National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park announces two special summer competitions

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The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), which is located in Bletchley Park, has announced two competitions for youngsters encouraging creativity.

Competition organisers want to hear from budding poets and visual artists.

Entrants to the Young People’s Poetry Competition are asked to write a poem honouring someone that deserves greater recognition.

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The competition is inspired by the recent discovery of a 1944 poem by Betty O’Connell about the people she worked alongside at the Bletchley Park code-breaking site during the Second World Wars.

Betty O’Connell, (Photo from the National Museum of Computing)Betty O’Connell, (Photo from the National Museum of Computing)
Betty O’Connell, (Photo from the National Museum of Computing)

Betty was a member of the Women’s Royal Navy Service who celebrated her fellow WRNS operating the code-breaking machines of Bletchley by penning some verses.

Her family recently discovered the poem and loaned it to the Bletchley Park museum.

Jacqui Garrad, museum director, said: “Betty was one of a cohort of women who worked with strength and determination behind the scenes of Bletchley Park’s coding-breaking factory. They forged strong friendships while working in conditions that proved mentally and psychologically taxing. We are surrounded by hidden stories of strength and selflessness today; we chose to honour that as we re-discovered Betty’s poem.”

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Visual art entrants are tasked with re-interpreting the box art of an Atari game of their choice in any artistic medium.

This competition has been launched in line with the 50th anniversary of the popular gaming company and is called ‘Atari Art Re-imagined’.

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Both competitions are free to enter with prizes on offer including £50 vouchers, museum memberships, goodie bags, signed books and even the winner’s work appearing on a gift card or tote bag at the museum’s gift shop.

The vouchers can be used in bookshops for the poetry winner and either art suppliers or Game by the triumphant artist.

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Winners will also receive 12-month family memberships to TNMOC and a museum goodie bag.

Entrants for the poetry contest have until 15 September to submit their work and winners will be announced on 24 September.

The champion in the art competition will see their work reproduced on a museum T-shirt, greeting card or tote bag, and receive a copy of Art of Atari and Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon signed by author and competition judge, Tim Lapetino.

Deadline for submissions is Friday 9 September and the winner will be announced on 17 September.

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Entries can be emailed to [email protected], parents and guardians are asked to provide an email address for entrants that are 16 or younger.

For the poetry competition, use “Betty Oliver competition” as the email’s subject line.

For the Atari art competition, attach a high-resolution version of your work to the email with your name and the age category you are entering.

Jacqui added: “The creative arts are opening up new opportunities to investigate science and technology. They help challenge the pre-conception that to appreciate science and technology you must somehow be ‘good’ at topics like maths or computing. The arts challenge the way we see STEM and create greater diversity. Our competitions will help bring a fresh perspective to two important moments in our shared technology heritage.”

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