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Image of Chris Packham being interviewed for Edge Hill Critical Awards in Television.

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Conservationist Chris Packham calls for empowerment of young people at Edge Hill University TV awards

May 9, 2024

Conservationist Chris Packham called for the empowerment of young people at the Edge Hill University Critical Awards in Television (CATs).

Chris’ thought-provoking Is it Time to Break the Law? documentary, described as “brave” and “extraordinarily honest”, won the top award for asking difficult questions on what is ethically acceptable when protesting against government policies on climate change.

The climate crisis campaigner said television could do more to drive the message home and called on Edge Hill’s students to lead the way.

“I’m very much of the mind that the future belongs to these young people, and we should give it to them. That doesn’t just mean listening to them in a patronising way; it means directly empowering them.

“I have enormous faith in youth. Youth is clear thinking. Youth is clear speaking and youth, importantly, is not risk averse.”

Chris Packham, conservationist and climate change campaigner

He thanked his director Adrian Sibley and the teams at Proper Content and Channel 4 for their support in bringing the subject to life.

The CATs also celebrated students who had made their own films on climate change.

The best 2-minute programme made by a school student was won by 16-year-old Thomas Grindy, whose Help the Community, Save the World highlighted the importance of growing your own vegetables and more sustainable ways of living.

Matthew Pateman, Head of Department for English and Creative Arts at Edge Hill, said Thomas’ film made “brilliant use of the apocalyptic, the intergenerational, the poetic, to provide us with something like hope, a mix, something like despair”.

The third award, for university students around the world, was inspired by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and celebrated work which recognised the need to create a more equitable, sustainable and collaborative future.

Lyndsay Duthie, CEO of the Production Guild of Great Britain, judged this category and commended the entrants for demonstrating significant technical competence and the variety of ways they engaged with this important topic.

The winners were a team from Ahram Canadian University in Egypt – Mariam Ahmed, Habiba Ahmed, Donia Ali, Donia Anter, Fatmaa Atef and Fatma Mohamed. Their production Salha addresses “a difficult topic in a sensitive way”, Lyndsay said.

Maria Conlon from Keele University came second with Wake Up, her passionate and poetic film about climate change, and George Donaldson from University of the West of Scotland won third place with the programme Kick Mental Health which Lyndsay said “could be shown on television today”. The production told the story of an initiative based around football that addresses the mental health crisis in young men.

The awards were organised by the Television Studies Research Group at Edge Hill University in conjunction with SustainNET, the Critical Studies in Television journal and the Production Guild.

Elke Weissmann, Head of the Research Group, added: “We wanted to draw attention to the value and importance of television in all our lives.

“This is the second time we have celebrated television as distinct from its technical qualities such as acting or music.

“While we previously focused on the role of television during the Covid-19 pandemic, this time we wanted to draw attention to its role in communicating climate change.”

Edge Hill University’s Department of English and Creative Arts offers courses in a variety of disciplines including: English; creative writing; film, media and broadcast production; dance, drama and musical theatre; animation; and music production.

May 9, 2024


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