Ben Atkinson is an award-winning creative designer, writer and broadcaster from Lincolnshire with a broad range of interests that stretch across the creative industries from design and development to radio, writing and performance.
Ben currently works at the University of Lincoln as the Digital Education Developer for the College of Arts, promoting the use of digital technologies for teaching and learning within the college. Prior to this Ben was a self-employed designer and developer and he has also previously taught on the undergraduate Media Production course within the Lincoln School of Film and Media. His research interests include the application of digital within pedagogy and the history and culture of the USA, in particular, American country music and the animated films of Disney Pixar.
As a writer, Ben has written two novels to date, both published independently. ‘The Kraken’s Curse’ was released in 2008 and ‘Walking on Cinders’ followed in 2010. Currently, Ben is working on several writing projects including a new novel and a travelogue about his time spent visiting the USA over many years.
This year Ben’s Country Music Show will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Back in 2008, Ben took over the reins of the Country Music Show on 103 The Eye (a community radio station based in Melton Mowbray) and over the past decade the show has grown to be broadcast on stations across the entire length of the UK. Featuring the latest in country, roots, Americana and bluegrass music, plus interviews with songwriters and artists from the UK and the USA, Ben’s Country Music show has become one of the leading specialist music programmes within the genre.
You can find out more about the show and listen to excerpts and interviews by clicking here, or you can visit the official website where you can hear interviews and catch up on shows from across the last ten years.
To celebrate the anniversary, a series of special programmes will be broadcast in July and August 2018.
Ben interviews Jared Hampton from the country band LANCO – February 2018
In 2017, the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and Select Lincolnshire launched a new mobile app designed and built by Ben and funded in part by DEFRA. The app takes users on a journey through the food heritage of Lincolnshire by presenting them with a uniquely curated trail based on their starting location. The app features full directions and information on each of the locations, plus the ability to favourite locations for ease of access.
Produced in 2013, Charlie and the Moon is an interactive radio drama which was written and produced from an original concept designed by Ben Atkinson and Hannah Webster-Sudborough. The piece aims to encourage children to have a greater interest in the medium of radio drama, by presenting the audio alongside engaging illustrations and allowing the listener to decide how the story progresses. Based on the choices made, each individual is presented with a unique export of their radio drama once they have finished listening to and exploring the whole piece.
Ben’s main research interest, is American country music and he has written in various forms about the genre over the past ten years. His research sits alongside and directly informs his weekly radio programme, Ben’s Country Music Show, and has considered topics such as the blurring of genre boundaries within country and the role of female stars within the genre. Over the past ten years Ben has directly experienced the growth of popularity in country music in the UK and in 2013 wrote his undergraduate dissertation on the subject of ‘The Changing British Attitude to Country Music’ considering how this attitude has changed from the 1960s to the early 2010s.
2018 is a very exciting year for Ben, as not only is his radio show celebrating its 10th anniversary, but it’s also a decade since Ben’s first novel, The Kraken’s Curse, was independently published.
Back in 2008, The Kraken’s Curse was the first of two novels to be published with support from King Edward VII School, the former grammer school in Melton Mowbray who’s notable alumni include the author Robert Harris and founding member of Monty Python, Graham Chapman.
You can find out more about the novel here and read about the plans to celebrate ten years since publication.