Reflections on the Year 3 Project

A set of nine essays reflecting on learning from the Tate Year 3 Project

The Tate Year 3 Project was an ambitious project that took place between September 2018 and January 2020 to create Steve McQueen Year 3 – a giant collective portrait of 7-8-year-olds by the London-born Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker, Steve McQueen.

Project partners Tate, Artangel, and A New Direction invited every primary school in London to take part to create an epic picture of the city’s present and an intimation of the future. 76,146 children from 1,504 schools took part in photography sessions in which a traditional class photograph was taken. These would form part of the exhibitions both in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain, and the Outdoor Exhibition on 600 billboards across London in Autumn 2019.

A New Direction has commissioned this collection of nine essays to reflect on the Tate Year 3 Project from different perspectives and provoke thinking about future projects. Together, the essays explore the themes of representation, entitlement, access, collaboration, and risk.

Download the full set of essays

Find out more about Year 3

Contributors and writers: Anna Cutler, AoifeO’Doherty, Christine Lai, Colin Grant, David Parker, Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski, Eileen Carnell, Jack Redfern, Jackie Benjamin, James Broadley, James Lingwood, Kate Atkins, Maria Balshaw, Marina Lewis-King, Pauline Tambling, Steve Moffitt, Tate Schools and Teachers Team

Edited by Naranee Ruthra-Rajan

Download the individual essays below

1. A YearWithYear 3

by Marina Lewis-King 

Creating a positive experience for the young people as participants.

Download Essay 1

2. Participation BeginsWithMe: Reflections From Tate and SchoolHeadteachersonYear 3

by David Parker 

Engaging schools to take part.

Download Essay 2

3. Out of the Shadows

by Colin Grant 

Representation in art exhibitions.

Download Essay 3

4. Across the Imaginative Threshold of the Future of Cultural Equity

 by Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski 

Entitlement and access to culture for young people and communities.

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5. Year 3: Achieving Scale and Quality in a Cultural Endeavour

by Pauline Tambling 

Reflections to inform future projects working at scale.

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6. Year 3:  Elements of Risk

by Anna Cutler  

Overcoming challenges with collaborative partners.

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7. WeAre Here! Observations and Analysis of the Year 3 Class Visits

by Tate Schools and Teachers Team with Eileen Carnell 

Welcoming students to an art gallery and the impacts.

Download Essay 7

8. Young Londoners’ Perspectives onSteve McQueen Year 3

by Christine Lai, James Broadley and Aoife O’Doherty 

The need for representation and young people’s entitlement to arts & culture.

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9. Why Did We Do This, and What Did We Learn? Reflections From Lead Partners

by David Parker  with Anna Cutler, James Lingwood and Steve Moffitt 

Using the emerging themes to learn and think to the future.

Download Essay 9