Four students from universities in Galway, Norway and Belfast have won prizes in the inaugural WIMB bursary award scheme
A loud hailer is among the items being bought with prize money won in a student writing competition aimed at amplifying women’s voices.
The winners of the inaugural Women in Media Belfast (WIMB) bursary award scheme competition on the theme ‘A Woman’s Roles is in the Revolution’ are four women from universities in Belfast, Galway and Norway.
Following a collaboration between WIMB and the James Connolly Centre in the west of the city, a judging panel, which included feminist historian Dr Margaret Ward, picked an overall winner and three runners-up.
The WIMB £500 bursary winner was Aoife Burke, a BA Public and Social Policy at the National University of Ireland Galway.
Aoife was in the car with her mother when she found out she had won the competition for her essay which judges felt highlighted the challenges modern women face in society.
Aoife, who writes for the Gay Community News (GCN) website, said she was inspired by the theme of the competition as “resistance to the oppression of women has always unified women”. “I am just one drop in a wave and ocean moving towards a better change,” she said.
“The responsibility is never on one person. We are all cogs in the machine moving us in the right direction.”
Aoife wants women to be empowered to recognise “there is value in what we have to say”.
She is going to continue to pursue writing outside her university studies.
Runner-up bursary prizes of £100 went to: Louise Taylor, a PhD Politics student at Queen’s University Belfast; Rhiannon Heaven, a Master of Philosophy in Peace and Conflict Transformation student at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway; and Rachel Newell, a PhD History student, also at Queen’s University Belfast.
Rachel said the competition gave her opportunities to “talk to friends and family about what it means to be a women in the 21st century”.
Rhiannon said she was “so pleased to be chosen as a runner-up”.
Louise was encouraged to enter the competition by her children’s father, and said she thoroughly enjoyed writing her essay, which was a “stream of consciousness piece”.
She is going to buy a loud hailer with her prize money to amplify her voice when she is highlighting issues that matter to her as a social justice and climate change activist.
Dr Margaret Ward said: “We were looking for passion combined with information and analysis and were delighted to receive such a diverse range of contributions.
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading these essays and seeing the connections being made on issues ranging from climate crisis to reproductive rights.
“It is heartening to know that the new generation of students include the liberation of all oppressed people in their understanding of revolution and women’s role.”
James Connolly Centre development officer Clíodhna NicBhranair said: “The wide range of submissions, local, national and international, gave us a great insight into what inspires and drives the women of today in their lives and careers.”
WIMB — founded in 2020 —aims to amplify women’s voice and showcase their expertise.
WIMB co-founder Amanda Ferguson said: “A woman’s role is most definitely in the revolution whether that is creating change in her own life, as part of community campaigns or large scale international movements.
“We set up Women in Media Belfast to amplify women’s voices, which our inaugural bursary scheme writing competition most certainly has. Well done to our wonderful winners.”
To read the students bursary winning essays visit: https://www.wimbelfast.com/voices