March 1, 2022
delayed start due to COVID
June 30, 2022
Students aged 16-19 years


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Project Description

We are happy to announce our third ETA Creative Project for 2021! We are looking for participants aged 16-19 (as representatives of the iGeneration, i.e. born between 1996 and 2010) to propose a symbol that best represents the 21st century.

What essentially characterizes or distinguishes the 21st century from previous centuries? Is it technology per se, new modes of communication, virtualization of society, the definition of identity, global economic inequality, consumerism, a new era of global power shift between West and East etc?

We are living in strange times. Despite ongoing advances of technologies and increased first-world material benefits and global inter-connectivity that have arisen from the information age in the last decades; the promise of progress has not shielded us from recent global financial crises, natural disasters, and a current devastating pandemic. Early into the third decade of the 21st century, we find ourselves suddenly and peculiarly constrained in our day-today lives with enforced life-style restrictions and a reduction in the physicality of connection to others. In the workplace, school and home, many of us are essentially living outside of our comfort zones. And yet because of (or perhaps, in spite of) this, many of us are discovering new forms of self-expression. And on an environmental scale too, nature has taken a breath as COVID has enforced a temporarily lighter human footprint in many ecosystems. Resulting in cleaner air in many of our cities and clearer water in our many of our rivers. Thus should the impact of COVID-19 be influential in the choice of a symbol to represent the world in the 21st century?

So we invite you, as a representative of the iGeneration, to ask yourself: What facets of the 21 century can be, or should be, symbolised? And if so, what would such a symbol be?


The symbol can be your own creation, or you can select an image, icon or visual metaphor created by others. Remember the essential criterion is the choice of symbol, in your opinion, could stand-for or in some sense be a visual representation for 21st century (post)modern life, society and/or the world today.

You are also required to present your case for your choice. To do this you can use a wide range of file formats. Your justification for your symbol choice can be expressed in written form as a pdf file, a video in MP4 format, or a podcast in MP3 format. Whichever format you elect to use, it must be an appropriate medium that enables you to explain, justify or argue why your chosen symbol especially encapsulates the essence of the 21st century.  

The submission form for your symbol can be found at the bottom of this page under “Upload Your Symbol.” PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ATTACHED YOUR SYMBOL FILE BEFORE SUBMITTING! If you have any questions regarding this project or others, please contact our Creative Projects Coordinator, Willow Schroeder, at .


A first, second and third place winner will be chosen in the first two weeks of December 2021. ALL participants will receive an email with an invitation to our “Symbol for the 21st Century” webinar, where we will announce the winners and have the winners present their messages and join in a contemporary discussion with a key thinker from the field of philosophy or sociology. This key note speaker will be announced closer to the date of the webinar.



Project Community Members

Ian Tame
Senior Tutor