Department of Media and Film

photo of David Hendy

Prof David Hendy

Post:Professor of Media & Communication (Media and Film)
Other posts:Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange (School of Media, Film and Music)

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 873560
International:+44 1273 873560

Research expertise:
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David is a media historian interested very broadly in the role of sound, images, and communication in human cultures across time. He's especially interested in the role of modern 'mass' media - radio, the press, cinema, television, the internet - in shaping popular life and thought in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

He's just completed a Leverhulme Research Fellowship on the theme of Media and the Making of the Modern Mind. As part of that project, he wrote and presented Noise: a Human History, a 30-part series for BBC Radio 4, which was broadcast in 2013. The series traced the role of sound and listening in social life from prehistory to the present-day.

David studied history at St Andrews and Oxford universities before joining the BBC in 1987 as a journalist and producer. At the BBC he worked on The World Tonight and Analysis on Radio 4. From 1993 to 2012, he taught at the University of Westminster in London.

His first book was Radio in the Global Age (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000). His second, Life on Air: a History of Radio Four (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) won the Longmans-History Today Book of the Year Award in 2008. In 2013, he published Public Service Broadcasting (Palgrave) and Noise: a Human History of Sound and Listening (Profile). He's contributed to academic journals on subjects such as broadcasting policy, sound, music radio, documentaries, bad language, and experimental modernism, and emotions history, and has published short essays in the Cambridge Literary Review, History Today, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and the New Humanist.

David was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2010. He's also been a Visiting Research Fellow at Wolfson College and the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, Marjorie G. Wynne Visiting Research Fellow in British Literature at the Beinecke Library, Yale University (2010), and Helm Fellow at the Lilly Library, Indiana University-Bloomington, USA (2010). In 2011 he was awarded the James W. Carey Award for Outstanding Journalism by the Media Ecology Association of North America, for his five-part BBC Radio 3 series, Rewiring the Mind.

At the University of Sussex, David is Director of Research for the School of Media, Film and Music. He co-ordinates the Public Culture Hub - a new research group - and 'Media History Lab', a new interdisciplinary reading group. He also leads a new research project on the BBC Oral History archives, in collaboration with the BBC, and is involved in a number of other sound-related artistic and historical projects.

More details can be found of David's various projects at his personal website: 


Professor of Media and Communications, and Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange (School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex).

Community and Business

David is a founder member of the Citizen's Coalition for Public Service Broadcasting (CCPSB), and has given briefings to BBC editors about public service values and the cultural importance of radio. He's also contributed to various BBC programmes, including Front Row, PM, Feedback, Archive on 4, and The Archive Hour, as well as to France Culture and RTE. He presented Rewiring the Mind, a five-part series for The Essay on BBC Radio 3, co-wrote a drama, Between Two Worlds, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2010, and most recently wrote and presented a 30-part series for BBC Radio 4, Noise: a Human History (2013).

He's given public talks at the Prix Italia Festival, Turin; RAI, Rome; the Deutsche-Britische Gesellschaft in Bonn; the Guardian Hay Festival; the Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival; the Folkestone Literary Festival; the Bristol Festival of Ideas; the Bath Literature Festival; and the Brighton Science Festival.