Have you heard the phone ringing and know who’s at the other end before you answer it?
Working with our BT Archives team, university senior lecturer and literary scholar Sarah Jackson is exploring uncanny connections between telephony and telepathy.
She’s also examining how the telephone has been viewed by writers and thinkers since the 19th century, and its impact on how we read and write.
Sarah, from Nottingham Trent University, was chosen by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as one of 10 New Generation Thinkers 2016 after a search to find the brightest minds to share their academic ideas. She’ll work with BBC producers to develop her ideas.
Sarah is also a poet whose collection Pelt won the prestigious Seamus Heaney Prize in 2012.
Sarah said: “I’ve always been intrigued by the radio and the idea of transmitting disembodied voices through the ether.
“With the invention of the telephone, the uncanny voice, the idea of the disembodied voice, really came to the fore. I’m exploring what happens when calls are interrupted, intercepted, or when voices somehow go astray.”
David Hay, BT head of heritage and archives, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Sarah and to add to our existing academic projects with the Science Museum and universities. They use our archives to show how BT has always aspired to use communications to make a better world.”