We are looking for two researchers to be at the heart of the centenary of the BBC in 2022. The selected BBC engagement fellows will use their current research to amplify and explore one of two thematic fellowship areas through a range of innovative and exciting engagement activities across the centenary year.
One of the fellowships will be focused on the historical context of the BBC and the second fellowship will look at the future of the broadcast media.
The fellowship areas
BBC History 100
This fellowship should reflect on existing research and engage diverse audiences around the story of the BBC in its first 100 years. Whether focusing on:
- the broadcast pioneers (in front of or behind the camera or microphone)
- the role of the BBC in fulfilling its mission to ‘inform, educate and entertain’
- the place that the organisation has played in connecting communities and diverse audiences.
This fellowship should use the opportunity of the BBC’s centenary to consider how the way we’re consuming and engaging with linear and interactive content is changing, and how that’s leading to technological innovation into the future. There will be opportunities to engage with:
- AHRC major investments, such as the Creative Industries Clusters programme
- Centre for Cultural Value
- partners such as the Edinburgh Television Festival.
The aims of the opportunity will form the basis of our assessment of your application, and are as follows:
- to deliver an innovative programme of public engagement, test new approaches and ambitiously build and develop networks
- to be based on excellent original research that clearly speaks to the selected fellowship and that will enrich and amplify its stated focus
- to challenge and engage with established narratives around the BBC as it marks its centenary
- to clearly identify relevant audiences and their needs
- to identify fellows with a flair for impact and engagement and to support their professional development and honing of their skills and expertise
- to put in place clear and relevant plans for monitoring and evaluating the programme of proposed activity.
Examples of activities in scope
In terms of outputs for the fellowship, below is a list of some of the potential areas of activity that we’d be looking for the successful applicants to include:
- a broad range of engagement activities that connect researchers and their research with communities through a blended approach of virtual gatherings or face-to-face networks using a range of different communication tools from podcasts to film and social media platforms
- equitable engagement with a broad range of partner organisations at a local, regional or national level to deliver potential programming or community engagement activities (for example, this could include the Science and Media Museum in Bradford, the BBC or the Edinburgh Television Festival)
- partnerships with festivals, such as Being Human or local place-based festivals, to develop new ideas around community engagement with people who can actively engage with research
- building on existing or new networks to develop impact opportunities and inform and support further the professional development of researchers
- potentially convene AHRC-funded researchers and large research investments as a catalyst for coordinating ideas and thinking which could help scope our potential new collaborative opportunities
- collaborate with stakeholders through a potential placement or privileged access to the BBC to develop professional or transferable skills. For the historical-focused fellowship this could involve working with independent research organisations that hold BBC-related archival material, fellow researchers that have worked in this space, and with the BBC itself
- potentially explore the scoping of future new research questions and ideas that could form the basis of a follow up AHRC discovery research open call proposal. Activities in this area should only be a small part of your fellowship and not come at the expense of delivering wider engagement activities.
As these fellowships are impact and engagement focused, funding for substantial new research is not permissible. Synthesis of existing research may be in scope where the value and relevance to the proposed programme of engagement can be clearly demonstrated. Any programme of engagement should be built around existing outputs that the applicant feels would have further impact potential in the context of the BBC centenary.
A core part of the fellowships will be the use of partnerships at a local, regional, national or UK level to deliver activity.
Ideally, the fellows will have at least some existing relationships in place with the networks, platforms or partners necessary to deliver their programme of engagement, as the fellowship will not provide substantial time for the development of new partnerships. However, there is budget available in the opportunity to work with new partners and AHRC will be able to facilitate links with, for example:
- the BBC
- Science and Media Museum (which is hosting an exhibition in Bradford)
- the Creative Industries Clusters programme
- wider communities of AHRC-funded researchers in the creative industries
- the Edinburgh Television Festival.
Applicants will need to evidence the networks and relationships that they already have in place when applying.
Applicants should outline how they plan to engage with partner organisations and communities (either place based or thematic). This could include, but is not limited to:
- the general public
- place-based communities and informal communities of interest
- institutions, including businesses, cultural institutions, think tanks and the media
- new disciplinary networks that have been identified as having potential for collaboration in the topic area.
Applicants do not need to engage with all these groups, but should ensure that all stakeholders relevant to their focus have been considered and that plans for engagement activities, tailored to the needs of the different stakeholders, are set out clearly in the application.
Applicants should make clear:
- which audiences they plan to engage
- how they plan to do so
- how this interaction will benefit the communities they work with, their research and their discipline more widely.
The planned programme of engagement must evidence how it will advance discussions of the broadcast media more generally, and enrich and strengthen the project partners and communities involved.
We also encourage collaboration with other researchers and other disciplines, as well as the other fellow on this scheme. We anticipate that there will be opportunities for both fellows to come together and interact, as well as work individually.
Guidance on costs and project timescales
The duration of the fellowship must be 12 months.
The maximum limit for applications is £150,000 (full economic cost). AHRC will fund 80% of the costs.
The start date of the fellowship must be 1 January 2022.
No costs associated with generating new research outputs are permitted. Costs are predominantly expected to relate to the programme of impact and engagement activities proposed and should be fully justified in the application.
Costs associated with ensuring the accessibility of outputs and events are encouraged.
Salary costs for the fellow are permissible and should be proportionate to the proposed programme of activity.