Academic Archers on tour!

We’re heading out to some of the literary festivals this year - sometimes with Charlotte Connor, aka Susan Carter, and Cara will be giving her talk on The Archers this May, listings and box office links below.

May

My BDSM relationship with The Archers, Dr Cara Courage

Catalyst Club

16th May, 7.30 pm

Lewes Arms, Lewes

http://www.catalystclub.co.uk

 

Cara Courage, Nicola Headlam and Charlotte Martin - Gender, Sex and Gossip in Ambridge: Women in The Archers

Hay Festival

Event 268, 30th May, 5.30 pm, Oxford Moot stage

https://www.hayfestival.com/p-15444-cara-courage-nicola-headlam-alison-hindell-and-charlotte-martin.aspx

 

 August

Gender, Sex and Gossip in Ambridge: Women in The Archers, Cara Courage and Nicola Headlam

Curious Arts Festival

23-26 August, Pippingford Park

https://curiousartsfestival.com/

 

 September

Gender, Sex and Gossip in Ambridge: Women in The Archers, Cara Courage and Nicola Headlam

Chiswick Book Festival

14-15 September

http://www.chiswickbookfestival.net

 

October

Gender, Sex and Gossip in Ambridge: Women in The Archers, Cara Courage and Nicola Headlam

Henley Literary Festival

1st October

https://henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk

We never thought we'd have to spell this out...

…but we LOVE The Archers, despite what a certain national Sunday newspaper said today.

Academic Archers exists to provide a place for us to share our mutual love of The Archers. The new book, whilst gathering together papers which explore feminist perspectives, is in no way hostile to the show. It is a long love letter to The Archers, as is everything we do.

Our values of generosity, curiosity and joyfulness inform our books and conferences and we are heartbroken that anyone could see us in opposition to the show.

2019 conference schedule announced!

We are delighted to announce the schedule for the fourth Academic Archers conference! 

Topics cover cradle to grave themes and everything in between. Former pregnancy services worker Carolynne Henshaw talks birth rates and attitudes to pregnancy in Ambridge, and writer and journalist, Rob Stepney answers a common listener question of why are so many of The Archers still around to annoy us, with his paper ‘A series of unfortunate events? Mortality and medical incident in a small Borsetshire village.’

We’ll be looking at childhood, particularly that of Henry Archer, in ‘‘We Should have called him Damien.’ A discussion of the impact of Henry Archer’s early years on potential crimes of the future’, by Nicola Maxfield, Curriculum Manager for Health, Public Services and Education, Alton College, and the quandaries of middle age, through the prism of Shula and Reader in philosophy, St. Mary’s University, Hannah Marije Altorf’s paper, ‘This isn’t about curry, Alistair’: Shula Hebden-Lloyd and Iris Murdoch on Love.’

Brian will be pleased to know that farming business gets its own strand this year. But maybe not so pleased with two of the papers, ‘What to do when you’re no longer Borsetshire’s Business Person of the Year or How to handle a scandal’, from Olivia Vandyk, Communications Strategist, and ‘Borsetshire Businessman or Feckless Farmer?’ from Armchair Soil Scientist, Christine Narramore.

This year also sees strands on Ambridge and rural identities and the demographic composition of Ambridge, and three papers will be queering the village and its residents. Hit of the 2018 conference, NATO advisor James Armstrong is back, with a podcast satire on counterinsurgency in Borsetshire.

The full schedule can be found on the 2019 conference page, and box office is open

Save the Date! and Call for Papers!

A very important date for your diary – 6th April 2019, the date of the fourth Academic Archers conference!

Next year, we’re heading to Sheffield and have a venue that offers accommodation – so a veritable Butlins for Archers fans with Nicola and I as your Red Coat entertainers (but without the bing-bong-bing tannoy announcements of Hi-di-Hi).

We’re talking to the venue at the moment about a Friday night arrival dinner and going through to a Sunday morning conference session, so pencil in the 5th and 7th for now too.

As soon as the format and prices are agreed, we’ll open the box office!

 

Call for Papers - The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire

Dr Cara Courage and Dr Nicola Headlam invite the submission of abstracts to the fourth Academic Archers conference, to be held on 6th April 2019 at University of Sheffield.

The one-day conference will feature a number of 15 minutes papers, as well as 5 minute Quick Pitches and posters, around the programme and issues contained therein, of BBC Radio4’s The Archers.

Submissions are invited from any academic discipline and subjects. Past papers have included: 
- Rich Relatives or Ambridge Fairy? Patronage and expectation in Ambridge housing pathways
- Ambridgology and Counter-insurgency doctrine
- Heavy Petting: An examination of Metaphoric Relationships with Pets
- Cider with Grundy, On Orchards and the Commonplace in Ambridge
- ‘Seeming, seeming’: Othello, reputation, and Rob Titchener
- After the Flood: how can Ambridge residents develop resilience to future flooding?
- The Small Worlds of Ambridge: Power, Networks & Actants

This list is not meant to be proscriptive, exclusive or exhaustive, but is 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 in Ambridge and Borsetshire as well as national and global rural issues. The conference is intended to give fans of The Archers a platform to exercise their love of the programme and their subject area and submissions for consideration are welcomed from those within academia and professional sectors, those working and retired and those with specialist knowledge of The Archers.

If you are a fellow The Archers fan and/or academic please submit your abstract of 200 words with a short biography to both cara@caracourage.net and headlams@gmail.com by 18th May 2018, indicating if you are proposing a paper (15 minutes), Quick Pitch (5 minutes) or poster (print and digital). Please submit this as a Word attachment. Programming will be determined by an Academic Archers peer review panel and will be communicated by 4th July 2018.

Further information on Academic Archers can be found at www.academicarchers.net/ where you will also find links to films of the 2017 and 2018 conferences.

Pip and progeny power - updating The Headlam Hypothesis

Following on from her paper at last year’s conference that looked at the family networks in Ambridge and where the social power therein lay, our co-founder/organiser Dr Nicola Headlam has updated this theory now with regards the current happenings in Ambridge – its baby boom, and what this means for where power is located. The PDF here updates ‘The Headlam Hypothesis.’

With Pip about to expand the Brookfield Archer clan, and through this, raising the cache of the Fairbrother family, both these families find themselves in a new position of influence vis-à-vis other Archers and non-Archers alike.

In Nicola’s own words, ‘In this blogpost I am focusing on the putative baby boom in 2018 in Ambridge and explaining the ways in which the Archer/Fairbrother baby imperils the Headlam Hypothesis and shores up the tribe of Jill both vis-à-vis the hitherto larger and more powerful tribe of Peggy, but also as regards the combined network strength of the non-Archers who had been gathering in strength by virtue of their multiple connections with one another.’

Ambridge after all is nothing if not about the Archers families and their tussles…

The January 21st 2028 omnibus – competition winners

Over on the Facebook group we ran a competition to win a free ticket to the forthcoming conference by predicting storylines for a 2028 The Archers omnibus and our brilliant Academic Archers did not disappoint! We chose one overall winner, and so impressed were we and such a close call it was, we chose some special commendations too, who will get a discounted conference ticket.

As The Archers hunts for a new editor surely these brilliant stories of revenge poetic justice and political careers must be in the Ambridge crystal ball…

 

Winner - Beth LadyMac

Joe Grundy, millionaire CEO of Tumble Tussock Cider Inc, and Peggy Woolley enter The Guinness Book of Records as the oldest couple to find love and marry, after an almost fatal argument about the venue and celebrant. They finally agree upon Lower Loxley Mediaeval Theme Park and the parachuting vicar, Nigella. Bartleby, the world's oldest working horse, takes them to their honeymoon destination, St Steven's Home of the Am Upstream. Brookfield Farm is now being managed by Fairbrother Ltd and is a successful distillery, its history commemorated in the names of its fashionable gins, the most successful of which is Grace's Stable. The Bull goes from strength to strength, little changed but for the addition of the DWE shower and B&B Block, financed by L & M Crawford (Costa Rica). Guests are sometimes unsettled by the call of a ghostly peacock.

Special commendations:

Eva Stickyfingers

Jack decides to request hormone therapy in preparation for a gender reassignment and intends to divorce Helen as a parent, while tracking down Rob to establish a new parent-child relationship

Vanessa FitzGerald

Pip’s twins, Phil and Heather, are 10 and already fighting over which will inherit Brookfield and which will inherit Toby’s multi-million pound gin business. Jill thinks they are both highly gifted and bakes flapjacks for them every day. Josh is furious at the injustice of one of the twins getting the farm, despite not having lifted a finger to help since 2015. Ben hasn’t been heard for the past 12 years so no-one knows, or cares, what he thinks. David and Ruth decide to sell out to Freddie, who has taken over Demara from Justin Elliott and wants to buy as much land as possible to develop his personal sideline - mushrooms and weed. Rob comes back having spent the past 10 years studying how to successfully block a culvert without getting caught and the entire village is destroyed in an epic flood. Only Hilda Ogden survives.

Sam Dixon

Having lost out on the Bridge Farm housing development, Emma has stepped into political life and is now spending most of her week at Westminster as a newly elected independent MP standing on the issue of affordable housing. She often meets up with Brenda in London. Ian and Adam have bought Grange Farm from Oliver where they live with 9 year old Alexa. Eddie & Clarrie live in Will's cottage while Ed and Emma are in a caravan still saving for their deposit. Pip has retrained as a relationship counsellor and is successfuly raising Jilly 50/50 with Toby who has bought a half share in The Bull (inexplicably renamed The Scruffy Duck) with his inheritance from Robin.

Portsmouth in-store

Join Debi and Anna-Marie at the launch of Custard, Culverts and Cake at Blackwell Bookshop in Portsmouth. Debi and Anna-Marie will be joined by one of the book's editors, Dr Cara Courage where they will all speak about their involvement with the conference, the book, their work and The Archers.

Date: Wednesday 15 November 2017

Time: 5-6.30pm

Venue: Blackwell Bookshop, Cambridge Road, Portsmouth PO1 2EF

Custard, Culverts and Cake podcasts

Our Dr Nicola Headlam interviewed some of our Custard, Culverts and Cake book contributors on their chapters, and had a general conversation about all things Academic Archers. 

Not more than 15 minutes apiece, the podcasts get straight to the nub of Academic Archers - to be joyful, generous and curious in all that we do. 

 

“Be curious, be joyful, be generous”: a model for successful interdisciplinary research

Social Science research into the fictional world of a radio show could be seen as frivolous, but members of the Academic Archers network find it provides a lens for successful interdisciplinarity, and a unique way to take research beyond the academy.

 

Josh’s business, Lily’s party: ‘An Everyday story of Country Folk’ Online

Lizzie Coles-Kemp, Debi Ashenden and Nicola Headlam take a look at how The Archers undermines pervasive moral panic about social media, and provides alternative narratives about online safety and security in the context of community life.

 

Aldridge v Horrobin: Family Dysfunction and Social Class in Ambridge

Louise Gillies, Helen M. Burrows and Nicola Headlam discuss how the study of genograms for two of the village’s oldest families leads to surprising conclusions about where true family dysfunction is to be found in The Archers.

Academic Archers at Cheltenham Literature Festival

We were delighted to share a stage with Tim Bentinck, aka David Archer, at this years Cheltenham Literature Festival

The event, in the sold-out 900-capacity Town Hall, was an hour spent talking about the enduring appeal of The Archers, and of Tim's insights into the programme, also found in his Being David Archer book (a cracking read, and visit the companion website for images and audio, and to buy the book). 

Our Dr Cara Courage and Tim were in conversation with Radio 4 Broadcasting House's superlative Paddy O'Connell, and his dog, Bob (who some of you might recall stole the show on Paddy's travels around the UK one election time - he did the same this time, not to anyone's complaint). As ever, when you get a bunch of Archers fans in a room, it was a huge giggle, and the audience played a key role in proceedings - boo's when Rob was mentioned, chipping in with facts from storylines, and some great questions!