CAMRI researchers receive funding from Arts and Humanities Research Council for research to mark the BBC’s centenary

4 May 2022

Aasiya Lodhi, Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication, and Dr Matthew Linfoot, Principal Lecturer from the School of Media and Communication, have been awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to connect the public with research about the past, present, and future of broadcast media to mark the BBC’s centenary.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council programme of research will run across the BBC’s centenary year includes projects that will actively engage the public with a variety of research topics. The purpose of the programme is to connect the public and communities with research that explores the history of the BBC and the wider future of broadcast media.

Aasiya Lodhi has been awarded funding from AHRC for her project entitled ‘Reclaiming a Lost Past: Black British Women, Visibility and the BBC’. The project, in partnership with BBC History, Young Vic Theatre, The Feminist Library and Letter to a Black Girl, encourages public engagement with the overlooked histories of British Black women through a focus on the struggle for representation in BBC programming from the 1960s onwards.

Through a range of participant-driven activities, it seeks to both highlight and question the role of media visibility in promoting or obscuring the contribution of Black feminist activists and Black actresses to mainstream British culture and society. The engagement activities, which draw on BBC archives, will include an outreach project for key stage 3-4 students in London in collaboration with the Young Vic Innovate Programme, a special edition of the Letter to a Black Girl podcast and a workshop and discussion at the Feminist Library in London.

Talking about her research, Aasiya Lodhi said: “I’m looking forward to uncovering two important strands of Black British women’s history through the BBC’s archives and to working together with a range of different publics to explore some of the tensions and negotiations this history encompasses. It’s great to be collaborating with the Young Vic, the Feminist Library and Letter to a Black Girl to foster greater public understanding of the pull-and-push of visibility in relation to race and gender, as well as celebrating actresses and feminist activists too often left out of accounts of British cultural history.”

Dr Matthew Linfoot’s project, ‘Hearing our Stories: LGBTQ+ Lives and the BBC’, will be conducted in partnership with BBC History, Opening Doors London and London Friend. The research aims to understand how BBC coverage of LGBTQ+ lives have been viewed and understood by the LGBTQ+ audience. The project investigates what impact the BBC has had in its representation of queer lives, in framing debates and reflecting the changing experiences and identities of this marginalised group.

The project will partner with Opening Doors London, a community group working with older LGBTQ+ people, and London Friend, to engage with millennials and gen Z LGBTQ+ participants. They will explore the impact of the BBC’s portrayal of key events, from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and section 28 to marriage equality and trans visibility, all viewed through the lens of BBC output from their archive.

Outputs of Dr Linfoot’s research will include a short series of podcasts and a presentation drawing on BBC archive material.

Dr Matthew Linfoot said: “I’m really excited to be leading this AHRC funded research project, and in particular, getting an opportunity to take a look in the BBC archive searching for hidden queer gems and to work with these fantastic community partners in public engagement.”

Find out more about research at the University of Westminster.

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