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Lili Pickett-Palmer (G18) was awarded an Isaac Newton Trust Studentship jointly funded by Churchill and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), to support her PhD studies.
Lili, who comes from Wiltshire and attended her local comprehensive school, took an art foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts where she was encouraged to apply to the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University. At Oxford, she developed a practice around photography and the moving image, which inspired a strong interest in photographic and film theories – an interest which motivated her decision to study for an MPhil at the Centre for Film and Screen at Cambridge.
One of Lili’s supervisors for her MPhil was based at Churchill, which motivated her to apply for her PhD at the College, but she knew her hopes of progressing her studies in this field were dependant on securing funding. The AHRC was only able to fund her course fees but thanks to match funding provided by the College she was able to take up her studies and is in no doubt about the importance of Churchill’s contribution:
Without funding I would not have been able to come to Cambridge to study for a PhD and to pursue this project. The field of study at the intersection of trans, gender, and film studies is a small and underfunded one in the academy; I am delighted to have the funding to study artists and theorists whose work has not yet received much – or even any – academic attention.
Lili’s PhD is based in the Centre for Film and Screen, which is part of the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty, and her research focuses on explorations of non-normative intimacy in contemporary European films which portray or are made by people of trans* and non-binary experience.
In her spare time, Lili enjoys watching movies, walks and hiking. She is also looking forward to what promises to be a different student experience at Churchill;
"I studied at Magdalen College when I was at Oxford, so I feel like I’ve already had the “traditional” college experience – Churchill promises a more modern approach to college life."
Looking ahead, Lili is planning to apply for post-doctoral research positions, following the completion of her PhD. Longer-term, she would like to pursue a varied academic career, which would include research and teaching positions, as well as involvement in publishing journals and projects which engage public interest such as film festivals, collaborations with archives and exhibitions.