Research as Art is less about the stunning picture, and more about the story. It’s about what goes on behind the research; what it means to be a researcher. The most compelling submissions aren’t an image that was lying unappreciated on a lab hard drive for years, or a beautiful false-coloured electron microscopy image. They are the submissions that describe the years of failure in the laboratory, the imposter-syndrome and the way you question yourself daily. Submissions can be very personal.
…This year was the first time the wonderful judging panel selected my favourite as the overall winner: Rising from the Page: Bringing Medieval Women to Life (pictured, top) by Sparky Booker and Deborah Youngs. They are historians, working primarily with medieval legal texts. Perhaps not the easiest subject matter in this context, but they created a submission that represented their research, their process, the challenges they face in lifting these experiences from incomplete text and presenting a rounded view of medieval women. And they did it in a unique and clever way, with a paperchain of women, cut from a manuscript, literally rising from the page.