MERL Symposium

Publicity photograph showing the Archers having dinner together in 1951. Image Copyright BBCMedia and the countryside

12 May, 2011, 10am to 5pm

This one-day Symposium explored the impact of print, broadcast, and other journalistic and creative media on rural life. Discursive panels and speakers examined how television, radio, and the agricultural and countryside press have influenced farming practice, rural trends, and come to shape popular perceptions of the countryside. The workshop aimed to foster future research in this area and provide greater focus for future scholarly investigation of such media, both historical and contemporary. It also helped shape the Museum’s exploration of these forms through its collections and programmes.

This Symposium was convened to coincide with the launch of a new exhibition called Everyday stories of country folk: celebrating 60 years of The Archers and MERL. This explores and celebrates the intertwining histories of these two iconic rural institutions. In turn, both the Symposium and the exhibition link to a project aimed at Collecting twentieth century rural culture. Generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project seeks to acquire new materials for the Museum’s collections, which help illustrate how the English countryside has been represented and understood throughout the last century.

Click on the link to download a programme


The Archers and MERL - A 60 year celebration

The Archers 60th anniversary logo

MERL 60th anniversary logo bmp

Films made by the BBC on the day of the Symposium are now available on the BBC website. Some of the speakers and other museum staff give their views on the issues raised.

To see the films visit The BBC Story - The Archers and MERL A 60 Year Celebration 











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