September 2021

Emotive coastal erosion film nominated for prestigious award

A film focusing on the impacts of coastal erosion, told using voices of students from Withernsea High School, has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Created as part of a project led by the University of Hull, the film INSECURE focuses on the impact of coastal erosion on communities along the East Yorkshire coast.

It is one of only five nominated in the Best Climate Emergency Film of the Year category by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s ‘Research In Film Awards’ (RIFA).

The film shares the stories of those who have watched stretches of the Holderness coastline lost to the power of the sea.

Featuring a selection of poetry, music, spoken word and photography, the film is part of a wider project developed by the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull, and led by researcher Katie Parsons and her team of Florence Halstead and Dr Lisa Jones.

Katie said: ‘I am thrilled that the project has enabled the students at Withernsea High to capture the stories of their community. The students should be immensely proud of the end result. The most beautiful thing about this project is that the community of Withernsea came together at a time when we were being kept apart due to the pandemic.

The film has enabled these stories to be told and, through the voices of the students, capture both the cultural heritage of Withernsea as well as explore how we can be prepared for the future.

The prestigious RIFA awards are highly competitive and for us to be shortlisted for the award in the final five for the best climate emergency film is an outstanding recognition.’

Sarah Harris, Head of Humanities at Withernsea High School, added: ‘We are delighted that INSECURE has been shortlisted for this prestigious award, It is an honour and a privilege to have the hard work of our students recognised in this way. The students enjoyed the collaborative work with Hull University Energy and Environment Institute on this project as not only did it engage them with its unique approach, it allowed them to investigate an important issue in their own community.’

In a joint comment, Year 9 students Imogen Fox and Ellis Thomson – who were both involved in the project – said: ‘It is very exciting and very overwhelming. We feel very proud of the work we have done and of the response the video has received so far. We can’t wait to see if we win!’

The project, funded by UK Research and Innovation and coordinated by the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, focused on how intergenerational storytelling can engage audiences and communities with the impacts of climate change.

The Research in Film Awards celebrate academic film making. Since 2015, they have inspired researchers across the UK to think more deeply about how they share their work with the wider world.

Now in its seventh year, RIFA continues to bring cutting-edge arts and humanities research to a public audience through the medium of film. Previous RIFA winners have gone on to win BAFTAs and other awards; been screened at film festivals, or gone on to secure funding and further achievements.

The awards ceremony is on Wednesday 1st December and the Arts and Humanities Research Council plan to have some live screenings at four, as-yet-to-be-confirmed, venues around the country in Spring 2022.


To watch the full video‘INSECURE: an exploration of climate change and coastal erosion with Withernsea High School’visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV6z0LKobfE 


ABOVE: Some of the rock armour being delivered to the South end of Withernsea by barge in July 2020. Photos and videos of this process were included in the final film.