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First Lorraine Lim Prize awarded to Arts Policy and Management Student

Karla Pauline Gudiño Yañez won the prize for her essay arguing for a human rights-based approach to contested local heritage policy in Mexico. The prize was set up in honour of Dr Lorraine Lim, who lectured Arts Management at Birkbeck and sadly passed away in September 2017.

L-R: Leonard Lim (Lorraine’s brother), Carol Lim (Lorraine’s mother), Karla Gudino Yanez (prize winner, on Skype from Mexico), Louis Lim (Lorraine’s father) and Adelheid Russenberger (runner-up)

The inaugural Lorraine Lim Prize has been awarded to Karla Pauline Gudiño Yañez, an intercollegiate student on the MA in Arts Policy and Management in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies. Karla wrote this prize-winning essay for the module Comparative Cultural Policy, arguing for a human rights-based approach to contested local heritage policy in her home country of Mexico.

The prize was set up in honour of Dr Lorraine Lim, who lectured Arts Management at Birkbeck and sadly passed away in September 2017. Lorraine was a passionate, fair and hard-working tutor, who would encourage academic potential with humour and rigour. She excelled in bringing people together and was a gifted scholar and educator.

The prize takes the form of a college-wide essay competition and was set up to ensure that Dr Lim’s legacy inspires students for years to come. It is awarded annually to an exceptional undergraduate or postgraduate student who has excelled in contributing to the understanding of cultural policy, especially addressing cultural work, equality and justice in the cultural sector.

Unable to receive the prize in person, Karla thanked Dr Lim’s family, friends and colleagues via Skype, praising the enabling and encouraging nature of Birkbeck’s academic community and taking Lorraine’s determination, academic rigour and warm-heartiness to her corner of the world.

One of the judges, Dr Janet McCabe-Allen said: “For me this was an outstanding submission, almost publishable. It explores issues of human rights in cultural heritage policy, with a focus on museums and heritage sites in Mexico.

“The author demonstrates a commanding knowledge of her field and the writing style was lively and engaged. There’s a sophistication and originality in the work, as it delves with care and thought in the politics of a nation, region, and how this becomes translated in cultural policy to protect, conserve, manage and exhibit histories of local indigenous communities, often entangled in difficult colonial histories.

“I felt I learnt much from this paper, particularly with my interest in film archives and heritage. To me, this was without doubt the best submission.”

Adelheid Ruthenberger, an MA Museums Cultures student in the Department of History of Art, received the runner-up prize for her submission questioning the relevance of the National Pavilion Structure of the Venice Biennale. Both essays demonstrated originality and the potential to enhance the knowledge pool in cultural policy studies, honouring and ensuring the legacy of Dr Lim with their outstanding pieces of work.

The ceremony ended with an appeal to all Birkbeck tutors to look ahead and consider students’ work for submission to the forthcoming edition of the competition. The jury is looking forward to receiving submissions of essays and dissertations written during the 2018/19 academic year with a final submission deadline of 1 December 2019.

The prize is financed through a crowdfunding initiative. Donations to extend the duration of the prize are welcomed.

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