HOW TO ENTER
We have two different programs for teens:
- The Ocean Awareness Contest is our international Contest that accepts visual art, poetry, prose, film, and music submissions. The 2019 theme is Presence of Future.
- The Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition challenges students from around the world to design and lead a campaign in their school or community that creatively educates others and inspires action to reduce or prevent marine debris. Campaign examples may include: hosting a film/art/lecture series; creating a community mural; organizing a beach, river, or lake cleanup; and much more!
No. We only accept submissions using our online submission platform.
No! Entering the Contest is completely free of charge.
No. While many teachers assign the Contest as a school project, many participants also take part on their own with support from a sponsor.
Once you have prepared your submission files and your reflection, we will ask you for some personal information — including your name, email, and school — and information for an adult sponsor. It is important that you provide a valid email address so that we may contact you. If you provide a school email address as your primary contact information, please provide an additional, alternative email address as well.
WHO MAY ENTER
Any student age 11-18 who is/was enrolled in middle or high school while the Contest is open. For example, if you are in 12th grade from September 2018 to May/June 2019, then you would be eligible for the 2019 Contest.
Select the division based on your age at the time of entry. Students age 11-14 are eligible for the Junior division; those age 15-18 are eligible for the Senior division.
Yes! This is an international Contest and open to teenagers age 11-18 worldwide.
Yes! We are all connected to the ocean, whether you live hundreds of miles inland or on the coast.
If you are between 13 and 18 years of age, be sure to obtain your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission before you send any information about yourself (such as your name, email address, etc.) to Bow Seat or anyone else over the Internet. If you are under the age of 13, your parent or legal guardian must review and sign the Bow Seat Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Privacy Notice and Consent Form, and as part of your submission.
Yes! Please enter the division based on your age at the time of entry.
Yes! As long as your time enrolled in school and the current Contest overlap, then you are eligible to enter. Please choose the age division according to your age.
No. You must be enrolled in middle or high school in order to submit to the Contest. If you started college/university any time before the Contest closes in June 2019, then you cannot submit to the 2019 Contest.
We accept Art, Poetry, Prose, Film, and Music submissions. Each category is judged separately, and each category will have its own Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorable Mention winners.
In order to be considered by our judges, your submission and accompanying reflection must be in English.
No. We have a policy of making sure that entries are judged fairly across each category, and therefore we require that you fit your entry within the photo/page/length limits.
We appreciate the work that you are putting into your entry, but we want to challenge you to try to succinctly communicate your ideas within the given limits. Once you submit to our Contest, feel free to publish your work elsewhere at whatever length you wish!
No, you will never be required to ship us your original work. However, we recommend saving your original work until the winners of the Contest are announced, just in case there is an issue receiving the files you submitted using our online platform.
Submissions are judged in large part on how well they address the theme of the Contest; every year, we select the theme based on issues that are timely and relevant and for which we would like to raise public consciousness.
The written reflection helps your audience and the judges understand more about you, your work, and the issue you are addressing. It is like the introduction to a book or an artist’s statement in a museum.
The judges will not lower your score for a poorly written reflection, but writing a good reflection will certainly help the judges understand you and your work better, and you will likely do better in the Contest!
If you use ideas, facts, quotes, or existing media in your entry or reflection that are not your own, we ask you to cite those sources (in any style). That means you must cite any facts or information that you did not discover, create, or come up with yourself.
A bibliography shows our judges that you did research on the topic, and your arguments are stronger if they are supported with verifiable and pertinent evidence. Creating a bibliography helps students build research, critical thinking, and analytical skills. Ultimately, we want to challenge all of our participants to refine their communication skills so that they can become more persuasive and powerful advocates for our oceans.
Yes! We do not compete for the exclusive rights to your work because 1) you own your work, and 2) we think your work should be spread as far as possible into the rest of the world. Our oceans need as loud a voice as we can give them, so please send your work far and wide! Bow Seat does reserve the right to use students’ submitted work for marketing and promotional purposes in any and all media.
SPONSORS & TEACHERS
Your sponsor can be any adult: your parent, legal guardian, teacher, coach, mentor, etc. You must provide the contact information of your adult sponsor on the submission form, and your sponsor will receive email notifications about your submission.
Whether you are a teacher who assigned this Contest as a class project, or a parent helping your child explore their creative potential, or an adult who simply was asked to be a sponsor for a student submitting on their own, your responsibilities are simple. All we need is to be able to contact you in case we have issues getting in touch with your student(s). When your student(s) submits their work, they will be asked to give your name and email address. You will receive a confirmation email once they submit, so that you can have it on record as well.
You may create a single account under your name and submit multiple entries on behalf of your class, but you must submit separate entries for each individual student, unless they are participating as a group.
JUDGING & AWARDS
A panel of judges reviews the submissions, and each submission is anonymously evaluated by at least three judges. Our judges are artists, poets, writers, filmmakers, and ocean scientists. Submissions are judged based on: artistic voice, originality, and imagination; craftsmanship, including quality, technique, attention to detail, and accuracy; how well they address the theme of the Contest; and meeting the Contest submission requirements.
2018 Contest winners will be announced in January 2019. 2019 Contest winners will be announced in January 2020. Winners and their sponsors will be emailed before we announce results publicly.
Judging begins immediately after the Contest ends, and we take the time to fairly judge each and every entry to the Contest. We receive thousands of submissions each year and our team of judges put in over 2,000 hours of cumulative work watching your films; viewing your art; and reading your poetry, prose, and reflections. We know you’re anxious to hear Contest results. We take an enormous amount of pride in the amount of care we put into the Contest, and we hope that you can be patient with us as we continue to do so!
If you are a winner, you will receive an email notification from us giving you specific instructions on how to claim your award. Winners will be required to verify their eligibility by completing an Affidavit of Eligibility/Liability Release, and, where lawful, a Publicity Release during the award claim process.
We believe that your art, writing, film, and music should be shared with the public in order to amplify your voices on behalf of the ocean. We will do our best over the course of the next year to celebrate you as winners via our social media channels, as well as by coordinating art exhibits, film showings, and guest publishing of poetry and writing in various outlets through our partners.