Professor Chignell, Director of the Centre for Media History at BU, spoke to an audience of around 100 members of the public and university staff at the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe, Bournemouth. His talk, ‘Archive warriors: How radio historians research our audio past’, looked at the ways in which radio plays from the post-war period on the BBC’s Third Programme had been lost to archives and not released to the general public.
Hugh’s talk saw him present his lecture amidst a set of period-correct vintage household items from the era, including a late 1940’s radio set, and copy of the Radio Times from 23-29 March 1948.
Speaking about the work of those seeking to bring this archived work to the public, Hugh said: “It’s a great shame that, for example, Michael Bakewell’s brilliant production of ‘Rhinoceros’ or Harold Pinter’s hugely important ‘A slight ache’ are denied us and that is why the title of my talk was ‘archive warrior’, because sometimes I think it is necessary to break the rules in order to make good things happen.
“We are fortunate at Bournemouth University that we can have some sort of impact on national radio archive policy and the decisions made in organisations like the BBC. The Centre for Media History is 20 years old this October and the university has, in its collection held by the library, some important media archives including the archive of the IBA. We have a thriving BA in History which emphasises the importance of media and cultural history.”
He added: “We have the reputation and we have the experience to make some noise and make something happen and to fight for this neglected part of our cultural heritage.”
The talk, which was introduced by Professor Mike Willmore, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Media and Communication, formed the penultimate lecture of BU’s Inaugural Lecture Series 2018, with a final address, 'Nutrition – a new view on health, ageing and practice', from Professor Jane Murphy, Professor of Nutrition at BU, taking place at BU’s Executive Business Centre on Monday 30 April.
A full podcast of Professor Chignell's lecture is available below. For more information about the Inaugural Lecture Series and to book tickets, visit: https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/bus-inaugural-lecture-series/