Career changing opportunity for UEA researchers with big ideas  

Published by  Communications

On 1st Apr 2022

Dr Sabina Dosani and Dr Oskar Jensen
Dr Sabina Dosani and Dr Oskar Jensen

Two academics from the University of East Anglia (UEA) have been named among the UK’s most promising and exciting early career researchers. 

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and BBC Radio 3 have announced the 2022 New Generation Thinkers: ten of the UK’s most promising and exciting early career researchers as part of a special episode of Free Thinking on BBC Radio 3. . 

Every year, BBC Radio 3 and AHRC hold a nationwide search for academics with new ideas that will resonate with a wider audience. The New Generation Thinkers represent some of the brightest scholars in the country and their research has the potential to redefine understanding of an array of topics, from our history to the way we speak.  

UEA’s two representatives, Dr Sabina Dosani from the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing and Dr Oskar Jensen from the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication, make up two of the ten academics chosen from universities across the country. Each New Generation Thinker will be given the opportunity to share their pioneering research by making programmes for BBC Radio 3.   

Dr Sabina Dosani’s programme, Sound Waves at Sixteen Weeks, follows a woman’s journey at 16 weeks pregnant, attending an ultrasound scan amid the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which dictated that women attend alone. Her programme explores maternal love and loss, and questions such as how does hearing a foetal heartbeat make a pregnant woman feel, and how might the muffled static of a stilled heart, shape her grief.  

Dr Oskar Jensen’s programme, Love on the Streets of London, follows couples in Victorian London; examples include two lovers taken up for a drunken brawl , two bed-fellows arrested for begging and two sisters charged as public nuisances, with each couple concealing a different secret.  

In his essay, Dr Jensen looks at trial accounts and newspaper reports and explores what these couples had in common: they survived by the strength of their loving relationships. On the Victorian street, these relationships – queer, mixed-race, surrogate – were accepted. In the courtroom, they were intolerable.  

As part of the prize, the New Generation Thinkers will also be provided with unique access to training and support from AHRC and the BBC. Past winners have gone on to become prominent public figures in their fields, as well as the face of major documentaries, TV series, and regular figures in public debate. 

The final ten academics taking part in the scheme were chosen after a four-month selection process, including a series of day-long workshops and will spend a year being mentored by producers from Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme, where they will appear to take part in discussions about a wide range of topics throughout the year.  

Professor Christopher Smith, AHRC Executive Chair, said: “We are delighted to join again with the BBC to support the New Generation Thinkers scheme, one of the major ways that AHRC inspires arts and humanities researchers across the UK to engage with a wider audience.   

“This prestigious partnership offers an opportunity for early career researchers to develop the confidence and skills to work with diverse audiences, and our New Generation Thinkers lead the way in building the public impact of arts and humanities.”  

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 said: “Once again, Radio 3 joins the colleagues at AHRC to celebrate the New Generation Thinkers intake: ten academics who are engaged in research projects exploring our past and present, linking these two dimensions, and offering interesting perspectives on our understanding of both.  

“We are thrilled to be able to give these academics a programme of mentoring to help bring their work to as wide an audience as possible, and we hope that listeners will find these explorations – on such a wide variety of topics – stimulating and inspiring.” 

The successful ten were selected from hundreds of applications from researchers at the start of their careers. They have all demonstrated a passion for communicating their work and a skill for making complex areas of study engaging, accessible, and enlightening.  

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