Arts and Humanities Research Council's Research in Film Awards 2019

An archive image taken of an African woman by British colonial anthropologist Northcote Thomas next to an image of a modern black woman today.


Client: The Arts and Humanities Research Council

Date: from 2017

We have been delighted to promote the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Research in Film Awards known as RIFA since 2017. These are the only awards dedicated to showcasing arts and humanities research through film. The evocative shorts – all under 30 minutes – are thought-provoking reflections on our time and include drama, documentary and animation. The awards took place at the BFI and winners were selected from hundreds of submissions. Judges included Chairman of ITV, Sir Peter Bazalgette, award-winning filmmaker, Kim Longinotto, and Steve Harding‐Hill, Creative Director in Commercials and Short‐form at Aardman Animations.


Our brief was to raise the profile of the awards in consumer, film and specialist media, focusing on the winning films. Paul Basu's film, Face Voices (winner of the Best Research Film of the Year), explored the controversial anthropological archive of Northcote Thomas who took thousands of photographs of communities in West Africa between 1909 and 1915. In his film Londoners responded to these images through a 21st century lens. The Guardian ran an online gallery of pictures from the archive, Paul also wrote two pieces about why he was drawn to the project: One for the Independent and another for Black History Month Magazine Stop motion animation, Life on the Move (winner of Social media Short), told the true stories of immigrants from Somaliland using 3D figurines. However, rather than relying on off-the-shelf software, 3D scans of second-generation migrants from Somaliland living in London were created. The results were powerful and covered in a number of creative outlets including Broadcast Now and