BBC_Radio_3In April this year I was announced as one of the AHRC / BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers 2015. Out of 550+ applicants, ten of us were eventually selected for this opportunity to bring our research and ideas to both the airwaves and to screen.

My first broadcast took the form of a five minute essay on Victorian widows for an edition of Radio 3’s Free Thinking, presented by Rana Mitter and recorded at the Hay Festival earlier this year (you can listen back to the whole programme here).

Yesterday, on Remembrance Sunday, I was able to record my first ever edition of The Essay, which resulted the interesting challenge to condense 200 years of the history of widows in Britain into a 15 minute script fit for broadcast and of interest to the general public, in a way that would neither send radio listeners nor my live audience to sleep! My producer – the wonderful Jacqueline Smith – was very hands-on and made sure that I would be able to deliver my script as entertainingly as possible on the day. You wouldn’t believe just how easy it is to fall into a boring, repetitive rhythm when you’re reading out loud for 15 minutes straight!

FTFYou’ll be able to hear the result – which was recorded at the Free Thinking Festival of Ideas in Gateshead – on Armistice Day at 10.45PM on Radio 3. Please tune in and share your thoughts! If you can’t listen on the night, the programme will be available here, so you can listen at a later point (or listen again, and again, and again …).

It’s been exciting to start getting to know how radio productions work, and to meet lots of people whose programmes and work I’ve admired as a listener, viewer, and reader. And of course my students can probably imagine just how pleased I was when I discovered there was free chocolate and diet coke in the green room!

By the end of this month, I have to turn in the first draft of a script for a 4 minute short film for BBC Arts Online, so watch this space as I stumble along my media journey!

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