UCL European Institute


Night of Ideas video competition

19 June 2023

Congratulations to students Ben Lewis and Charlotte Pannell on first and second prize in our student video competition for the Institut français's Night of Ideas

Prize Winners Night of Ideas

The Night of Ideas is a worldwide project staged in 190 cities in 104 different countries, by the French cultural institutes across the world. It is a highly anticipated event in London, organized by the Book department of the Institut français du Royaume-Uni (IFRU), in collaboration with the French Embassy and UCL and KCL. As already in the previous year, the UCL European Institute supported IFRU in the curation of the 2023 Night of Ideas in London.

Together, IFRU and the UCL European Institute convened a competition calling on students to create one-minute video shorts. We invited UCL and King's College London students to reflect on the 2023 Night of Idea's global theme of "More?". On the 9 February, the winning entries were shown all night long in the Cinéma Lumière.

Last week, the first and second prizes were awarded to Ben Lewis of King's College London and Charlotte Pannell from UCL for their entries 'More' and 'Banjos', respectively. Their films are now available to watch on the Night of Ideas website. 

Here's what Charlotte had to share about her video:

"My work is centred around personal experience, so I represent a narrow point of view but this point of view encompasses collective experiences such as nationality, political changes and cultural space.

I experienced London and its environs while growing up, I lived in an urban space but on the edge, looking in. My family were from inner London and they moved out to greater London post war.

I am a floating object, the suburbs are a holding area, newly populated and quickly rejected. I return often, my younger self is there but, my adult self still feels on the outside. I was so keen to leave but now feel like part of me has gone.

This work looks at that and on the ambition that we all hold, that drive to push ourselves out of our comfort zone on the search for more and the changes that occur when we do."

Watch the films here

Ben Lewis: More

The jury was impressed by the personal and innovative approach Ben took in his video essay. They noted: 'You’ve been exploring your theme through a radical and efficient point of view, a powerful sound montage, giving a voice to your generation. With two static shots and a black screen you succeed in building suspense in just a minute. Your video raised questions that all young people moving from home must ask themselves. Congratulations on your brilliant work!'

Charlotte Pannell: Banjos

Praise from the jury: 'Charlotte, “What is the comfort in the dead end”? This ritournelle keeps running in our heads. Thank you for sharing the rhythm of your words, which sound like a poem, and this video plan, a roundabout filmed from a car, as if we were spinning on an endless carrousel. Congratulations on your truly unique work!' 


The prize winners, Charlotte Pannell and Ben Lewis, with Dragoslav Zachariev, Deputy director of the Institut français du Royaume-Uni and audiovisual attaché; Florence Ferran, Deputy head of the higher education, research, innovation department of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom; and Claudia Sternberg, Head of Academic Programmes at the UCL European Instiute.