Sussex Lectures - The Emotional Life of the Early BBC

Join Professor David Hendy at the Chowen Lecture Theatre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, for an evening's discussion on the emotional life of the early BBC.

Professor Hendy is a Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sussex, and has been commissioned to write a new official history of the BBC for its centenary in 2022. He wants to begin this task by asking a fundamental question about the Corporation's origins: Might the BBC be understood as the creation of a group of men and women driven less by a clear vision of broadcasting policy, than by a complex set of private moods and emotions?

When the BBC began in 1922, these first broadcasters represented a generation shaped by the experiences of the Great War - and all the psychic ripples in its aftermath. They brought to their new workplace a rich brew of personal prejudices, psychic wounds and cultural anxieties. In so doing they made their new employer in their own image; a place, as one insider put it, that felt like "one-third boarding school, one-third Chelsea party, one-third crusade" - a "safe port in a stormy sea".

Here was, in other words, a distinctive 'emotional community' - a unique working atmosphere that, by the eve of the Second World War, had helped to make the BBC the iconic cultural institution that it was. In trying to reconstruct the 'emotional life' of the Corporation's pioneering personalities, this lecture suggests a focus on feelings might be fundamental to our broader understanding of how British broadcasting discovered its character and purpose in the twentieth century.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks and canapes reception - click here to book your place.

The Sussex Lectures are co-ordinated by the Development and Alumni Relations Office as part of a programme of activities aimed at promoting the University's excellent research and teaching, and to provide opportunities for alumni and friends to celebrate and support this work.