CSI undergrad, Will Gotlib awarded U of T Libraries Undergraduate Research Prize

June 1, 2021 by Denise Ing

For the fourth year in a row, an essay written for CIN201Y1 - Film Cultures I has been awarded The Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize. Cinema Studies Major, Will Gotlib's research project, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Audiences and the Fallout of the Talkies, 1910-1968 is the latest winning submission. "In a very challenging, alienating year, receiving this prize was an unexpected and heartening recognition," said Will. 

The first term of CIN201Y1 - Film Cultures I focuses on silent film and this prompted Will to question what makes a "complete" film experience. His research paper explores the history of cinema's accessibility to the deaf and hard-of-hearing, focusing on the implications of the introduction of sound. Will received support in his research from Innis College Library

Course instructor, Prof. Charlie Keil praised Will's paper as "a sterling example of how assiduous research can overcome the many obstacles that face a project (...) that attempts to depict a phenomenon that barely registers at the time of its existence." He also called the project "a model for how disability studies can interact with film historical research."

This is the fourth time a CIN201Y1 essay has won the University of Toronto Libraries Undergraduate Research Prize. In 2018, An Li Tsang's essay, In Living (Techni)color: The Rise of Colour Film in Hollywood and Beyond was recognized. In 2019, Ron Ma's essay, Art for Politics' Sake: The Reasons and Progress of the Criticism Campaign Against "The Life of Wu Xun" was honoured. In 2020, Sally Walker-Hudecki received the Prize for her research project, Temporary Fixture: The Beginning of Television and John Logie Baird’s Lasting Impact.