Well, my New Generation Thinker career kicked off with a broadcast on Night Waves last night. Let me know what you think. I think it sounded like I needed another cup of coffee (or one less glass of wine the night before). Here is the link to the recording (at 27 minutes in): Dennis the Menace, Sputnik and ADHD
Some of you might know that this wasn’t my first time. For a glimpse of my illustrious radio past, check out my blog on the Wellcome Trust site: Wellcome Trust blog.
Off to Paris for a week. Will be back with more LEJoG and thoughts on Paris and le Tour next week.
Tomorrow I’m heading down to Manchester for a Wellcome Trust funding workshop, which should help my chances the next time I go down on bended knee and request thousands of pounds for my next research project. The Trust has played an indispensable role in my career in medical history; without them I’d probably still be a careers advisor in Edmonton, wondering about what might have been. I’m profoundly grateful to them and am extremely fortunate that they believe in the work I do, yet, in a way, I wish medical historians didn’t have to rely on them. And I wish non-medical historians didn’t have to rely on other funders, either. I wish we didn’t have to apply for funding at all.
Okay, I feel this, in part, because I am just beginning to tackle a funding application and it’s intimidating. It’s going to be a lot of work, a lot of soul searching and, despite the fact that I’ve been had some successful applications, I’ve had many more unsuccessful ones and don’t like the feeling of failure I get when the ‘We regret to inform” letter comes through the letter box.
But the other reason I feel this way is that I would prefer to live in a world where historians were simply able to do what they wanted to do. Rather than chasing after funding like greyhounds after a rabbit, I wish there was a more egalitarian way of doling out money, so that everyone was able to do research. Perhaps this wouldn’t lead to as many superstar academics. Perhaps I am an old socialist at heart, wanting to give everyone the same outcomes as well as opportunities. But perhaps a funding-free world would lead to more cooperation, more collegiality and a bit more breathing space in the corridors of an ivory tower near you.
Well, I suppose this means I’ve got to start thinking. Based on a hastily conceived email, a 2 1/2 minute pitch and a rather silly debate, I’ve been selected as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker for 2012 (don’t tell the BBC that – I’m sure they know what they’re doing). This means that I’ll be doing some radio work for Radio 3’s Night Waves programme, but possibly some other things as well. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to do something I always rattle on about – bring the good work medical historians do to the masses (oh, and be on the best radio network in the world). Stay tuned!
BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers