Two academics at the University of St Andrews have been selected by the BBC as “broadcasters of the future”, following a nationwide search.
Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri, a lecturer in the School of English, and Dr Victoria Donovan, a lecturer in Russian in the School of Modern Languages, are the only academics in Scotland to be chosen for the BBC’s prestigious New Generation Thinkers scheme.
Run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the scheme aims to find ten of the brightest minds across the UK, who have the potential to transform cutting edge ideas into captivating radio and TV programmes.
The initiative is aimed at academics at the start of their careers, who are passionate about communicating the best of university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience.
Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri and Dr Victoria Donovan were chosen from over 600 applicants by a panel of experts from the BBC and the AHRC.
They will now work with BBC producers to develop their own programmes for the BBC and will have the opportunity to appear on air on BBC Radio 3 regularly throughout the coming year, as well as creating a short film for BBC TV Arts and speaking at BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking festival of ideas in November, amongst other activities.
Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri’s teaching interests include literary theory, representations of war, comparative literature and film studies. His primary research interest is in the cultural representation and collective memory of war and conflict. He is also interested in postcolonial and diasporic identities and cultures.
He said: “I am very pleased and very honoured to be chosen as one of the New Generation Thinkers for 2016. I’m excited about working with the BBC and the AHRC to bring my research to a wider audience. The standard of competition at the workshops was very high and I’m very much looking forward to meeting and getting to know the other New Generation Thinkers.”
Dr Victoria Donovan’s research focuses on Russian history and culture, with an emphasis on heritage politics and patriotic identity in post-war Russia.
She commented: “I’m delighted to have been chosen as one of the BBC’s New Generation Thinkers for 2016. To be part of such an innovative scheme getting exciting and significant academic research into the public domain is a thrill and an honour.”
Dr Raychaudhuri and Dr Donovan are joined in the 2016 list by fellow Thinkers from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan, Nottingham Trent and the London School of Economics.
The New Generation Thinkers were announced at the annual literary and arts festival, the Hay Festival yesterday (Sunday 29 May 2016).
Professor Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of the AHRC, said: “Over the last decade we’ve seen a golden age of dramas and documentaries on our screens and airwaves, underpinned by high quality research, communicated by passionate academics.
“The New Generation Thinkers Scheme feeds this huge appetite for experts to share their specialist knowledge that helps illuminate our lives and stimulates our curiosity.
“This year’s ten are a superb example of the broad range of subjects and insights that the arts and humanities give to our lives, helping us to understand the past, the present and the future.”
The scheme has been a successful first step for many academics, with previous thinkers going on to appear across television and radio. Dr Raychaudhuri and Dr Donovan follow in the footsteps of previous St Andrews’ winners Philip Roscoe (2011), Sarah Dillon (2013) and Peter Mackay (2015).
Notes to editors
Dr Anindya Rauchaudhuri is available for interview on Sunday. Contact Anindya on 07743 878416.
About New Generation Thinkers
New Generation Thinkers was launched in November 2010 at Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival of Ideas. The New Generation Thinkers scheme invites applications from academics at an early stage of their career who are passionate about communicating modern scholarship to a wider audience. Since 2010, 40 academics from across the UK have presented documentaries on Radio 3, taken part in discussion programmes and made taster films for BBC Arts Online. Listeners can hear contributions from previous New Generation Thinkers on Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme and via the Free Thinking website.
About the AHRC
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class research in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and many more. Each year the AHRC spends approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training, often in collaboration with partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds provide considerable economic, social and cultural benefits to the UK.
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