Bradford artists to create JB Priestley-inspired podcasts

A GROUP of Bradford artists are to follow in the footsteps of JB Priestley by creating a series of podcasts looking at life in the city.

The ‘New Postscripts’ project is being coordinated by the University of Bradford, with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and support from the BBC.

It follows more than 70 years after the Bradford-born writer made a series of short radio broadcasts about life during the Second World War.

Project lead Dr Mark Goodall, program lead for MA Independent Filmmaking at the university, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the AHRC and BBC to bring Priestley’s postscripts back to life for a contemporary audience.

“We believe we have secured a fantastic team of contributors that have important things to say about the state of the world today. Radio is often a forgotten artform in the new media landscape yet can still resonate with a wide audience. ”

JB Priestley’s now famous Postscript series chronicled the life of ordinary people during the Second World War, beginning in June 1940 and running throughout the summer, when the threat of invasion by Germany remained palpable.

Priestley’s talks were short and to the point and yet managed to capture a level of detail and intimacy that left his audience captivated.

JB Priestley, pictured at the National Hotel, Moscow in 1945. Picture: University of Bradford

His commentary on the rescue of British troops from Dunkirk recalled the names of pleasure boats, people and promenades, together with more subtle observations of a shared seaside experience, and all of it was delivered in a distinct Yorkshire accent.

The new AHRC-funded project will develop a new set of ‘postscripts’ with a diverse range of voices that will utilize the spoken word, music and sound effects.

The project will create six five-minute radio pieces for broadcast on BBC Sounds and will offer fresh takes on British cultural history and the British landscape.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Priestley pictured on the beach in 1928. Picture: University of Bradford.Priestley pictured on the beach in 1928. Picture: University of Bradford.

It will build on Priestley’s broadcast legacy to paint a diverse portrait of contemporary experiences.

Those commissioned to take part so far include:

  • Saima Mir, journalist and author of The Khan;
  • Kirsty Taylor, poet and educator from Bradford;
  • Bob Stanley, Bradford resident, musician and writer;
  • Adelle Stripe, writer and author of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile;
  • Tammie Ash, writer supported by A Writing Chance, a UK-wide project from New Writing North;
  • Furaha Mussanzi, activist and manager at the Millside Center; and
  • Augustin Bousfield, sound artist and co-creator of the ‘Bradford Psychoculturalgeographical Synthesiser’.

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