The Charles Parker Day 2018: The Radio Ballads and Beyond

Charles Parker Day

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Celebrating radio, past, present and future

Celebrate radio past, present and future at this conference named after the groundbreaking producer and creator of the Radio Ballads.

60 years ago the innovative radio producer Charles Parker worked alongside the musicians Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger to produce the first of a series of ground-breaking and highly influential radio features, the Radio Ballads. 

This annual conference examines the influence of these ballads on radio feature-making and the power of personal oral testimony in projects like The Century Speaks and BBC Radio 4’s The Listening Project. Speakers include Fi Glover, award-winning radio producers Alan Hall and Hana Walker Brown, musicians Peggy Seeger and Calum MacColl and dance music producer ‘Broadcaster’. 


1000          Registration and Coffee/Tea

1050          Introduction: Mary Kalemkerian Chair of the Charles Parker Trust and Andy Cartwright organiser of the Charles Parker Day 2018.

1055          The Ballads Begin: Peggy Seeger, one of the original creators of the Radio Ballads, joins Peter Cox to tell the story of the making of The Ballad of   John Axon, the first Radio Ballad, 60 years ago.

1130          Beyond the Ballads: The Authentic Voice: In the spirit of Charles Parker’s chronicling of the lived experiences of ordinary men and women, we   reflect on two major BBC projects capturing such voices in the years since his death. The Century Speaks was a millennial enterprise to record the   history of the 20th century by those who lived it; The Listening Project continues to bend an ear to ordinary pairs of people with something unique to   communicate. And in each case, those unique pieces of personal oral history have ended up for posterity in the British Library. With contributions from   presenter Fi Glover and producers Marya Burgess, Helen Lloyd and Matthew Linfoot.

1230         The Charles Parker Prize Nominations: Chair of this year’s judging panel, Simon Elmes, introduces the five shortlisted nominees for this year’s     Charles Parker Prize for the Best Student Audio Feature.

1245         LUNCH. A light lunch is included in the ticket price.

1345         Beyond the Ballads: Sampling Audio: In the late 2000s music producer Broadcaster (aka Lewis Atkinson) sampled the original radio ballads to   create dance track versions. Ewan and Peggy’s son Calum MacColl joins Lewis to show how they did it.

1430         Beyond the Ballads: Composing Audio: Multi-award winning radio producer Alan Hall explores and demonstrates the influence of the Radio   Ballads on his own ‘composed’ radio features.

1500         The Charles Parker Prize Winners: Announcement of the 2018 Bronze, Silver and Gold Winners. 

1520         Beyond the Ballads: New Production Talent:  Former Charles Parker Prize Winner Hana Walker Brown on her own take on the radio ballad,The   Ballad of Hessle Road.

1540         TEA/COFFEE

1600          Beyond the Ballads: New Audio Talent: Somethin’ Else’s Executive Producer Ami Bennett on new ways of making audio features for Radio 1.

1620       Searching for The Travelling People For the past few years Rural Media have been working with travellers using the original voices recorded by   Charles, Ewan and Peggy for their final Radio Ballad The Travelling People in the final session of this year’s Charles Parker Day we have an exclusive   showing of their new film – introduced by Damian Le Bas. 

1700          Conference Ends    

Part of a Season of Sound, celebrating the Library’s sound archive. Audio installation supplied by Bowers & Wilkins.


Name: The Charles Parker Day 2018: The Radio Ballads and Beyond
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £22.00
Member: £22.00
Senior 60+: £18.00
Student: £10.00
Registered Unemployed: £10.00
Under 18: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546