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Yarm Sixth Form Student Is Awarded Second Place in NCH Essay Competition

Yarm Sixth Form Student Is Awarded Second Place in NCH Essay Competition

One of our Lower Sixth Form students, Mia Mack, has been awarded second place in the international essay competition run by New College of the Humanities.

The NCH Essay Competition invites students in their penultimate year of secondary education (Y12 / Lower Sixth equivalent) to answer an essay question from one of ten categories: art history, creative writing, data science, economics, english, history, law, philosophy, politics and international relations, and psychology.

The competition attracts talented and intellectually curious students with passion and academic potential in humanities and social sciences from across the globe. In fact, 2021’s competition saw over 6,000 entries from the UK and EU.

NCH Essay Competition Entry

Mia submitted a 1,500 word art history essay, answering ‘Should the West return cultural artefacts to their former colonial territories?’ Here is an excerpt from her entry:

“Those advocating for the repatriation of cultural artefacts argue that by doing this, the colonial history between nations such as the United Kingdom and their former territories can be acknowledged and accepted as a part of history and can then be ‘moved past’ as it were, to build more diplomatic relationships between nations (US News, 2012). For many, the ‘ownership’ of colonial artefacts by their former powers, classes them as stolen items. From the point of view of the former territories, having their property remain in the ‘mother country’ is only a dark reminder of past imperialistic culture, and continues to allow the colonial power to benefit from their historical wrongs. The vast majority of the artefacts in question were crafted on the back of the slave trade. If the pieces are to remain with the western powers, does this give them a somewhat corrupted legacy? And is it justifiable to say that they should be kept on the grounds of education if these former powers continue to profit from their colonial pasts?


In contrast, there is scope for complications regarding foreign relations if the ownership of the artefacts in question is disputed. A large portion of cultural artefacts have intricate and somewhat multifaceted histories that may be unknown or cryptic. This could cause conflict between nations that want possession of such pieces.”

She said: “I am delighted to have been awarded second place with my essay. I am extremely passionate about art and loved being given the opportunity to share my own ideas and interests with others via an essay. I am really proud of what I achieved and will definitely enter more competitions like this in the future.”

We must also congratulate Shilpi Nanda and Ananya Padamanabhan who were both shortlisted and commended for their essays which they entered into the history and politics and international business categories respectively. Shilpi answered ‘Will the Covid-19 pandemic change human history?’ whilst Ananya answered ‘Is democracy experiencing a setback worldwide?’

Dr Huw Williams, Headmaster, said: “Mia should be very proud to have achieved second place in such a prestigious competition. Her essay is an intelligent and thought provoking exploration of a contentious cultural topic and showcases her real passion for and insight into art history. We encourage all pupils to explore their subjects deeply and not to feel constrained by the formal boundaries of the syllabus. It is clear, from her entry, that Mia has a wide ranging and impressive intellectual engagement with ideas and concepts that will complement and support her A level studies.

Shilpi and Ananya should also be very proud, as being shortlisted and then commended in such a highly regarded competition is a fantastic achievement.”