A HUGE congratulations from all of us at the History Department to two recent graduates, Bethany Amos and Elena Cotton (both BA Politics and Modern History), who are recipients of this year’s Martin Harris Prizes. To quote the Martin Harris Centre,
‘The 2016 Martin Harris Prize for Cultural Engagement and Social Responsibility has been awarded to three students who have made the most significant contribution to activities facilitating the engagement of communities outside the University in their cultural life or their engagement with cultural or community organisations. The prize-giving giving took place on Wednesday 19 October 2016 and prizes were awarded by Sir Martin Harris, former University Vice-Chancellor and after whom the prize was named.
The three students who were awarded prizes were: Wenling Ding, (Linguistics and Sociology), Bethany Amos (Politics and Modern History) and Elena Cotton (Politics and Modern History).
Wenling Ding and Beth Amos were awarded joint first prize in this year’s Martin Harris Prize. Both have done some outstanding work in the area of cultural engagement and social responsibility. Wenling Ding has undertaken a huge range of activities linking her Linguistics and Sociology studies to work in the community. She has been involved in the Palaver Festival play ‘Bus Stop’, raising issues about the cultural revolution, and she founded a charity that provided book donations to a mountainous village in Sichuan, bringing between 50 and 80 books to the villagers a year. She has volunteered with the Nepal Volunteer Council, and raised funds for this NGO. She also went to Kathmandu as a voluntary school teacher and acted as a language partner for other students at Manchester. As her referee said, she has taken her role as a 2 + 2 student ‘beyond the boundaries of usual UG expectations, and has been a keen collaborator in Chinese Studies and in the wider community’.
Similarly Beth Amos has engaged in an impressive range of cross-cultural activities from volunteering in Ghana and in a disadvantaged school in Manchester, and in raising awareness with a local homeless charity. She has applied her understanding of history and post-colonialism in a wider set of cultural activities. She joined the Speak Up project in Manchester, teaching English to disadvantaged children. Working with Manchester Raise and Give Committee, she coordinated a ‘Sleepout’ event for homeless charities using music and discussion. She also raised over £2k for the Action Against Hunger Charity as a member if the Inca Trek Challenge team, drawing on her study of globalisation and culture.
Third Prize was awarded to Elena Cotton who has done a great deal of work as an English tutor for the Tutor Trust, working with underprivileged schools with a particular focus on girls education, and worked with the charity Debate Mate. Drawing from her study of feminism, liberalism and working class culture, she has conducted a host of youth engagement projects in MAnchester, such as on issues of consent, gender-based discrimination, and every day inequalities experienced by young women in Britain. She was also awarded a History Award for Social Action in her first year at university, and now her subsequent studies and activities are being recognised with this Martin Harris Prize.
The School of Arts, Languages and Cultures initiated the Martin Harris Prize for Cultural Engagement in October 2013 in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Martin Harris Centre.’
You can see more about the prize here