Budding young artists show us what matters to them for Director of Public Health report

For the Director of Public Health Annual Report 2021, we’ll be hosting an exhibition of artwork created by children and young people from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 May. On the ground floor of Library @ the Lightbox, the art exhibition highlights what mattered to young people in 2019, and what matters to them now.

In 2019, we asked children and young people to create artwork around the theme ‘What Matters to Me?’ to inform the Director of Public Health Annual Report 2019. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this work had to be postponed.  

In 2021, we were able to reinstate the project, and children and young people were asked to create artwork with the theme of ‘What Matters to Me, Now?’ to provide a comparison of what’s important to children and young people living and learning in Barnsley pre- and post-pandemic.   

You can view the What Matters to Me, Now catalogue online if you can’t make it to the in-person exhibition.  

In both 2019 and 2021, the main things that mattered to Barnsley’s children and young people were their family and friends. Barnsley children and young people hope for a healthy and successful future, fairness, kindness, and a better world. They want to protect their planet and help people who need it.  

In 2019, Barnsley children and young people recognised the impact of technology on their lives, referencing the increase in online bullying and sedentary behaviour. In 2021, children and young people told us they want to be outside, in the real world, with opportunities to play and be active. What matters to children and young people now, more than ever, is connection with others, having fun and making happy memories. 

Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, said: “I want to thank every young person who took part in this project and created such fantastic and insightful artwork. The creativity you’ve shown is brilliant.  

“The Director of Public Health report gives us a unique insight into how children and young people feel about living in Barnsley. It’s a piece of history for us to remember and reflect on what it was like being a young person in Barnsley throughout the pandemic.”  

A write up of the findings from all the engagement work will be included in the Director of Public Health Annual Report 2021, which we'll publish on 23 May to coincide with the launch of the exhibition. 

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