The night showcased forty-two projects across fifteen awards demonstrating the exceptional work taking place at QMUL to share, enhance and apply research and teaching. Finalists included co-produced film projects, museum exhibitions, performance led social action and innovative media campaigns, academic innovation and student enterprise. Opened by Professor Simon Gaskell, QMUL President and Principal, the prizes were presented by members of the QMUL senior executive, Lucy Hawking and Bruce Dickinson, under the stewardship of Matt Parker, Maths Comedian and QMUL Public Engagement Fellow.
The winner of the Interact Award – which recognizes the partnerships, collaborations and community connections that are essential to public engagement, so seeks to celebrate excellent engagement and the partnerships which underpin these projects – was ‘Child Migrant Stories’; a collaborative work between PhD researcher Eithne Nightingale from the School of Geography at QMUL, Mitchell Harris from Mitch Harris Films in collaboration with child migrants, and the V&A Museum of Childhood and Hackney Museum.
‘Child Migrant Stories’ draws on research into people who have migrated under 18 to Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham from 1930 to the present day to stimulate interest in, and open up debate about, the experiences of child migrants both in the past and present. "We could not have achieved this award without the generosity of people sharing their stories and the effective partnerships we have made with museums and others. We hope to sustain the work in the coming months through our new project 'Child Migrants Welcome?'. This project is obviously of timely importance given the increasing number of child migrants today and the challenges they face" said Eithne.
Shortlisted for the same category of Interact Award was ‘Teenage Bedrooms’ by Carey Newson, an ESRC-funded doctoral researcher at the Centre for Studies of Home, and Eleanor Black and Eleanor John at The Geffrye Museum of the Home. ‘Teenage Bedrooms: like a house inside of a house’ is an exhibition at The Geffrye, which brings together images, objects, testimony and an installation to explore the themes of the teenage bedroom and its material culture. The teenagers engaged in the research were involved throughout, from selecting the items on display and in recreating their rooms’ wall collages, to attending the exhibition launch with their friends.
The Centre for Studies of Home (CSH) was established in 2011 in partnership between QMUL and The Geffrye Museum of the Home. It’s an international hub for research, learning and public engagement on past and present homes and spans work on the domestic sphere (including everyday life, architecture, interior design and material cultures) to the significance of home beyond the domestic (including broader ideas about dwelling, belonging, privacy and security). CSH was finalist in the Academic Non-Commercial Enterprise Award – for non-commercial impact activity. Watch this video to learn more.
‘The Aylesbury Estate as Home’ is another research project from the CSH, by Dr Richard Baxter, which was shortlisted for the Influence Award. This exhibition was on display at The Geffrye until September 2016 and provided a biography of the ‘vilified’ modernist high-rise estate, by using text, interviews, audio recordings and research photographs to explore the estate’s utopian beginnings, decline and drawn out regeneration.