The Charles Parker Day 2012
About the event: This year we're taking the day to London, within sight of Broadcasting House and the home of the BBC Radio Features Unit.
So, join us at the Regent Street Campus of the University of Westminster in London on Friday 30th March 2012 between 10AM and 430PM. Registration is at 10am, with the event formally starting at 1030.
The event is kindly supported by the Charles Parker Trust, Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland, Soundscape Productions, the University of Westminster and Prism Sound, the people behind SADiE
The Charles Parker Day Conference is a well established event in the national radio conference calendar and is an opportunity to reflect on this innovative producer's work and examine within a wider contemporary context the philosophy behind his radio productions.
Charles Parker was born in Bournemouth on 5 April 1919 and went on to become a Senior Features Producer for the BBC in the Midlands. It was during his time in Birmingham that he devised and produced his famous Radio Ballads with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. The Radio Ballads were musical montage features with skilfully integrated location recorded actuality and speech in programmes which celebrated the extraordinary lives of ordinary working people within British society through song and sounds.
This year, in the ninth Charles Parker Day, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the fifth Radio Ballad that Parker made with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger - 'The Body Blow' about ‘the psychology of pain’. It featured the voices of people with poliomyelitis and was the first ‘budget’ ballad made very quickly but still introduced highly creative structural and editing techniques. So one of the themes of this year’s conference will be to both examine how The Body Blow set in motion a change in radio’s representation of disability issues and if, 50 years on, producer’s and commissioner’s attitudes to disability issues and rights have changed.
Michael Rosen, the children’s writer and radio presenter talks about working with Charles Parker in the 1970s as part of Banner Theatre. Michael was also a member of Ewan MacColl’s ‘Critics Group’ which was the subject of Genevieve Tudor and Chris Eldon Lee’s recent Radio 4 programme ‘How Folk Songs Should Be Sung’.
We examine the radio feature past: as David Hendy from the University of Westminster explores one of the first features made for radio - Lance Sieveing’s 1928 ‘Kaleidoscope’ and BBC Radio 4’s Network Manager, Denis Nowlan talks to Former BBC Producer, Daniel Snowman, talks about the monumental 26-part series he made with Michael Mason for Radio 4 - ‘The Long March of Everyman – themes and variations from the history of the people of Britain’ which was transmitted 40 years ago and employed Charles Parker to record the ‘voices of the people’.
We examine the Radio feature present: as Genevieve Tudor talks about her recent Radio 4 programme How Folk Songs Should Be Sung exploring the work of ‘The Critics Group’ which was set up by Ewan MacColl after the success of the Radio Ballads.
We examine the Radio Feature future: as Miranda Sawyer, radio critic of The Observer, explores the radio feature in a digital multi-platform world, with Francesca Panetta, from The Guardian and the Hackney Podcast, talking about her Hackney Hear iPhone App.
Paul Thomas, the former Radio 1 producer who has just been appointed Editor of Sound Digital Production at the ‘Indie of the Year’ - Folded Wing; and Peter Rudge from Duckrabbit who will demonstrate audio documentaries with pictures!
But Nina Garthwaite, the brains behind ‘In the Dark’ talks about her own personal journey in the opposite direction – from TV Documentary to listening to pure radio in the dark.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the radio ballad ‘The Body Blow’ which set in motion a change in radio’s representation of disability issues. But have producer’s and commissioner’s attitudes to disability issues and rights changed since 1962? Former BBC Disability Correspondent Geoff Adams-Spink talks to Trish Caverly and Bridget Flint and Aidan Linton-Smith from the British Polio Fellowship.
Other speakers include Sean Street who will be talking on 'Ecce Homo - Man in the Machine' one of the themes explored in his new book 'The Poetry of Radio’, the theme of his new book ‘The Poetry of Radio: the colour of sound which features a whole chapter on the vernacular poetry of the Radio Ballads.
Also looking to the future - Simon Elmes, the Creative Director of BBC Radio Features, will present the Charles Parker Prize 2012 for Best Student Radio Features.
On Friday March 30th join us for a fascinating foray into the radio feature – past, present and future. It costs just £25 or £15 if you are a student.
Registration is now open and you can book your place here:-
For further information and details of previous Charles Parker Days:-
How to find the event:
The event is at the Regent Street Campus of the University of Westminster, between Oxford Circus and BBC Broadcasting House. The nearest tube is Oxford Circus. For travel information please go to www.tfl.gov.uk