Broadcasters of the future announced - New Generation Thinkers 2015

BBC Radio 3 is about pushing boundaries. We are dedicated to nurturing emerging talent across culture and music, and encouraging new ways of looking at things and surprising audiences.Alan Davey, Controller, BBC Radio 3
Date: 24.05.2015     Last updated: 24.05.2015 at 20.00
Category: Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) today at Hay Festival unveiled the 10 academics - and their research - who will be New Generation Thinkers 2015.

The scheme is a nationwide search for the brightest minds who have the potential to share their cutting edge academic ideas through radio and television.

Ideas from this year’s selection of academics range from the history of tickling to the secret discovery hidden in a chair in Prague; how the lives of the disabled were portrayed in Victorian literature to the symbolism of power.

The 10 New Generation Thinkers 2015 were selected from hundreds of applications from academics at the start of their careers, who demonstrated their passion to communicate modern scholarship to a wider audience. After a six-month selection process involving a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London, the final 10 were chosen by a panel of BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts producers, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

As part of the BBC’s ongoing arts partnership with the Hay Festival, the 2015 New Generation Thinkers were announced at an event during the annual literary and arts festival, in front of a gathered audience from the world of arts, media and academia.

The scheme has been a successful first step for many academics, with previous thinkers going on to appear across television and radio (see notes to editors).

The 2015 New Generation Thinkers are:

Catherine Fletcher, University of Sheffield
Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe, specialising in cultures of politics and diplomacy. She's recently worked on the Medici and Tudor courts. Her research also explores history in popular culture: at heritage sites, in film and TV, and online.

Sam Goodman, Bournemouth University
Sam Goodman is engaged in research on medicine and British national identity from 1750 to the present day. He has written on topics including the connection between James Bond and the Cold War pharmaceutical industry, emergency nursing in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and the popularity of medical-based literature, television and film in contemporary culture.

Daniel Lee, University of Oxford
Daniel Lee's research examines the experiences of Jews in France and in French North Africa during the Second World War. He will shortly begin a new project that explores Jewish pimping and prostitution in the Mediterranean, 1880-1940.

Peter Mackay, University of St Andrews
Peter Mackay is working on an anthology of transgressive Gaelic poetry over the last 500 years. His research interests include Scottish and Irish poetry of the 20th and 21st centuries and their place within 'English' literature.

Joe Moshenska, University of Cambridge
Joe Moshenska has worked on the importance of touch in religious and early scientific debates, the philosophical history of tickling and the reception of Chinese medicine in England. As a way of exploring the tastes, smells and textures of the period he is researching the 17th-century figure of Sir Kenelm Digby, a traveller who collected recipes from around the world.

Nadine Muller, Liverpool John Moores University
Nadine Muller researches the widow in British literature and culture from the 19th century to the present day. She has worked on projects exploring the Victorians in the 21st century, and on women and belief.

Kylie Murray, University of Oxford
Kylie Murray explores pre-Reformation Scottish literature, books, and culture. She has recently discovered Scotland's oldest non-biblical manuscript, dating to the 12th century, and fresh evidence which suggests that James I of Scotland was the author of Scotland's first dream-poem.

Sandeep Parmar, University of Liverpool
Sandeep Parmar is a poet and is currently writing a novel about the Green Revolution in India. Her research explores modernist women writers including Nancy Cunard, Hope Mirrlees and Mina Loy.

Danielle Thom, V&A
Danielle Thom researches connections between sculpture and print culture in 18th century Britain. She has recently explored the influence of Neoclassical nude figures on erotic prints, and is writing a book on the sculptor Joseph Nollekens.

Clare Walker Gore, University of Cambridge
Clare Walker Gore researches disability in Victorian literature, especially novels by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Anthony Trollope and George Eliot, and the biographies of the period, exploring the ways in which the lives of disabled people were portrayed.

The 10 winners, the fifth group of New Generation Thinkers, will spend one year working with Radio 3 presenters and producers to develop their ideas into broadcasts. They will make their debut appearance on Radio 3's arts and ideas programme Free Thinking on successive editions beginning with a special edition of the programme recorded at Hay Festival and broadcast on Thursday 28 May featuring four of the winners. All of the New Generation Thinkers will be invited to make regular contributions to the network throughout the year.

Each New Generation Thinker will have an opportunity to develop their ideas for television, making short films for BBC Arts Online. A selection of short films made by the 2014 intake are available at

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3, says: “BBC Radio 3 is about pushing boundaries. We are dedicated to nurturing emerging talent across culture and music, and encouraging new ways of looking at things and surprising audiences. Our New Generation Thinker Partnership with the AHRC has given us access to fresh thinking and new approaches to ideas by scholars at the start of their careers. This helps us as a broadcaster to present fascinating and complex ideas in new ways, and I hope it will give our New Generation Thinkers a huge canvas to make a big impact with their work."

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming for BBC Radio 3, says: “Some of the very first graduates of the New Generation Thinkers Scheme are now experienced TV and radio broadcasters having first participated in the scheme; we’re sure that this year’s intake will prove just as insightful and enticing to our audience who are always thirsty for knowledge.“

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive Arts and Humanities Research Council, says: “The resounding popularity of the New Generation Thinkers scheme demonstrates the enormous interest the arts and humanities research community has in sharing its knowledge and ideas with a wide audience. The announcement of these 10 outstanding winners, with their diverse projects and expertise, illustrates the capacity for research to illuminate our lives and stimulate our curiosity. I am very much looking forward to hearing their contributions to BBC Radio 3 over the coming year.”

Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival, says: “We are thrilled to be welcoming this cohort of New Generation Thinkers who imagine the world in ways that will enrich us all.”

A full list of the AHRC/BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers is available on the AHRC website.

For enquiries regarding BBC Radio 3 please contact: AH
For enquiries regarding AHRC please contact: Alex Pryce, AHRC:
For media enquiries relating to Hay Festival please contact: Chris Bone/Emily Banyard at

Notes to Editors

New Generation Thinkers was launched in November 2010 at Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival of Ideas. The New Generation Thinkers scheme invites applications from academics at an early stage of their career who are passionate about communicating modern scholarship to a wider audience. Since 2010, 40 academics from across the UK have presented documentaries on Radio 3, taken part in discussion programmes and made taster films for BBC Arts Online. Listeners can hear contributions from previous New Generation Thinkers on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme and via the Free Thinking website: