Reflections on the Year 3 Project

A set of nine essays commissioned by A New Direction to reflect on the Tate Year 3 Project and provoke thinking about future projects

The Tate Year 3 Project was an ambitious project that took place between Sept 2018 and Jan 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.

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

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Find out more about Year 3

Download the individual essays


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.

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3. Out of the Shadows

by Colin Grant

Representation in art exhibitions.

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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.

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8. Young Londoners’ Perspectives onSteve McQueen Year 3

by Christine Lai, James Broadley and AoifeO’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 Parkerwith Anna Cutler, James Lingwood and Steve Moffitt

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

Download Essay 9