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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Winners of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers Scheme announced

Top row (l-r) Corin Throsby, Philip Roscoe, Shahidha Bari, Laurence Scott, Alexandra Harris, Zoe Norridge. Bottom row (l-r) Jon Adams, Lucy Powell, David Petts, Rachel Hewitt

BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) today announce the 10 winners of the inaugural New Generation Thinkers Scheme – the culmination of a nationwide search for the brightest academic minds with the potential to turn their ideas into fascinating broadcasts.

The scheme received over 1000 applications from university researchers who, after a six month selection process, were whittled down to the final 10 by a judging panel of Radio 3 producers and AHRC academics.

The winners were chosen from a group of 57 finalists who attended a series of day-long workshops at the BBC exploring the key to making scholarly research into good radio.

The New Generation Thinkers for 2011 will now work closely with dedicated mentors from the production team of Radio 3's arts and ideas programme Night Waves (Mondays to Thursdays 10-10.45pm). And each night from Tuesday 28 June, and for nine subsequent editions of Night Waves, a New Generation Thinker will talk about an idea inspired by their research.

Launched in November 2010 at Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas, the scheme invited applications from academics at an early stage of their career who are passionate about communicating modern scholarship to a wider audience.

The winners will now become Radio 3's first-ever resident New Generation Thinkers and will be given the unique opportunity to develop their broadcasting ideas hand-in-hand with Radio 3 and appear on air in special New Generation Thinkers debates and sessions.

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming, Radio 3, says: "The aim of this scheme is to find the next generation of academics who can broadcast their ideas to the general public. The response from scholars has been overwhelming – and the quality of their proposals a revelation. New Generation Thinkers will introduce Radio 3's audience to charismatic new voices and fascinating areas of contemporary research."

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, says: "We are delighted at the runaway success of this scheme and the quality of those who applied for it. We had over 1000 applications in a very short time which indicates the depth of talent among the new generation of arts and humanities researchers and the appetite they have to communicate their knowledge and enthusiasm. The successful 10 had to beat off exceptionally strong competition and I look forward to following their work on air."

The 10 New Generation Thinkers for 2011 and their specialist subjects are:

Alexandra Harris, Department of English, University of Liverpool
A Brief History of Being Cold
Journeys through English art and the elements.

Alexandra was winner of last year's Guardian First Book Award for her work Romantic Moderns about Englishness and the arts.

Corin Throsby, University of Cambridge
The History of Fan Mail
A look at how fan letters provide insight not only into how 19th century authors such as Tennyson and Browning were read in their time, but also into the emerging culture of celebrity.

David Petts, Durham University
The Commercialisation of British Archaeology
The story of radical changes in British archaeology over the last 20 years.

Jon Adams, London School of Economics
Rat Cities and the Bee-hive Worlds: Space and Numbers in the Modern City
An examination of how arguments about the effects of crowding on human behaviour have influenced city planners and architects during the 20th century.

Laurence Scott, Kings College London
Desert Space
The image and significance of the desert in modern culture.

Lucy Powell, University College London
Mind Forg'd Manacles
A literary exploration of prisons.

Philip Roscoe, University of St. Andrews
Investigating the Moral Work of Economics in Everyday Settings
How economics affects the moral landscape of internet dating.

Rachel Hewitt, Queen Mary, University of London
Britain in the 1790s: The Age of Despair
An alternative narrative of Romantic-era Britain, told through the projects that failed to succeed.

Rachel was author of one of last year's publishing successes, Map Of A Nation, a history of the Ordnance Survey Map.

Shahidha Bari, Queen Mary, University of London
The Arabian Nights
A voyage of discovery around the Arabian Nights, both their interpretation in Western literature, and also the stories themselves and why they tell us about notions of Arab identity.

Zoe Norridge, University of York
The Testimony of Place: Cultural Responses to the Rwandan Genocide
How the memorial landscape and geography of Rwanda have affected writers, directors and journalists seeking to represent the genocide.

The winners will receive advice on how to develop their ideas into viable programme propositions, and will spend time shadowing the work of presenters and producers. They will also be invited to make regular appearances on the network to discuss their own work and the world of ideas, and to deliver talks at Radio 3's annual Free Thinking, Festival of Ideas at the Sage, Gateshead in November 2011.

Notes to Editors

The judging panel consisted of the following people:

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming, BBC Radio 3
Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC
Dr. Philip Pothen, AHRC Head of Communications
Kirsty Pope, Producer, New Generation Thinkers
Professor Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at Warwick University
Abigail Appleton, BBC Learning Commissioning Editor

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) supports research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from languages and law, archaeology and English literature to design and creative and performing arts. The AHRC makes research awards every year ranging from individual fellowships to major collaborative projects as well as over 1,100 studentship awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded.

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