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Together for Short Lives launch youth-led creative artwork project for young people with life-limiting conditions

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We are excited to be launching a new youth-led pilot project that provides an opportunity for young people with life-limiting conditions in the UK to express themselves through the creative arts.

This could be in the form of poem, short story, blog article, song, photo, selfie, painting, drawing, vlog and more! Anything that helps young people to explore their identity and tell their story in a meaningful way.

‘This is Me’ provides a valuable opportunity for seriously ill young people to express their thoughts, feelings, fears, ambitions and interests in a creative and powerful way through the arts. For some, it may be an opportunity to leave a legacy behind and to think about how they want to be remembered.

All submitted artworks will be compiled into a digital anthology on our website and will be shared on our social media pages to raise awareness of the experiences of seriously ill young people and to give each of them a chance to have their story heard on a national platform.

The pieces will also be presented in a visual exhibition at our sector-wide conference ‘Time for Change’ in Manchester in March 2020. The conference will be attended by over 200 children’s palliative care professionals and will provide a unique opportunity for these doctors, nurses, hospice directors, care staff and commissioners to gain a powerful insight into what it’s like to be a young person living with a life-limiting illness.

‘This is Me’ is designed to be an inclusive project for all seriously ill young people, including those with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), communication needs and those who will be supported to take part by parents, carers and professionals.

‘This is Me’ will be co-designed from the outset by young people themselves, with a group of four ‘young curators’ helping to co-ordinate submissions and co-design the digital anthology and exhibition, with support and mentoring from our Family Support Officer.

Thank you to the Arbonne Foundation who are funding this exciting new project.

Would you like to get involved?

Creative work submissions are open until 9 March 2020 and can be submitted via email to

Please send a high quality version of the artwork or a link to a digital copy. If you are submitting a painting or drawing, please submit a high quality photograph of the artwork. If you are unsure about how to submit your piece please email

We welcome submissions from young adults aged 13-30 years as well as submissions supported by a parent or carer.

What artwork will be accepted?

It could be anything! For example, a poem, short story, blog article, song, photo, selfie, painting, drawing, vlog or more. Anything that helps you explore your story and identity in a meaningful way. If you need some inspiration, Hannah Hodgson, a young person who has helped develop the project has suggested the ideas below that you could consider and get inspired by how you might express them:

  • Think about something you wish strangers knew about you, without having to ask or tell them.
  • Write about something you love doing or the medical things you have to do in a day.
  • Consider your times in hospital and what has made them easier – how could you show that to someone else?
  • What’s something you really like about yourself, and how would you tell people about it?
  • If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
  • What is your happiest memory?
  • Tell people about what cheers you up on hard days.
  • Write about your family or friends and how they help/ love you and why.
  • Think about your favourite thing to do in the whole world.
  • How could people make you feel more confident?
  • What makes you special?
  • What are you scared of?
  • What do you with people would or wouldn’t talk about in regards to your illness?
  • What being ill taught you?
  • What assumptions do people make about you that are wrong?
  • Why is it important to talk about your illness?
  • What are your dreams?

Whatever you decide to do we can’t wait to see it. In the meantime do get in touch with any questions about the project as we’ll be happy to help.

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