I’m An Intellectual

2nd November 07

BBC Conference Room, 35 Marylebone High Street, London

Radio and the universities both have a commitment to education, and are equally accused of both élitism and dumbing down. Where does that leave the intelligent listener and that endangered species the public intellectual?

A one-day conference about radio, the universities and the ‘public intellectual’ – open to the public.

Speakers include:

  • Mark Damazer, Controller of BBC Radio 4,
  • Mark Kermode, broadcaster and film critic
  • Hugh Dennis, actor and comedian
  • Professor Frank Furedi, media don and author of Where Have all the Intellectuals Gone?


0900 Arrival

0930 Hosts’ Welcome & Introduction

Trevor Dann, Director, The Radio Academy

Dr Richard Howells, Reader in Cultural & Creative Industries, Director, Cultural & Creative Industries Programme, King’s College London

0940 Opening Keynote: “I’m An Intellectual: Get Me Out of Here!”

Mark Damazer, Controller, BBC Radio 4

1020 Panel 1: Radio Ga Ga?

Dumbing down versus elitism. Accessibility and the acquisition of skills versus knowledge for its own sake. What obligations and responsibilities do radio and academia share? How do they contribute to social education – and how should they? Academics and radio practitioners swap perspectives and take questions from the floor.

Dr Harvey Cohen (Chair), Lecturer, Cultural & Creative Industries Programme, King’s College London

Maria Balinska, Editor, BBC World Current Affairs Radio

Professor John Ellis, Professor of Media Arts, Royal Holloway University of London

David Hendy, Reader in Media & Communication, University of Westminster

Nathalie Schwarz, Director of Radio, Channel 4

1100 Coffee

1115 The Double Life of (Dr) Mark Kermode

Film critic, broadcaster and musician Mark Kermode reveals how he combines mass communication with intellectual pursuit. Famed for his polysyllabic rants on TV and radio, why is it that monosyllables rarely do? Never knowingly patronising of the audience, but is he intellectually fulfilled?

Mark Kermode, Fellow, English & Film Department, University of Southamptonwith

Trevor Dann, Director, The Radio Academy

1145 Panel 2: New Audio Dynamite

The internet and digital platforms make radio and audio portable and available on demand. What are the implications in terms of learning for academics, broadcasters, audiences and individuals?

What opportunities are there to broadcast, share, find, create and apply knowledge? It may be power, but is knowledge also smart revenue for the media and academia in audio form? Could and should academic institutions exploit technology better for knowledge transfer? What are the rights issues? Who ultimately really gains?

Panellists representing public and commercial broadcasters, academia and private enterprise sum up the educational and business potential for audio that technology can bring.

Dr Richard Howells (Chair), Reader in Cultural & Creative Industries, Director, Cultural & Creative Industries Programme King’s College London

Simon Hopkins, Co-founder & Director, Double Shot Consulting Ltd

Dr Stephen Lax, Lecturer in Communications Technology, Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

Peter Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Community Media, Department of Applied Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University & Visiting Research Associate, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics

Eve Salomon, Strategic Planning, Channel 4 Radio

Justin Spooner, Interactive Editor, BBC Radio 3

1230 The Serious Business Of Comedy: an illustrated chat with Hugh Dennis

Actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, star of Radio 4’s The Now Show, gives his take on what comedy lends to the pursuit of knowledge (if anything). Can it tackle subjects other forms of communication just can’t reach? Is there a link between satire and intellect? And haven’t people got better things to do at Cambridge? NB: contains content designed to shock (a bit).

Hugh Dennis with Will Saunders Deputy Head, BBC Radio Entertainment

1300 Lunch

1330 Keynote: “Creative Tensions: Academics and Radio”

Professor Frank Furedi combines his academic work with regular appearances on TV, radio and in print. Here he explores the tensions between what academics hope to achieve through the media and what radio programme makers want; he challenges some of the anxieties academics have about working with the media, and the tension between playing the role of a public intellectual and radio’s demand for a ‘talking head’ expert.

Professor Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology, School of Social Policy and Social Research, University of Kent

1410 Panel 3: Red Light Spells Danger

You’re on the air. But what works and what doesn’t when the mic goes live? This practical session looks at the vast resources available to radio practitioners from within the research institutions. Hear from those in the know, whether you’re presenting, producing appearing, or working in press and PR. Plus, the challenges when students get experience in radio.

Dr Harvey Cohen (Chair), Lecturer, Cultural & Creative Industries Programme, King’s College London

Chris Coe, Director of Communications, King’s College London

Susanne Greenhalgh, Principal Lecturer, Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, School of Arts, Digby Stuart College, Roehampton University

Claudia Hammond, Broadcaster, Writer, Psychologist

Richard Rudin, Senior Lecturer, Radio & Journalism, Liverpool John Moores University

1450 Provocation: “Diogenes stays up North”

The media are both superficial and Southern. They share innate properties that mitigate against detailed discussion of conceptual issues, exacerbated by a ‘media village’ that treats contributors from the rest of the UK as rarely tolerated lumpen curiosities. But Dr Paul Taylor has a solution.

Dr Paul Taylor Senior Lecturer, Communications Theory, University of Leeds

1505 Plenary: And finally…

Whole group discussion on the health or otherwise of the public intellectual. Opportunity or threat? What does the future hold? With audience insights from selected delegates, led by King’s College London and The Radio Academy hosts, Trevor Dann & Dr Richard Howells.

Trevor Dann (Co-chair), Director, The Radio Academy

Dr Richard Howells (Co-chair),Reader in Cultural & Creative Industries

Director, C&CI Programme, Kings College London

Professor Sean Street, The Media School, University of Bournemouth

Dr Paul Taylor, Senior Lecturer, Communications Theory, Uni of Leeds

Janet Trewin, Journalist & Broadcaster, Visiting Lecturer City University

1550 Close

1600 Drinks Reception