Arts at Home Competition

Now open for entries!

At Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust we’re collaborating with a number of prestigious cultural partners to launch this fun and thought-provoking ‘virtual festival of creativity’ that you can access from wherever you are… our Arts at Home Competition.

We have a history of working with a wide range of cultural and community partners to promote the health and wellbeing benefits that can be gained through participation in creative arts.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 it will come as no surprise that most of the cultural and creative activities we usually provide through The Life Rooms, other Mersey Care venues and our many partners have not been possible in their usual way for public safety reasons.

Although we have continued to support people via phone and online contact, we want to connect in a special way to encourage and inspire everyone to get creative. People who, since the pandemic, may be feeling socially isolated, either at home, or in hospital, or wherever located in our geographic footprint, are welcome to join in.

Entries are free and we welcome them in any one or combination of categories including: poetry, short stories, reflections and playwriting; photography; song writing; and an ‘open arts’ section to showcase examples of painting, drawing, sculpture, textile or mixed media pieces.

Winners will receive a commemorative award certificate and their entries will be published digitally via The Life Rooms’ website. Winning entries will also be promoted via social media platforms for Mersey Care, The Life Rooms and partners. It is hoped that once it is safe to do so, winning entries can be physically displayed in The Life Rooms for visitors to further enjoy.  

Please read the following rules and guidelines to enter the competition:

General Rules and Entry Requirements:

  1. This online competition opens on Friday 16 October 2020 and the closing date is midnight on Monday 30 November 2020. We cannot accept late entries.
  2. The competition is open to all service users, including inpatients, of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, as well as their carers, and members of our staff, users of The Life Rooms, Trust Members, and people living within Liverpool, Sefton and Kirkby, or others using our dispersed services within our geographical footprint. Please check with the organisers before entering if unsure.
  3. Entrants must be aged 18 or over.
  4. Entries must be the participant’s own original work and not entered into any other competitions.
  5. The theme of “At Home” should be demonstrated in some way through the entry; it may be a personal interpretation due to your own set of circumstances and experiences, or a reflection on wider society since the outbreak of the pandemic, so this is not just about Covid-19…we want you to be open to ideas, be creative and express your individuality!
  6. Entries must not have been published before (e.g. in online forums, printed journals, etc.)
  7. For judging and publication purposes, all creative writing should be in English, although written pieces or songs may be submitted in other languages where an accurate translation is provided with your entry.
  8. All entries must be accompanied by an official entry form and meet the additional rules of their category.
  9. Each entry must be on a separate document for ease of judging and cannot be amended once submitted.
  10. Entrants should not be ‘professional’ e.g. earn their ‘living’ by, the categories in which they are entering. This could include professional musicians in the song writing category, or professional authors in the short stories section, and so on. For the purposes of this competition we have deemed the qualification of ‘professional’ to mean someone who earns at least half or more of their income from that artistic pursuit.
  11. Copyright remains with entrants but Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and its competition partners reserve the right to print, publish and display all shortlisted entries via its websites and social media platforms or potentially static exhibitions, as a condition of entry.
  12. In entering the competition you give your permission for the winning entries to be shared with media and cultural partners.
  13. Entries should be sent via email to Small files such as written compositions and your entry form, in Word or PDF or similar, may be emailed directly to us as attachments to your email.
  14. Where large files (e.g. music or photographs) are being sent you should send your entry via a secure free to use web-based platform called We Transfer, go to fill in the free upload boxes and direct it to our email address for us to download.
  15. Please note we only have up to 7 days to download the We Transfer entries once you send them via this free service, but a notification is automatically emailed to you once the entries have been sent, and again once they have been downloaded. Please watch out for that automatic email as an acknowledgement.
  16. We cannot return copies of files or other documents emailed or otherwise sent to us.
  17. In exceptional circumstances we may accept postal entries – phone our project admin support Benjamin Coleman for details on 0151 478 6897 (Monday to Friday, office hours).
  18. You can also email the organisers with any other specific queries about the competition via:
  19. Entrants to the competition will be deemed to have accepted these conditions of entry, in the spirit of sharing creativity to help promote wellbeing and our vision around arts in health.
  20. The Judges’ decision is final.



Poetry Category Rules

  • Poems must not be longer than 50 lines.
  • You can submit up to 3 poems; each poem must be typed in a clear font (suggested type size is 12pt Arial or similar) in a compatible file format such as Word or similar), or a PDF, or plain text; if you do not have access to a word processor, it should be neatly handwritten on A4 paper then scanned or a clear image taken on your phone camera so that it can be emailed.
  • Illegible entries will be automatically disqualified.
  • Each individual poem must be submitted on a separate page/document for ease of judging (up to maximum of 3 poems per person as stated).
  • The judge will be Dr Pauline Rowe, Mersey Care’s Poet-in-Residence.



Short Stories and Reflections Category

  • Stories and Reflections must be no longer than 1,000 words.
  • You can submit up to 2 stories or reflections which must be typed (fonts and formats as specified above, e.g. Word or PDF) or neatly handwritten on A4 paper and scanned/photographed and emailed.
  • Reflections can include life writing or autobiographical experience.
  • Each individual piece must be on a separate page/document.
  • The judge will be Dr Pauline Rowe, Mersey Care’s Poet-in-Residence.




Playwriting Rules

  • Entrants can submit either one stand alone short play or a scene from a longer play. If it's the second option, then this scene should also still be themed around ' At Home'.
  • The entry should be a maximum of 8 A4-sized pages.
  • The entry can have a maximum of three (3) characters/roles in the play.
  • Entries can be submitted either as a typed document (either Word or PDF compatible, in a 12pt plain font as above) or recorded as a voice note or memo file.
  • The judge will be Francesca Peschier, New Works Associate, Everyman/ Playhouse.




Song Writing Rules

  • Entrants can submit one original song of between 2 and 5 minutes in duration.
  • The song must be the entrant’s own composition and should include original lyrics.
  • The song can be voice only or include an instrument(s).
  • The song can be submitted via an audio or video recording and must include the lyrics as a separate document (either Word or PDF) and sent via a We Transfer.
  • Songs will be judged upon their connection to the subject, creativity, originality, melody and arrangement; it is the quality of the composition and not the recording/production or performance that we are looking for.
  • Entrants must not be professional composers/songwriters/musicians – see general rules guideline.
  • The judge will be Zoe Armfield, Head of Learning, Liverpool Philharmonic.



Documentary Photography Rules

  • Entrants can submit up to 3 digital photos
  • Photographs should submitted be in a simple Jpeg format that we can open.
  • Individual photographs should not exceed a file size of approx. 10mb nor be of a resolution too low as to impair judgement of their content and quality.
  • You can submit photographs on a range of subjects that convey the themes of the competition, e.g. people at home, the environment, activities at home, your life during lockdown, observation of something relevant to you since the pandemic, a reflection about what this time it means to you, and so on.
  • Please give your photograph a title to help the judges decide if it is representative of a theme.
  • You should have obtained consent from anyone whose face can be identified where it is not clear it has been taken in a public place e.g. a supermarket queue outside a shop or on a public highway or in public space such as a public park or beach.
  • You should not submit photographs of children without the express permission of their parents/guardians/carer; note that children legally protected under the care of the local authority cannot be shown for legal reasons. Where any children are depicted that can be identified we will need a written statement from you that permission was granted for you to photograph them by their parent/legal guardian, even if that parent is yourself.
  • Images may be digitally enhanced to remove spots/scratches and to make it clearer or brighter but the content must not be manipulated or so artificially enhanced to exaggerate photographic skills.
  • Short time-lapse photography e.g. traffic, sky at night, and so on, may be permitted only when trying to convey a specific theme relevant to this competition.
  • Where you would like to enter a photograph that introduces multi-media and complex Photoshop applications e.g. mirror effect distortion, please enter it in the Open Art category and explain in your 250 word entry how you achieved your effect and to what purpose.
  • The judge will be Elizabeth Wewiora, Head of Social Practice at The Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool.



Open Art Category Rules

  • Entrants can submit up to 3 photographs of their individual painting, drawing, sculpture, textile or mixed media piece, including a photo-montage or other enhanced photograph image (see Photography Rules for information about permission).
  • Submissions should be in a simple Jpeg format that we can open.
  • Individual photographs should not exceed a file six of approx. 10mb nor be of a resolution too low as to impair judgement of their content and quality.
  • Entries should be accompanied by a description of the piece of up to 250 words in length, including measurements/an explanation of size/scale of the original piece of art e.g. a statue.
  • The Judge will be Maria Isakova-Bennett, Artist, Poet, Art Historian and Tutor.


Download your entry form at bottom of this page to enter the competition!

Arts at Home Entry Form