Congratulations to the winners of the Lorraine Lim Prize 2020/21

The Judging Committee for the Lorraine Lim Prize is delighted to announce the winners for the academic year 2020/21. It has been an exceptional year for submissions, with such politically rich and critically intellectual work. We’d like to congratulate each and everyone for the completion of such exceptional work.  

First prize

Bahdan Khmialnitski, with Decolonising strategies and policies of non-state cultural actors in Belarus

The judges said.

Germane, urgent, important: this project dissects relationships between creative practices, cultural policy, politics and non-state cultural actors working in independent theatre inside Belarus. In this decolonial mapping of cultural strategies this is research as cultural activism, offering valuable insight for future policy makers.

Given the world we are living now, this dissertation is very timely. It presents excellent writing and effective uses of theories and offers a lot of insights into the cultural-politics-coloniality dynamics in Belarus. The dissertation convincingly maps a broadened scope of cultural policy and highlights the significance roles played by non-state actors.  

Bahdan’s dissertation sheds new light on a rapidly changing and challenging context of cultural policy and introduces a valuable theoretical framework to explore soft power and decoloniality from a (post-) Soviet context. This work captures a moment in Belarusian cultural politics which we felt was important to support and recognise with this prize.

This study provides a crucial present-day record and theoretical analysis of the resistance of non-state actors to state restrictions of theatre in Belarus.

Joint second prize

Mairead Murphy Bond, with Cultural Diversity and the Arts Research Project: Where is Ireland a decade on?

The judges said.

The dissertation is neatly written and persuasively argued. Its biggest strength is its investigation of the real-life of cultural diversity policy, by finding both policy impacts and limitations.

This dissertation dissects cultural diversity policies within the Irish arts sector, related most prominently to the Irish Arts Council. What impressed me most was its reflective analysis on how policy change tracks the diversity debate in the Republic, as the nation shifts from one of migration to one of immigration.  Highly readable and compellingly argued.

The dissertation is neatly written and persuasively argued. Its biggest strength is its investigation of the real-life of cultural diversity policy, by finding both policy impacts and limitations.

An important contribution to our understanding of changes to Irish cultural policy in relation to diversity since Ireland became a member of the European Community.

Elizabeth O’Grady, with Culture is Digital

The judges said.

This is a very meticulous study: a thorough and convincing application of Critical Discourse Analysis to cultural policy, with a critical and political edge. An excellent thesis and an interesting read.

The dissertation’s original research successfully leads to a very convincing analysis. I think one of the biggest strengths of this dissertation is the finding that how much ‘Culture is Digital’ opens up new ‘data-driven’ policymaking and how this can potentially reshape the whole terrain of cultural policy.

This is an impressive and granular response to a single policy document.

An excellent example of what critical discourse analysis can do to unpack assumptions made in cultural policy. I hope the authors of the Culture is Digital report read it!

Special Mention for work of outstanding quality

Ulrike Ehret, with Uses of Sentimental Education

The judges said.

The value of this thesis is its autoethnography methodology, exploring personal memories, affect and emotion as a cultural policy tool. Reading through various memory medias the phenomenological approach makes a persuasive case for how cultural workers work with such materials at contested heritage sites. Beautifully and provocatively written.

An innovative use of autoethnography to navigate the material cultural histories of the Holocaust from a German perspective. This exploration of the nuances and contradictions of concentration camps as memorials of learning will provide valuable insights for those working in/with these contexts.

This is very reflexive study, inserting the personal autoethnographic account into a broader theoretical assessment of the importance of prosthetic memory and emotions in analysing individual and cultural memory of the Holocaust.

Dorit Oren, with Exceptions to the Norms

The judges said.

This is genuinely original audience research, offering a curatorial analysis of a grassroots community initiative in Belgium. The research is a form of curatorial activism. Well-written, the essay looks at curating film programmes for newly arrived immigrant audiences and includes some compelling empirical evidence. In particular, the essay intervenes into the ethics of such an initiative, which could provide useful data for policy makers in building communities.

This is a very interesting and engaging essay focused on the role of cinema in connecting asylum seekers to locals and creating spaces for community building. The essay directly speaks to some of the main concerns of Lorraine’s research.

This is a very original study of cinema reception, and it provides important research into programming film for asylum groups in Belgium. It details the transformative process that collaborative work on the part of programmers with audiences enabled. The essay is an interesting audience study and a real contribution to our understanding of how film has a special ability to bring different people and communities together in communication and sharing.