On my way home from the St George’s Day extravaganza in Barcelona (about which I hope to write a fuller post in the near future) I managed to squeeze in attendance at this year’s Learning on Screen awards, held for a fourth time at the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank.
Always an excellent evening in its own right, particular interest for the University of Leicester contingent was focused on the General In-House Production category where Richard III: Identifying the remains had been shortlisted.
Before the awards themselves, historian Lucy Worsley gave a fascinating talk which included insights into the making of her upcoming BBC4 series on the Georgians. With the exception of “facts” gleaned from The Madness on King George and from the third series of Blackadder, I must admit to being pretty ignorant about the House of Hanover. I now know that George I came to the throne in 1714 (the same year, incidentally, that Barcelona fell to a Spanish and French alliance) and that the kings can be caricatured as Bad, Sad, Mad and Fat.
The In-House production category was up second (after 50 Years of the National Theatre had picked up the gong for Educational Multimedia). In the running were University of Portsmouth for a video introducing their Art and Design courses, Southampton Solent University for a video The Last Taboo about sanitation in developing countries and, of course, University of Leicester for Richard III. It was a strong category, and in the end the award went to The Last Taboo, a worthy winner.
At this point I was suspecting that we were going home empty handed, but there was a lovely surprise in store. With the ten main categories handed out (see here for a list of winners), two final awards remained – a Special Jury Award and a Premier Award. As the rationale for the winner was outlined by Ian Wall (Chair of the judging panel) the clues all seemed to fit with local success, and so it proved! The award went to the University of Leicester for “a collection of consistently high quality in-house entries… and the almost broadcast quality learning resources” .
Carl Vivian and Jon Shears went up to collect the award from Lucy Worsley. In his acceptance speech, Carl recounted the thrill of the realisation that the dig for Richard III had truly unearthed the missing king. He was also quick to pay tribute to Jon who had taught him the importance of always having your camera ready for those crucial moments.
I was thrilled that the guys had picked up this unexpected award. Despite working with very limited resources, they have managed to produce outstanding quality films. I have had the great pleasure of working with them directly on a couple of projects, on the Use of Model Organisms in biomedical research and the Power of Comparative Genomics (the latter having picked up a Special Commendation at the 2013 Learning on Screen Awards).
So, huge congratulations to the Leicester video production team – let’s hope this “lifetime achievement” award doesn’t mean an end to future glories!
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