Annette Kuhn Essay Award

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.

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 any debut articles published in 2017-2018.


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.