Lilly is a 19-year-old second-year media production student who in 2023 won a British Citizen Youth Award (BCyA) in recognition of her multiple volunteering roles since the age of 14.
Originally from Stockton-on-Tees, Lilly decided to study in Liverpool for various reasons. The city felt like home—neither too big nor too small—and she particularly adored its cultural and artistic side.
“It felt like a free place to express myself without any judgement.”
To Lilly, films and media are not just for fun. Her goal is to challenge existing norms within film and media and provide a platform for those often overlooked. She believes these creative outlets can do more than entertain, they can influence minds, spark change and make the world a better place.
Lilly started getting into the world of media when she caught the bug from her older sister, who is now 31 and also studied media production. The admiration for her sister, and the other powerful women around her, has deepened Lilly’s passion for the industry.
“I’ve always been inspired by the women around me, my mam, sister and nana, who have always taught me to never quit or become quiet even when times are hard, I don't think I would've got this far if it wasn't for their support.”
She’s also inspired by trailblazing women in the film industry.
“Greta Gerwig is a huge inspiration, and she has been for years. Especially for breaking box office records for 'Barbie', in a world where women have always been second choice, this only inspires me even more. As a collective, we always need to keep going and not accept to be at a disadvantage just because we have been told 'that is just the way it is'.”
On her experience of studying media at college, Lilly admits she never felt like she could use her voice in an artistic way without it diminishing the power of what she had to say. Through studying the world of representations within the media, she realised the need for substantial change.
“You're not too small for anything; you're here because you deserve it!”
– Lilly Crisp
Lilly received the BCyA award at a ceremony in Westminster in November 2023, an award that was given to her because of her various volunteering roles supporting mental health charities, schools and working to make events accessible for those with disabilities, mental health challenges and Special Educational Needs (SEN). Lilly has also raised over £1,000 for the mental health of young people in Teesside, and the creation of The Norton Eco Project, an initiative providing ‘eco boxes’ to underfunded schools for environmental awareness.
Reflecting on her win Lilly celebrates personal growth from a shy volunteer to a nationally recognised award-winner, “I can't wait for what the future holds.” The BCyA award places Lilly on the honour roll for the rest of her life.
Looking ahead, Lilly has her sights set on a master's degree in screenwriting and directing at the Columbia School of Arts in New York once she graduates from LJMU. She's also gearing up for on-screen work experience in Melbourne, Australia, in 2024.
When it comes to her experience at LJMU, Lilly praises all her tutors. To her, they're not just educators; they're enthusiastic collaborators in the creative process. The joy they express when she pitches a project or shares an idea turns the entire experience into something truly beautiful and wonderful.
For aspiring media production students, Lilly offers this valuable advice: “Go in with a free mind, don't put any expectations or pressure on yourself to reach a certain level by a certain time. Start with the basics first and use a lot of your time in the first year to rent out kit and experiment as much as you can!
“You're not too small for anything; you're here because you deserve it! That is something I wish I knew sooner.”