Media and the Inner World

The Reparative Spaces of Radio

Starts: June 19 @ 6:00pm

Address: The Base
Michael Maynard Associates
Victoria House
64 Paul Street
London EC2A 4NG

On June 19th the network were holding a discussion in London on ‘The Reparative Spaces of Radio’. Speakers included psychoanalyst Sally Weintrobe, broadcaster and psychotherapist Phillip Hodson, radio producer Andy Jordan and media academics Heather Nunn and Anita Biressi.
As Directors of the network, Dr Candida Yates (University of East London) and Dr Caroline Bainbridge (Roehampton University), explained:

“In today’s society, popular culture and media constantly use emotional forms of communication, creating a therapeutic culture where feelings and notions of emotional correctness often dominate. Our relationship to the media may work in a therapeutic fashion, which as in the case of radio is a very intimate medium and often works to reassure and comfort, experience a sense of shared community or allows for emotional outrage.

Radio is an incredibly evocative medium and the sound of programmes such as ‘The Archers’ or those from our youth such ‘Listen with Mother’ or the forbidden pleasures of listening to ‘Radio Luxenberg’ late at night, build up a store house of treasured memories and play a key role in shaping who we are.  Radio talk shows such as those chaired by Vanessa Feltz on Radio London are also hugely popular and important in creating a sense of an imagined community and identity in an increasingly fragmented world. We are interested in the therapeutic possibilities of radio – how do programmes open up spaces for us to think about our own emotional lives and why do they do this?”

Discussion Points:

1. What is the reparative role of radio? Can it be defined?
2. What is our emotional relationship to the radio?
3. How and when might the process of listening to the radio be therapeutic?
4. What role does the radio play in shaping who we are?
5. In social and ideological terms, how does the radio console us? Is this always a good thing?
6. Do radio producers make programmes with certain emotions in mind to be conveyed to audiences?
7. How do we relate to the radio as an object to touch, hold, use?
8. How does the radio work as an object of social and family relations?
9. In what way is the radio sometimes not reparative?
10. How do the different social conditions and contexts of listening to a radio programme alter our response to it? (e.g. in the car, under the bedclothes, loudly outside, on an iPod etc)
11. How can psychoanalysis and psychotherapeutic ways of thinking contribute to our understanding of the meanings and affects and effects of listening to the radio in an emotive culture?
12. Do programmes work psychologically as containers that help to interpret cultural experience in more or less manageable ways?
13. What, if any, is the role of emotion in the making of radio programmes?
14. How can we draw on psychoanalytic ideas to formulate an understanding of uniqueness of radio in its production of intimacies?

Speakers included:

Dr Anita Biressi, Reader in Media Cultures, Roehampton University
Andy Jordan, Radio Producer, Andy Jordan Productions & Senior Lecturer, Lincoln University
Dr Heather Nunn, Reader in Media and Cultural Studies, Roehampton University
Phillip Hodson, Broadcaster, Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Head of BACP Media Relations
Sally Weintrobe, C. Psychol., Psychoanalyst, Fellow of British Psychoanalytical Society

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