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Utrecht Centre for Television in Transition


3 March 2014

Alec Badenoch on Transnational Radio

The March edition of the TViT seminar is dedicated to radio, as Alec Badenoch will talk about his work in the Transnational Radio Encounters (TRE) project.

Transnational Radio Encounters (TRE) is a 3-year collaborative research project funded under the HERA “Cultural Encounters” theme, headed by PD Golo Föllmer of the University of Halle, and involving partners based in the UK Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.  The project aims to investigate, from both historical and contemporary perspectives, the social, political and aesthetic dimensions of radio’s role in constructing national, European and minority identities through trans-border communication and transnational encounters.  In three phases, the project explores how radio constructs transnational spaces in terms of: infrastructures and public spheres; sonic aesthetics and territorial identities; and archives and cultural memories.

Besides giving an overview of the entire TRE project, the presentation will zero in on the project in Utrecht, “International Radio Services between expats, empire and education”. The IP will compare international services of European nations from a range of sizes, as well as varying positions as (former) colonial and geopolitical powers.  The project explores how they interact with each other both in shifting geopolitical climates as well as in changing and overlapping missions that have ranged from nostalgic voices of home, to propagandistic tools of empire and hot and cold war, to public diplomacy and tool of development.

The talk will focus on the project’s initial phase on infrastructures and public spheres.  Drawing on recent work that examines the BBC World Service as a “cosmopolitan contact zone” (Gillespie and Webb 2013), and taking inspiration from Kate Lacey’s recent work on Listening Publics (2013) to explore the extent to which we can examine international broadcasters as listening infrastructures.  Rather than looking solely to practices of broadcasting and projection, it seeks to follow flows of information inward, in practices of mapping, monitoring and measuring that can provide new insights into supposedly global conversations.


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