BBC and the World Service: Debts & Legacies
Founded in London in 1922, with what would become known as its World Service established ten years later, BBC radio pioneered national and international broadcasting in the interwar years and remains a prominent voice with global reach.
Researchers from the English Department at King’s College London are pleased to announce a conference about BBC radio and the World Service which will help launch a series of events hosted by the Arts & Humanities Research Institute under the title ‘World Service’, to mark the university’s acquisition of Bush House (former headquarters of the BBC World Service). This gathering seeks to disseminate fresh research into the social, cultural, political, and technological debts and legacies of BBC radio by initiating new conversations about the work of the organization during its early years as well as its impact upon and debt to the current climate of hyper media and networking technologies. In light of the current scrutiny and review facing the shape of the BBC as an organization, it seems doubly timely to assess the BBC’s contributions to culture and politics in Britain and the world.
From its beginnings in the inter-war years to the conclusion of World War II, BBC radio broadcasts were just as influential in sustaining imperial power and forging national identity as they were in decolonization and destabilizing national identity. For many modernists, radio offered a sphere for forging their aesthetics or promoting their political or moral beliefs. While initial debates around radio explored its role in collapsing the high versus low culture divide, more recent criticism extends these questions to consider the relationship between radio and internet phenomena like podcasts, video streams, or social networks.
Invited papers will engage with these conversations or other related themes. Keynote discussions will be led by scholars of radio and the BBC, including Todd Avery, Jessica Berman, Debra Rae Cohen, Daniel Morse, and Simon Potter. We will consider among other things: how we might theorize the ways in which audiences engage spoken text or critics interpret it, the impact of the BBC and its World Service broadcasts on listeners, and what studies of the relationship between radio broadcasts and social, political, or cultural realities in the past century might reveal.
Conference Venue & Programme
The conference venue will be the River Room, King's Building, Strand Campus, more details are available on the conference venue document.
The full conference programme can be accessed by clicking this link.
Travel and Lodging
View our international travel and local travel advice and list of hotels near the Strand Campus for help planning your stay in London and navigating your way around.
Fees and Registration
Online Registration has now closed for this event. If you wish to attend we will be able to accept cash payments at the registration desk.
Standard Admission: £45.00
Student Admission: £15.00
The registration fee covers coffee/tea breaks and lunch for both days as well as a wine reception on Saturday afternoon, all catering will be suitable for vegetarians
Social Media Links
The Facebook page will appear here shortly
This conference is presented by the AHRI in conjunction with the Performance Foundation as part of the World Service Project.
This conference is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, Department of English and Arts and Humanities Faculty Research Committee.