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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities

Southampton archaeologist becomes BBC expert

Published: 24 January 2013
Dr Helen Farr

Maritime archaeologist Dr Helen Farr has been chosen as one of the BBC’s 30 new female experts. She was the only archaeologist and maritime specialist to be selected from more than 2,000 applicants and the only one from the University of Southampton.

The BBC Academy initiative followed criticism that spokeswomen could not be found to contribute to radio and television discussion programmes on a range of specialist topics.

Helen took part in a pilot training day in London finding out more about broadcasting, networking with the professionals and receiving hands-on training.

“We spent the day being filmed and critiqued, making a Radio 4 Start the Week style programme and an edition of The One Show as well as meeting TV and radio commissioning editors, programme makers, current expert presenters and industry production technicians,” she says.

“It was an honour to be chosen. We had a lot of fun and learned a great deal. Being an ‘expert’ will be an excellent way to communicate about my subject, the University and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) to a wider audience.”

Sarah Wood, executive producer, BBC Academy, says, “We hope that these women will come away feeling really inspired and confident about their future in the industry. This is a great opportunity for us to share our training, and maybe the day will produce one or more star female presenters.”

Helen is a lecturer in the SMMI and is based within Archaeology. Her current research is on the global origins of seafaring and the colonisation of Australasia 50,000 years ago. This is a multidisciplinary project which involves cutting edge marine geoscience to map the prehistoric submerged landscape and changing Pleistocene environments of the continental shelf, combined with marine archaeology and archaeogenetics.

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