individual and team winners of the Animation09 competition for children and young people – which attracted over 800 entries from 200 schools – have been unveiled at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

Earlier this year computer scientists from the University of Manchester challenged school pupils to create their own animated films, as part of a drive to inspire the next generation of computer scientists.

A total of 43 prizes – including notebook PCs, digital cameras and MP3 players – have been scooped by 33 entries from 31 schools across the country.

And some high-quality creative efforts have scooped accolades in more than one category.

Lucy Upot and Ellie Turner from Aberdour School in Surrey won first prize in the KS3 Group and Best Use of Dialogue categories for ‘A Mixed Up Tale’.

‘Introduction to Animation - Persistence of Vision’ by James O'Donnell and Liam Timms from Oxford and Cherwell Valley College was awarded first prize in the 16 Plus Group and Best Instructive Film categories.

The Electronic Arts Overall Best Award went to Louis Durrant of Trinity School in Newbury for ‘It’s Hip To Be Square’. His animation also won first prize in the Key Stage 3 Individual category.

The cs4fn Prize for Environmental Awareness" went to 'Iberian Lynx' by Alison MacPherson from Kinlochbervie High School."

Staff at the University's School of Computer Science came up with the idea for the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the world's first stored program computer, designed and built in Manchester – known as the Baby.

This year they repeated the competition and were overwhelmed by the volume and quality of entries, which totalled four times as many as last year.

Young people aged between seven and 19 were challenged have to create an animated film, of one-minute or less, using the animation programs Alice, Scratch or Flash.

Entries came from schools right across the country – from Burravoe Primary School in Shetland right down to Plymouth College in Devon.

Organisers hope the competition has given young people a chance to explore computer animation for the first time.

Dr Toby Howard from the School of Computer Science, said: "After the launch of the competition in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of the Baby computer, we have been delighted by the response to this year’s contest. The standard of work submitted has made judging the competition extremely tough.

“Animations have been used to tell a story, to explain or demonstrate a topic or idea. They had to be inspired in some way by the National Curriculum - but the only real limit was the students' imaginations.

"Since the launch of the first stored program computer at The University of Manchester 60 years ago, the progress of computing has been rapid.

"That progress is continuing to accelerate and it is likely that computing will change the world even further over the next 60 years.

"If that progress is to continue apace, we need to encourage the brightest and the best of the next generation to engage in the challenges facing computing.

"And we hope this competition will go some way to raising the profile of computer science amongst children in a fun and exciting way."

The competition has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and run in partnership with Electronic Arts and with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (MOSI).

Notes for editors

A full list of winners and winning schools, copies of animations and screen grabs are available on request.

For more information please contact Alex Waddington, Media Relations Officer, The University of Manchester on 0161 275 8387 / 07717 881569.

Further details about the competition can be found at