Announcing the Yuan Changying Prize Winners 2023!

By Meryl Kenny

Image: Rob Robinson receives the Yuan Changing Prize from Drs. Radhika Govinda and Meryl Kenny. Image credit: Rebecca Hewer.

GENDER.ED and the School of Social and Political Science’s Gender Politics Research Group are delighted to announce the winners and shortlist for the annual Yuan Changying Prize. Winning observations will be posted as a GENDER.ED blog series over the coming days.

The Yuan Changying Prize recognises outstanding ‘gender observations’ written by students (and nominated by tutors) in the pre-Honours course Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World. Gender observations require students to link material from the course to their own day-to-day experiences and observations. The prize is named after Yuan Changying in consultation with students, in recognition of the first female Chinese graduate in the University of Edinburgh’s history.

The 2022/23 winners of the Yuan Changying Prize are:

1st place: Rob Robinson (BSc Social Work, Year 2): ‘I am from a place of great privilege’ (Nominated by Natasha Fricker)

Panel comments: We were completely blown away by this piece. We found it incredibly poignant, deeply reflexive and beautifully written, weaving in personal experience with conceptual grasp and depth. It gracefully blended together the ambiguity and violence of gender with a theoretical look at how it is performed and enforced.  

2nd place: Faye Batley (MA Sociology, Year 2):  ‘Hegemonic Masculinity in “Love Island”’ (Nominated by Miklas Fahrenwaldt)

Panel comments: A strong and impressive piece that offers a nuanced, sophisticated and thorough analysis, drawing on and critically deploying different features of the concept of hegemonic masculinity to do so. The observation provides an excellent and critical evaluation of gender as a relational performance, denaturalising acts and performances to locate them in relevant literatures, and thus showing gender to be consistently performative, and heterosexuality to act as a normalised and dominant matrix.

Honourable Mentions:

Ella Garrod (MA Social Anthropology, Year 2): ‘I am from…a space which defines parameters for my deepest sense of self’ (Nominated by Parisa Hashempour)

Misha Vides-Gold: ‘Masculinities/femininities in Unorthodox through the lens of hair’ (MA Sociology and Social Anthropology, Year 1) (Nominated by Ruth Griggs)

Additional shortlisted gender observations

Carl Holmes: ‘Masculinities/femininities in Living Torch by Kali Malone’ (MA Social Anthropology, Year 1) (Nominated by Elena Pollot)

Georgia Brooks: Pride, Masculinities and AIDS in “It’s A Sin”’ (MA English Literature, Year 2) (Nominated by Emilia Belknap)

Agnes Tyley: ‘Masculinities/femininities in Everything, Everywhere All At Once’ (MA International Relations, Year 1) (Nominated by Kate Holliday)

Congratulations to all of the nominees, and to all Understanding Gender students for the superb work that you produced in the course – it has been a pleasure working with you this year!