The 2020 and fifth Academic Archers conference is go!


The 2020 annual Academic Archers conference is, in its fifth year, being held at University of Reading, in its Great Hall, London Road Campus.

Join us for our usual mix of the fun and the serious, as we discuss all things Ambridge over the course of the weekend. Watch this space for news of special guests too.


28th Feb to 1st March 2020

Museum of English Rural Life and University of Reading

Box Office:


We start with an opening reception as we take over the Museum of English Rural Life for the evening!

The evening includes a pop-up exhibition of all things The Archers in its collection, a tour of its galleries, and a buffet dinner.

  • Friday, 28th February

  • 6 pm to 8.30 pm (with campus bar open for those that wish to continue the evening)

  • £40 pp plus booking fee

  • Museum of English Rural Life, 6 Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX


The weekend conference proceedings start 8.30 am and close at 6 pm on the Saturday. 9 am to 1 pm on the Sunday (exact timings will be updated and posted once the conference schedule is confirmed towards the end of 2019.)

  • Saturday, 29th February 2019 – Sunday, 1st March

  • £90 pp plus booking fee

  • The Great Hall, University of Reading, London Road Campus, 27 London Road, Reading RG1 5AG

A limited number of tickets are available for those wishing to make day trip to conference, 75 tickets at £75 for the Saturday-day only – though you are more than welcome to join us for dinner that evening of course!


Saturday evening, we have our conference formal three-course dinner – we say formal, but you are welcome to come dressed for The Bull to Lower Loxley.

Hosted at the Meadow Suite on University of Reading’s Whiteknights campus, the dinner will start at 7 pm, with bar open from 6 pm after conference proceedings close for the first day.

  • Saturday, 29th February 2019

  • Doors, 7 pm bar, for 7.30 pm seating

  • Park House Bar, from 6 pm

  • £60 pp plus booking fee

  • The Meadow Suite, Park House, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6UA


Some notes on the mechanicals:

  1. The weekend is made up of three parts, each with its own ticket that can be bought over one to three purchases i.e., individually over time, or all in one, at once. This is your ticket to The Formal(ish) Dinner.

  2. The cost of the annual conference is c£25,000, for which Cara and Nicola are personally liable. Therefore, refunds cannot be issued after six weeks prior to the conference date, when monies are due to the venue.

  3. Catering is vegetarian as default; please advise on booking if you have dietary requirements over and above this.

  4. We run a Buddy system at conference, to link up those that have been to Academic Archers before with someone that hasn't, so they have a friendly face to arrive to (as well as Nicola and Cara's!) and to answer any questions you may have about what its like, from the conference delegate point of view. You can request a Buddy or volunteer to be one at check-out; or at any time after, get in touch with Cara ( and say of you if you would either like a Buddy or can be one, and we'll take it from there.

  5. Accommodation is available at the Whiteknights Campus, at the Cedars Hotel, on a first-come first-served basis, and can be booked by calling 0118 378 8906, quoting ref. 112841. All information on the hotel can be found at Student halls accommodation options will be issued as soon as they become available. Accommodation booking is not part of your ticket, nor arranged in any part through Academic Archers: any and all queries should be directed to the hotel and University of Reading. There are plentiful accommodation options in Reading for all price points.

  6. Parking is available on campus on a first-come first-served basis and you will be contacted about this in the month before the event.

  7. All university bars are cashless, only cards accepted.


Academic Archers Fifth Annual Conference 2020: Call for Papers

Dr Cara Courage and Dr Nicola Headlam invite the submission of abstracts to the fifth Academic Archers annual conference on the subject of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

Academic Archers are an established experimental academic community where a cornucopia of insights are explored by Research Fellows (qualifications: committed listener) and professional academics (qualifications: university affiliation or independent scholar, broadly defined or specialist practitioner, and committed listener.) The conference is expected to be held over a February 2020 weekend, at a university venue close to London.

Academic Archers are methodologically heterodox and welcome emerging ideas in experimental format, conventional and bids for keynote speakers and submissions are invited from any academic discipline.

For this, our fifth annual conference, we seek presentations - with the broadest possible interpretation - on the conference themes of:

1 – Family dynamics: the psychology and business of family relations

For example:

·         How family dramas, inheritance politics and reversals of fortune keep us all hooked.

·         Family and Kinship in Borsetshire.

·         How the case for family therapy/ grief counselling/couples counselling has become unanswerable.

·         Family (business) planning – how not to do it?

·         Macro and micro power; how national politics affect family politics

This conference strand will be curated into a 2021 edited collection for Emerald Academic Press.


2 - Fandom as a prism

For example:

·         Using The Archers in teaching and/or research.

·         The online tribes of the wider The Archers firmament.

·         Salience in listener lives: why listeners form intimate relationships with The Archers characters.

·         ‘I listen but I’m not a fan’ identity in The Archers fandom.

This conference strand will be curated into a 2020 edited collection for Emerald Academic Press.


The two strands and examples are of course not an exhaustive or exclusive listing and we seek papers on any and all aspects of life in Ambridge.

We welcome wildcards, flights of fancy and suggestions from leftfield. We have accepted papers as films, podcasts, posters, photo-essays, as well as the gamut of quantitative and qualitative approaches, archival and imaginative methods. These topic and format lists are meant to inspire you to think how your academic research, sector professional expertise or listener forensic knowledge of The Archers can illuminate and explain life of The Archers and Ambridge.


What you can expect as a presenter is the most committed and engaged audience of your life, listening avidly with curiosity, generosity and joyfulness and probing with the most penetrating of questions.

What we expect of presenters is to be an active member of the Academic Archers community of practice, contributing to media coverage, blogposts, podcasts and other promotional activity as appropriate.


If you are a fellow The Archers fan and/or academic please submit your abstract of 200 words with a short biography to and by 1st September 2019. Please indicate the type of presentation you are intending (Quick Pitch, 5 mins, plus Q+A; paper, 15 mins plus 5 mins Q+A; keynote, 45 mins to include Q+A.)

Programming will be determined by an Academic Archers peer review panel made up of our listener research fellows (who give the most detailed of feedback!!)

Decisions will be communicated to presenters by mid-October.