The Changing the Culture Initiative’s ‘Agents of Change competition’, which ran throughout 2020/21, invited students from across our UK and International MDX campuses to deliver a piece of work to help drive forward positive cultural change and build more inclusive, tolerant and safer communities for all.
Anna Kyprianou (PVC for EDI), Kene Igweonu (Academic Dean, ACI) and Mari Jansen Van Rensburg (Campus Director, Mauritius) joined the university’s Chancellor Dame Janet Ritterman as a stellar jury with the difficult task of deciding the winners.
The exhibition below, which showcases the winners and shortlisted entries, highlights just how amazingly talented our student community is, and the breadth of issues that matter to them. What’s remarkable is that so many students engaged and entered the competition during an international pandemic and lockdown restrictions!
Timea’s short documentary about the Iranian singer, Gola Airdestani, blew the judging panel away who were unanimous in awarding the film the Chancellor’s Award for the Agents of Change competition.
‘One Day You Will Hear My Voice’ tells an inspirational story of one woman’s struggle against oppression and the journey she has embarked on to make sure her voice is heard.
The film was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for serving as a beacon for all of us striving for human rights and equality, encapsulating the objectives of the Changing the Culture Initiative and promoting the values of inclusion and tolerance which are so very important to us at Middlesex.
Acknowledging White Privilege is a short documentary which the producer, Adela, says was based on the conversations she had had with her friends and from what she’d seen online. It centres around five white people reflecting on their privilege and the steps they’ve taken to become allies in the struggle against racism.
“My goal is to inspire white people to educate themselves, to acknowledge their white privilege and not to be afraid to talk about it, no matter how uncomfortable it might be”.
The entry was awarded the winner in the “educate” category, in recognition of the film’s effectiveness at helping increase our knowledge and understanding and educating us about issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion.
Barbora set out to “give a platform to people experiencing eco-anxiety”. After learning about eco-anxiety she realised that many people around her, including herself, were feeling a growing distress relating to the climate crisis, including feeling guilty about not doing enough for the environment and frustration every time they read something about climate change in the news.
The film captures personal journeys of four people who at first learn to cope with their anxiety before transforming it into positive action.
The entry was awarded the winner in the “empower” category, in recognition of the film’s success at encouraging empathy and understanding through harnessing the student voice and recounting personal experiences of issues, challenges and obstacles.
Alethea wanted to illustrate how being isolated for so long throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people’s mental health. They wanted to show that togetherness and breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness can help people to speak out when they’re struggling.
“My use of colour in this piece is key to the message: the red shows the struggles of one person, and the blue shows the struggles of the other. When together, their problems are neutralised into purple. The splatters of each colour throughout the figures shows that their problems don’t magically go away, but they become less overwhelming. The white halo around the figures implies that when together, we feel less susceptible to negative emotions.”
The entry was awarded the winner in the “inspire” category, in recognition of the artwork’s effectiveness at inspiring others to shape the world around them.
In this short documentary, Ellie sets out to tackle what has been referred to as the “Porndemic” – the dramatic rise in the availability and usage of porn sites since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ingvild Fridtun and Vilma Thorén
Ingvild and Vilma wanted to give a voice to people with disabilities and particularly those with non-visible disabilities and learning difficulties – people whose stories are all too often left unheard.
Chloe Fernandes and Geoff Husseyin
In this short documentary, Chloe and Geoff explore the pervasiveness of colourism (discrimination against darker skin shades within the same community) and set out to raise awareness of its highly negative impact.
Alina Ilin and Lanna Winter
This campaign film marks a very personal journey which the film-makers dedicate to the many victims of domestic abuse who can’t ask for help. It outlines the physical and emotional impact of domestic abuse and portrays the often conflicting emotions victims have towards their aggressors.
Include Don't Judge - Annie Hines
In this entry, Annie produced 6 cartoons which talk to a different aspect of the University’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, from embracing different backgrounds to listening to your voice.
The John Project - Rachel Sparkes
In this project, Rachel explores the impact of her uncle’s suicide, uncovering how memories can be manipulated by the death of a loved one, but can also reconnect us with lost and forgotten moments. A powerful tribute.
Women In STEM - Zaynab Richardson
Zaynab herself is studying a STEM subject despite being discouraged in 6th Form when she was the only girl studying Physics. She says she is proud to see that at Middlesex there is a diverse range of female students and tutors on her course.
An Agent of Change - Mary Ojo
Mary’s poem explores the similarity between being an agent of change to drive forward social justice and the ever changing cycles and transformation in nature and our everyday surroundings.
Reclamation - Luke Rooney
“With these pieces, I wanted to take any power away from the words that are used when attacking the LGBTQI community…to take away any negative connotations these words have and to be seen as objects not to be feared but to be reclaimed.”
Didn’t get a chance to enter? Ready to go again?
Look out for further competitions, campaigns and other projects by regularly visiting our Changing the Culture Initiative (CCI) UniHub page. And, speak to your tutor about ways you could get involved with CCI as part of your taught programme.
Have any ideas for future CCI projects? Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.