Rhinegold Daisy Fancourt

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

New Generation Thinkers 2017 revealed

12:01, 16th March 2017

BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have announced ten academics selected for the 2017 New Generation Thinkers scheme.

The ten chosen will have the opportunity to make programmes for Radio 3 and other outlets, and will receive will receive mentoring from Radio 3 producers. For the first time, the scheme is partnering with BBC Four, where some of the selected academics will be given the opportunity to present a full length programme for TV.

This year’s research topics include a study on gang culture from a former youth worker, an examination of government surveillance from a former marine and an intimate portrayal of a famous clown who was the great grandfather of the academic herself.

One of the chosen academics is Daisy Fancourt, whose research focuses on the effects of the arts on neuroendocrine and immune response and the use of the music within clinical settings, and the impact of arts and cultural engagement on public health. As well as working with the NHS to design arts and clinical innovations programmes, she is currently exploring how drumming can reduce anxiety, maternal singing can reduce postnatal depression, being in a choir can improve immune function in cancer patients and attending a concert can reduce stress hormones.

The selected academics will be publicly unveiled at a free event recorded as part of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead on 18 March and broadcast on 4 April. Further programmes about their research will be aired throughout 2017.

The scheme has been a successful first step for many academics, with previous thinkers going on to appear across radio and television.

  • Christopher Bannister (School of Advanced Study, University of London)
  • Simon Beard (University of Cambridge)
  • Emma Butcher (University of Hull)
  • Daisy Fancourt (Royal College of Music/Imperial College London)
  • Alistair Fraser (University of Glasgow)
  • Hetta Howes (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Islam Issa (Birmingham City University)
  • Eleanor Lybeck (University of Oxford)
  • Joanne Paul (University of Sussex)
  • Thomas Simpson (Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford)

‘The New Generation Thinkers have become an essential part of our programme’s quest to nurture new talent in the world of arts and ideas,’ said Robyn Read, editor of Radio 3’s Free Thinking. ‘It’s incredibly stimulating for production teams to work with academics who are so passionate about their research. These ten new voices from our universities have fascinating original work and their hunger to reach new audiences brings something exciting and distinctive to Radio 3 listeners.’

Professor Andrew Thompson, chief executive of the AHRC, says: ‘This scheme is all about helping the next generation of academics to find new and wider audiences for their research by giving them a platform to share their ideas and allowing them to have the space to challenge our thinking. More than ever we need the new insights and knowledge that come from arts and humanities researchers to help us to navigate through the complexities of our globalised world and address the moral and ethical challenges of today and tomorrow.

‘The range of subjects covered by the 2017 New Generation Thinkers is really exciting. Their projects speak directly to so many of the debates that dominate the airwaves and national conversations.’

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