The Magic Lantern Society is proud to support original work on the magic lantern, lantern slides and optical projection with two annual awards.
In late 2017 the magic lantern world lost two of its leading lights: Mervyn Heard and Dick Balzer. Internationally respected as scholars, collectors and performers, they were also notable for their openness to new ideas and new ways of working.
In memory of Dick and Mervyn, the Magic Lantern Society is pleased to contribute to the development of new research and talent with two awards in their name, introduced in 2019.
The Mervyn Heard Award
The Mervyn Heard Award is awarded for any written work, archival research or smaller-scale digitisation project. The winner would be expected to publish a description or version of their work in The Magic Lantern and/or give a presentation at a Society meeting.
Award winners 2020
Samuel Grosdemange for The Magic Lantern 3D Virtual Museum and Theater, a virtual exhibiton and theatre space.
Jeltsje Stobbe, Rosa Deen and Margriet van der Waal for their work in encouraging critical engagement with problematic lantern slide images and descriptions.
- Stephen Bottomore
The Dick Balzer Award
The Dick Balzer Award is awarded for any work using the magic lantern or lantern slides in a performance or work of art. The winner would be expected to produce an original or reworked artwork or performance, provide something to publish via the Society website (for example photographs, a video or animation) and/or give a presentation at a Society meeting.
Award winners 2020
Dawn Elliott and Joel Schlemowitz for their performance, Elliott and Schlemowitz's Phantasmagoria, inspired by the notorious showman Étienne-Gaspard Robertson.
- Martyn Jolly, Elisa DeCourcy and Alexander Hunter
- Laura Minici Zotti
Each award comprises a direct payment of £300 to the winner, plus a book of the winner’s choice from the Society’s catalogue of available publications.
- Entry is open to both members and non-members of the Magic Lantern Society, from all backgrounds, with or without affiliation to any academic institution.
- Previous entrants may enter again but their proposal must be different from the one entered before.
- Members of the MLS Committee are not eligible for the Awards.
- Existing works or projects may be submitted, although the awards are not primarily intended to recognise or reward work completed or published more than a year before the closing date. Ongoing projects and work in progress, if expected to be finished within six months after the closing date, would be welcome.
- The judges will be looking for originality, practicality and relevance to the field. All submissions must be made in English, but don't worry if this is not your first language. The judges will assess the quality and appeal of your ideas rather than your written English.
- Submissions should consist of a single-page outline of the work or project, explaining clearly why it is original and how it contributes to knowledge, understanding or enjoyment of the field, plus a single-page curriculum vitae and contact details for each person making the submission.
- Submissions may include links to online supporting resources (e.g. publications, performance video, etc.), but please do not submit any other items as separate files.
- Submissions must be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post to Magic Lantern Society Awards, 17 Dean Street, Exeter EX2 4HH, U.K. Enquiries about the Awards may be made to the same address.
- Submission closing date: tbc
The winners will be judged by a panel selected from the Committee of the Magic Lantern Society. The decision of the judges will be final, and the judges reserve the right to make shared awards or no awards, as they see fit, based on the submissions received. The judges will not be able to discuss or correspond about their decisions.
Winners will be notified by 30 November 2021, and the winning projects will be announced in the December 2021 issue of The Magic Lantern and at the Society's AGM in January 2022. The winners will be invited to present their work at a Society meeting in the U.K. during 2022.