Sidney prize is an annual award that recognises a person or organisation that has contributed to social change and the improvement of human life. It is open to people of any nationality and is awarded for a number of reasons, including academic achievement, personal attributes or community service.
This year the prize was won by Gabi and Patrix of the street dancing duo Keep Stepping, which explores the intersection of immigration and street dance culture. The prize was established in 2007 and is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation.
The judges, Laura Elvery, Paige Clark and Michael Winkler, selected eight shortlisted pieces from over 400 entries. They then chose a winner from this shortlist, as well as two runners-up. The winning story will be published in Overland’s Summer 2023 edition and the runners-up will appear online.
Those shortlisted for the prize included “Peter Pan” by Tim Winton, which received the first place prize of $5000, and “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”, by A Raisin in the Sun writer Jessie Burton, which won the second place prize of $3000. The judges were also impressed by the strength and quality of this year’s competition, which has attracted a range of authors from around the world.
One of the most important articles from this year’s SS Sidney Prize was “The Coddling of the American Mind”, written by New York Times columnist David Brooks and William Zinsser, which examined the phenomenon of “vindictive protectiveness” in American students. The article explored the ways in which this phenomenon can lead to student depression and a lack of self-reflection.
Another SS Sidney Prize winner was the documentary “The Great Unrest”, a film about the civil war in Sudan that won $25,000 for its use of historical context to explore the violence of the time. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Australian Film Institute Awards and has been screened internationally, with audiences in the UK, US, Canada and China.
Other SS Sidney Prize winners include a number of influential articles on topics such as feminism, art and music. Other prestigious prizes are given to writers of novels, short stories and children’s books.
Sidney prize was named in honour of Dr. Sidney Altman, an eminent neuroscientist who taught at Yale University for more than 40 years and directed the Laboratory of Cell Biology at Yale until his death in 1999. In addition to his research, he was an active mentor to many scientists.
In his scholarly career, he published hundreds of papers in high-impact journals, including Nature and Science. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of numerous other honors.
He was a devout believer in the value of science, and believed that the best way to foster a scientific environment was to provide students with the opportunity to learn from all the different disciplines within their discipline. A devoted teacher, Sidney also urged his students to think about the impact of their work on their futures.