Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson announced as BBC New Generation Thinker

17 May 2024

We are proud to announce Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson (UCL School of European Languages, Culture and Society) has been recognised as one of 2024’s New Generation Thinkers by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson joined UCL in 2023 as a lecturer in film and media, having received her PhD in History of Art with Film and Media Studies from Yale in 2018. Her work explores the politics of making images in colour, with a particular focus on the global history of Technicolor.

Dr Dootson pitched a show on ‘The Dark Side of the Rainbow’ for which she was selected for the New Generation Thinker scheme, exploring the raw ingredients, labour and technologies that go into making colourful images.

Her research will ask listeners whether colour can be immoral, dangerous or even bad for the environment, and help them understand that while some colours may appear to be frivolous distractions, they may also harbour deep political power.

In 2023, Dr Dootson published her award-winning debut book ‘The Rainbow’s Gravity’, which reveals how modern colour media technologies transformed the way Britain saw itself and its empire. Dr Dootson has recieved the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) Best First Monograph Award. She also currently co-convenes the AHRC research network 'Bombay Film Colour

Dr Dootson said: "I'm delighted to be part of this cohort of brilliant scholars. I'm excited to share my work on colour with wider audiences and overturn some commonly held assumptions that colour is trivial, superficial and ‘fun’. “My research shows colour is a very serious matter and that once we know more about where it comes from and how it's made, we can start to understand its importance and seriousness. I hope that listeners to my broadcasts will never look at a Technicolor movie again the same way!"

The annual scheme provides ten of the UK’s most promising arts and humanities early career researchers with a platform to share their ideas with a wider audience via BBC Radio 4 and other outlets. Each recognised academic has a passion for communication and a unique programme of study that will resonate with listeners over the airwaves.

Hundreds of researchers applied this year, from which 60 were invited to day-long workshops with the BBC to develop their ideas with experienced BBC producers. From these workshops, ten have been given the opportunity to share their pioneering research and benefit from bespoke training and support from AHRC and the BBC.

Read more about Dr Dootson's research in our interview60 Seconds With... Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson


Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson (Credit: BBC)