Young Anthropologist

A 1,000-word essay competition for those interested in issues of identity and culture.

Primary page content

What should I write about

We want you to answer the question: “Where are you from?”

For some people, this question is a straightforward one. For others, it can be loaded, or open to interpretation. One of the roles of an Anthropologist is to explore these issues of identity and belonging and understand what they mean in an increasingly globalised world. When you are asked where you’re from, what does the question mean to you, and how do you answer?

What do we mean by “Where are you from”

Anthropologists are very conscious of the fact that most people have multiple identities, and that these identities often shift according to the context they are in. Who we are and how we tell our story is dependent on the time, place, situation, and environment we find ourselves in, and who is asking the question. We also find that people often define themselves in terms of who they are not.

Our identities and sense of belonging are personal and subjective, but can also be shaped by wider political, historical, and social factors. Your answer to the question, “Where are you from?” might draw upon, for example, history, geography, family, race, and religion. What starts out as a simple question could have amazingly complex answers, and can be asked with kindness, or with malice.

What has your experience been with this question? Who has asked it? What can your experiences tell us about the nature of identity and belonging?

How to enter

  1. Register using the button below, and select “Young Anthropologist 2020” as the competition. 
  2. Write your entry, making sure that you keep within the word limit.
  3. Submit your entry via email before the deadline of midnight on 31 July 2020.


The Young Anthropologist 2020 is for people aged between 16 and 18. Applicants should be currently studying at a school or college in the UK. For a full list of entry criteria, please see our terms and conditions.


Once the closing date for submissions has passed, all entries will be read by our judging panel and a shortlist is drawn up. From this shortlist, we will select one winner and two runners up. The chair of the judging panel is Dr Gavin Weston from our leading Department of Anthropology.


All shortlisted entries will win a small prize. The two runners-up will receive £50 each. The winner of the Young Anthropologist Award will receive £1,000, and invitation to an event at Goldsmiths to receive their trophy.