Dr Ella Parry-Davies is named a 2019 ‘New Generation Thinker’ | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Monday, 4 March 2019

Congratulations to Central’s British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Ella Parry-Davies, who has been named a 2019 New Generation Thinker.  Dr Parry-Davies is one of ten New Generation Thinkers to be selected by BBC Radio 3, BBC Arts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The New Generation Thinkers were chosen after a national call for the best research ideas with the potential to be shared through the media. They will now have the opportunity to make programmes for Radio 3 and other outlets, as well as contributing to wider media through the AHRC and taking part in the 2019 Being Human Festival. In addition, the scheme partners with BBC Four, where some of the selected academics will be given the opportunity to present a programme for TV.

Alongside Dr Parry-Davies, the other Thinkers for 2019 hail from Cardiff University, Birkbeck College, University College London, and the Universities of Cambridge, Reading, Huddersfield and St Andrews.  All of the New Generation Thinkers will be using their air time to showcase a vibrant mix of research from across the arts and humanities with a view to capturing the public imagination.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the AHRC, said:

“The New Generation Thinkers scheme is all about helping the next generation of researchers 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.

“The New Generation Thinkers scheme is also one of the major ways the AHRC engages the public with the inspiring research taking place across the UK. More than ever we need the new insights and knowledge that come from arts and humanities researchers to help us navigate through the complexities of our globalised world and address the moral and ethical challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Central’s Director of Research, Professor Maria Delgado, said:

“This is a remarkable achievement for Ella and for Central. It will ensure her research reaches new audiences and offer her a new platform for the exchange of ideas. We are delighted to be supporting her on this important project.”

Dr Ella Parry-Davies, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Central, said:

“I'm delighted to join this fantastic cohort of New Generation Thinkers. My research is all about exploring self-representation with migrant domestic and care workers, who are often undervalued and whose battles against exploitation can go unheard. I am collaborating with this community on a series of soundwalks, and experimenting with sound is key to the project. So it's brilliant to work with BBC Radio, an exciting platform for new kinds of listening that will help to share migrant workers' perspectives with a wider audience.”

The New Generation Thinkers were selected from hundreds of applications from researchers at the start of their careers. They have all demonstrated a passion for communicating their work and a skill for making complex areas of study engaging, accessible, and enlightening.

The final ten were chosen after a four-month selection process, including a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London. They have undergone training and development with the AHRC and will spend a year being mentored by producers from Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme. Throughout this programme they will take part in Free Thinking discussions and go on to write episodes of BBC Radio 3’s The Essay.

The selected academics will be publicly unveiled at a free event recorded as part of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 30 March. Additional tickets for the festival go on sale today (Friday 1 March), and the event will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Thursday 25 April. As with all Free Thinking programmes, the broadcast will also be on the BBC Radio 3 website, BBC Sounds and as a BBC Arts & Ideas podcast. Further programmes focused on the NGT’s research will be aired throughout 2019.

At the Free Thinking Festival, the 2019 New Generation Thinkers will be joined by the 2018 Thinkers, who are recording episodes of BBC Radio 3’s The Essay before live audiences at Sage Gateshead. These essays will be broadcast on weeknights at 10:45pm from 1 to 12 April.


About Dr Ella Parry-Davies

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Ella Parry-Davies is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. She holds a PhD jointly funded by King’s College London and the National University of Singapore, and researches theatre and performance in contexts of transnational migration.

Through her postdoctoral project ‘Home-Makers’, Ella is developing a series of creative soundwalks in collaboration with Filipina domestic and care workers living in the UK and Lebanon. Contesting the undervaluing of care work, she argues that the soundwalks demonstrate migrant workers’ expertise in creating a sense of home overseas through urban practices that can be understood as performative: live, embodied and collaborative.


The other New Generation Thinkers 2019 are:

Dr Brendan McGeever
Lecturer in the Sociology of Racialization and Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London
Brendan is researching how the left confronted antisemitism during the 1919 pogroms of the Russian Civil War

Christina J Faraday
AHRC-funded PhD candidate, University of Cambridge
Christina is looking at the ways Tudor artists made absent things vividly present for their viewers

Dr Dina Rezk
Associate Professor in Middle Eastern History, University of Reading
Dina is discovering the story of how Dr Bassem Youssef, ‘Egypt’s Jon Stewart’ shot to fame, alongside the history of the Arab Spring

Dr Emily Cock
Leverhulme Research Associate, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University
Emily is exploring changing attitudes towards facial disfigurement, from the 17th century to today

Dr Jade Halbert
Lecturer in Fashion Business and Cultural Studies, University of Huddersfield
Jade’s research rediscovers the post-war ‘rag trade’ in British fashion

Dr Jeffrey Howard
Lecturer in Political Theory, University College London
Jeff is investigating the philosophy of free speech, and how to respond to ‘dangerous speech’, lies and ‘fake news’

Dr Majed Akhter
Lecturer in Environment & Society, King's College London
Majed is examining the contentious history of dams built in the 20th century, from the Colorado River, to Ghana, to the Indus

Susan Greaney
AHRC-funded PhD candidate, Cardiff University
Susan is unearthing Neolithic humans attitudes to the ground beneath them and the underworld

Dr Tom Smith
Lecturer in German, University of St Andrews
Tom is exploring the emotional experience of techno music in Berlin and beyond

This is a remarkable achievement for Ella and for Central. It will ensure her research reaches new audiences and offer her a new platform for the exchange of ideas.

Professor Maria Delgado, Director of Research