The broadcasters of the future - New Generation Thinkers 2018
BBC Radio 3, BBC Arts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have announced 2018's cohort of New Generation Thinkers; 10 academics at the start of their careers who have a flair for communicating their research to the public. The scheme includes the opportunity to make radio and television programmes for the BBC.
The ten New Generation Thinkers were selected after a nationwide search for the best academic ideas with the potential to be shared through the media. They will now have the opportunity to make programmes for Radio 3 and other outlets, as well as contributing to wider media through the AHRC. In addition, the scheme partners with BBC Four, where some of the selected academics will be given the opportunity to present a programme for TV.
This year's specialisms cover an eclectic spectrum of the arts and humanities; all with the potential to reach a broad public audience. Some academics are looking afresh at historical topics, with explorations into 18th century masculinity and the medical history of George Orwell sitting alongside research into early 20th century vegetarianism in Britain, and how the Ottoman Empire dealt with piracy.
Others in the new intake are exploring more contemporary issues, such as the way globalisation is impacting how films are made around the world, or how the ethics of commercial surrogacy in India can be understood.
The New Generation Thinkers were selected from hundreds of applications from academics at the start of their careers. They have all demonstrated a passion for communicating their work and a skill for making complex areas of study engaging, accessible, and enlightening.
The final 10 were chosen after a four-month selection process, including a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London. They have undergone training and development with the AHRC and will spend a year being mentored by producers from Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.
The selected academics will be publicly unveiled at a free event recorded as part of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead on 10 March and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 3 April at 22.00. As with all Free Thinking programmes, the broadcast will also be on the BBC Radio 3 website and as an Arts and Ideas podcast. Further programmes focused on the NGT's research will be aired throughout 2018.
Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3, says: "Radio 3's mission is to connect our audiences with pioneering music and culture and since its launch in 2010, the New Generation Thinkers has been a central part of this. The scheme has supported and nurtured some extraordinary academic talent, giving the broadcasters of tomorrow a platform through which to present their fascinating and thought-provoking research to our listeners, and I can't wait to hear what ideas these ten exciting thinkers will bring to us in the coming year."
Robyn Read, Editor of Free Thinking, says: "I love discovering the academics' fascinating research and am always looking for ways to integrate it into Free Thinking discussions, linking their findings with new exhibitions, books, plays, films, television and topical discussion we cover on the programme. Their insights give fresh perspectives to our cultural coverage, and I hope that the experience we can offer them of working with radio production is equally valuable to their academic careers."
Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of the AHRC, says: "This scheme is all about helping the next generation of academics to find new and wider audiences for their research by giving them a platform to share their ideas and allowing them to have the space to challenge our thinking.
The New Generation Thinkers scheme is also one of the AHRC's major vehicles for engaging the public with the inspiring research taking place across the UK. More than ever we need the new insights and knowledge that come from arts and humanities researchers to help us navigate through the complexities of our globalised world and address the moral and ethical challenges of today and tomorrow."