SAS historian welcomed into BBC ‘New Generation Thinker’ top ten

Thursday 16 March 2017

Image: ©Steve Haywood/AHRC

Dr Christopher Bannister, a historian at the School of Advanced Study’s Institute of English Studies (IES), has been selected by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to become one of only ten New Generation Thinkers for 2017.

The scheme is a nationwide search for the brightest minds who have the potential to share their cutting-edge academic ideas through radio and television. In addition, for the first time, the scheme will be partnering with BBC Four, where some of the selected academics will be given the opportunity to present a full length programme for TV.

Dr Bannister is currently researching the Latin America activities of the British Ministry of Information (Mol) during the Second World War, including the impact of a specially set up fashion show. His research has also focused on rival propaganda programmes in the Spanish Civil War and the conspiracy theories in 20th century Europe, and (in particular, those with a transnational anti-Semitic focus).

He was selected from hundreds of academics at the start of their careers who demonstrated their passion to communicate modern scholarship to a wider audience. After a four-month selection process involving a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London, the final ten were chosen by a panel of BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts producers, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The scheme has been a successful first step for many academics, with previous thinkers going on to appear across television and radio.

For the New Generation Thinkers project, Dr Bannister, in keeping with his work as a postdoctoral fellow on the on the Ministry of Information (MOI Digital) project at the IES, will be focusing on the unorthodox propaganda techniques of the Ministry of Information in Latin America.

Dr Bannister, who was announced as one of the winners at BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead, will spend a year working with BBC producers to develop his ideas into broadcasts. He said he is ‘delighted to have been named as a New Generation Thinker and I'm really looking forward to sharing the research we're doing at the Ministry of Information Project with BBC Radio 3's listeners.’

Professor Andrew Thompson, AHRC’s chief executive, explains that it 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.’


For all enquiries, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8859 /