It was a complete honour to read the names of all our brilliant graduating third years last week. All seemed to go by without major mishap and I really enjoyed the way Vice Chancellor Lemn Sissay so warmly welcomed every single graduate on stage and managed to find a new and different thing to say to each person! The graduation ceremony was – as in previous years – beamed out across the web-waves, and for the first time this year, so I heard, people could watch in Virtual Reality. This was also the first year that I’ve seen tweets from students sharing audio-visual clips of their moment on stage, as Caoimhe Hale did via twitter (1137 views so far!).
I want to use this blog post to confirm the student prizes that were given to this year’s graduating third years. Before I do so, it is worth noting that for many years Drama staff debated the merits of giving prizes to individuals. We are committed to the principle of drama, theatre, performance as an ensemble-based discipline and practice, and singling out individuals seems to go against the grain. I still feel this – a bit – but after years of sitting through lists of prizes given by other departments to their students at graduation, we decided to give it a go. This is the third year that we have given prizes. It is important to say though that we are extremely proud of every graduate, prize winner or not. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with each and every one of this year’s graduates over the last three years.
Back to the prizes – here they are: –
The Viv Gardner Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement went to Cath Snow, in recognition of her brilliant academic profile – the highest of the cohort.
The David Mayer Prize for Outstanding Dissertation went to Molly Stedman, in recognition of her fantastic Dissertation, entitled ‘Discourses of Empowerment in Learning Disability Theatres: A New Debate’.
The Tony Jackson Prize for Outstanding Student Citizenship went to Cara Looij, in recognition of her much valued and trusted presence as student ambassador, student rep and peer mentor over the last three years, and her co-leadership of (In)sane – a new initiative that uses live art to engage with and raise awareness of experiences of mental distress – follow (In)sane here
The Meera Syal Prize for Outstanding Practical Work – we had a hard time deciding on this one, with so much incredible practical work happening inside and outside of the curriculum this last year! In the end, we decided to split the prize three ways. Dominic Chan and Rebecca Hatch each won the prize for their beautiful solo pieces created as part of the Contemporary Theatre-Making module with Andy Smith before Christmas. The team who made ‘Fluffy Come Home’ on the Video Project with Johannes Sjoberg also won the prize – Emily Brocklehurst, Katie Howarth-Ankers, Lily Mcginn and Amy Newell. Watch ‘Fluffy Come Home’ here
Very unusually, and to their absolute credit – we also had four students who received the Dean’s Award for Achievement this year. They were: Iona Champain. Lily McGinn, Cath Snow and Molly Stedman.
Thanks to all graduates for your contributions to Drama at Manchester over the last three years. Please keep in touch – you can join our University of Manchester Drama Alumni facebook group and follow us on twitter of course, but please also do drop by and say hello whenever you are passing!