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Fifth annual Research in Film Awards to include two public categories for the first time

Date: 24/04/2019

The Research in Film Awards return for their fifth year, introducing a new public category based on the link between arts and humanities research and mental health and wellbeing.

Presented by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the awards recognise the best short films either influenced by or directly linked to arts and humanities research. With five categories – two open to the general public and three aimed at the research community – the awards offer a unique opportunity to showcase emerging filmmaking talent while acknowledging the exceptional work of arts and humanities researchers.

Each year, the awards include a special category with a new contemporary theme. This year, the special category will examine the skills, benefits and perspectives that the arts and humanities bring to our mental health and wellbeing with the Mental Health and Wellbeing Award. This special category will be open to the public for the first time this year, allowing anyone to enter films inspired by arts and humanities research on the themes of mental health and wellbeing.

For the second year, the awards will also include the Social Media Short Award, which celebrates films made specifically with social media platforms in mind. This award highlights the outstanding engagement work being done using new interactive platforms.

The full list of categories for 2019 are:

  • Best Research Film of the Year
  • Doctoral or Early Career Film Award
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Award (public category)
  • Social Media Short Award
  • Inspiration Award (public category)

The films will be judged by a panel of academic and film industry experts, chaired by Jan Dalley, Arts Editor at the Financial Times. All nominees will be invited to an awards ceremony on Tuesday 12 November 2019 at the BFI Southbank, where the five winners will be announced. The Awards open for submissions on Wednesday 24 April and close on Thursday 20 June 2019.

The Research in Film Awards present a fantastic opportunity for budding filmmakers to showcase their work to a wider audience, including those in the film industry, and are still the only awards dedicated entirely to films based on arts and humanities research.

Along with the awards themselves, the winner of each category will receive a trophy and £2,000 prize money to put towards their future filmmaking endeavours.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, says: “RIFA celebrates the best in academic filmmaking. Since 2015, it has inspired researchers from all over the UK to think more deeply about how they share their work with the wider world.

“In these unsteady and changing times, our mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever. Arts and humanities research has countless applications for our mental health and wellbeing, from designing arts-based interventions to understanding the fundamental nature of mental health, from improving access to historic places, to participation in sport and dance. I hope that entries in this special category for 2019 will help to share this important work with a wider audience.”

At last year’s ceremony, Professor Stephen Andrew Linstead from the University of York and his team won the Best Research Film of the Year 2018 for the film Black Snow. The film tells the forgotten story of the largest mining disaster of the nineteenth century. Stephen said: “Winning the award was a real validation of the value of film as a research tool in our field. The Oaks Colliery explosion remains England’s worst mining disaster, but it was quickly overlooked: Black Snow tells the story of this significant event in our social history. We’re now using the film to campaign for a national day of remembrance.

“The Research in Film Awards immediately lifted us up. One thing has led to another and Black Snow has now amassed a further 58 other awards, screenings and selections, and around 7 million views worldwide.”

For further details on how to apply visit the Research in Film Awards 2019 online.

For more information on the awards as well as details on previous winners please visit our Research in Film Awards homepage in the Innovation section of our website at ahrc.ukri.org/rifa.


Tom Forest at the AHRC: tom.forest@ahrc.ukri.org; 01793 416102 / 07591 948807

About the AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

Visit us at: www.ahrc.ac.uk, on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.

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