The Sidney Prize is awarded monthly for an outstanding piece of journalism published online or in a print magazine. The prize recognizes essays with deep reporting and social impact, particularly those that address difficult subjects. Nominations for the Sidney Prize can be sent to the Foundation on or before the last day of the month. The Foundation announces the winner on the second Wednesday of each month.
Keep Stepping: A Documentary about Street Dancing and Immigration (Documentary Australia Prize, $7,000) / Luke Cornish
This documentary explores the challenges facing two women trying to compete in an international street dance competition while simultaneously grappling with their own identities as immigrants. The film also examines the ways in which documentary and narrative techniques can be used to tell these stories.
Sophia Jactel, B.A. ’20, is this year’s winner of the Sidney Thomas Prize for Art History. Her paper, “Domesticity and Diversions: Josef Israels’ The Smoker as a Symbol of Peasant Culture and the Role of Home in Nineteenth-Century Holland,” was based on an original research project conducted under the supervision of professor Sally Cornelison.
Congratulations, Sophia! The Sidney Thomas Prize was created in 2009 to honour Professor Sidney Thomas, who taught in the Department of Art History for over 30 years. He was a dedicated humanist who devoted himself to scholarly research. He edited benchmark publications such as The Nature of Art and Images of Man.
He was also a tireless advocate for undergraduate students and the importance of a liberal arts education. As Dean of Yale College in the mid-1980s, he worked to revise the undergraduate curriculum to ensure that science majors would learn to appreciate the value of the arts and humanities and that non-scientists could more easily understand the importance of scientific inquiry.
In his zeal to educate students, he also encouraged them to engage in research. In this way, he helped to develop a strong intellectual and moral foundation that would support their careers as professionals and in the public eye.
One of Sidney’s great achievements was to encourage science majors in his laboratory to become involved with the arts and humanities. His example set a high standard for students in the University of Sydney and for the Australian scientific community.
The Sidney Prize is made possible through the generosity of Sidney and Maryanne Hillman, who established it in memory of their son. In keeping with this legacy, the award is now given out by The Sidney Hillman Foundation.
To be eligible for the Sidney Prize, a student must have completed a thesis within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, in an area of study which falls under the broad rubric of Philosophy, including Metaphysics and Epistemology. The student must have written an Honours thesis in the subject at the time of submitting the application to the Prize.
The Prize is awarded on the basis of a number of criteria, including a student’s academic merit and the circumstances in which they have been affected by extenuating circumstances during their studies. These can include gender inequalities specific to the discipline.