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19 January 2024

Dr Emily Barritt wins King's Engaged Research Award

Co-director of the Transnational Law Institute won the prize for her project Sentinels, a short film following a group of young Colombians who lead the legal struggle against deforestation

girl roasting marshmallow dark background with title treatment sentinels

The Transnational Law Institute is proud to congratulate co-director Dr Emily Barritt on winning the King’s Engaged Research Award for Communicating Research (International).

The award is for her project, Sentinels, a short film about the Rights of Nature movement and the crucial issues it raises. Dr Barritt was awarded the prize in a ceremony at King’s College London on the 16th of January.

“Sentinels”, created by Mark Knightley of Crowded Room, follows the true story of a group of young Colombians who took action to prevent deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and tackle climate change. The struggle ended in a victory in court, as the judge ordered to stop deforestation and grants legal rights to the Amazon.  

The judgment Future Generations v Minister for the Environment (Demanda Generaciones Futuras v. Minambiente given on 5 April 2018 declared that the “Colombian Amazon accordingly was entitled to protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration. The Court ordered the government to formulate and implement action plans to address deforestation in the Amazon”.

This judgment was significant as the judge granted legal rights to the Amazon Rainforest, and represented a watershed moment linking climate change litigation and the Rights of Nature movement.  

The prize was awarded to Dr Barritt as part of the inaugural King’s Engaged Research Awards to celebrate best practice in public and community engagement with research at King’s.

The 11 winners, including teams of King’s staff and community partners, received awards in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions to impactful research. Each winner was presented with a certificate, trophy and £200. They were selected from a total of 86 nominations received by the KERN Working Group.

Created by King’s Engaged Researcher Network, the awards and ceremony contribute to efforts across the university to inspire new collaborations for impact at King’s in line with King’s Strategy 2026. The event follows the recent launch of King’s Impact Changemakers at Science Gallery London.

In this story

Emily Barritt

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law