Create artwork and poetry to express your views on Black Futures and Environmentalism

Selection Period

Thinking Black is a social enterprise empowering a new generation of young Black voices. Institutionally, culturally, and environmentally, the world is at a crossroads. Drastically different versions of the future present themselves. The path we will take is uncertain, but decisions made now could decide the fate of humanity itself.

We want to see your take on Black futures through artwork and poetry. Explore the intersection of the African diaspora culture, cultural aesthetics, and the philosophy of science, history and technology, and then envision where we can go from here, in your work. Which new futures can you imagine? Have we averted climate breakdown? Do we live in a post-emissions utopia? Or have ecosystems collapsed, and society with them?

If you are a young creator, aged between 16 and 25, we invite you to explore the topics of Black Environmentalism and Black Futures, through digital artwork or through poetry. We especially want to see the work of Black creators in our network - if that’s you, please submit!

Four pieces of work will be chosen as Selected Creators and they will be offered mentorship by pioneering Black business owners and industry professionals, assigning Thinking Black with a 3 years social, digital, print and OOH license to all work. Selected Creators will be able to use their work for personal and educational purposes.

  • Create Digital Artwork or Poetry, with a specific focus on Black Environmentalism, which advocates for the environmental and spatial protection of Black people. The mainsteam environmental movement has dominated and placed an emphasis on scientific evidence, measurable metrics, and the symptom rather than the cause. They have also historically failed to understand the intersections of race and ethnicity, gender, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation, class, and migrant status on how the environment plays out in the lives of those historically pushed to the margins. For Black and Indigenous populations, the environment is a space and place for justice. The focus is on the long impact that colonialism and capitalism have had on our environment. It is a space for decolonisation and embedded in anti-racism. Environmental justice centres the land and the life it gives us. Environmental justice requires us to dismantle the stuctural and instituional frameworks that have polluted the land and pushed us into places where we experience the worst impacts of environmental racism. Environmental justice is returning the land to African Indigenous communities for conservatorship and protection rather than the government taking up conservation activities that pushes such groups off their traditional and historical lands. Environmental and climate justice for the Black community is focused on communal needs that prioritise the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we harvest our food from.

  • Please feel free to draw inspiration from and start developing your thinking from the questions below:
    • What will the world look like in 100 years? / What do you want our world to look like in 100 years?
    • How does the Black future fit into that world? / How does future with Black liberation fit into that world?
      • How has our relationship with the land, and our culture changed throughout history and time?
      • How have the structures of power and justice shifted?

“We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all.”

- (Extinction Rebellion US)

  • Tone of voice: Depending on your interpretation of the topic, your work can be utopian, dystopian, speculative, or somewhere in between! Ultimately, we urge you to be radically imaginative in your vision of liberated Black futures. (You might consider checking out Octavia Butler and Malorie Blackman for further inspiration.)

  • Using art or poetry, how do you envision Black futures fitting into your dreamed and designed world?

  • Key Themes: Black environmentalism, Afrofuturism (a cultural aesthetic, and philosophy of science and history that explores the intersection of the African diaspora culture with science and technology), power and justice, climate breakdown
  • Before you start, read these brand guidelines

  • If you’re submitting poetry, please upload it as a PDF. If you are creating digital artwork, please submit it as a PNG or JPG, with these requirements: scale: 100% - DPI: ≥300 - Colours: CMYK

  • Check out this mood board for inspiration

  • Consider Thinking Black's values - We believe that young people are a powerful force for good. We aim to engage, equip and empower a new generation of young Black voices.

  • Your work should champion the Black community

  • Keep in mind your submissions should be suitable for digital display and potentially be included in future print publications of Thinking Black’s annual anthology

  • Tell us about your creative process and inspiration via the 'Description' field in your submission

  • Thinking Black would love you to see and potentially share your work across social media! Tag your work with @thinkingblack_ and #ThinkingBlack


At Thinking Black, we believe that young people are a powerful force for good. We aim to engage, equip and empower a new generation of young Black voices.

Our overall mission is to create modern educational programmes that enable student responses to diverse curricula. We run writing, speaking and arts programmes for Black state-school students aged 11-18. Be it formal or creative writing, visual art or public speaking, we want to amplify it.

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Selected Creators:
2 pieces of work from age category 16 - 18, and 2 pieces of work from age category 19 - 25 will be chosen as selected creators. Each will:
  • be offered 1:1 mentorship with pioneering Black business owners and industry professionals (4 biweekly sessions of 30 mins, online or in person depending on geolocation).
  • have their work used across Thinking Black’s social, digital and wider marketing channels (including print and OOH) for 36x months
  • Selected Creators will receive an incentive of £100 each
2 pieces of work from age category 16 - 18, and 2 pieces of work from age category 19 - 25 will be chosen by Thinking Black as Finalists. Each will:
  • have their work used across Thinking Black’s social, digital and wider marketing channels (including print and OOH) for 36x months
  • Who is eligible: This opportunity is open globally, and you must be 16 - 25 to participate. Employees and their immediate family and household members of Thinking Black and Talenthouse are not eligible to participate. Void where prohibited by law.

  • If you are under the age of 18 you will have to have a parent or guardian sign our Permission Agreement and submit it alongside your work.

  • Limit 15 submissions per creator or teams.

  • Please note, that during the Submission Period, your submission may be featured on Thinking Black's social media channels with credit given to you.

  • All submissions must be your own original work (meaning you are not allowed to use third-party pre-existing copyright materials and/or stock imagery in your submission) except for the material provided by Thinking Black. All rights in and to the material provided are reserved by Thinking Black.

  • How to submit: Click on the ‘Participate’ tab and follow the instructions. Your work must be submitted in PDF (poetry category) JPEG or PNG format (artwork category), max. size 10 MB. Please retain your original layered artwork files in the highest quality possible. Please no photography or video.

  • Please add a short description in English explaining the inspiration behind your work. Please use the 'Say something about your submission' section within your submission.

  • We advise you to carefully read the 'Things to Consider' section above.

  • If you are not selected, you will retain ownership in the original portions of your work. However, by submitting you hereby grant Thinking Black a worldwide, non-exclusive, digital license from Creative Brief launch, for up to 3 months after the Selected Creator Announcement, to use your submitted work across their various online and social media platforms. If your work is used, you will be credited accordingly.

  • If you are a ‘Selected Creator’ or a ‘Finalist’, you will be required to assign a worldwide, exclusive, 3-year license, for digital and print usages, in and to the selected work to Thinking Black for the specified incentives. Upon selection, you will be required to sign a License Agreement and the Awardee Agreement. Please note that submissions can be used by you for personal, educational, non-commercial use only.

  • Please provide an active email address when registering with Talenthouse to ensure you can be contacted should you be selected.

  • During the Selection Period, Talenthouse will reach out to those being shortlisted. You must respond to Talenthouse within forty-eight (48) hours or else you will forfeit all incentives. For the verification, you will be asked to provide the original files of your work and a scan of your ID.

  • Talenthouse reserves the right to remove inappropriate, offensive and harmful submissions as well as submissions that do not fit the brief, these guidelines or Official Rules (see below).

  • No purchase necessary to enter or be selected.


Thinking Black’s Director & Communications Team and selected alumna will select from all qualified submissions. A qualified submission is one which meets all the Terms & Conditions and Official Rules.

The judging criteria are based on Creativity (30%), Originality (30%) and overall understanding of the theme (40%).
  • Launch: Wednesday 23rd November 2022 at 5:00 PM
  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday 8th February 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Creators Selected: Tuesday 28th February 2023 at 5:00 PM
All times are in London Local Time.