Manchester researcher is ‘BBC New thinker’

27 May 2014

A PhD drama student is one of ten academics nationwide announced today (27 May) as a BBC New Thinker.

Manchester researcher is 'BBC New thinker' Image courtesy Shambhala
Manchester researcher is 'BBC New thinker' Image courtesy Shambhala

Naomi Paxton, who is researching the Suffrage campaign and the Actresses’ Franchise League, says she’s delighted to receive the award.

After a nationwide search, BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) unveiled the names for 2014.

The partnership between BBC Radio 3 and the AHRC aims to find the academic broadcasters of the future; the brightest minds who have the potential to turn ground-breaking ideas into fascinating programmes.

The 10 winners will spend a year working with Radio 3 presenters and producers to develop their research and ideas into broadcasts.

They will make their debut appearance on Radio 3's arts and ideas programme, Free Thinking, on successive editions beginning Tuesday 10 June and will be invited to make regular contributions to the network throughout the year.

They will deliver talks at Radio 3's annual Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at Sage, Gateshead in November 2014.

The academics will also have an opportunity to develop their ideas for television, including working with BBC Television Arts to make short taster films to be shown on

The scheme received hundreds of applications from academics who are at the start of their careers and are passionate about communicating modern scholarship to a wider audience.

Following a six-month selection process, the winners were chosen from a group of 60 finalists, who attended a series of day-long workshops at the BBC's bases in Salford and London.

The 10 were chosen by a judging panel made up of producers from Radio 3 and BBC Television Arts and academics from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Naomi Paxton said: “I’m thrilled to have been chosen to be one of the 2014 New Generation Thinkers and am excited about sharing my research with a wider audience.

“My research is on the performative aspects of the Votes for Women movement with particular focus on the use of propaganda theatre.

“Founded in 1908, the Actresses’ Franchise League worked both in and outside of the theatrical professions to educate, entertain and campaign for the suffrage cause.

“They marched, demonstrated, wrote and performed plays and worked with all the suffrage societies across the country, using their talents and public profile to gain interest and support.”

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming, BBC Radio 3, said “Selecting this year’s New Generation Thinkers has been a stimulating experience. The huge range of dynamic researchers who aspire to bring their work to a broadcast audience made the choice of our final ten a very tough series of decisions. Nurturing new talent across the arts is a key part of Radio 3 and Hay Festival is a fitting place to announce this year's participants. We’re confident that the New Generation Thinkers 2014 will introduce listeners to charismatic new voices and compelling stories from contemporary research."

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “Once again we are delighted with the success of this year’s scheme. As ever, the work presented by this year’s winners allows us to celebrate the value of arts and humanities research in our everyday lives. I look forward to hearing their programmes with enthusiasm. I'm also delighted that, as the AHRC continues to work with the BBC, two other research councils — Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council — have joined us this year to cover an even broader range of projects.”

Notes for editors

Image courtesy Shambhala

Danielle Moore-Chick
Tel: 01793 416021  Mob: 07825 609 382

Madeleine Castell
Publicist, BBC Radio 3
Mob: 07753 309065

Mike Addelman
University of Manchester
Press Officer
0161 2750790