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York academic wins Research in Film Award

Posted on 12 November 2018

A University of York professor has won a prestigious award for his film depicting the dramatic events of the Oaks Colliery explosions in 1866.


Black Snow portrays England's worst mining disaster. Credit: Bryan Ledgard

Stephen Linstead, a filmmaker and professor at the York Management School, brought England’s worst ever mining disaster to life in the film Black Snow, which explores the events which claimed the lives of at least 361 men and boys at the Barnsley colliery.

Arts and humanities

Now in their fourth year, the Research in Film Awards, organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), are the only awards dedicated to showcasing arts and humanities research through film.

Professor Linstead’s film picked up Best Research Film of the Year.

Contemporary accounts of the explosions describe houses shaking for miles around as coal was blasted upwards, turning the sky dark grey, and depositing a residue described as ‘black snow’.

Professor Linstead was one of five winners announced yesterday (Thursday, 8 November) during a special ceremony at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London.

He said: "I'm thrilled, surprised and proud of all the collaborators - Andy Lawrence in particular - who contributed to this award.
 
"It is a much needed and highly prestigious recognition of the value of film as a research tool itself, as well as being a way of making work that is intellectually and emotionally complex accessible.
 
"It's also a great boost to the important work that volunteers are doing to preserve the spirit and values of neglected communities. It's a film about the past, but it's also about the future."
 
Hundreds of submissions
 
The winners were selected from hundreds of submissions in the different categories and received a trophy as well as £2,000 towards future filmmaking projects.
 
Dr Marianna Lopez, a lecturer in the University’s Department of Theatre, film and Television, was shortlisted for the Doctoral Award or Early Career Film category for her film Shelf Life. That category was won by filmmaker Ilona Sagar from the Royal College of Art.
 
Chair of the judging panel, Jan Dalley, Arts Editor of the Financial Times, said: “These awards are an opportunity to show off the breadth of talent within the arts and humanities.
 
"Covering a range of fascinating research topics, the hundreds of entries across the categories made our job as judges very difficult. Thanks to everyone that took the time to submit an entry and congratulations to the five winners.” 
 
Award-winning filmmakers
 
The evening was hosted by writer and broadcaster, Danny Leigh. Among the award presenters were Chairman of ITV, Sir Peter Bazalgette, award-winning filmmakers Roger Graef OBE and Kim Longinotto and TV presenter Sophie Morgan.
 
Jan Dalley, Arts Editor of the Financial Times, chaired the judging panel which included Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 Television, Professor Tom Inns, Director, Glasgow School of Art and Steve Harding-HiIl, Creative Director in Commercials and Short-form at Aardman Animations.

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