Published: 5 August 2021 at 09:00
New £11,200 inclusivity bursary to study world-leading Masters course at ARU
Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has launched an inclusivity bursary to help improve diversity within children’s book illustration, which remains a predominantly white, middle class profession in the UK.
According to research commissioned by the charity BookTrust, only 7% of children’s books published in the UK in 2019 were by authors or illustrators from a BAME background. And research by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) found that while 33.5% of primary school children in the UK are from a minority ethnic background, only 7% of the books for ages 3–11 published in the UK between 2017-2019 featured characters of colour.
ARU is proud to have a diverse student body and has achieved huge success in tackling the difference in performance between underrepresented groups. However, students from different ethnic and economic backgrounds are still underrepresented in the Masters in Children’s Book Illustration course cohort at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art, and the new £11,200 inclusivity bursary has been introduced to help address this.
The first of its kind in the UK, the bursary is being supported by the publishing industry – including Bell Lomax Moreton literary agency and Bloomsbury Publishing – and aims to help overcome some of the barriers that prevent students from different underrepresented groups taking up this area of study.
The bursary can be used to cover the full fees for the MA Children’s Book Illustration course, and ARU has also partnered with the charity Picture Hooks to provide mentorship for the year following the student’s graduation to help them forge a successful career as a professional children’s book illustrator.
Since being launched in 2001, ARU’s MA in Children’s Book Illustration has become one of the leading illustration courses in the world, with students and graduates going on to win countless national and international awards.
Recent successes include the Illustrated Books category at this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the 2020 Carmelite Picture Book Prize, the inaugural £5,000 Queen’s Knickers Award, and the 2020 AOI World Illustration Award New Talent award, while ARU students have won the prestigious V&A Student Illustrator of the Year prize for five successive years (2016-2020).
Shelley Jackson, Course Leader for the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at ARU, said:
Olu Oke, an illustrator from Battersea in London who has just completed the MA and will graduate from ARU later this year, said:
Paul Moreton, Managing Director of Bell Lomax Moreton literary agency, said:
Lucy Juckes and Vivian French of Picture Hooks said:
ARU’s new inclusivity bursary is open to applicants who are eligible for UK fees and facing financial disadvantage, and/or are from an underrepresented group. The closing date for the 2021 bursary is 13 August (5pm BST) and further information is available by visiting https://aru.ac.uk/student-life/preparing-for-university/help-with-finances/scholarships/childrens-book-illustration-bursary