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Year 3

by Steve McQueen

Tate Publishing, 2022


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Year 3 is one of the most ambitious records of citizenship ever undertaken. Using the medium of the traditional school class photograph, this epic work captures tens of thousands of London schoolchildren from a single academic year. Mapping a picture of the present, the artwork captures a milestone year in a child's personal development: the moment when they become more conscious of the world beyond their immediate family.

It is a critical time for them to develop confidence in all areas of life, to understand more about their place in the changing world and to think about the future. Depicting rows of children sitting or standing alongside their teachers and teaching assistants, Year 3 reflects this moment of excitement, anxiety and hope. Year 3 is more than a portrait of a generation however: it documents and explores, in a way never before attempted, a range of urgent ideas connected to the UK, and to our world, today.

This book takes the photographs as a starting point and looks ahead, commenting on and contextualising the artwork and its message, but also providing a platform for new voices, and a new set of ideas. Year 3 is less a commemoration and more an active extension of the artwork itself: 'a glimpse of the capital's future, a hopeful portrait of a generation to come.'