By Liam Barnard, lab43kent.ac.uk
2015 marks the 10th Anniversary of the foundation of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and its predecessor, the AHRB. As part of the commemorations, the Anniversary Research in Film Awards were held to great fanfare in the plush surroundings of the BFI South Bank on the 12th November, where delegates from across academia and beyond were gratefully wined and dined. Out of a field of over 200 entries, BFE stalwart, SOAS Ethnomusicologist and Radio 3 broadcaster Lucy Duran’s film, ‘The Voice of Tradition” triumphed in what was probably the most prestigious of the five categories, claiming the ‘Anniversary Award for Best AHRC/AHRB-Funded Film Since 1998’. Although Lucy was not able to attend the awards ceremony in person to collect the not insubstantial glass trophy, the applause suggested that hers was a popular winner. The evening proved to underline the AHRC’s commitment to the wider field of ethnographic documentary, with Anna Sowa’s gorgeously shot film, ‘Kanraxel: The Confluence of Agnack’ taking home the title of ‘Best Research Film In the Last Year’, a double endorsement for SOAS.
Other award winners included Northumbria University Jacqueline Donache’s ‘Hazel’, picking up ‘The Doctoral Award’, the entertaining animation ‘The Adventure of the Girl with the Light Blue Hair’ earning Ronan Deazley and Bartolomeo Meletti from Create University of Glasgow ‘The Innovation Award’ for best film in the last year, and the public award of ‘Inspiration Award’ for best film inspired by Arts and Humanities Research was awarded to Myriam Rey’s ‘This Island’s Mine’.
The success of ethnographic documentary films with exotic locations and the resultant first class cinematography in this competition should bring some comfort to those of us who work and train as ethnomusicologists, worried by the squeeze in funding for research into the Arts and Humanities in general. Hopefully this interest in supporting ethnographic inquiry will guarantee the place of ethnomusicology in the pantheon of AHRC funding commitments beyond the near future.
All in all, a fantastic evening of quality film, quality networking, and a genuinely friendly party atmosphere was had by all. Let’s raise a glass to the next ten years and indeed, beyond…