Magic Lantern Society Awards

Mervyn Heard (1948-2017)

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 winner 2023

Sandra Lawrence for her continuing research on the renowned horticulturalist Ellen Willmott, focusing on a cache of Willmott's magic lantern slides held by the Museum of History of Science in Oxford.

Special Commendation

  • Dick Moore
  • Elizabeth Grimshaw

Richard Balzer (1944-2017)

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 winner 2023

Melissa Ferrari for Relict: a phantasmagoria, an experimental documentary combining handmade magic lantern slides, digital projection, pre-recorded audio and a fog machine!

Special Commendation

  • Edward Murray

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.


  1. 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.
  2. Previous entrants may enter again but their proposal must be different from the one entered before.
  3. Members of the MLS Committee are not eligible for the Awards.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Submissions must be made by email to, 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.
  9. 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 in November 2024, and the winning projects will be announced in the December 2024 issue of The Magic Lantern and at the Society's AGM in January 2024. The winners will be invited to present their work at a Society meeting in the U.K. during 2025.