We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Research in Film Awards 2016: the Doctoral Award


The AHRC’s Research in Film Awards aim to find new and emerging talent that straddle the worlds of both film-making and arts and humanities research.

Hundreds of films were submitted for the Awards this year and the overall winner for each category, who will receive £2,000 towards their film-making, will be announced at an awards ceremony at BAFTA in London on the 10 November.

Films that have made the shortlist cover a wide range of themes including landscape and environmental change to capital punishment, people trafficking, and poverty. All of the films are rooted in arts and humanities research and use poetry, art and drama to explore these issues.

We are taking a detailed look at the shortlist in each category, follow the links to find out more:

What is the Doctoral Award?

This category was open to Doctoral students funded by the AHRC or Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) and is for all films produced as part of AHRC- or AHRB-funded doctoral research since 1998.

Judges were looking for: Films which showcase research excellence, helping to raise the profile of new research and bringing arts and humanities research to new audiences. There was also a focus on films that highlighted the value and importance of research in the arts and humanities.

Judges of this category were:

  • TV Producer, Steve Evanson (BBC Coast)
  • Professor Mark Jancovich, University of East Anglia

Last years winner

The Winner of last year’s Doctoral Award was Hazel

Hazel is a short film that looks at families affected by the inherited neuromuscular disorder myotonic dystrophy. A series of interviews made with affected females and their unaffected siblings, the film reflects on the women’s attitudes to the ongoing effects of myotonic dystrophy on their physical and emotional wellbeing, whilst also looking at the wider effects of ageing.

“Original, simple, human and evocative,” said the judges; “A deceptively simple film of real eloquence.”

You can watch all of last years winning films on the AHRC website.

The Shortlist: THE DOCTORAL AWARD 2016


West of Dalabrog

Susannah Ramsay, University of Stirling

West of Dalabrog is a film-poem examining the relationship between place, landscape, memory and subjective experience. It focuses on the return to a place of personal importance to the film maker – a long stretch of white sand to the west of the town of Dalabrog, South Uist. The return represents a shift in perception and reflects how time can bear great change on a place, landscape and more crucially memory.

Judges called this film ‘a competent piece’ allowing the viewer to ‘engage with the landscape on an emotional level’.

Barnaby's Pipes

Graham Kyle Riach, University of Cambridge

Barnaby's Pipes is a film about Barnaby Brown, and his work to breathe life back into the northern triplepipe, the precursor of the bagpipe in Britain and Ireland.

Judges commented that the film was ‘engaging and well made’.

The Caterthuns

Kieran Baxter, University of Dundee

The Caterthuns are the site of two prehistoric hillforts perched on the periphery of the Grampian Mountains in Angus, Scotland. To climb these monuments is the best way to experience a landscape shaped by thousands of years of changing culture, and yet to witness the full complexity and scale of the hillforts requires a view from the air. The film The Caterhuns was produced during Kieran’s PhD research which explored how aerial photography and creative visualisation technologies could be used to connect the archaeological interpretation of ancient monuments with the evocative landscapes of which they form part.

‘Of a high standard technically’ said the judges; as well as telling a story that is ‘informative and emotional’.


Valentina Bonizzi, University of Dundee


Valentina Bonizzi’s film Cartographers explores the discoveries regarding the technologies necessary to find the self within the intersecting and overlapping territories of nations, ethnicities, linguistic communities, and geography. The film demonstrates that the tools typically used to survey physical landscapes are awkward instruments for the task of locating the individual.

Judges commented that the film was a ‘compelling testimony’ and ‘well shot and directed’.


Isabel Rocamora, University of Edinburgh


Faith is a film that intimately observes the act of worship of the three religions in Jerusalem. The film is set in the historically significant landscapes of the Judean desert, providing an Abrahamic reference from which all three traditions feed. In the wilderness of the Holy Land, far from the built and contested territories, an Orthodox Jew, a Greek Orthodox Christian and a Sunni Muslim pray in synchronicity of time and place. Questioning segregation while celebrating difference, Faith invites reflection on one of the most tragic, world resonating conflicts that persist in this new century.

Judges said the film had ‘high artistic merit’

Return to features