2018 conference programme announced!

We are delighted to announce the programme for the 2018 conference schedule – another packed day of a smorgasbord of topics, from crime to Morris dancing, counter-insurgency to gossip, and introducing two new disciplines to the Ambridgology canon, Ambridgonomics and Ambridistaology.


The programme.

Academic Archers: Analyses of life in rural Borsetshire conference schedule*

British Library, Euston, London, 17th February 2018


8.30 am                                Doors and registration

9 am to 9.15 am                Welcome from Dr Cara Courage and Dr Nicola Headlam


Session One: Ambridgonomics - Planning and Economic Development in Ambridge

Part 1: The Housing Crisis in Borsetshire                

9.15 am to 9.25 am: Rich Relatives or Ambridge Fairy? Patronage and expectation in Ambridge housing pathways, from Claire Astbury, Head of Housing Strategy & Development at Luton Borough Council

9.25 am to 9.45 am: Staying in the Spare Room: Social Connectedness and Household Co-residence in The Archers, from Paula Fomby, Research Associate Professor in the Survey Research Center and Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Part 2: Placemaking and shaping

9.45 am to 10.05 am: Set in aspic?: Ambridge rural placemaking in a place of contested politics and conflicted identity, from Dr Cara Courage

10.05 am to 10.25 am: Can rural proofing make life in Ambridge better?, from Sally Shortall, Duke of Northumberland Professor of Rural Economy at Newcastle University and Anne Liddon, Science Communications Manager, Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University


Morning Break


Session Two: Wildcards

11 am to 11.10 am: Ambridgology and Counter-insurgency doctrine, from James Armstrong, political advisor to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan

11.10 am to 11.30 am: Heavy Petting: An Examination of Metaphoric Relationships with Pets, from Rachel Daniels, Deputy Head and Group Leader, Barrington Library, Cranfield University, and Dr Annie Maddison Warren, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, Centre for Electronic Warfare, Information and Cyber, Cranfield University



Session Three: Said and Unsaid

11.30 am to 11.40 am: Jim Lloyd: Quomodo Latine loqui facit? [how does he speak/pronounce Latin?], from Dr Catherine Sangster, ex BBC Pronunciation Unit

11.40 am to 12 pm am: Foucault, Freda Fry and the power of silent characters on the radio, from Rebecca Wood, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham in the Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs

12 pm to 12.10 pm: Accent and identity in Ambridge, from Dr Rob Drummond, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University


Session Four: Wildcards

12.10 pm to 12.20 pm: Their Names Liveth Forevermore: Recreating the Ambridge War Memorial, from Dr Jessica Meyer, University of Leeds

12.20 pm to 12.30 pm: Unique Borsetshire climate or exemplary sun protection?, from Dr Nicola Boyle, Harlaxton College, Dr Tanya Bleiker, Clinical Vice President of the British Association of Dermatologists, Dr Nick Levell, dermatologist and Nina Goad.

12.30 pm to 12.40 pm: The Morris in The Archers – and The Archers in The Morris, from Helen Burrows, social worker.


Lunch – including Morris dancing in the British Library square.


Session Five: Ambridgistas - Women of Ambridge

Part 1: Lives of Ambridge Women

1.30 pm to 1.50 pm: Does The Archers reflect contemporary values on gender, and sexuality?, from Bill Pitt, social researcher

1.50 pm to 2 pm: ‘I am woman, hear me roar - and now watch me play cricket!’, from Katharine Hoskyn, Auckland University of Technology

2 pm to 2.10 pm: Sow’s ears and silk purses: upcycling and The Archers, from Madeleine Lefebvre is Chief Librarian of Ryerson University in Toronto

2.10 pm to 2.20 pm: Strong or Silenced? The Under-Representation of Mental Health Problems in Ambridge's Women, from Elizabeth Campion, University of Cambridge



Part 2: Women’s Talk?

2.20 pm to 2.40 pm: In praise of gossip – why tongue-wagging and the rumour mill are important in Ambridge, from Louise Gillies, King’s College, London

2.40 pm to 3 pm: Neighbourhood Watch: Gossip, Power and the Working-Class Matriarch in The Archers, from Claire Mortimer, University of East Anglia

3 pm to 3.45 pm: Discussants


Afternoon break


Session Six: Pot Pouri

4.15 pm to 4.35 pm: It’s Not Cricket: Fibbing in The Archers, from Dr Ruth Heilbronn and Dr Rosalind Janssen, University College London, Institute of Education

4.35 pm to 4.45 pm: Fear, fecklessness and flapjacks: imagining Ambridge’s offenders, from Charlotte Bilby, Reader in Criminology, Northumbria University

4.45 pm to 5.05 pm: Paths to the polling station at the village hall: Social networks and voting in Ambridge, from Dr Timothy Vercellotti, professor of political science, Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts

5.05 pm to 5.35 pm: Closing remarks and prize-giving



*correct at time of publishing – additional guests TBC and times may be subject to change