Student and alumni awards

Film still of figure playing piano in dark hall surrounded by floating skulls

Our students and alumni regularly receive industry recognition by winning major competitions during and after their studies, as well as achieving successful careers after graduating.

Recent awards and prizes

"Why Don’t You Stay for Tonight?”, a film by our MA Film and Television Production students, won the best Entertainment and Comedy Drama Award at the national Royal Television Society Student Television Awards 2024. Despite a history of success in the regional competitions, this is the first time an ARU film has made it to the national version, so to win a category was an incredible achievement. The MA students involved were Guilherme Pires (Director), Yegor Chmilewsky, Eli Javardi, Gundham Onorati and Christopher Buckenham. The panel called it “A wild card entry that paid off!” and “a visually arresting, surreal and compelling watch.”

ARU students receiving award at the Royal Television Society East student awards 2024

At the Royal Television Society East Student Awards 2024 (pictured) the film Eternity’s Grace by BA (Hons) Film and Television Production students Yegor Chmilewsky, Christopher Buckenham and Emily Miles won in the Camerawork and Drama categories. This follows on from success in 2023, where Martha Wallam (BA (Hons) Film), Kai Wissler and Chloe Kelly (BA (Hons) Film Production) won first place in the Entertainment and Comedy Drama category for their film Therapy; the 2021 RTS Midlands Awards, in which our students won 3 of 9 categories, including the Sir Lenny Henry Award for Lidia Bieniarz; the 2020 RTSE Awards, where they won 4 of 9 prizes including Best Drama and Best Factual; and the 2019 RTSE Awards, where they won 6 of 10 student prizes.

BA (Hons) Musical Theatre student Lara Dailey has been shortlisted for the Spotlight Prize — a very prestigious award in the arts sector that gives each finalist the unique opportunity to showcase their skills to casting directors, agents and industry professionals in the UK and internationally.

Rohith Guruvayurappan, a student on our MSc Computer Games Development (Computing) course, has been selected as a finalist in the VFX Category of Grads in Games'  Search for a Star 2024. All finalists will attend an interview in April 2024 with a panel of games industry professionals to discuss their projects, skills and ambitions before the judges decide on the winners.

BA (Hons) Writing and English Literature alumnus Inigo Laguda has been shortlisted for the Future Worlds Prize for Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers of Colour 2024 for his book The Yawn of the Pond. The winner will receive a prize of £4,000, the runner-up £2,000, and all shortlisted entrants will receive mentoring from the Prize's industry partners. Inigo has previously won awards for his poetry from The Young Poet's Society and had his nonfiction work appear in Black Youth Project, Netflix and The Metro, while his short stories have been longlisted for The Commonwealth Short Story Prize and received a special commendation for The Guardian & 4th Estate 2021 Prize.

Film still of girl standing next to freshly dug grave

A film by 2022 graduates of our BA (Hons) Film Production students has received recognition from various corners of the film industry. Roots (pictured) won the Bill Vinten Guild of Television Camera Professionals University Awards and Best Cinematography at Watersprite International Student Film Festival for Cinematographer Agata Kazmierczak, and was also selected for screening at Cambridge Film Festival. The film, directed by Ugne Jurgiatyte and co-produced by Joana Neves-Brito, tells the story of a young woman living in rural isolation who has to deal with the death of her mother.

BSc (Hons) Audio and Music Technology graduate Joseph Smith was named winner of ARU’s Alumni Contribution to Culture Award 2023 after touring the world with internationally acclaimed artists as a tour and production manager and providing sound experiences for prestigious venues and events like the Mercury Awards and Glastonbury Festival.

BA (Hons) Drama student Leila Khan landed a part in Netflix series 'Heartstopper'. Leila takes on the role of Sahar Zahid in the second season of the critically-acclaimed show.

Christopher Buckenham, BA (Hons) Film Production student, was awarded an Outstanding Contribution award at the National Youth Film Awards 2021 for his efforts in the film industry, after supporting the National Film Academy for a couple of years by attending meetings, providing input and making his own films.

Still from The Gift of Time

A team of our BA (Hons) Film and Television Production students won the Winner Overall, Best Harvey Nichols Brief and Best Cinematography categories at the Kodak NAHEMI Commercials Student Competition Awards 2020 with their film The Gift of Time (pictured). The students were Michelle Siu (Writer and Director); Laura Elmer (Producer); Cameron Brown (Cinematographer); Assem Nugumanova (Sound and Stills, Photography); and Taylor Gorske (Runner).

MA Creative Writing graduate Tessa Byars won first prize in the Historical Fiction category of the Weald and Downland Story Competition for her short story The Second Mrs Turner. Guin Glasfurd, also a graduate of the MA Creative Writing, made the longlist of the 2021 Walter Scott Prize with her second book The Year Without Summer.

MA Film and Television Production student John Renney had his film Things That Happen selected for the 2020 NAHEMI Encounters film festival.

Penny Hancock, graduate of our MA Creative Writing and current Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow, won the East Anglia Novel of the Year Award for her latest novel, I Thought I Knew You, in November 2019. Penny has previously released three previous novels, Tideline (a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick in 2012), The Darkening Hour and A Trick of the Mind.

'Tertiary Sound' film crew

Solomia Dzhurovska, Luca Struijik, Jared Guy and Cristi-Valeria Tomsa (pictured), all BA Film and Television Production students, had their film 'Tertiary Sound' selected for the 2019 BFI London Film Festival, one of the world's most important film festivals. The film explored the phenomenon of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – the physical sensation provoked by small audio or visual stimuli.

MA Creative Writing graduate Anni Domingo won a 2019 Escalator Award and the Myriad Manuscript Prize 2018 for her book Breaking the Maafa Chain. The book was also shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2014, and a hardback edition released in September 2021.

Pink Lemonade (l-r: Frankie Soan, Maddy Soan and Rhiannon Harris)

BA Popular Music students Maddy Soan, Frankie Soan and Rhiannon Harris (a.k.a. Pink Lemonade – pictured), won the Audience Choice Award at the NMG Awards two years running, in 2018 and 2019, before releasing their first EP "Take It Squeezy". You can watch the 'making of' video on YouTube.

MA Creative Writing graduate Caroline Ward Vine won the Costa Short Story Prize 2019 for her story Breathing Water, and the Bath Short Story Prize 2019 for A Gap Shaped Like The Missing. She has also been shortlisted for the Bath First Novel Prize 2021, the Mslexia Short Story Prize, the Bridport Prize, and the VS Pritchett RSA Prize.

Natalya Anderson, another of our MA Creative Writing graduates, won the Moth Poetry Prize 2017 with 'A Gun in the House', and the Bridport Prize for Poetry 2014 with 'Clear Recent History,' for which she was also Highly Commended in the Forward Prize for Poetry 2016. Her poems have been published in The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Arc Poetry Magazine, Prac Crit, The Moth, and The Forward Book of Poetry 2016, among others.

Grass Roof backstage at Cambridge Junction

Psychedelic pop rockers Grass Roof (pictured), also known as BA Popular Music graduates Rayne Brown, James Turnbull, Ben Parker and Matt Abbott, won the 2019 Cambridge Band Competition at Cambridge Junction while still on the course. The band have also toured internationally with the The Ociees and released their first EP, Guyaka.

BA Writing and English Literature students Megan Walden and Nicoletta Ferdenzi were both shortlisted for the Wicked Young Writers Award 2019. Established by long-running musical Wicked, the competition inspires young people to look at life a little differently using their creative writing.

Anthony Rubery

BA Popular Music graduate Anthony Rubery (pictured) won Best Male Solo Artist at the NMG Awards 2018, and has continued to make strides in his music career since graduating. His latest single, Devil, was released on 8 November 2019.

MA Creative Writing graduate Kaddy Benyon's first poetry collection, Milk Fever, won the Crashaw Prize and Granta New Poet in 2011. Her second collection The Tidal Wife was published by Salt in 2018. She currently works at the University of Cambridge, as a mentor to students with disabilities.