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King of the airwaves

Posted on 29/06/2011

Dr Laurence Scott

Dr Laurence Scott has been named as an academic media commentator and broadcaster of the future today. The part-time lecturer in Comparative Literature and English at King’s caught the eye of the joint BBC Radio 3 and Arts and Humanities Research Council judging panel when he applied to the search for media experts.

Dr Scott saw off more than 1,000 competitors who applied to the New Generation Thinkers scheme that set out to find tomorrow’s research communicators and to uncover academics from across the country who had a flair for broadcasting early in their careers. Dr Scott is one of just 10 finalists.

Matthew Dodd, head of speech programming at Radio 3 said: 'We are looking for people with the most interesting ideas who want to share their knowledge and can make fantastic programmes.'

The rigorous selection process included a real-life studio situation where the competing scholars had to argue for, and then against, the proposition 'Is optimism good for us?' They also had to step into the presenting role and all under the pressure of a live programme.

Dr Scott, a graduate of the MA and PhD programmes in Comparative Literature at King's, said: ‘I'm delighted to have been chosen for this scheme. In an extremely difficult climate for young academics in the humanities, I applaud the BBC and the AHRC for promoting the ethos that our research can contribute meaningfully to broader cultural debates. This collaboration is exciting, and I hope that it encourages a proliferation of such opportunities in the future.’

Dr Scott will appear on Radio 3’s Night Waves on 30 June where he will deliver a five minute ‘Think’ piece on the sinister history of tennis in literature, from God and the Devil playing a match for our Renaissance souls to Lolita's ambiguous smile as she throws up the ball to serve.

Professor Jan Palmowski, Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, said: 'Dr Scott’s work demonstrates that academic knowledge, and academic ways of thinking, provide important stimulus to public debate. I am very pleased about his success, because it adds further to the ways in which our academics add depth to public engagement with arts and culture, through broadcasting, advising theatre companies, and collaborating with some of the nation’s premier cultural institutions.’

Over the next few months Laurence will work with producers to develop his broadcasting ideas further. He will be exploring the significance of the desert in modern culture – the idea which formed the pitch of his winning entry.

For media enquiries please contact Anna Mitchell, Press Officer at King’s College London on 0207 848 3092 or at

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