Gulzaar Barn named as AHRC and BBC New Generation Thinker 2018

Gulzaar Barn, a new Lecturer with the University of Birmingham’s School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, has been selected by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to be one of the New Generation Thinkers 2018.

A member of the Centre for Global Ethics, Gulzaar’s areas of expertise are the ethical dimensions of contemporary practical issues, such as punishment, health, and work. She is also interested in perspectives on the body, as well as theories of justice more generally.

She is one of only ten candidates selected from hundreds of applications from academics at the start of their careers. She and the other New Generation Thinkers have all demonstrated a passion for communicating their work and a skill for making complex areas of study engaging, accessible, and enlightening. The scheme includes the opportunity to make radio and television programmes for the BBC.

Gulzaar said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected as a New Generation Thinker – this is a great opportunity to foster debate and extend the reach of philosophical ideas. I look forward to being able to explore the issues behind recent headlines concerning the buying and selling of bodily labour. Intuitively, many of us seem to have an aversion to undertaking this kind of labour, and feel particular concern for those that do. I’m interested in exploring what might be motivating this concern, and whether this might make the body out of bounds.”

Dr Jonathan Parry, the Director of the Centre for Global Ethics, added: “Gulzaar must be congratulated on this outstanding achievement. Her ability to bridge the gap between academia and real-world concerns through her research and teaching is a model for us all. The BBC are lucky to have her on board and I can’t wait to see the fruits of their collaboration.” 

Gulzaar was selected after a nationwide search for the best academic ideas with the potential to be shared through the media. She will now have the opportunity to make programmes for Radio 3 and other outlets, as well as contributing to wider media through the AHRC. In addition, the scheme partners with BBC Four, where some of the selected academics will be given the opportunity to present a programme for TV.

The New Generation Thinkers selection process included a series of day-long workshops at the BBC in Salford and London. The successful candidates have undergone training and development with the AHRC and will spend a year being mentored by producers from Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme.