Skateboarding film shortlisted for national award

Skateboarder at the South Bank Undercroft. Photo by Leo Sharp

A film by a University of Sussex academic about an informal London skate spot and its value in our cultural heritage is up for a gong in the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s 2016 Research in Film Awards.

The documentary ‘You Can’t Move History’, produced by a team led by lecturer in media and communications, Dr Pollyanna Ruiz, involves footage of and interviews with people who skate at the Undercroft at London’s South Bank. It has been shortlisted in the category of Best Research Film of the Year.

Hundreds of films were submitted for the awards this year and the overall winner for each category, who will receive £2,000 towards their film-making, will be announced at a special ceremony at BAFTA in London on 10 November.

Dr Ruiz said: “The film accompanies our project exploring the changing means by which particular forms and uses of the built environment become seen as so valuable that they deserve protection for the benefit of future generations.

“The Undercroft has been used by skaters for more than 40 years and is as much a feature of the South Bank as the iconic buildings around it. Yet it has also been under constant threat of closure. Our film serves to show that the people who use these types of spaces should be heard in the discussions on preserving heritage.”

Dr Ruiz worked with Dr Rebecca Madgin from Glasgow University, Dr Tim Snelson from UEA and Dr David Webb from Newcastle University and produced the film in collaboration with the grassroots organisation, Brazen Bunch.

Set up in 2015, the Research in Film Awards celebrate short films, up to 30 minutes long, that have been made about the arts and humanities and their influence on our lives.

Mike Collins, Head of Communications at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: "The standard of film-making in this year's Research in Film Awards has been exceptionally high and the range of themes covered span the whole breadth of arts and humanities subjects.

"While watching the films I was impressed by the careful attention to detail and rich story-telling that the film-makers had used to engage their audiences. The quality of the shortlisted films further demonstrates the endless potential of using film as way to communicate and engage people with academic research. Above all, the shortlist showcases the art of film-making as a way of helping us to understand the world that we live in today."

A team of judges watched the longlisted films in each of the categories to select the shortlist and ultimately the winner; key criteria included looking at how the film makers had come up with creative ways, either factual or fictional, of storytelling on camera, that capture the importance of arts and humanities research to all of our lives.

Judges for the 2016 Research in Film Awards include, Professor Tom Inns, Director of the Glasgow School of Art; and writer, broadcaster and film critic, Danny Leigh.

The winning films will be shared on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website and YouTube. 


By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2016