BU academic selected as a BBC New Generation Thinker

BU’s Dr Sam Goodman has been chosen to be a broadcaster of the future in a BBC Radio 3 scheme.

BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) today at Hay Festival unveiled the ten 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.

Aimed at giving early career academics a break into broadcasting, the scheme attracts interest from a wide variety of disciplines. Ideas from this year’s selection 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.

Sam beat competition from hundreds of other applicants over two selection stages, involving writing a potential radio programme and participating in workshops and debates. It also involved a trip to BBC Broadcasting House in London where Sam presented his ideas to Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech Programming at BBC Radio 3, and other producers.

Currently a lecturer in English & Communication, Sam’s research interests cover Twentieth Century literature with a broad focus on identity, medicine, notions of Englishness and Empire, and post-World War II popular culture. He is hoping to bring his passion for his subject to a wider audience via the scheme.

New Generation Thinkers will give him, and the other selected academics, the opportunity to write for and contribute to BBC Radio 3 programmes such as Free Thinking and The Essay. Sam will also make an appearance at the BBC Free Thinking Festival in November 2015.

Over the course of the coming year he will be working with radio and TV producers at the BBC to develop his research ideas into potential programmes, and gain broadcasting training and skills for the future.

Reflecting on the selection process Sam said, “It was a simultaneously nerve-wracking and very exciting feeling getting the email telling me I’d been selected! What with the scheme attracting so many applicants and having seen so many brilliant presentations on the workshop day it felt great to be told mine had been judged one of the best.”

“Ultimately, this is a great advantage to my existing work in public engagement and knowledge exchange, as well as in bringing my research to a wider public audience.”

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming at BBC Radio 3 and one of the selecting panel, said,
“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.“

The full list of New Generation Thinkers is available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/r3-new-gen-thinkers