MSc Prizes

MSc Dissertation: Silverstone Prize is offered in the name of the late Professor Roger Silverstone, founder of the Department of Media & Communications for a piece of work in the field of media and morality.

Best MSc Dissertation Prize awarded to the student whose dissertation is awarded the highest numerical mark.

Best Overall MSc Performance Prize awarded to the student with the highest overall and highest numerical mark.

Cindy Ma - 2014 Best Overall MSc Performance Prize

Cindy has demonstrated excellence by achieving Distinction marks in every element of her degree. She produced an excellent dissertation, which achieved High Distinction.  Cindy contributed to the departmental life in a range of ways, including her participation in a Council of Europe research project that developed a self-monitoring tool for diversity in the media (led by Dr Myria Georgiou). Her work and contribution in the classroom and beyond is inspirational, both for teachers and fellow students. 

Abigail Kang - 2014 Best MSc Dissertation Prize

‘Yes, I Do Mind: Constructing Discourses of Resistance against Racial Microaggressions on Tumblr’


This dissertation on the construction of discourses on the blogsite Tumblr in resistance to racial micro-aggressions experienced by diverse people of colour is one of the best I ever read. It is sophisticated, original both in theorisation and application of the subtleties of the Critical Discourse Analysis method in an online context. Theoretically it is superbly informed, and uses reading beyond the reading lists provided. This piece reads Foucault through a deeply ethical lens, which deepens the analysis considerably. It pays attention to the minutiae of discourse and racial power embedded in gesture, language and expression as well as in counter-hegemonic cues related to an intersection of gender or sexuality and race. The abstract, appendices and structure are sharp, thorough and informative. The argumentation is superb, reflexive and thoroughly convincing, leading us to the unsettling conclusion that life for people of colour in Europe, Australia and North America is lived against a constant, exhausting undertow of historical injustice and material prejudice so deep-seated that even to mention it or draw attention to it in interpersonal contexts such as work marks one out as doubly 'other'. 


Clare Sheehan - 2014 Silverstone Prize

‘The Selfie Protest: A Visual Analysis of Activism in the Digital Age’


This dissertation undertook a substantial visual analysis of protest selfies, employing social semiotics. This is an impressive piece of work, with a clear and purposeful literature review, and a mature and balanced discussion of critical discourse theory. The work shows an excellent grasp of social semiotics and an extremely rigorous application of it. The analysis creates a provocative operationalization, which draws out new perspectives on political agency. The essay is political without politicizing the content, analysing the images as part of a whole, and inductively drawing out their meaning. The committee was particularly struck by the way you thought of the role of the selfies as a form of political agency that is different from that enacted in mass in-person mobilization, and the way you connected this discussion of aesthetics to social movement theory. Especially in terms of this linkage, this work contributes to the Silverstonian tradition of research that focuses on morality, politics, and the expressive potential of the media.


Peter Wiegand - 2013 Best Overall MSc Performance Prize 

Peter demonstrated intellectual curiosity, compassion, and political engagement throughout the Master's. His scholarly reading, critical analysis, and reflexivity about processes and methods in development and communication are reflected in his impressive bouquet of distinctions and high distinctions. It was a joy to have Peter on the course.

2013 Best Dissertation Prize 

Benjamin Leszcz


Madeline Storck


Giulia Previato


Yusi Xu 


Yusi Xu - 2013 Silverstone Prize  

“A confident and well-written dissertation that presents a highly original analysis. Its critical insights offer a valuable contribution to the study of humanitarian communication.  It provides original empirical and analytical take offering a critical viewpoint into humanitarian narratives and ideological frames.  You have sensitively analysed how consumerism and individualism are symbolically represented within the communication of a humanitarian organization. Furthermore, the dissertation is activist in orientation and suggests how we might reposition ourselves with respect to our own voice and agency within humanitarian communication. It strongly represents the tradition of Silverstone’s work and is engaging, well-written, well-argued and inspiring.”

Johannes Hillje - 2012  MSc Dissertation: Silverstone Prize

“This is an excellent dissertation. It is well-written and researched, very thoughtful and reflexive and applies content analysis in a theoretically useful way.”

Johannes Hillje - 2012 Best MSc Dissertation Prize

Saving Europe online? European identity and the European Union’s Facebook communication during the eurozone crisis - Supervisor Dr Damian Tambini writes:

“This is an excellent dissertation. It is well-written and researched, very thoughtful and reflexive and applies content analysis in a theoretically useful way.


Luane Sandrin Gauer - 2012 Best Overall MSc Performance Prize

Charlie Beckett, head of the Department, writes of Luane's achievement:

"You have demonstrated excellence by achieving such an array of high grades across the board. Your contribution to the Department as a student is inspiring, both for your teachers and your fellow students."


Saskia Scheibel - 2011  MSc Dissertation: Silverstone Prize

Against All Odds - Supervisor Dr Ellen Helsper, writes, "This is an extremely well written dissertation which meets all academic criteria for a High Distinction. It was original, well argued, with theoretical as well as empirical contributions. Saskia uses a sophisticated approach to understanding what conscious consumerism means in a global/local market. Her juxtaposition of banal consumerism, cosmopolitanism and glocalisation in consumption is innovative and advances the field. This sophisticated theoretical approach was linked to numerous methodological challenges which were dealt with in a creative and rigorous way and the fieldwork and analysis were well executed, used sophisticated analysis. Another commendable point was the reflexivity on the strengths and weaknesses of the project. All in all a very commendable dissertation." 


Mark Holden - 2011 Best MSc Dissertation Prize

Life Without the Internet - Supervisor Dr Ellen Helsper writes, "This dissertation was very well written and strongly argued. The dissertation investigates digital inclusion and engagement with technologies using interviews is publishable and meets all academic criteria for a High Distinction. The theoretical conclusions drawn were strong and furthered debate in an area that has been undertheorised. The research project was challenging and the execution was methodologically and empirically rigorous. It was a pleasure to read this piece of work due to its critical theoretical and empirical richness."


Saskia Scheibel - 2011 Best Overall MSc Performance Prize

Supervisor Dr Ellen Helsper, writes, "You have demonstrated excellence by achieving a Distinction mark in every course. Your contribution to the Department as a student is inspiring, both for your teachers and your fellow students."

Michelle Ruesch - 2010 MSc Dissertation: Silverstone Prize

'A Peaceful Net? Assessing the Internet's Prospects for Communicative Conflict Resolution and Intergroup Communication' is offered in the name of the late Professor Roger Silverstone, founder of the Department of Media & Communications for a piece of work in the field of the media and morality.


This is an outstanding piece of academic work, which meets all the conditions for a Distinction and in addition displays a number of further strengths. This dissertation is a highly original assessment of the internet as a platform for conflict resolution, focusing on a case study of communication between Israelis and Palestinians on Facebook. The empirical part sets out a rigorous and impressive methodology for sampling and analysing Facebook group communication, and assessing its impact within a theoretical framework that stresses the importance of such contact in resolving protracted group conflicts. As such it offers an empirical study highly relevant to the theoretical contributions made by the late Roger Silverstone. 


Olina Banerji - 2010 Best MSc Dissertation Prize

'The Altruistic Blockbuster and the Third-World Filmstar'. Over 200 dissertations were submitted in the academic year 2009-10 and with a grade of 85, yours was awarded the highest mark.


This dissertation is a sophisticated, extremely well argued and original piece of work and received the highest dissertation mark in the department. The work provides a discourse analysis of two prize winning documentaries which focus on humanitarian themes in India. The thesis offers a compelling and persuasive reading of the place and function of these films within broader global power structures.


Michelle Ruesch - 2010 Best Overall MSc Performance Prize

Recipient of the first ever Department of Media & Communications Best MSc Achievement prize, Michelle attended the 1st Global Conference - Communication and Conflict, held in November 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic.  At the conference Michelle presented a paper entitled 'A Peaceful Net? An Analysis of Communicative Conflict Resolution of the Israel-Palestine-Conflict on Facebook '. The paper was well received by the conference delegates and stimulated considerable academic dialogue.

Michael Spiess - 2009 Best MSc Dissertation Prize

This is an outstanding piece of academic work, which meets all the conditions for a Distinction and in addition displays a number of further strengths. These are: originality, in being the first study that engages with media in the Central African Republic, seeking to show how government intimidation impacts on the local journalistic culture and its watchdog function in the process of democratization; a sophisticated theoretical review, providing an unusual combination of journalism studies (‘watchdog’ perspectives) with Althusser’s theory on Repressive State Apparata; a rich research design based on interviews with an exceptionally broad range of key stakeholders (UN-supported Ndeke Luka radio journalists, civil society activists, politicians and UN specialists); novel and important findings that challenge and enhance the theoretical perspectives of the dissertation as well as put forward proposals that can make a difference in the context of neglected African journalism.


Corey Brooks Decillia - 2009 MSc Dissertation: Silverstone Prize

This is an excellent dissertation at all levels: theory, research design and analysis. It provides an eloquently-written case study of the reporting of the war in Afghanistan by Canadian mainstream media, analysing the ways in which media texts and journalists negotiate and may contest dominant frames by government and the military. In so doing, it provides an important critical discussion on journalistic routines and their flaws in the context of war and conflict reporting. Its central themes are journalistic impartiality and freedom of speech, which lie at the heart of debates on media and morality.