Inaugural BIAA Masters Dissertation Prize


1 March 2023

The British Institute at Ankara is pleased to announce the winner of its inaugural Masters Dissertation Prize.

There was a pool of eight entrants, whose submissions were all judged as reaching a very high standard. Cathy Graham (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David) was chosen as the ultimate winner for her dissertation “Plaster as a vital material: The agency of plaster in the curation of the Çatalhöyük skull”. The dissertation reconfigured the approach to long-known materials previously understood from a materialist standpoint, employing theories of ontology and materiality.  It was judged to show exceptional intellectual sophistication and ingenuity, and to make a significant impact on the understanding of plastered skulls, uses of plaster and approaches to materials in general far beyond Çatalhöyük. All the other applicants were of such high quality that they were considered Highly Commended.

The taught post-graduate dissertation competition was developed in 2022 to promote, recognise and support excellent research by scholars engaged in the study of Türkiye and the Black Sea region in any period or discipline. Numerous BIAA members generously contributed to a fundraising drive to support an annual prize of £500, plus membership of the BIAA. You can still make a donation to the BIAA Masters Dissertation Prize Fund today to ensure long-term support for this prize.

The competition is open annually to students completing dissertations for a taught Masters course (MA, MSt, MSc, MPhil, etc.) in a UK University or Higher Education Institution submitted in the past academic year (past two years in the first instance). The call for submissions comes in November of each year. See the current open calls for BIAA Grants and Opportunities here.

The inaugural prize was very competitive. Dissertations submitted covered a range of topics, disciplines and time periods, from Ottoman women to cutting-edge GIS techniques (see the list of entrants below). The judging panel found all to be excellent, a number worthy of publication, making choosing a finalist very difficult. All of the entrants deserve high congratulations on their very impressive work, and it is very much hoped that they will continue to contribute to the research fields supported by the BIAA. As such, all applicants have been awarded free membership of the BIAA for three years. 

NameInstitutionMA Dissertation TitleAward
Adal, ZharaQueen Mary, University of LondonA Venetian Noblewoman in the Ottoman Harem: An Exploration into the Compatibility Between Biographical and Intersectional Theory with Ottoman ValidesHighly Commended
Beighton, OscarDurham UniversityIn search of the frontier: a GIS-based visibility modelling approach to the border geography of TarḫuntaššaHighly Commended
Gavin, TomWolfson College, University of OxfordHearken now to Klaros, to hear the words of my father’: Oracular Sanctuaries and Cooperation in Roman Asia Minor from the 1st to the 3rd century ADHighly Commended
Graham, CathyUniversity of Wales, Trinity St DavidPlaster, as a vital material: The agency of plaster in the curation of the Çatalhöyük skullWinner
Gücüm, SelinLondon School of EconomicsAn Unconsolidated Authoritarianism: Competitive Elections and a Resilient Civil Society Inhibit Authoritarianism in TurkeyHighly Commended
Hilmarsdóttir, SólveigUniversity of CambridgeOvid and Language Contact in Exile: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Greek Vocabulary in the Exile PoetryHighly Commended
Ince, IbrahimUniversity College LondonShifts in Visibility: Experiencing The Border Landscape from The Coffeehouses in Zahra Street, NicosiaHighly Commended
Philips, FionaUniversity of Oxford Uses of Language in Hekatomnid KariaHighly Commended

Eight entrants for the Inaugural BIAA Masters Dissertation Prize