The Challenge

Tell us. Show us. Get inspired!

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is an annual writing and art program for young people across NSW and the ACT.

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is one way for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia and contribute positively to Australian society, while meeting the objectives of the K-6 and 7-10 syllabus. Every year, we ask students to create artworks and stories inspired by a theme, and to reflect on what reconciliation means to them. This year in 2021 we celebrate 12 years of the Schools Reconciliation Challenge and our theme is Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever.


Who can enter?

All young people in Years 3-10 (or of equivalent age), Indigenous and non-Indigenous, of all abilities, can enter. Young people may participate through their school or independently. It’s free to take part.

When is the Schools Reconciliation Challenge?

In 2021, the challenge runs from Feb 15th week 4 Term 1 to 14 September 2021 week 10 Term 3. The online exhibition will be launched in November.

How to create?

Teachers: use the curriculumactivities, ideas and resources in this website to inspire and inform lessons about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues. Use these lessons to assist students to develop artworks or stories which reflect their ideas about reconciliation and the theme, Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever.

Students: use the information and ideas in this website to inspire you to create an artwork or written piece. You will need to get your teacher to help submit your entry.

Entry requirements

  • Artworks: 2D or digital, maximum size of A1. Must be accompanied by an Artist Statement
  • Writing: maximum 500 words, original creative writing that explores the theme. Must be accompanied by a Writer’s Reflection.

For more information go to how to enter  or terms and conditions

Visit our gallery of past winners and finalists.



Every year the Schools Reconciliation Challenge provides finalists with a prize pack including a library bag, resources and sponsors gifts.

Primary School finalists will receive a whole school subscription to Wingaru EducationAboriginal Education for all Australians.


The Schools Reconciliation Challenge story

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge story began in 2010 when we launched the first ever Challenge – Reconciliation the Road Ahead.

We’re now 12 years down the track and 1000’s of students and teachers have participated in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge.

Past Themes and Catalogues

2009-10 Reconciliation, the Road Ahead
2011 You Me Us
2012 Our Place
2013 Say Something!
2014 Our Journey
2015 Homegrown Heroes
2016 Always Was, Always Will Be2017 Where’s Your Country?
2018 Our Voices, Our Future!
2019 Speaking and Listening from the Heart
2020 Caring for Country
2021 Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

The Exhibition and the Tour

Every year the artworks and writing that best fit the theme and demonstrate the principles of Reconciliation are framed and exhibited.

Finalists are invited to the launch celebration held for the past 4 years at the The Powerhouse Museum to share their messages of reconciliation, it’s always a fabulous event and often includes performances and high-profile speakers.

In 2015 the National Trust began touring the finalists works throughout NSW stopping in many regional areas and allowing more schools and students to get involved and show off their art and writing works.

In 2019 and 2020 with the help of our partner and supporters at International Towers we exhibited a special version of the Our Voices, Our Future! Exhibition and the 2019 finalists for Speaking and Listening from the Heart at Barangaroo. We hope you can see 2020’s Caring for Country exhibition during National Reconciliation Week in 2021.

Note to readers

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this website may contain references to deceased persons. Throughout this website, the terms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and First Nations peoples are used wherever possible. In the interests of readability we use the terms Indigenous and non-Indigenous to refer to the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians. The authors intend no disrespect. Effort has been undertaken to ensure that the information contained in this website is correct, and the Reconciliation NSW regrets any errors or omissions and any offence this may cause. Please contact us if you have a query regarding the information on this site.

Teachers Click Here

Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.