100 voices that made the BBC: Pioneering Women

The ‘100 Voices that made the BBC: Pioneering Women’ website was launched Saturday 1st December 2018, looking into the history of women’s involvement in the BBC, showcasing oral histories that have been recorded over the last 50 years but were never made publically available. The content is produced, almost, exclusively by academics, including Bournemouth University’s Dr Kate Murphy, Principal Academic and Programme Leader of BU’s BA History course. Many great images, videos and archival documents can also be found on the website.

Before teaching at BU, Dr Kate Murphy worked at the BBC for 24 years, primarily as a producer on Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, alongside studying for her part-time PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her doctoral thesis from 2011 was re-written as a book, titled ‘Behind the wireless: An early history of women at the BBC’ and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. She is now heavily involved in the ‘Connected Histories of the BBC’ project.

The ‘100 voices that made the BBC: Pioneering Women’ website is the fifth website created as part of the 5 year Arts and Humanities Research council (AHRC) funded project, headed by Professor David Hendy from the University of Sussex. The project is set to create a new digital catalogue of hundreds of rarely seen and heard audio and video interviews with former BBC staff and is linked to the forth coming centenary of the BBC in 2022.

Dr Kate Murphy’s expertise in the history of the BBC as a result of her 24 years of work put her in good stead to help curate the content of the website. She has worked closely with Dr Jeannine Baker of Macquarie University in Sydney, Deputy Director of the Centre for Media History, which BU’s Centre for Media History has a close working relationship with. Together, they have produced the overall shape of the Pioneering Women project, with Dr Kate Murphy further writing and curating 4 of the ‘essays’ on the site; ‘Early Pioneers’, ‘Women’s Programmes’, ‘Equal Opportunities?’ and ‘In Control’ all providing a deeper look into women in the BBC and the opportunities they had access to.

The 100 voices website, one part of the series ‘Connected Histories of the BBC’ project can be viewed here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/women-pioneers

Furthermore, Dr Kate Murphy has produced a research blog for BBC History, connected to the work she has undertaken on the Pioneering Women website. The blog places focus on Isa Benzie and Janet Quigley, the two women who ran the BBC’s Foreign Department for a large proportion of the 1930s. The blog can be accessed here.