Prizes, Grants and Bursaries2020-07-12T11:07:29+00:00

Prizes, Grants, and Bursaries

Society for Italian Studies (SIS) Prize and British Italian Society (BIS) Prize 

Due to the current covid-19 emergency, we have decided to run the SIS prize 2020 with the following exceptional measures.

  • Minimum entries

The 2020 SIS Prizes will be offered only if we receive at least three submissions for each category, i.e. three submissions for a) Undergraduates & three submissions b) Postgraduates, by 1st September 2020.

  • Deferral of SIS prize/s until 2021

If we receive less than three submissions for each category of Undergraduates &) Postgraduate students by 1st September 2020, we will postpone the award of the SIS Prize of that category to 2021, and assess these (one or two) submissions alongside next year’s submissions for the BIS/SIS prizes 2021.


We will extend the deadline for submissions to the next SIS Undergraduate and Postgraduate Prize from 1st July 2020 to 1st September 2020 for work passed in 2019-2020.

Prize Descriptors

The SIS runs two Prize Competitions – in alternate years – for work in Italian Studies at British and Irish Universities.

The Society for Italian Studies (SIS) Prize and British Italian Society (BIS) Prize  aim to raise the profile of Italian Studies at British and Irish Universities both at Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels, and to reward the excellent research being carried out in the discipline.

  • The SIS Postgraduate Prize for Undergraduate and Postgraduate work (in even years, e.g. 2018, 2020, etc.)
  • The BIS (British Italian Society) Prize for Undergraduate and Postgraduate work (in odd years, e.g. 2019, 2021, etc.)

The competition is open to undergraduate students taking Italian as one of their subjects until their final year and to postgraduate students (MA, MRes, MPhil, PhD) in Italian Studies who passed their dissertation/thesis during the academic year just completed. The subject matter is confined to disciplines in the humanities and social sciences relating to Italy, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Postgraduate entrants can apply only once in the course of their degree and with one piece of work.

Two prizes are available:

  1. One prize of £250 for final year Undergraduates
  2. One prize of £500 for Postgraduates

At the judges’ discretion, a runner-up prize of £100 may be awarded for Undergraduates and a runner-up prize £200 for Postgraduates.

Each University/Institution in the UK and Ireland is invited to submit ONE candidate only for each category: a: Undergraduate, b: Postgraduate or both, following a pre-selection process, conducted in each case by the Italian Department (or equivalent) in consultation with their colleagues in Italian Studies or in other departments as appropriate. i.e. each University can submit maximum 1 UG and 1 PG entrant (either MA, MPhil or PhD entrant).

  1. Undergraduate Prize

Undergraduates submit a final year essay (up to 5,000 words) or dissertation (up to 10,000 words) – as a pdf file, with word count.

(We accept longer submissions for Undergraduate dissertations (up to 12,000 words) only where this is the required length in the Institution where the work is submitted.)

  1. Postgraduate Prize

Postgraduate entrants submit:

  1. Either: Taught MA candidates should submit their dissertation as a pdf file, with word count, up to 15,000 words in length.
  2. Or: MRes/MPhil/PhD candidates should submit two pdf files. One will contain the title of the thesis, list of content, a short abstract (max. two A4 pages) detailing the context and methodology of the thesis, and the bibliography. The other file will present a piece of work (typically a chapter) of no more than 15,000 words in length, with word count.(If a chapter longer than 15,000 words is submitted, the judges will only read the first 15,000 words)

ll work must have been passed (at exams board or viva) during the academic year just completed. We accept work submitted during the previous academic year, when the awarding exams board or viva took place during the academic year just completed. Postgraduate students must have passed the viva (even if with corrections) by the time of the application. In all cases, the submitted piece of work must be completed (not in draft form), unpublished, and not be under consideration for publication.

Work may be submitted in English or Italian. Submissions are made by the supervisor, and not directly by the author, and must be accompanied by a cover email confirming the degree for which the author was registered and when they completed it. We cannot accept entries without the cover email, nor resubmissions. Please include the student’s email, so that we can send them feedback on their submission, in due course.

The judging panel will be made up of members of the SIS Executive Committee.


The deadline for submissions to the next SIS Undergraduate and Postgraduate Prize will be 1 September 2020 for work passed in 2019-2020.


Entries must be sent by the supervisor to Dr Marina Spunta (SIS Prize Coordinator) at

WINNERS (ex-equo) of the British Italian Society Postgraduate Prize 2019 (£750):

Flora Derounian, PhD in Italian Studies, University of Bristol

PhD title: ‘Representations and Oral Histories of Working Women in Post-World War Two Italy (1945-1965)’

Luca Zenobi, PhD in Italian Studies, Oxford University

PhD title: ‘Borders and the politics of space in late medieval Italy: Milan, Venice and their territories in the 15th C.’

Winner of the British Italian Society Undergraduate Prize 2019 (£500):

Esme Garlake, BA Modern Languages, University of Cambridge

Dissertation title: Ephemeral Journeys: Tracing the Lives of Early Twentieth-Century Italian Postcards


The judges also commended the high quality of the entries submitted by the runners-up in each category:


Ambra Anelotti, PhD in Italian Studies, Royal Hollaway, Univ. of London

PhD title: ‘The dissemination of Orlando Furioso: Ariosto and his poems in Southern Italy (1532-1599)’


Benjamin Rowe, University of Bristol, BA Dissertation title: ‘Degradation and Regeneration: An Examination of the Causes of Le Vele’s Demise’

Alice Cripps, University of Kent, BA Dissertation title: ‘Representations of Motherhood in Italian Visual Culture from the Fascist ventennio to the Modern Day


The winners of SIS Postgraduate Prize 2018 were:

·         Rachele Bezzini (Univ. of Sussex), with a PhD in Migration Studies on ‘Boundary-making in an immigrant social space: Albanian-Italian and Albanian-Romanian couples in Italy’.

·         Rebecca Walker (Univ. of St. Andrews), with an MLitt on ‘Bodily Archives: Urban Space and the Material Body in Elsa Morante’s La storia (1974)’

The winner of the SIS Postgraduate Prize 2016/17 was:

·         Mical Nelken (Univ. College London), with a dissertation on ‘Race and Identity in Republican Italian Schools, 1943-69’

PREVIOUS WINNERS of the Rooke Prize:

The most recent recipients of the Rooke Prizes were:

For the Rooke Prize for Undergraduates:  Lucia Crowther of the University of Reading for her dissertation on ‘The Architectural Formalisation of Pilgrimage in the Portico of the Madonna di San Luca’.  The runners-up on the UG category were Melanie Sackett (Exeter) and Isabel Orange (Bristol).

For the Rooke Prize for Postgraduates: Marianna Griffini of the LSE for her work on ‘Colonial Hybridity in the Italian Community in Libya (1926-1970)’.  Runners-up in the PG category were Kate Willman (Warwick) and Stefano Bragato (Reading).