A gallery space with photographs displayed and students sitting around.

LSE Festival research competition 2019

Congratulations winners

Visit the online gallery to see our full exhibition

The LSE Festival 2019 theme was 'New World (Dis)Orders'. How did we get here? What are the challenges? And, importantly, how can we tackle them? LSE students and staff producing research on these issues entered a research competition as part of the Festival. Visit the online gallery to see our full exhibition of photographs, posters, short films and written pitches.

Competition winners

Photograph Prize

Winner: Joel Suss, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science

Joel's winning photograph: Hong Kong Urbanscape

Meet Joel Suss, Photograph Prize winner Meet Joel Suss, Photograph Prize winner
Joel talks about his winning photograph LSE Film & Audio

The judges said: "The judges particularly admired the juxtaposition of the anonymity of city life with the melancholy presence of the lone reading figure in the lower left part of the composition which recalled ‘The Fall of Icarus’ by Bruegel."

Highly commended

Chandni Hirani, Department of Management for Finding Hope in a Modern Era of Human Displacement

The judges

Simon Glendinning, Head of the European Institute and Professor in European Philosophy, LSE

Anjali Joseph, author

The criteria

  • Imagination: How original and arresting is the story behind the image? Does it challenge the viewer?  
  • Research matter and coherence: How well does it relate to your research items and topics as described on the entry form?  
  • Visual impact: Where is our eye drawn to in the photograph? Is the viewer's attention captured in an interesting way? 

Poster Prize

Winner: Alka Raman, Department of Economic History

Alka's winning poster: From Muse to Machines: how Indian cottons steered the technological trajectory of the British cotton industry

Meet Alka Raman, Poster Prize winner Meet Alka Raman, Poster Prize winner
Alka talks about her winning poster LSE Film & Audio

Read a Q&A with Alka Raman

The judges said: "Our winner’s poster is a beautifully presented piece of story-telling, showing the evolution of manufacturing techniques in the Lancashire cotton mills in the 17th century as they sought to imitate hand woven Indian textiles; copying both designs and techniques. Excellent use of graphics and a clearly told piece of industrial history."

The judges

Julia Black, Strategic Director of Innovation, LSE

Vivienne Parry, science writer and broadcaster

The criteria

  • Organisation: How well is structure employed to organise text and images?
  • Presentation: Do graphics and/or use of colour enhance the message?
  • Use of evidence: Is the evidence robust and does it support the claims put forward?
  • Clarity: Are the arguments contained in the poster coherent? Are they clear to a general audience?

Short Film Prize

Winner: Maria Cerdio, Department of Anthropology

Maria's winning short film: US Drug War Hegemony

Meet Maria Cerdio-Lara, Short Film Prize winner Meet Maria Cerdio-Lara, Short Film Prize winner
Maria talks about her winning short film LSE Film & Audio

The judges said: "The the winning short film is a fascinating excursion into how the globalisation of US drug policy has impacted Mexico. There is a pleasing juxtaposition of the emotive quality of the images and lucidity of the voice-over’s analytic narrative. The images effectively illustrate the significant human costs of US drug policy, and what is at stake in US-Mexico bilateral relations. The film is a great demonstration of how the creative use of archival footage can bring historical diplomatic research to life in the present."

Highly commended

Naila Kabeer, Department of International Development and Department of Gender Studies, for Rice and Fish Curry

The judges

William A Callahan, Professor of International Relations at LSE. His research examines the interplay of culture and power, visual international politics, and includes award-winning documentary films. 

Katharine Millar is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. Her research interests lie in examining the gendered cultural narratives underlying the modern collective use of force.  

The criteria

  • To what extent does the film make use of sound, image and editing to convey the research topic?
  • Does the film demonstrate a strong link to theoretical, critical and cultural ideas developed in the research?
  • Is the research presented with clarity, creativity and depth?

Written Pitch Prize

Winner: Katharina Lawall, Department of Government

Katharina's winning written pitch: Angry White Women? How Immigration Has Become a “Women’s Issue” and why it Matters 

The judges said: "This written pitch was clearly expressed and about an extremely topical issue. It was methodologically clear and sound. It showed a challenging insight into a subject of contemporary relevance."

Highly commended

Yuhan Ji, Department of Economics for Eating Your Way to Integration: the making of a diverse community at LSE

Grace Chang, Department of Social Policy for Can Child Work Provide Opportunities for Skill Development?

The judges 

Tony Travers, Visiting Professor, Department of Government and Director of LSE London. 

Rishi Madlani leads Sustainable Finance at RBS. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from LSE and was elected General Secretary of the Students’ Union in 2005. He currently serves on the Court of Governors at LSE, and as a Councillor in the London Borough of Camden, representing Bloomsbury Ward.

The criteria

  • Does the headline grab attention and capture the important insight from the research?
  • Does the pitch make the case for why the audience should be engaged by the research?
  • Is the pitch well-written, concise and communicative?

Staff Prize

Winner: Alison Powell, Department of Media and Communications

Alison's winning poster: Understanding Automated Decisions

The judges said: "We thought it was very impactful, with clear graphics, addressing a very topical problem of how to build trust in automated decisions in a clear and direct way.”

The judges

Julia Black, Strategic Director of Innovation, LSE

Vivienne Parry, science writer and broadcaster

The criteria

The staff prize was selected from shortlisted submissions from LSE employees.


Winner: Harshita Sinha, Department of International Development 

Harshita's winning written pitch: The Indispensable Work and the Invisible Workers: undocumented Bangladeshi women immigrants in the Indian informal economy

The judges said: "Not only has this student shown a great amount of reflexivity as a citizen and as an academic, but she has done a great job in documenting and communicating very succinctly the research she conducted to reach her conclusions. In turn, these conclusions point to a subtle appreciation of the complex dynamics involved in translocational positions. Finally, Harshita’s research has the potential to make the world a better place (our first selection criteria) by forcing us to pay attention to a phenomenon that affects several thousands of individuals and thanks to the impact it could have in terms of empowering these marginalised women."

Highly commended

Yi-Ju Chen, Department of Law for Defeating Goliath with his own sword: sue corporations for human rights violation

Fikayo Adebajo, Department of Sociology for Ayesha - Eight Months Pregnant

The judges 

Claudine Provencher, Head of LSE LIFE

Marie-Claude Gervais, a leading expert on diversity and inclusion. She was a Lecturer at LSE, teaching both Social Psychology and Qualitative Research Methods for seven years before co-founding one of the UK’s most successful agencies specialising in research with people from minority ethnic backgrounds

The criteria

The LSE LIFE prize was selected from shortlisted submissions from undergraduate and Master’s students and students who graduated in July or December 2018. 

  • Making the ‘world’ a better place: How well does the submission offer knowledge that could contribute to a change for the better for a community, big or small?
  • Communication: How well does the submission use written and/or visual forms of communication to interact with the Festival audience in a way that is clear and coherent?
  • Creativity: How well does the submission demonstrate inventive or unique ways of thinking and/or offer alternative perspectives?
  • Self-Understanding: How well does the submission demonstrate researcher self-awareness and reflexivity?

PhD Academy Prize

Winner: Yufei Zhou, Department of Anthropology

Yufei's winning photograph: Suck it Out or Let it Die

The judges said: "Although we found it challenging judging across different media, we did feel that Yufei’s photograph “Suck it Out or Let it Die” was a clear winner. This image stood out both its technical accomplishment and for its encapsulation of the thrilling moment of fieldwork discovery. It literally brings to light the key theme of the ambivalence of human-animal interactions that the wider PhD project pursues. Bravo!"

The judges

Simon Hix, Pro-Director for Research, LSE

Duncan Harte, film-maker and academic

The criteria

The PhD Academy prize was selected from shortlisted submissions from PhD students. It was judged on your ability to communicate a concept, research question or finding in a way that stimulates debate and is accessible to a non-specialist audience.

Popular Prize

Winner: Francesco Giacomini, Department of Economic History

Francesco's winning written pitch: Bitcoin: new order or libertarian utopia? An answer from the past: Scotland 1727-1845

Meet Francesco Giacomini, Popular Prize winner Meet Francesco Giacomini, Popular Prize winner
Francesco talks about his winning written pitch LSE Film & Audio

The criteria

The Popular Prize was voted for by the public on our online gallery.

Festival Prize

Winner: Carlo Alessandro Borella, Department of Methodology

Carlo's winning poster: Fake News, Immigration and Opinion Polarisation 

Meet Carlo Alessandro Borella, Festival Prize winner Meet Carlo Alessandro Borella, Festival Prize winner
Carlo talks about his winning poster LSE Film & Audio


The judge said: “This project was highly topical and in the spirit of the Festival theme. Fake news has caused global disorder and this exhibitor has actually done empirical work to demonstrate this. It also illustrates a potential solution since informing people that news is fake affects their perceptions and reduces bias and prejudice. Very well done.”

Highly commended

Anissa Chabib, Department of Economics for Look Further, When Perception is Misleading

Naila Kabeer, Department of International Development and Department of Gender Studies, for Rice and Fish Curry

The judge

Minouche Shafik, Director of LSE

The criteria

This prize was awarded to the shortlisted submission that best engaged with the LSE Festival theme “New World (Dis)Orders”.

Contact us 

Email us at researchcompetition@lse.ac.uk if you have any questions.