Our lecturer wins prestigious national film award

9 November 2018

A film made by artist Sam Jury, Research Group Leader, Contemporary Arts Practice at the University of Hertfordshire, has been won an award at the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s prestigious 2018 Research in Film Awards. The winners were announced at a special ceremony at 195 Piccadilly in London, home of BAFTA, on 8 November.

The film, To Be Here, has won the People on the Move Award: Stories of New Beginnings. It highlights the long-term displacement of Sahrawi refugees living in camps in the Sahara desert region of Algeria who fled from their Western Sahara homeland after the 1975 war with Morocco. Filming and research took place over a two week residency in the camps and was driven by dialogue with local people who later took part in the film.

'I'm delighted that my film has won this year's Research in Film Awards'

Sam Jury, who combines teaching at the University with her professional practice, was unable to attend the award ceremony as she was screening the film at the Biennial de la Imagen en Movimiento in Buenos Aires. However, she said: 'I’m delighted that my film has been won this year’s Research in Film Awards. The need for migration and resulting refugee crises are among the most pressing and enduring issues of our time. The status of the Sahrawi refugees is emblematic of this, as they have been living in so-called temporary camps for over forty years.

'My film focuses on the female experience of displacement conveyed through the words of a young female Sahrawi translator, talking of loss both past and future. I hope the film will raise awareness of the Sahrawi situation and by extension the ever-growing threat of homelessness in the 21st century.'

To Be Here was produced with the support of Rob Godman, Reader, School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire, who re-mastered the sound and subsequently created the sound-scape when the film was installed at the Broad/ MSU Art Museum in the USA.

The judging panel

A team of prominent judges from the film and creative industries watched the longlisted films in each of the categories to select the shortlist and ultimately the winner. Key criteria included looking at how the filmmakers came up with creative ways of telling stories – either factual or fictional – on camera that capture the importance of arts and humanities research to all of our lives.

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.'


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