Essay Awards

Essay Awards

Screen offers two awards, the Annette Kuhn Essay Prize and the Screen Award, running in alternate years.

Annette Kuhn Essay Award

The Annette Kuhn Essay Award was established in 2014, in recognition of Professor Kuhn’s outstanding contribution to Screen and her wider commitment to the development of screen studies and screen theory. It currently runs in alternate years with the Screen Award.

This biennial award offers £1,000 to the author of the best debut article in film and television studies, as judged by the Screen editors and members of the journal’s editorial advisory board. It will reopen for submissions again in Autumn 2019, for debut articles published from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019.


The submitted essay should provide an original contribution to the theoretical or empirical exploration of screen media, but there are no requirements in terms of specific content or methodological approach. The criteria for entry are as follows:

  • It is the debut single-authored journal essay by the scholar
  • It has been or is due to be published in a refereed journal
  • The date of first publication falls between 1 January and 31 December of the years under consideration (this may be an online publication date, in advance of a print issue)
  • It is written in English

We will still consider your debut article under the following circumstances, although we request you flag these up on the submission form.

  • You have previously published a different essay as a book chapter
  • You have previously published a different essay in a journal under special circumstances (such as an undergraduate essay prize where you did not compete in an open, blind peer-reviewed forum)
  • You have previously published a conference report, book review or similar short piece in a peer-reviewed journal
  • You have previously published no more than one co-authored essay in a peer-reviewed journal
  • You previously published this essay in another language, but both the initial publication and the English-language publication fall within the relevant calendar year

Please contact Screen if you are unsure whether your article is eligible for submission.

2017/8 Winner

This year Screen’s ‘Annette Kuhn Essay Award’, for the best debut essay in screen studies published in 2017, goes to: ‘Virtual Healing: Militarizing the Psyche in Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy’ (Television and New Media, 2017) by Sasha Crawford-Holland of the University of Southern California. 

This year’s award-winning essay was drawn from an initial pool of over 30 submissions. From these original submissions, five essays were shortlisted by two of the Screen editors, Professor Dimitris Eleftheriotis and Professor Karen Lury. This shortlist was then sent to our external judges, Professor Erica Carter and Dr Helen Piper. There was an easily reached consensus as to which of these should be the winning essay.

Sasha's winning essay focuses on the use of virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. On the one hand, this may make it appear to be outside of what is regarded as more familiar ‘territory’ to screen and media studies scholars; on the other hand, its focus on virtual reality, trauma and psychoanalysis means that it could not be more timely and more resonant for our various disciplinary interests.

Of the essay itself, one of the judges stated:

‘This is an extraordinary article. It told me a thousand things I felt I should already have known about gaming technology and war, and it did so in ways that were both persuasive and horrifying.” She continued: “The essay was important … as a window on a world that isn’t regularly focused on in screen studies, but that needs critical attention of the kind it receives here (and with considerable flair and energy).’

Another judge suggested that the essay presented a:

‘Fascinating, rigorous, well-structured and entirely cogent argument which uses secondary insight from a wide range of material … [and] which I found entirely convincing. Challenging the inherent logic of the psychotherapist's assumption that anything of proven benefit must be positive, the author demonstrates the critical and therapeutic implications of fighting fire with fire.’

Read about our previous winners.

The Screen Award

In 1994 Screen created an occasional Award of £1,000 to go to the writer(s) of the best article or research paper(s) submitted to the journal during a particular year. The aim of the Award was to promote research and scholarship in screen studies and to encourage new and younger scholars. The Screen Award recommenced in 2019, running on a biennial basis, alternating with the Annette Kuhn award. The winning article will be drawn from essays published in volumes 58-59, and will be announced at the Screen conference in June 2019.

Previous winners:

The 2006/07 Award winner was Chris Cagle (Temple University), for 'Two modes of prestige film', Screen, vol. 48, no. 3.

The 2004/05 award was made to two authors: Helen Piper (University of Bristol), for 'Reality TV, Wife Swap and the Drama of Banality', Screen, vol. 45, no. 4; and Malin Wahlberg (Stockholm University), for 'Wonders of Cinematic Abstraction: JC Mol and the Aesthetic Experience of Science Film', Screen, vol. 47, no. 3.

The winner of the Award for manuscripts submitted in 2002, was Jodi Brooks (University of New South Wales) for 'Ghosting the machine: the sounds of tap and the sounds of film', Screen, vol. 44, no. 4.

The 1998-9 winner was Julianne Pidduck (then Warwick University, now Lancaster University), for 'Of windows and country walks: frames of space and movement in 1990s Austen adapations', Screen, vol. 39, no. 4.

The 1996-7 winner was Lalitha Gopalan (Georgetown University, Washington DC), for  'Avenging women in Indian cinema', Screen, vol. 38, no. 1.

In 1994-5 the judges selected joint winners: Ravi Vasudevan (Centre for Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi) for  'Addressing the spectator of a 'third world' national cinema: the Bombay "social" film of the 1940s and 1950s', Screen, vol. 36, no. 4; and Shelley Stamp Lindsey (Theater Arts, University of California, Santa Cruz) for: 'Is any girl safe?: female spectators at the white slave films', Screen, vol. 37, no. 1.