January/February 2020: New Year, New Generation Thinkers!

I was absolutely delighted (and quite frankly, quite surprised) to discover, at the end of 2019, that I had been shortlisted for the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme. I’m a complete introvert, but I love the idea of engaging with media, and the opportunity to record a radio programme based on my research sounded like heaven. After the initial application (check out the process here if you are interested for next year: https://ahrc.ukri.org/innovation/new-generation-thinkers/ ), the shortlisted selection were invited to a day of workshops.

In advance of the day, we were asked to complete a set of tasks. These were a little daunting, as they were necessarily quite vague and abstract. Firstly, we were asked to do some listening to Radio 3 content, and think about a sentence that summarised our listening experience. I found this difficult, but enjoyed having a peruse of the audio!

Secondly, we were asked to prepare a script 2.5min pitch of our radio programme idea. This task was fun! Trying to make the idea pop off the page, making it accessible beyond an academic audience, and making it engaging without trivialising the subject was tough but also a great experience.

Finally – and I found this the most daunting – we were asked to prepare for a tag-team debate on the theme of ‘Big is best. Small is best.’ We were supposed to be able to link it to our research, but also consider the subject ‘in all its connotations’. Gulp.

On the day I was quite nervous – if I’m honest, I was expecting quite a lot of confidence in the room. But the other candidates were genuinely lovely, and the discussions were very enjoyable, and not in the least one-up-man-y (if you’ll indulge my clumsy made up word). I even enjoyed the debate! You just have to try and ignore the fact that you’re being judged throughout the process, and manage to enjoy it for what it is – an invaluable experience at the BBC, meeting like-minded researchers and learning about media processes.

In the end I wasn’t selected as one of the final 10. But I am still incredibly happy to have been part of the process.

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