Academic Archers 2017 conference

February 2017 sees the second Academic Archers conference, this time held over two days and including a field trip, and hosted by University of Lincoln, with thirty-two academics from all fields and across the UK, gathering to talk on a subject that crosses their discipline boundaries, Radio 4’s The Archers.

The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire takes an academic perspective on life in Ambridge and Borsetshire, with papers from across academic disciplines, from social media, education, religion, the negative aspects of competing at Flower and Produce shows, birdwatching, class and masculinity in Ambridge, eating disorders and dietary health, flood resilience, social status and perceptions of physicality, and family dysfunctionality.

Unsurprisingly, the conference is dedicating a whole strand to the Helen and Rob story line, with papers covering coercive and controlling relationships, the disablement of Rob Titchener, nurturing traditional gender roles in The Archers, music and the ‘soundtrack to a stabbing’ and forensic Blood Pattern Analysis (BPA) at Blossom Hill Cottage. This sits alongside strands on Genteel country hobbies?, Educating Ambridge, The geography of Ambridge, Power relationships, Bereavement and spirituality and Ambridge online.

Taking place over Friday 17th to Saturday 18th of February 2017, the Friday evening sees a field trip to one of the places considered to be an Ambridge birth place, Rippingale, for a film, talk and meal at The Bull Inn. 

The full programme can be found here and listed below. The book of papers from the first conference, with reviews by The Archers characters can be found in bookshops and online

To register to attend the conference please go to the University of Lincoln shop page at

Conference Fee – £50. This rate includes entry to all of the conference presentations as well as refreshments throughout the conference and lunch on both days. If the conference is over- subscribed a waiting list system will be available. Friday evening trip to Rippingale including conference dinner - £30 (including return travel, talk and a film on how the village inspired the programme, and The Archers-themed menu at The Bull Inn). 

Accommodation is NOT included in the conference fee, but a wide range of accommodation to suit all requirements and budgets is available in the city of Lincoln at

The University of Lincoln has secured a preferential rate for Academic Archers conference delegates with the Holiday Inn Express Lincoln City Centre for the night of Friday 17th February 2017. This is very close to the conference venue, and 50 rooms are available at £70.00 per room, per night on a first-come-first-served basis. This rate includes breakfast, WiFi and VAT. Car parking, if required, is £5.00 per vehicle, per night, payable on arrival at reception. Lincoln is a lovely city and if you decided to make a weekend of it and stay Saturday night as well, there are also 20 rooms available at £95 per room per night for Saturday 18th February, also on a first-come- first-served basis.

To book at this rate, call 0871 902 1617 option 5 which will bring you straight through to the Holiday Inn Express Lincoln City Centre Team. When booking your room please let them know that you are booking as part of The Academic Archers Conference. Payment will be taken in full at the time of booking and is non-refundable once paid. This rate cannot be booked via the website, any third party or via the central reservations team. You can book at this rate up to and including the day of Monday 23rd January 2017. Please remember that accommodation is not included in the conference fee and needs to be paid for separately.

2017 Schedule: 

Session 1 – Genteel country hobbies? – Chair Dr Cara Courage

Daniels & Maddison Warren: “My parsnips are bigger than your parsnips”: The negative aspects of competing at Flower and Produce shows.

Dobson: ‘Big telephoto lens, small ticklist’: birdwatching, class and masculinity in Ambridge.

Michael: The Ambridge Paradox: inverse correlations between cake consumption and incidence of metabolic disorders in a defined rural population.

Session 2 – Educating Ambridge – Chair Professor Carenza Lewis

Lefebvrere: Ambridge as Metaphor: Sharing the mission and Values of a 21st century library.

Turner & Bage: We Don’t Need No Education - the absence of primary education in the Archers.

Macdonald-Smith: Phoebe goes to Oxford.


Session 3 – The Geography of Ambridge – Chair Professor Carenza Lewis

Connelly: ‘I’m an Archer, get me out of here!’: assessing Ambridge’s flood resilience.

Gleed: After the Flood: how can Ambridge residents develop resilience to future flooding.

Nicholls: Placing Ambridge in the West Midlands – Geography, Identity and Culture (pre-field trip think-piece).

Field Trip and dinner (optional)

 Latham: Rippingale and the Origin of The Archers, followed by dinner at The Bull Inn, Rippingale.

Session 4 – Helen ’n’ Rob - Chair Dr Cara Courage

     Runswick-Cole & Wood: Bag of the devil: the disablement of Rob Titchener.

     Medland: Culinary Coercion; nurturing traditional gender roles in Ambridge.

      Campion: Coercive and controlling relationships: the case of Helen and Rob.

     Jarman & Baker: Soundtrack to a stabbing: what Rob’s choice of music over dinner tells us about why he          ended up spilling the custard.  

      O’Connor: – Forensic blood pattern analysis at Blossom Hill Cottage

     Taylor: Dietary provision for pregnancy and lactation in women’s prisons: an illustration from the case of Helen Archer

      Keynote : Brown: A legal perspective on ‘Helen & Rob’


Session 5 – Power relationships - Chair Dr Peter Matthews

 Goode & Courage: Does personal and social status affect perceptions of physicality? Or, The Archers and big willies.

Gillies & Burrows: Ambridge – a case study in using genograms to assess family dysfunctionality.

Headlam: The Small Worlds of Ambridge: Power, Networks & Actants.

Session 6 – Bereavement and spirituality – Chair Dr Nicola Headlam

 Hustler: “God in Ambridge” – The Archers as Rural Theology.

Janssen & Heilbronn: Freddie Pargiter - underachiever?.

Meyer: The Archers as lieux de memoire of the Great War in Britain.


Session 7 – Ambridge Online - Chair - Dr Cara Courage

 Coles-Kemp and Ashenden: ‘An everyday story of country folk’ online? The marginalisation of the Internet and social media in The Archers.

Vandyk: ‘An everyday story of country folk’ online? The marginalisation of social media in The Archers

Turner: Being @borsetpolice: proposing an (auto)ethnographic understanding of Archers fan fiction on Twitter