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Learning to Listen - Southampton Postgraduate on Radio 4

Published: 14 August 2014

Southampton postgraduate researcher Kirstie Hewlett has written and co-produced 'Learning to Listen', airing today (Thursday 14th August) on BBC Radio 4 at 11:30am.

The programme draws on Kirstie's PhD research as part of the AHRC-funded Schenker Documents Online project, which has just come to the end of its second phase of funding at the University of Southampton after three fruitful years.
The programme features contributions from Southampton's William Drabkin, who was PI for this phase of the project, as well as from Ian Bent, Hedi Siegel and Kirstie herself, joined by Wolf Harranth from the Dokufunk archive in Vienna.

Hosted by historian Dominic Sandbrook, 'Learning to Listen' charts how the first generation of radio users pioneered new ways of listening. As broadcasting took the world by storm in the 1920s, the radio quickly became the hub of many households. Entire families would huddle around their receiver, each person individually connected with their own headset. But for this first generation of radio users, the flexible styles of listening that we subconsciously employ today were far from innate – many sat silent and fully attentive, listening just as they would in a concert hall.
 Kirstie's research shows how a new, more informal style of listening gradually evolved in the 1920s and 30s by delving into the diaries of the Austrian musician Heinrich Schenker, who began to record what he heard on the radio within days of the inaugural broadcast of Radio Wien – Austria's first radio station. This fascinating record, which spans just over a decade, offers rare evidence of how new approaches to listening emerged over these formative years. The programme follows Schenker's journey as the radio shifts from being something that demanded his rapt attention, to eventually becoming a more integrated part of his domestic setting.
The show will be available on iPlayer for 7 days after the broadcast:

Listen to the programme here
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