Ten researchers from across the UK have been selected as the 2020 ‘New Generation Thinkers’ in an announcement by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). 

From our shifting attitudes to waste and gambling, to the true implications of humanitarian aid and the Norwegian black metal scene and toxic masculinity, these researchers will have the prestigious opportunity to communicate their research by making programmes for BBC radio and television. New Generation Thinkers alumni have gone on to become prominent public figures in their field as well as the face of major documentaries, TV series, and regular figures in public debate.

Throughout the year, the new cohort will work with BBC producers to develop their ideas to showcase a vibrant mix of research from across the arts and humanities that will capture the public imagination. Some are asking us to look at things differently and challenge our assumptions, such as exploring how humanitarian aid can be bad if not approached carefully, while others will examine questions about our shifting attitudes towards challenges we face, such as the way smartphone technologies are transforming young people’s relationship with online gambling today.

Linacre alumna Dr Noreen Masud (2014) is one of the ten researchers selected this year. She is working on a book about flat landscapes in twentieth-century literature, and the feelings associated with flatness, looking at writers including D. H. Lawrence and Gertrude Stein. The book is part of her broader work on literary texts, particularly poetry, which don’t behave as readers expect – which seem boring, embarrassing, nonsensical or perverse – but which might open doors to new kinds of writers and readers. Her first book was on aphorisms: short texts which, she argues, could help us manage disorderly feelings.

Noreen is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Durham.