The 2014 ITRA-BTHA Awards - Prize Winners

The ITRA – BTHA Prize Awards Committee, consisting of Gilles Brougère (France), Jeffrey Goldstein (Netherlands), Cleo Gougoulis (Greece), Sudarshan Khanna (India), and Lydia Plowman (United Kingdom), unanimously decided to award the senior and junior prizes to the following candidates:

The senior prize went to Marc Steinberg, assistant professor of film studies at the University of Concordia, Canada for his book Anime’s Media Mix: Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2012. The book is a study of the anime character “Astro Boy” and its various persona and licences in Japan in the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing on media theory, consumption studies, marketing and anthropology, Steinberg’s work adopts a historical approach to character licensing across media, illustrating that it is almost impossible to look at contemporary commercial toys in isolation. Toys are, literally, at the centre of the book as chapter 3 deals with character toys and their links to other media in an approach that is rich in detail. Although the study focuses on a particular historical period, the trans-media approach adopted by the author is equally applicable to current technological developments in toys and games.

The student prize went to Koumudi Patil for her doctoral thesis “Craftsmanly thinking: Studying the dilemma of change and identity in Banarasi Khilonas (toys),” submitted at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, India, 2013. The study documents the process of change in toy design in Banaras, India, a renowned traditional toy production centre. Toys in Patil’s work are examined as means used by local craftsmen to negotiate their identity in the face of a changing global context exemplified by the growth of the tourist market. Banarasi craftsmen incorporate changes in the form of toys by assigning different uses to them. Counter to dominant perceptions of traditional production methods as conservative, Patil argues that the structure of the traditional toy assembly line in fact leaves scope for change and innovation.


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