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AnthroDay Student Unessay Competition
Thank you for your interest in the AnthroDay Unessay Competition. The 2022 competition is now closed.
Be on the lookout next January for all 2023 AnthroDay activities!
The American Anthropological Association (AAA) invites students to participate in the inaugural AnthroDay Unessay Competition. Inspired by the World on the Move exhibit, this year’s unessay competition focuses on migration.
The contest is open to students in grades kindergarten through twelfth. With four separate grade divisions:
• Early Elementary: K - 2nd grade
• Upper Elementary: 3rd - 5th grade
• Middle: 6th - 8th grade
• High: 9th - 12th grade
One winning piece from each division will be selected for publication in Anthropology News, the AAA’s award-winning member magazine. Winners will have the opportunity to develop their work with the editor prior to publication in the online or print edition of the magazine.
Winning pieces will also be published on the World on the Move website, a learning resource centered around the important topic of migration and displacement.
What is an unessay? Unlike a traditional essay competition, an unessay invites students to choose the format and product they submit. Students are encouraged to think creatively about the topic and respond to the prompt in a way that is meaningful to them.
Examples of unessay submissions that may be appropriate for elementary students include a short story, drawing, poem, cartoon, performance, clay sculpture, painting, or an interview or conversation.
Middle and secondary education students may be interested in submitting more in-depth pieces of work, including but not limited to a comic strip, playlist, podcast interview, script for a play, a game, a film clip, a series of photographs, or a magazine-style article.
Students are welcome to submit entries not listed in the above examples, as long as they meet the following submission criteria.
1. Students must submit an original piece of work that responds to one of the following prompts:
• What stories does your family or community tell about where they come from? Share a story you’ve heard or create your own.
• Are there any traditions in your family that have been passed down from generation to generation? Think about language, beliefs, stories, jokes, recipes, names, songs, and other traditions.
• Do you or your family have any stories about moving? If so, share one.
• Where is home for you?
2. Submissions must comply with the following time limits, word counts, and submission formats:
• Maximum of 500 words for any text-based responses, such as poetry and essays.
• Maximum of 5 minutes for any audio and video submissions, such as podcasts, music, and performances.
• All image-based submissions should be submitted as a JPEG file, such as photos of artwork or photography.
3. All submissions must be submitted electronically by the deadline March 18, 2022. Students under 13 must have a parent / guardian submit their work.
Selection Criteria and Notification
The judges will use the following criteria to evaluate the submissions:
• Demonstrated understanding of the selected prompt.
• Creativity and originality.
• Compliance with any time limits, word counts, and file formats required for publication in Anthropology News.
The winners of the unessay contest will be notified via email by April 8, 2022*. Additionally, winners will be announced on the American Anthropological Association's official social media accounts.
*Updated from April 4 to allow additional time to review submissions.