‘Revolution’ and ‘dissent’ resonate across cultures and through time. They are represented in responses from writers, artists, politicians, theologians, historians, philosophers, economists – thinkers of every sort. 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg; 100 years ago French troops on the Western Front mutinied and the Bolsheviks toppled the Tsar in the Russian Revolution, and 50 years ago the Sexual Offenses Act decriminalised homosexuality in the UK. In 2017, the British government invoked Article 50 and began the process of Brexit and Donald Trump became the 45th President of the USA: are these dissenting and revolutionary events?
The Staton Essay Prize is an interdisciplinary essay competition open to all students currently studying in Year 12 anywhere in the UK (or its equivalent in the EU and internationally).
The interdisciplinary character of the competition reflects our specialism at Regent’s Park College, in teaching and research across the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the success of our students on joint degree programmes.
The aim of the competition is to give school pupils the opportunity to explore connections between the subjects they study or are interested in, to develop their independent research skills, and to encourage them to consider interdisciplinary courses at university.
The closing date for entries will be Friday 28 July; all will be acknowledged by letter in the autumn and entrants whose work is commended by the judges will receive certificates. One top prize will be awarded in each of three categories (contemporary worlds, historical worlds, and literary worlds); £250 for the best essay overall, and a further two £150 prizes. The three prize-winners will be invited to a special awards dinner in College, to which they may bring guests, which usually takes place at the end of October.
In NO MORE than 2000 words, answer ONE question from this list:
Contemporary Worlds category:
In this category, entrants could combine subjects like contemporary history (1980s onwards), economics, philosophy, religious studies, and politics.
(1) ‘The revolution will not be televised’ (Gil Scott-Heron). How important is the media in revolution and protest?
(2) Is dissent a sign of a healthy democracy?
(3) Do you agree that ‘poverty is the parent of revolution and crime’ (Aristotle)?
Historical Worlds category:
In this category, entrants could combine subjects like ancient history, archaeology, classical literature, history (from the fall of Rome to 1979), philosophy, and religious studies.
(4) Do protest movements gain momentum because of a unifying ideology or charismatic leadership?
(5) Do revolutions always end in disappointment?
(6) Is protest more effective if it is underpinned with violence?
Literary Worlds category:
In this category, entrants could combine subjects like classical literature, English language, English literature, history (any period), philosophy, and religious studies.
(7) ‘The World Turned-Upside-Down’ (title of a pamphlet from the English Civil War). Do you think that works of literature turn worlds upside down or stabilize them?
(8) ‘Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress?’ (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince). Do you agree?
(9) In what ways do revolutions spur literary creativity?
Your essay must bring together two or more subjects OR combine a subject you are studying with a personal interest.
Include a list of all the sources (including online resources and websites) that you have used to research and write your essay. This list is not included in the word count.
The competition will be judged by College tutors in the relevant disciplines; unfortunately, essays will not be returned and the judges cannot provide feedback (written or verbal) to entrants.
The judges will reward sophistication in the level of engagement between disciplines, clarity of thought and expression, and the careful choice of examples.
The judges’ decisions are final, and they reserve the right not to award a prize in any category if they consider that none of the entries reach the required standard.
Submit your essay as a Word document, with a completed title page, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please ensure that ONLY your initials and date of birth appear on EACH PAGE of the essay.
To download a title page for your essay, click here.
The College cannot accept faxed entries.
Winners will be announced in the week beginning Monday 25 September