Amnesty International launches quest to find the new Queen or King of the protest song

The hunt is on to find the nation’s new top protest songwriter. Amnesty International today launched the search as part of its new education pack The Power of Our Voices .

The interactive pack on protest songs, human rights and the lyrics of social change is targeted at 11-16 year-olds and includes an assembly, lesson plans for English, Music and Citizenship, but also a competition encouraging people to write their own protest song.

The competition, which will help find the UK’s latest version of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, or Black Eyed Peas, is open to all UK-based secondary and further education students aged 11-19.

To make the competition accessible for everyone there are two categories – Best Lyrics and Best Performance. Prizes include having work published by Amnesty and performing at an Amnesty event. In addition one winner will receive the Grand Prize of a school visit, performance and workshop from renowned rapper and poet Kate Tempest.

The competition has already got the backing of the likes of Keane drummer Richard Hughes, Olympic cycling silver medallist Emma Pooley, Beardyman and the author Iain Banks – all of whom have submitted their own favourite protest song.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“Through this pack students will learn how artists have used their words and music to make a stand for human rights and fight for change.

“They will hear Billie Holiday sing about lynching and racial hatred. They will learn how former child soldier Emmanuel Jal has used rap music to bring global awareness to the suffering of Children's rights forced into combat. They will stand with the Egyptians in Tahrir Square in the recent movement for democratic change.

“The artists in this pack speak with unforgettable urgency. We hope that these songs and the history that surrounds them make the pursuit of Human Rights real and alive. And we hope they are inspired by people’s extraordinary capacities for courage and compassion even in the most challenging situations.”

To order the new pack or to find out more about how to enter the competition, go to www.amnesty.org.uk/voices /p>

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