Each year Media Arts & Culture Department Faculty and Staff have the opportunity to recognize distinctive academic work and exceptional contributions to the culture of our department with departmental prizes.
Each of the three prizes below encapsulates core principles of our department’s mission. There is no application process for these prizes. Nominations are solicited from faculty and staff, and prizes are only awarded when truly merited. The winners of the prizes are announced at the Media Arts & Culture Department End-of-Year Party proceedings in the Spring of each academic year.
Strand Prize for Innovation and Excellence in Media Production
A professor at Occidental for 25 years, Chick Strand was an internationally acclaimed filmmaker who confounded traditional distinctions between documentary and fiction, producing innovative works which screened at Cannes, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian and which have been inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. This award goes to a Media Arts & Culture major who, in the spirit of Strand’s work and teaching philosophy, has produced a media project that demonstrates both excellence in conception/realization and innovation in form/function.
Kinder Prize for Innovation and Excellence in Critical Media
A renowned film and media scholar who helped to introduce film studies to the curriculum at Occidental, Marsha Kinder is not only a prolific author and editor—having published over one hundred essays and ten books, and serving for nearly 40 years on the editorial board of Film Quarterly—she is also a pioneer in new models of digital scholarship and innovative interdisciplinary research. The Kinder Prize goes to a Media Arts & Culture major whose critical media work is exemplary in its originality and excellence.
Media Arts & Culture Prize in Community Building and Service
Whether it is realizing student media projects, developing co-curricular programming events such as our Oxy Film Festival, facilitating critical complements to the curriculum such as the Oxy Cinematheque screening series, or working in our equipment center or lab as a student employee, student involvement beyond the classroom is vital to the sustainability and vibrancy of the Media Arts & Culture Department. This award goes to a student who has gone beyond prescribed roles to serve as a true innovator, facilitator, and generative force for the greater benefit of the Media Arts & Culture community.