BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers take to stage

Scheme offers young researchers the chance to build media profile

May 27, 2014

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The latest crop of New Generation Thinkers have been named.

The annual scheme, sponsored by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was launched in 2010 and selects 10 promising young academics who are not only working in areas judged to be of broad interest, but who also have the presentational skills to make their work accessible.

They are all given training and the opportunity to make radio programmes and short films for BBC Arts Online. Many, it is hoped, will develop into the leading “media dons” of the future.

This year’s winners, who are listed in full below, have research interests ranging from suffrage campaigns to 21st century Shakespeare, the triumph of American consumerism to the cultural history of the beard.

They were unveiled as this year’s New Generation Thinkers at the Hay Festival.

The full list of 2014 New Generation Thinkers, as announced by the BBC, is as follows:

Will Abberley (University of Oxford) is exploring how “natural deception” complicated the scientific facts for Alfred Russel Wallace and his contemporaries.

Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield) is looking at how international politics might take the rights of animals into consideration.

Joanna Cohen (Queen Mary University of London) is researching how Americans turned consumerism into an act of good citizenship.

Tom Charlton (University of Stirling) is working on the 17th-century printer John Twyn, executed for publishing a seditious tract.

Sophie Coulombeau (University of York) is studying personal naming and identity in England.

Daisy Hay (University of Exeter) is writing a biography of Benjamin and Mary Anne Disraeli.

Naomi Paxton (University of Manchester) is examining the suffrage campaign and the Actresses’ Franchise League.

Preti Taneja (Jesus College, Cambridge University) is analysing what it means to rewrite Shakespeare for the 21st century.

Tiffany Watt-Smith (Queen Mary University of London) is conducting research on the cultural history of our compulsion to imitate each other’s expressions and gestures.

Alun Withey (University of Exeter)’s work on the medical world of early modern England includes a special focus on the cultural history of the beard.

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