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Arts & Ideas Podcast

English, Arts, 1 season, 2007 episodes, 1 day, 2 hours, 53 minutes
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Leading artists, writers, thinkers discuss the ideas shaping our lives & links between past & present and new academic research.
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New Thinking: 2024’s New Generation Thinkers

Does reading really encourage empathy? Are we asked to perform a role when we walk into the workplace? How was early film and technicolour embraced for political ends? Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough finds out about the latest research being undertaken by ten academics chosen to work with the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as the 2024 New Generation Thinkers. They'll be sharing their research on a series of BBC Radio 4 programmes across the coming year and here's a taster from the 2024 New Generation Thinkers. Dr Emily Baughan, a historian at the University of Sheffield, is researching childcare. She is the author of Saving the Children: Humanitarianism, Internationalism, and Empire. Dr Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal, lectures in drama at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research looks at the way workplaces, from serving coffee to providing care, ask people to perform a role. Dr Janine Bradbury is an award-winning poet and critic who is interested in exploring reading, empathy and sentimentality. A lecturer at the University of York, she has recently published a poetry pamphlet “Sometimes Real Love Comes Quick & Easy”. Jade Cuttle is writing a book called Silthood and studying for a PhD at the University of Cambridge, looking at the language used by British nature poets of colour and their new word coinings. She has released an album of songs and written poems and articles including for The Times, The TLS, The Guardian, Poetry Review, Ledbury Poetry Festival and the BBC Proms. Dr Jacob Downs is departmental lecturer in music at the University of Oxford. He has written on AI-generated music, Beyoncé, how people use headphones for listening and is also an active musician and arranger, and recently worked on Erland Cooper’s Folded Landscapes. Jonathan Egid has spent the past few years digging through the archives on the trail of a brilliant and neglected thinker from 17th century Ethiopia, and the question of whether or not Zera Jacob existed. Based at King’s College, London, he also hosts the podcast and interview series ‘Philosophising In…’ on philosophy in lesser-studied languages. Dr Shona Minson is a criminologist at the University of Oxford. Originally from Belfast, her work on mothers in prison has helped changed legal professional practice in the UK and overseas. Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson is interested in the politics of making images in colour. Based at University College London, she has published a book exploring this called The Rainbow’s Gravity. Dr Jack Symes is a public philosopher and researcher at Durham University. He hosts The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast, and edits Bloomsbury’s Talking about Philosophy book series. His most recent book was called Defeating the Evil-God Challenge: In Defence of God’s Goodness Dr Becca Voelcker's research explores artistic and filmic responses to the environmental crisis. Based at Goldsmiths, University of London, she writes for Sight & Sound and Frieze magazines, introduces films at the BFI, and serves on film festival juries.Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough has made a series of programmes for the BBC about Norse sagas, forest bathing, the history of runes, the far north, Roman bathing since being chosen as a New Generation Thinker in 2013. This New Thinking podcast and the New Generation Thinkers scheme are run as a partnership between the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can hear more insights from academics based at a host of UK universities in a New Research playlist on BBC Radio 4's Free Thinking programme website.
5/16/202444 minutes, 31 seconds
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Life expectations, philosophy in the world, protest

Can we still expect a meaningful job, stable income, a chance of owning property? How have expectations changed and what is the place of protest? Matthew Sweet's guests this week are: David Willetts is a former Universities Minister and now a life peer. The Rt Hon Lord Willetts FRS is also current President of the Resolution Foundation, Chair of the UK Space Agency and a visiting Professor at King’s College London. His books include The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future – And Why They Should Give It Back Dr Tiffany Watt Smith is Director for the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, London. Her books include Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another’s Misfortune, and The Book of Human Emotions. She was chosen as a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker in 2014 and you can hear her in Free Thinking discussions about happiness, schadenfreude and she presented a short feature about the science of baby laughs. Professor Will Davies is a sociologist and political economist teaching at Goldsmiths University of London. His books include Nervous States: How feeling took over the world, The Happiness Industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing and This is Not Normal: The collapse of liberal Britain. Elizabeth Oldfield's latest book is called Fully Alive: Tending to the Soul in Turbulent Times. She hosts The Sacred podcast and is a former director of Theos, a religion and society think tank.Plus a report from an event this week in which the Royal Institute of Philosophy was paying tribute to its outgoing president, the political philosopher and ethicist Onora O’Neill, and welcoming her successor, the political philosopher Jonathan Wolff. We hear from Angie Hobbs, Paul, Tom Shakespeare, Grace Lockrobin, Onora O’Neill and Jo Wolff.Producer: Luke Mulhall
5/10/202456 minutes, 14 seconds
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Winning & Losing, Plato Scroll, the Decline of Nightlife

Matthew Sweet talks about the philosophy of winning and losing with Professor Lea Ypi a political scientist at the London School of Economics and the journalist and author Peter Hitchens. They'll be joined by the lawyer Michael Mansfield KC who has headed some of the biggest legal cases in recent history - including the Birmingham Six, the Bloody Sunday massacre and the Hillsborough disaster and also by Cath Bishop a triple Olympian, former British diplomat, leadership and culture coach. Cath is the author 'The Long Win' which examines how we define success in sport, business, education and life. Professor Graziano Ranocchia, of the University of Pisa will talk about the discovery of an ancient scroll which contains a previously unknown narrative detailing how the Greek philosopher Plato spent his last evening, describing how he listened to music played on a flute by a Thracian slave girl. The team discuss how our understanding of history is altered as new artefacts or evidence emerge. And they consider the cultural role of nightlife against a backdrop of record closures of music venues, nightclubs and pubs.Presenter: Matthew Sweet Producer: Lisa Jenkinson Studio Manager: Tim Heffer
5/4/202457 minutes, 6 seconds
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Kant today, Spice Girls Reunited, Impersonating an Animal

Marshmallows and Kant, ideas about girl power from Mary Wollstonecraft (born April 27th 1759) to the Spice girls; and galloping horses, sea-gull sounds and life as a goat. On today's Free Thinking Shahidha Bari is joined by literary historian Alexandra Reza, philosophers Angela Breitenbach, John Callanan and journalist Tim Stanley to look back at the week and discuss ideas about our relationship with birds and beasts; and how the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (born 22nd April 1724) outlined ideas about peace, reason and finding ways to have rational discussion. Plus we hear from Thomas Thwaites, author of Goatman: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.Tim Stanley is a journalist. You can hear him discussing rationality and tradition with Steven Pinker, the argument against democracy, and the ideas of John Henry Newman on Free Thinking episodes available on the programme website and BBC Sounds Alexandra Reza teaches comparative literature at the University of Bristol. You can hear her in Free Thinking episodes discussing the ideas of Aimee Cesaire, Frantz Fanon and the film-making of Susan Maldoror Dr John Callanan teaches philosophy at Kings College London Angela Breitenbach is Professor of Philosophy at the University of CambridgeProducer: Luke Mulhall
4/26/202457 minutes, 4 seconds
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New Thinking: Exploring the local

Women made up 10-15% of the workforce in the early days of the post office. Looking at a series of different records from the 17th century onwards, Sarah Ward Clavier has discovered stories about spying, how pubs, the links between pubs and post offices.Research suggests that communities with a local newspaper are more likely to vote in local elections. Rachel Matthews, who worked as a journalist in local news before turning to academia, explores the relationship between newspapers, readers, and advertisers across time and asks how the role of the local press is changing in the digital age.Anna Muggeridge has been looking into the hidden history of women politicians in local politics, in the first half of the twentieth century. This was an age when many important decisions on education and welfare were made at a local level – and where the story of women in local politics became intertwined with arguments around female suffrage.Producer in Cardiff: Fay LomasPresenter Dr Joan Passey teaches English at Bristol University and is a New Generation Thinker working with the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to share research on radio. Dr Sarah Ward Clavier, from the University of the West of England, researches the expansion and travails of the early Post Office, early modern news and communications, and Wales in the seventeenth century. Her most recent book is Royalism, Religion and Revolution: Wales, 1640-1688. Dr Rachel Matthews, from Coventry University, researches the impact of local journalism on the people and places to which it relates, both across history and in a contemporary context. She is the author of The History of the Provincial Press in England. Dr Anna Muggeridge is Lecturer in History at the University of Worcester and is currently researching a history of women in local government in interwar England and Wales. She also researches women’s political activism in the 20th century. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the AHRC, part of UKRI. You can find more conversations about new research available on the website of Radio 4’s Free Thinking programme and on BBC Sounds
4/26/202443 minutes, 32 seconds
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Tacitus, Byron's fanmail and Bluey

Classicist Mary Beard picks Tacitus as a figure who still has relevance if we're thinking about satire, power and celebrity. Shahidha Bari is joined by Mary, historian Helen Carr, who co-edited What is History Now? political sketch-writer from The Times newspaper Tom Peck and Konnie Huq, writer and former presenter of the children's TV show Blue Peter. On April 21st 1964, the tv channel BBC 2 launched with an episode for children of Play School and programmes like Bluey and Peppa Pig, have been making headlines so what do we want from kids TV? Plus - poet Lord Byron died 200 years ago this week - scholar Dr Corin Throsby has been reading the fan mail he received.Listen out for Mary Beard and the new series of Being Roman coming to BBC Radio 4 in May - and the first series is available on BBC Sounds. And if you're a fan of Oliver Postgate - The Clangers, Bagpuss and Noggin you can find a Free Thinking episode exploring those programmes.Producer: Lisa Jenkinson Studio Manager: Tim Heffer
4/19/202457 minutes, 2 seconds
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Change, scrabble and cultural christianity

"The times they are a changin" or are they? In politics people are talking about an appetite for change, or being a candidate for change but how radical can you be? With climate change, seasonal change and a change of broadcast time for this programme, Matthew Sweet and his guests discuss change, play a new collaborative version of scrabble, and after Richard Dawkins gave an interview talking about "cultural Christianity" - what do we understand by that phrase?Kate Maltby is a critic, columnist and cultural historian who holds a PhD in Elizabethan literature Sophie Grace Chappell is a Professor of Philosophy at the Open University, whose books include Epiphanies: An Ethics of Experience and Trans Figured Takeshi Morisato teaches philosophy at the University of Edinburgh Dorian Lynskey is a journalist, author and one of the hosts of the politics podcast Oh God, What Now? His books include The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984 and Everything Must Go: The Stories We Tell About the End of the WorldGemma Tidman is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University London researching A History of French Literary Play, 1635–1789. You can hear more from her in a Free Thinking episode called Game PlayingProducer: Luke Mulhall
4/12/202456 minutes, 49 seconds
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Hobbes, Abba, Waterloo and margarine

What do you owe the state and what does it provide for us? Writing during the English civil war, Thomas Hobbes came up with an outline for the social contract between individuals and the sovereign – on Free Thinking, Matthew Sweet and guests unpick his ideas and come up with a version for now. They also explore the politics of butter, margarine and scones and seek guidance about history from Abba lyrics.Barry Smith is Director of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study and founding director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses. For BBC Radio 4 he presented a 10 part series called The Uncommon Senses. You can find him on previous Free Thinking conversations about Pleasure, and Futurism. Joanne Paul is the author of The House of Dudley: A New History of Tudor England. She's Honorary Senior Lecturer in Intellectual History at the University of Sussex and was a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and presented her research in a Radio 3 Essay exploring Speaking truth to power James Kirkup is a Senior Fellow at the Social Market Foundation think tank and he writes for publications including The Times Sophie Scott-Brown is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, where she teaches intellectual history. She is the author of The Histories of Raphael Samuel - A Portrait of A People’s Historian. You can find her in the Free Thinking programme archive discussing anarchism and David Graeber, and HappinessDr Stu Eve is Archaeological Director of the Waterloo Uncovered project.Previous episodes of Free Thinking are available on the programme website and BBC Sounds and as the BBC Arts & Ideas podcast.Producer: Robyn Read
4/5/202456 minutes, 36 seconds
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Unravelling plainness

Gold sequins, silk and vibrant colour threads might not be what you expect to find in a sampler stitched by a Quaker girl in the seventeenth century. New Generation Thinker Isabella Rosner has studied examples of embroidered nutmegs and decorated shell shadow boxes found in London and Philadelphia which present a more complicated picture of Quaker attitudes and the decorated objects they created as part of a girl's education.Dr Isabella Rosner is a textile historian and curator at the Royal School of Needlework on the New Generation Thinker scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to highlight new research. You can hear more from her in Free Thinking episodes called Stitching stories and A lively Tudor worldProducer: Ruth Watts
3/29/202414 minutes, 53 seconds
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Pranks

In 1910 Virginia Woolf and a group of friends caused a stir when they were welcomed on board the HMS Dreadnought, disguised as a delegation of Abyssinian royalty. At the 2017 Conservative Party conference, Theresa May was handed a P45 in the middle of giving her speech. Both these events made the headlines, but what was the intention behind them and did they have any impact beyond provoking either amusement or outrage? Matthew Sweet is joined by Danell Jones who has looked in detail at the Dreadnought Hoax, Simon Brodkin who has staged various high profile stunts including delivering Theresa May's P45 and Kerry Shale whose father was an inveterate prankster who sold practical jokes for a living.Producer: Torquil MacLeodThe Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race and the Dreadnought Hoax by Danell Jones is out now. Simon Brodkin's 'Screwed Up' tour continues throughout the UK from May onwards.
3/29/202444 minutes, 36 seconds
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What does feminist art mean?

Who's Holding the Baby? was the title of an exhibition organised to highlight a lack of childcare provision in East London in the 1970s. Was this feminist art? Bobby Baker, Sonia Boyce, Rita Keegan and members of the photography collective Hackney Flashers are some of the artists who've been taking part in an oral history project with New Generation Thinker Ana Baeza Ruiz. Her essay presents some of their reflections on what it means to make art and call yourself a feminist.Dr Ana Baeza Ruiz is the Research Associate for the project Feminist Art Making Histories (FAMH) at Loughborough University and a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the AHRC to showcase new research into the humanities. You can hear her in Free Thinking episodes on Portraits and Women, art and activism available as an Arts & Ideas podcastProducer: Ruth Watts
3/28/202414 minutes, 53 seconds
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New Thinking: Light and Darkness

The impact of light bulbs on cities like New York and Paris at the turn of the twentieth century and the way modernist poets like Mina Loy and Lola Ridge depicted this, is at the heart of research being done by Dr Nicoletta Asciuto. For this New Thinking conversation hosted by Dr Sophie Coulombeau, she joins Dr Jaqueline Yallop, whose book Into the Dark looks at living in dark places and at experiences including "sundowning" - experienced by some people diagnosed with dementia, this is a change in behaviour that occurs in the evening, around dusk as darkness grows, causing agitation and anxiety. When Jacqueline Yallop’s father was diagnosed with dementia, he began experiencing exactly that, which prompted Jacqueline’s profound self-reflection on the world’s relationship to the dark. Dr Jacqueline Yallop is an award-winning author of fiction and creative non-fiction, and her book Into the Dark explores darkness in science, literature, art, philosophy and history. She teaches creative writing at Aberystwyth University. Dr Nicoletta Asciuto is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature at the University of York. She is currently working on her first monograph, Brilliant Modernism: Cultures of Light and Modernist Poetry, 1909-1930 which discusses the impact of new lighting technologies on the birth of new avant-garde and modernist poetics. Dr Sophie Coulombeau is an author and academic based at the University of York, and was chosen as a 2014 New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and AHRC to put research on the radio.This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more on BBC Sounds and in a collection on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website under the title New Research including conversations about music and disability, language learning, sign language, green thinking and neglected women artists.Producer in Salford: Lola Grieve
3/28/202439 minutes, 57 seconds
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Approaches to death

Viking burials, preserving archaeology in Uganda, the morgues of Paris and New York and the medieval attitude to dying are our topics as Chris Harding hears about new research from archaeologists Marianne Hem Eriksen and Pauline Harding, and historians Cat Byers and Harriet Soper.Catriona Byers is completing a PhD at King’s College London on the nineteenth-century morgues of Paris and New York Dr Marianne Hem Eriksen is Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Leicester and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. You can find an Essay she has written for BBC Radio 3 drawing on her research available now on BBC Sounds Dr Harriet Soper is Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Bristol Pauline Harding is working on a PhD at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, about spirits and approaches to cultural heritage in UgandaProducer: Robyn Read
3/27/202444 minutes, 42 seconds
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New Thinking: East West artistic connections

The Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens produced around 1,500 artworks, and a new research project explores the Islamic themes in his art. Dr Adam Sammut discusses why the Ottoman Empire’s influence on Rubens has been at the periphery of research, and what it reveals about the early modern understanding of cultural identity. Dr Nil Palabiyik has been researching the artist, musician and linguist Ali Bey who was taken as a war captive from Poland and placed at the palace school in Constantinople. He became a key figure at court, bridging cultural differences between east and west through his collections of Ottoman music and translation of the bible. Dr Adam Sammut is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in History of Art at the University of York. His current project is called ‘Rubens and Islam: Global exchange and European identity in early modern Antwerp. Dr Nil Palabiyik is Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Queen Mary University of London. In 2023 she was awarded the Philip Leverhulme prize and is the author of ‘Silent Teachers: Turkish Books and Oriental Learning in Renaissance Europe, 1544-1680’. Dr Sarah Jilani is a Lecturer in English at City, University of London, looking at post-colonial world literatures and film and was a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on the radio. This New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more on BBC Sounds and in a collection on Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website called New Research with discussions on topics ranging from disability in music and theatre to why we talk Producer: Martha Owen
3/27/202435 minutes, 9 seconds
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Rock, Paper, Saints and Sinners

A 1660s board game made by a Jesuit missionary sent to the Mohawk Valley in North America is the subject of New Generation Thinker Gemma Tidman's essay. This race game, a little like Snakes and Ladders, depicts the path of a Christian life and afterlife. Gemma explores what the game tells us about how powerful people have long turned to play, images, and other persuasive means to secure converts and colonial subjects.Dr Gemma Tidman is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University London and a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on radio. You can hear more from her in Free Thinking discussions about Game-playing, and Sneezing, smells and noses.Producer: Torquil MacLeod
3/27/202413 minutes, 40 seconds
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Writing Place

An ancient Sussex church - home to a medieval anchorite and the cottage where William Blake received the poetic spirit of Milton are two of the places explored in the new book from Alexandra Harris, as she returns to her home country Sussex and consults sources ranging from parish maps, paintings by Constable to records of the fish caught on the River Arun. In her new book Harriet Baker explores the impact of a move away from city life on three twentieth century writers - Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Rosamond Lehmann. Julien Clin talks about his research into place in contemporary London writing and ideas of heimat in the work of Heidegger. Shahidha Bari hosts the conversation.Producer: Torquil MacLeodRural Hours: The Country Lives of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Rosamond Lehmann by Harriet Baker is published April 2024 The Rising Down: Lives in a Sussex Landscape by Alexandra Harris is out now. You can hear her in other Free Thinking discussions exploring trees in art and twilight available as Arts & Ideas podcasts. She has also written Essays for Radio 3 exploring A Taste for the Baroque, Dark Arcadias, and a series of walks for Radio 4 in the footsteps of Virginia Woolf. Julien Clin is a researcher based at Kingston University London working on a project about the poetics of place in contemporary London writing.
3/27/202444 minutes, 44 seconds
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Arteries of tomorrow

The A13 runs from the City of London past Tilbury Docks and the site of the Dagenham Ford factory to Benfleet and the Wat Tyler Country Park. As he travels along it, talking to residents about their ideas of community and change, New Generation Thinker Dan Taylor reflects on the history of the area and different versions of hopes for the future.Dr Dan Taylor lectures in social and political thought at the Open University and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the AHRC to share insights from academic research on radio. You can hear him in Free Thinking discussions about Essex, and discussing medieval bestiaries in Beast and Animals. He is also the author of a book Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain.Producer: Torquil MacLeod
3/26/202414 minutes, 14 seconds
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New Thinking: How water shapes our history and environment

Whilst water is the most important substance on earth, we take it for granted in our modern lives. As an archaeologist, Jay Ingate looks at water in the development of urban centres in early Roman Britain. Whilst the Romans sought to channel water for human purposes they also had a respectful relationship to it because of its believed connection to spirits and deities. Their largest sewer was even blessed with the name of a Goddess. Sam Grinsell explores how that connection to nature was lost as European colonialism led to the grand history of dam making and British engineers sought to ensure a pipeline to Egyptian cotton. He explains how this mastery over water continues with the artificially constructed landscapes of the 19th and 20th century North Sea coasts. How does out detachment from waters’ source diminish our ability to connect what comes out of our taps to the intensifying dangers of droughts and floods resulting from climate change? Might an understanding of its history illuminate and offer solutions to our current dilemmas?Jay Ingate is Senior Lecturer in Roman and Classical Archaeology at Canterbury Christ Church University and his research focuses on the complex role of water in the development of urban centres in early Roman Britain Sam Grinsell is a Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture and follows rivers, canals, seas and oceans in the way they shape the spaces in which we live. He is currently working on a three-year project titled ‘Making North Sea coasts in England, Flanders and the Netherlands, c.1800-1950’. Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough is a Lecturer in Environmental History at Bath Spa University She’s a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker on the scheme which promotes research on the radio.This New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UKRI. You can find more collected on the Free Thinking programme website of BBC Radio 3 under New Research or if you sign up for the Arts & Ideas podcast you can hear discussions about a range of topics.Producer: Jayne Egerton
3/22/202439 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Legacy of the Laundries

From 1922, between 10-30,000 women and girls are thought to have been incarcerated at the Magdalene laundries which operated in Ireland. New Generation Thinker Louise Brangan has been reading the testimonies of many of the girls who survived these institutions. As the Irish state tries to come to terms with this history, how should it be spoken about? Is a language of legal blame and guilt enough to make sense of this history?Dr Louise Brangan is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Strathclyde and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (part of UKRI) to put research on radio. You can find her contributing to Free Thinking discussion episodes looking at Ireland's hidden histories and secret storiesProducer in Salford: Olive Clancy
3/22/202414 minutes, 24 seconds
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Gas, oil and the Essex blues

Canvey Island: cradle of innovation for gas heating and home to music makers Dr Feelgood, who drew inspiration from the Mississippi Delta. New Generation Thinker Sam Johnson-Schlee is an author and geographer based at London South Bank University. His essay remembers the influence of Parker Morris standards on heating in the home, songs written by Wilko Johnson and the impact of central heating on teenage record listening and playing instruments.Producer: Julian SiddleYou can hear more from Sam in Free Thinking episodes exploring Dust and Sound, Conflict and Central Heating New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on radio
3/22/202414 minutes, 20 seconds
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Weird Viking Bodies

Looking at the way human and animal bodies were treated in death and used in rituals prompts New Generation Thinker and archaeologist Marianne Hem Eriksen, from the University of Leicester, to ask questions about the way humans, animals and spirit-worlds were understood. Her Essay shares stories from a research project called Body-Politics’: presenting worlds where elite men could shapeshift into animals — and some people’s bones ended up in rubbish pits.This Essay is part of the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme which puts academic research on radio.Producer: Luke MulhallYou can hear Marianne discussing insights from her research in episodes of Free Thinking called The Kitchen and in one broadcasting next week looking at Attitudes towards death.
3/21/202413 minutes, 59 seconds
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From algorithms to oceans

Two years living at sea taught New Generation Thinker Kerry McInerney values which she wants to apply to the development of AI. Her Essay explores the "sustainable AI" movement and looks at visions of the future in novels including Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan and Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl. Dr McInerney is a Research Associate at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge and a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the AHRC to put academic research on radio.Producer: Julian SiddleYou can hear more from Kerry in Free Thinking and New Thinking episodes available as Arts & Ideas podcasts called AI, feminism, human/machines and Yellowface, AI and Asian stereotypes
3/21/202414 minutes, 32 seconds
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Germany’s Mary Wollstonecraft

Amalia Holst's defence of female education, published in 1802, was the first work by a woman in Germany to challenge the major philosophers of the age, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. Unlike Mary Wollstonecraft writing in England, Holst failed to make headway with her arguments. New Generation Thinker Andrew Cooper teaches in the philosophy department at the University of Warwick. His essay explores the publishing of Holst's book On The Vocation of Woman to Higher Intellectual Education.Andrew Cooper is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI.Producer: Luke MulhallYou can hear more from Andrew in a Free Thinking discussion about The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe available as an Arts & Ideas podcast and on BBC Sounds
3/20/202414 minutes, 14 seconds
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Scottish Kingship

In 2024, Scotland marks two big anniversaries: David I ascended the throne nine centuries ago and James I of Scotland began his reign 600 years ago. Both Kings played a role in shaping Scotland's ideas about its monarchy. How did David shape Scotland, and what relevance does the Stone of Destiny have - then, and now, as it returns to its native Perthshire? We look at the Scottish dream-vision, initiated by James I in writing Scotland's first love poem, sparking a new tradition lasting through the Renaissance and beyond. Anne McElvoy hears about distinctly Scottish ideas of Kingship.Kylie Murray is the author of The Making of the Scottish Dream Vision and a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation ThinkerAlexandra Sanmark is Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of the Highlands and IslandsDonna Heddle is Professor of Northern Heritage and Director of the UHI Institute for Northern Studies at the University of the Highlands and IslandsWilliam Murray is Viscount Stormont and owner of Scone PalaceProducer: Ruth WattsYou might be interested in other Free Thinking episodes exploring Scottish history and writing including programmes about The Declaration of Abroath; John McGrath's Scottish drama, Tales of Scotland: A Nation and its literature with Janice Galloway, Peter Mackay, Murray Pittock and Kathleen Jamie; The Battle of Culloden - Outlander and Peter Watkins; crime writer Ian Rankin talks to Tahmima Anam.
3/20/202445 minutes, 1 second
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Free speech, censorship and modern China

Rana Mitter explores looks at the role of writing in propagating ideas and exposing political tensions. He hears how writers have given voice to personal and political ambitions, from Ding Ling to the teenagers of modern China. Yuan Yang discusses her new book, Private Revolutions. Simon Ings talks about his latest book Engineers of Human Souls which examines four writers whose ideas shaped the careers of some of the twentieth century’s most infamous dictators. And Jeffrey Howard analyses the ethics of negotiating free speech and censorship today.Producer: Ruth WattsPrivate Revolutions: Coming of Age in a New China by Yuan Yang is out nowSimon Ings' book Engineers of Human Souls: Four Writers Who Changed Twentieth-Century Minds looks at Maurice Barrès, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Ding Ling and Maxim Gorky.Jeffrey Howard is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Public Policy at UCL and Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics in AI at Oxford University. You can find an Essay called Prison Break which he wrote for BBC Radio 3 asking if it is ever ok to escape from prison available on BBC Sounds. He was chosen as a New Generation Thinker in 2020 on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on radio.
3/19/202444 minutes, 48 seconds
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Call Me Mother

Why do babies say "daddy" earlier and what might it mean when a baby does call for "mum" or "anne"? Dr Rebecca Woods, from Newcastle University, calls upon her training in linguistics and observations from her own home to trace the way children’s experiences shape their first words and the names they use for their parents.Rebecca Woods is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to put academic research on radio.Producer: Ruth WattsYou can hear more from Rebecca Woods in a Free Thinking discussion about childhood and play when Young V&A opened - it's available from the programme website and as an Arts & Ideas podcast
3/18/202415 minutes, 3 seconds
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Edward Bond

When Saved was banned in 1965 by the Lord Chamberlain's office, the Royal Court theatre turned itself into a private club to allow performances of Edward Bond's drama to be staged. This may be the most famous incident in the career of the playwright, who has died aged 89, but he was the author of over 50 plays, including several written for young people to perform, and others designed for broadcast on BBC Radio and he also worked on film scripts, wrote poems and long prefaces to his works. Joining Matthew Sweet to discuss his life and writing are the playwright Mark Ravenhill, actor Kenneth Cranham who starred in a 1969 production of Saved, Jen Harvie who is a Professor of Contemporary Drama at Queen Mary, London, Tony Coult, a writer and teacher of drama who has run Edward Bond's website for the past five years and written introductions to his play texts, and Claudette Bryanston, who commissioned The Children for a performance in a local Cambridge school with teenagers acting alongside adults. Producer: Robyn Read
3/15/202445 minutes, 1 second
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Sleep justice and sleeplessness

There's nothing like a good night's sleep, but Laurence Scott discovers that our ability to enjoy one may be related to other societal inequalities, giving rise to the idea of sleep justice. His guests, researchers Sally Cloke, Jonathan White, Alice Vernon and Alice Bennett, also provide insights into sleep disorders, including night terrors, and the tyranny of the alarm clock.Producer: Torquil MacLeodJonathan White is Professor of Politics and Deputy Head of the European Institute at the London School of Economics whose books include In the Long Run: The Future as a Political Idea and an article for the Journal of Political Philosophy Circadian Justice Dr Sally Cloke is a designer, researcher and writer on design and care ethics based at Cardiff Metropolitan University Dr Alice Vernon, a creative writing lecturer at Aberystwyth University is the author of Night Terrors: Troubled Sleep and the Stories We Tell About It Dr Alice Bennett, who lectures at Liverpool Hope University is the author of Alarm and Contemporary Fictions of AttentionIn the Free Thinking archives and available as Arts & Ideas podcasts you can find other discussions relating to sleep hearing from Russell Foster, Sasha Handley, Diletta de Cristofaro, Kenneth Miller and Matt Berry
3/13/202444 minutes, 26 seconds
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Images of Persia

The medieval poet Hafez and how his work speaks to today, the impact of digs undertaken by 19th-century feminist archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy and the novels she wrote looking back to a Persian past, the role of classical singing and the impact of the Mongol invasion are discussed by the academics Julia Hartley, Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow; Michelle Assay, Principal investigator of the Marie Curie/UKRI project, “Women and Western Art Music in Iran” at King’s College London; Sussan Babaie, Professor in the Arts of Iran and Islam at the Courtauld Institute and Ide Haghi, Lecturer in Modern Foreign Languages at the University of Glasgow. Chris Harding presents.Producer: Jayne EgertonJulia Hartley's book Iran and French Orientalism: Persia in the Literary Culture of Nineteenth-Century France is out now. You can hear more from Julia in a Free Thinking discussion about Alexander the Great and in a Radio 3 Essay called Alexander and the Persians. Michelle Assay contributed to a discussion about Lady Macbeth. All are available as Arts & Ideas podcasts and on BBC Sounds.
3/12/202444 minutes, 35 seconds
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Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation

Gene Hackman is a brilliant but troubled surveillance expert who gets drawn unwittingly into a conspiracy to murder. Released at the height of the Watergate scandal, Coppola's 1974 film about covert surveillance and wire-tapping reflected the mood of paranoia in the USA at the time. Matthew Sweet his guests, film historians Lucy Bolton and Phuong Le, writer Michael Goldfarb and writer and filmmaker Adam Scovell discuss the film and how our attitudes to being subjected to surveillance have changed in the fifty years since it was released.Producer: Torquil MacLeod
3/7/202445 minutes, 33 seconds
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Muses and women's creativity

Iseult Gonne is the daughter of the Irish suffragette, actress and republican who became a muse for WB Yeats. Novelist Helen Cullen has been researching her troubled life. Rochelle Rowe's research looks at women of colour who modelled for artists including Jacob Epstein and Dante Gabriel Rosetti, tracing the histories of women like Fanny Eaton and Sunita Devi. Tabitha Barber is curating an exhibition of women's art opening at Tate Britain in May. Naomi Paxton hosts a conversation about muses, women making art and carving out a public name for themselves.Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement runs at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 31 October From16 May, Tate Britain opens Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520 - 1920 Angelica Kauffman runs at the Royal Academy (1 March - 30 June 2024) Julia Margaret Cameron runs at the National Portrait Gallery (21 March - 16 June)You can find a collection of episodes exploring Women in the World on the Free Thinking programme website
3/6/202445 minutes, 2 seconds
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Sarah Maldoror, Storm Jameson, the Hague Congress

1,300 women met in The Hague in 1915 to discuss votes for women, human rights and the importance of peace. Jennifer Thomson shares her research into how this fed into the development of the women's movement and fed into organisations like the United Nations. Storm Jameson (1891-1986) was President of the English branch of PEN International during WWII and helped many writers flee war torn Europe. Katie Cooper has been reading her newly re-published autobiography Journey From the North. Sarah Maldoror ( 1929 −2020) is best known for her feature film Sambizanga which looked at the 1961–1974 war in Angola. New Generation Thinkers Alex Reza and Sarah Jilani discuss her film-making career. Shahidha Bari hosts.Producer: Ruth WattsYou can find a collection of Free Thinking episodes exploring Women in the World from Julian of Norwich to Hilma Af Klint, women warriors to stepmothers, landladies and divas.
3/5/202445 minutes, 12 seconds
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The Dutch Connection

Adam Smyth loves books - as well as being a Professor of English Literature he runs an experimental printing press from a cold barn in Oxfordshire. Who better then to tell us about the quirky pioneers of print, the subject of his new publication The Book-Makers? In this programme he takes us to 1490s London to tell the story of Wynken de Worde, a Dutch immigrant who came to work at William Caxton's press, the very first printing enterprise in England. A canny businessman, de Worde set about making all things printed into Early Modern must-haves.At the same time as books and printing took hold in England, a network of communications grew across Early Modern Europe. Dr Esther van Raamsdonk is an expert in Anglo-Dutch relations and the people, goods and ideas that moved back and forth across the North Sea at the time. We will learn how myriad changes they brought continue to shape our society and also about the many cheese-based jokes published about the low countries when relations soured.And Dr Elise Watson researches books and early modern Catholicism. She has stories to tell about crafty Dutch Catholic lay sisters running bookshops, establishing schools and outselling the guilds in Amsterdam with their book stalls and door-to-door peddling. What sort of influence did they have on Early Modern England?Producer in Salford: Olive Clancy
2/29/202445 minutes, 53 seconds
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Hitchhiking

Travelling in Woody Guthrie's footsteps inspired a history of hitchhiking written by Jonathan Purkis. He joins Matthew Sweet for a conversation which ranges across hitchhiking in the UK and in Eastern Europe, where Poland operated a kind of voucher system. We look at the influence of film depictions from the Nevada desert depicted in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the hippie vibe of Easy Rider to the horror of The Hitcher and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the female focus of Je Tu Il Elle by Chantal Akerman. Has the idea of hitchhiking now had its day? Joining Matthew to assess the idea of risk and our perception of thumbing a lift are Timandra Harkness, film critic Adam Scovell, plus Sally J Morgan, winner of the Portico prize for her book Toto Among the Murderers, based on her experience of being offered a lift by Fred and Rosemary WestJonathan Purkis's book is called Driving with Strangers Sally J Morgan's book Toto Among the Murderers is out now Timandra Harkness is the author of Big Data: does size matter? has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a show called Take a Risk and contributes to and presents programmes on BBC Radio 4. Adam Scovell writes about film for Sight and Sound magazine and is a published novelist. His books include How Pale The Winter Has Made Us and Nettles.Producer: Jessica TreenWe've a whole playlist of discussions exploring The Way We Live Now with topics ranging from Breakfast, to Gloves, Toys to Punk, Rationality and Tradition. Find them on the Free Thinking programme website and available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts
2/28/202445 minutes, 2 seconds
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Stitching Stories

Recycling Victorian clothes, the history of costume design, the messages conveyed in art made from textiles and the stories encoded in ancient embroidery are explored by Shahidha Bari and her guests Isabella Rosner, Rianna Norbert-David, Jade Halbert and Danielle Dove. They also look at exhibitions at the Barbican Gallery in London and the Museum of London in Docklands.Isabella Rosner is the curator of the Royal School of Needlework and a New Generation Thinker. You can hear an Essay from her about Quaker needlework broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in March Jade Halbert is a New Generation Thinker based at the University of Leeds working on the project https://www.constructingcostumehistories.co.uk/ Danielle Dove is a Fellow of the Institute for Sustainability at the University of Surrey researching second hand clothes in the Victorian period Rianna Norbert-David is an assistant curator at the Museum of London and has a MA in textile design from the Royal College of ArtUnravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art runs at the Barbican Art Gallery in London from Tue 13 Feb—Sun 26 May 2024 Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style runs at the Museum of London in Docklands until 14 April 2024 Sargent and Fashion runs at Tate Britain in London from 22 Feb - 7 July 2024 Leeds Art Gallery runs monthly stitch art events using works in their collection as the inspiration for textile art. The University is home to the M&S archive https://archive.marksandspencer.com/ Producer: Robyn Read
2/27/202443 minutes, 41 seconds
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Can - Future Days

Formed in 1968, the German group Can's founding members included Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay who had both studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen. Joined by jazz drummer Jaki Liebezeit, guitarist Michael Karoli and Japanese vocalist Damo Suzuki for the group's 'classic' line-up that recorded Tago Mago (1971) and Ege Bamyasi (1972), their fourth album - Future Days - saw them exploring a more ambient, blissed-out sound, in contrast to their previous releases. Matthew Sweet is joined by musicians Jah Wobble and Gwenno, novelist Alan Warner and cultural historian Mererid Puw Davies to take a deep dive into the album and explore the blend of influences that made Can such a unique musical proposition.Producer: Torquil MacLeodAn expanded edition of Jah Wobble's autobiography Dark Luminosity: Memoirs of a Geezer is out on 7th March.
2/22/202444 minutes, 28 seconds
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Myths, ships and history

Asked to picture a nineteenth-century ship, you might think of the HMS Victory or HMS Temeraire, symbolic of empire. Something epitomised by flag-waving and victory - Britannia rules the waves. In this edition of Free Thinking, Catherine Fletcher asks if we memorialise one aspect of our maritime past at the expense of others.Remember in Great Expectations when Magwitch escapes from a prison ship anchored by the coast? Dickens was likely inspired by the reality of the 19th century "prison hulks", decommissioned warships moored on docks to house criminals. Dr Anna McKay of the University of Liverpool can tell us more about how the hulks, supposed to be a short term solution to a crisis, ended up being used for decades. Dr Lloyd Belton of the University of Glasgow studies the Kru - fiercely independent West African sailors who formed an alliance with the Royal Navy to rid the African coast of slavers. His research follows what happened these men, who saw themselves as servants of the Empire, when they settled in Liverpool between the wars. And Dr Oliver Finnegan from the National Archive at Kew will tell us about the enorrmous historical potential of the "Prize Papers", a collection of thousands of unopened letters, legal papers and other documents from ships captured by British privateers and the Royal navy between 1652 and 1815.Presented by: Catherine Fletcher Producer in Salford: Olive ClancyBBC Radio 3's Words and Music episode about Antartica, the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his ship Endurance is available on BBC Sounds and you can find other episodes of Free Thinking exploring ships in history hearing from Sarah Caputo, Hew Locke and Jake Subryan Richards
2/20/202444 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Condom and V.D.

The first condoms were made of cloth and intended to be used after sex. Later they were replaced by hand stitched animal gut ones – designed to be washed and reused. We chart the bizzare, fraught and sexist history of attempts to deal with the prevention of sexually transmitted disease - where medical practice came into conflict with the morals of society.Histories of Sexual Health in Britain 1918-1980 is a research project being led by Anne Hanley. She joins Bill Yarber from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and Kate Lister from the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies who has looked at the experiences and depictions of sex work from the nineteenth century to today. Matthew Sweet hosts the discussionProducer: Julian SiddleDr Kate Lister is a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Trinity University. She curates the online project www.thewhoresofyore.com and is the author the book A Curious History of Sex. You can hear more from her in a Free Thinking episode called How we talk about sex and women's bodies Dr Anne Hanley is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham whose research project is engaged in collecting oral histories with people who accessed and/or staffed sexual-health clinics between 1948 and 1980 in Britain. Professor Bill Yarber literally wrote the book or rather books for sex education in America, from some of the first guides to STDs, HIVAIDS and condom use to 'Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America' - the bestselling textbook on the subject.
2/15/202445 minutes, 5 seconds
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Chocolate

Chocolate is an indulgent luxury used to mark special points in the calendar like Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas. But it's also everywhere, from breakfast cereals to protein shakes. Shahidha Bari unravels this paradox, tracing the meanings of chocolate from ancient Central America, via the Aztecs and Maya, over the Atlantic to the Spanish court, the coffee houses and palaces of 17th century London, to the invention of mass-produced milk chocolate as we know it today in Switzerland in the late 19th and early 20th century. It's a story of pleasure, intoxication, conquest and industrialisation, all following from the specific culinary qualities of a bean. With:Bee Wilson, food writer whose most recent book is The Secret Of Cooking: Recipes For An Easier Life In The KitchenSean Williams, Radio 3 & AHRC New Generation Thinker and Senior Lecturer in German and European Cultural History at the University of SheffieldCaroline Dodds Pennock, Senior Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield, whose most recent book is On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered EuropeMisha Ewen, Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of BristolProducer: Luke Mulhall
2/14/202445 minutes, 17 seconds
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Chocolate

An indulgent luxury used to mark special points in the calendar like Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas, but it's also everywhere, from breakfast cereals to protein shakes. Shahidha Bari unravels this paradox, tracing the meanings of chocolate from ancient Central America, via the Aztecs and Maya, over the Atlantic to the Spanish court, the coffee houses and palaces of 17th century London, to the invention of mass-produced milk chocolate as we know it today in Switzerland in the late 19th and early 20th century. It's a story of pleasure, intoxication, conquest and industrialisation, all following from the specific culinary qualities of a bean. With:Bee Wilson, food writer whose most recent book is The Secret Of Cooking: Recipes For An Easier Life In The KitchenSean Williams, Radio 3 & AHRC New Generation Thinker and Senior Lecturer in German and European Cultural History at the University of SheffieldCaroline Dodds Pennock, Senior Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield, whose most recent book is On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered EuropeMisha Ewen, Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of BristolProducer: Luke MulhallYou can find other Free Thinking episodes exploring food, picnics, breakfast available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas poodcast
2/9/202445 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Greenwich Outrage

In February 1894, the French anarchist Martial Bourdin was killed in Greenwich Park when the bomb he was carrying exploded accidentally. The event provided Joseph Conrad with the inspiration for his novel The Secret Agent, and the resulting backlash against anarchist groups in London eventually led to the first British immigration legislation - the 1905 Aliens Act. As a conference takes place exploring the incident and its legacy, Matthew Sweet is joined by historians Charlotte Jones, Ruth Kinna and Thomas Jones to discuss the bombing that was dubbed "the Greenwich Outrage".Producer: Torquil MacLeod
2/9/202445 minutes, 18 seconds
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Picnics

In 1989 the demilitarized zone between East and West was the venue for a gathering which was titled the Pan-European picnic. Matthew Longo's new book explores the Hungarian, East German and Russian politics which led to this happening and how it contributed to the ending of the cold war. He joins historians of art and food in a conversation hosted by Anne McElvoy which ranges across picnics in ancient Greece, French impressionist painting, country house opera events like Glyndebourne and celebrating the arrival of the cherry blossom season.Matthew Longo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Leiden and author of The PicnicMonika Hinkel is an art historian based at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of LondonKirsty Sinclair Dootson is a lecturer in Film and Media at University College LondonPen Vogler is a food writer and the author of Scoff: A History of Food and Class in BritainProducer: Ruth WattsThe Picnic: An Escape to Freedom and the Collapse of the Iron Curtain by Matthew Longo is out now You can find other discussions about German and cold war history on the Free Thinking programme website and available as the Arts and Ideas podcast.
2/7/202445 minutes, 23 seconds
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Iris Murdoch's The Sovereignty of Good

Bidisha, Peter Conradi and Lucy Bolton join Matthew Sweet to read the moral philosophy book published by Iris Murdoch in 1970. Murdoch, who died aged 79, 25 years ago on Feb 8th 1999, was a writer of novels and philosophy books which explored the nature of good/evil, the role of the unconscious and of sex and love. In 1978 she won the Booker prize for her story The Sea, The Sea and in 1987 she was made a Dame. Lucy Bolton has written about Iris Murdoch, philosophy and cinema; novelist and critic Bidisha is a fan, Peter J Conradi, who is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Kingston, was a friend of Iris Murdoch and author of books including Iris Murdoch: A Life, A Writer at War: Letters and Diaries of Iris Murdoch 1939-45, The Saint and Artist: A Study of the Fiction of Iris Murdoch, and his autobiography Family Business: A Memoir which talks of his friendship with her.The Iris Murdoch Research Centre is at the University of Chichester. You might also like another Free Thinking discussion on rewriting 20th-century British philosophy and women philosophers including Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley,Producer: Luke Mulhall
2/5/202444 minutes, 49 seconds
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On The Silver Globe

The "best sci-fi film" never made? That's what Andrzej Zulawski's project has been called. Shut down by the Polish government before production had finished in 1977, the film wasn't completed and released until 1987. It's a visually stunning and wildly ambitious exploration of myth, religion and being human in an alien world. Zulawski (1940-2016) studied cinema in France and became known for art-house films working with actresses including Romy Schneider, Isabelle Adjani and Sophie Marceau. Matthew Sweet and his guests Daniel Bird, Sarah Dillon and David Hering, have been watching On the Silver Globe.Producer: Torquil MacLeod
2/2/202445 minutes, 43 seconds
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East West religious connections

The Light of Asia: A History of Western Fascination with the East is the new book from New Generation Thinker and historian Christopher Harding. In Passions of the Soul, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams looks at the classics of Eastern Christian writing. At Compton Verney in Warwickshire, the artist Gayle Chong Kwan is preparing to unveil ‘shrines’ made up of newly cast bronze offerings, incorporating references to Chinese, Taoist and Buddhist cultures, as well as focusing on ideas around food, soil and the body. Rana Mitter hosts the conversation.Producer: Julian SiddleThe Taotie runs at Compton Verney from 21 March 2024 – 31 March 2026 On the Free Thinking programme website you can find more collections of conversations exploring religious belief, and South and East Asian culture
1/31/202445 minutes, 2 seconds
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Secrets, Lies & Irish History

The stories told and secrets kept in Ireland north and south are the focus of a pair of deeply personal new non fiction books - Missing Persons Or My Grandmother's Secrets from University of Cambridge Professor of English Literature Clair Wills and Dirty Linen by Martin Doyle who is Books Editor of the Irish Times. They're joined by the criminologist Dr Louise Brangan who researches the sociology of punishment, including work on Ireland's Magdalene Laundries and the poet Scott McKendry whose work deals with generational trauma and social decay in Belfast. John Gallagher hosts a discussion of how the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and others can shape society and history itself.Professor Clair Will's books include Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain and The Family Plot: Three Pieces on Containment. Martin Doyle's book is called Dirty Linen The Troubles in My Home Place. Scott McKendry's debut poetry collection is Gub. Dr Louise Brangan is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker.You can find other episodes exploring Irish history and writing on the Free Thinking programme website under past episodes and Arts & Ideas podcasts including programmes about Emigration and "bad Bridgets"; Ireland's Hidden Histories and Secret Stories; Edna O'Brien; Colm Tóibín; Anne Enright.Radio 3 has a three part series tracing music and composers from the island over the past two hundred years - Irish Classical, hidden in plain sight. Find it on BBC Sounds.Producer in Salford: Olive Clancy
1/30/202445 minutes, 19 seconds
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Holocaust history

Historians continue to unearth documents, interpret new records accounts and reinterpret old ones in their light. In doing so they expand our understanding of unfolding antisemitism and the holocaust. Anne McElvoy speaks to Barbara Warnock the senior curator of the Wiener Holocaust Library, the world's oldest holocaust research institution as it marks its 90th anniversary this year. Rachel Pistol explores the emerging stories of the Jewish men interned in Britain during the Second World War. We hear from Liza Weber about what we can learn from the Jewish art looted by the Nazis. And, Daniel Lee tells us about the lives of resisters Missak and Mélinée Manouchian whose courage will be honoured in Paris this month.Dr Rachel Pistol is a digital historian and National Coordinator of European Holocaust Research Infrastructure. She is also the Historical Advisor for World Jewish Relief Dr Barbara Warnock of the Wiener Holocaust Library has curated its 90th anniversary exhibition Dr Liza Weber, University of Sussex Weidenfeld Institute of Jewish Studies Dr Daniel Lee is a BBC AHRC New Generation Thinker and a Reader in Modern French History at Queen Mary, University of London.Producer: Ruth WattsYou can find previous episodes marking Holocaust Memorial Day with discussions about Nazis, Holocaust, Time and Memory with Richard J Evans, Jane Caplan, David Cesarani, Andre Singer and Eva Hoffman; Romani history, Portuguese Jewish experiences and a big academic literature research project in the 2023 episode hearing from Victoria Biggs, Richard Zimmler, Stuart Taberner and Daniel Lee; and episodes looking at Linda Grant and Jewish history; links between Judaism and Christianity, the writing of Betty Miller and Marghanita Laski; Jewish history, jokes and contemporary identity with Simon Schama and Devorah Baum.
1/26/202445 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Kyoto School

In the first decades of the 20th century the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida sent students to Europe and America to see what they could discover about Western philosophy. Keiji Nishitani went to Freiburg to study under Martin Heidegger, and became one of the leading figures in the Kyoto School, a project of synthesis that tried to read the Japanese intellectual tradition through the lens of European philosophy and vice versa. These thinkers took ideas from Christian mysticism, German idealism and Phenomenology, and combined them with an interest in direct experience shaped by Japanese Zen and other forms of Buddhism. But it was work carried out in Japan in the 1930s, in a society becoming increasingly militaristic and tending towards fascism. Chris Harding discusses the Kyoto School and its legacy with James Heisig, Professor Emeritus at Nanzan University, Graham Parkes, Professorial Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Vienna, Raquel Bouso, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, and Takeshi Morisato, Lecturer in Non-Western Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.Producer: Luke Mulhall
1/24/202445 minutes, 7 seconds
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Heidegger & Antisemitism

Martin Heidegger is widely viewed as one of the most significant philosophers of the 20th century. His 1927 book Being & Time took issue with the entire Western intellectual tradition since Aristotle and suggested a new beginning for philosophy, which has been widely influential in philosophy and beyond. But Heidegger was a card-carrying member of the Nazi party, and there is considerable evidence that he held anti-Semitic views. What is the relationship between the Epochal work, and the opinions and actions of the man? Matthew Sweet discusses, with Maximilian de Gaynesford, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading, Peter Osborne, Professor of Philosophy at Kingston University, Daniel Herskowitz, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology at the University of Oxford, and Donatella Di Cesare, Professor of Philosophy at Sapienza Universita di Roma.Producer: Luke Mulhall
1/23/202448 minutes, 33 seconds
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What is normal?

Neurodiversity, madness and disability are at the centre of the work being undertaken by three academics who join Matthew Sweet to look at the history of ideas about "normality". Dr Robert Chapman is Assistant Professor of Critical Neurodiversity Studies at Durham University and author of Empire of Normality: Neurodiversity and Capitalism. Dr Louise Creechan is also at Durham University and is working on a book about literacy in the nineteenth century. Dr Sarah Chaney researches the history of emotions at Queen Mary University of London and is the author of Am I Normal?: The 200-Year Search for Normal People (and Why They Don’t Exist).Producer: Julian SiddleYou can find other Free Thinking discussions featuring Louise Creechan exploring How We Read, and looking at accents in Language, the Victorian and us.
1/19/202445 minutes, 10 seconds
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Shakespeare's Women

From Lady Macbeth to Portia, Viola and Rosalind - Shakespeare's female characters continue to hold the highest appeal for actors, but less is known about the women in his own life. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is embarking on a year of events and exhibitions looking a the women who made Shakespeare, many of them forgotten, exploring their influence in his lifetime and the women who shaped his legacy beyond. Anne McElvoy hears about the latest research looking at the women in Shakespeare's life, his plays and his legacy. Sophie Duncan has looked at this first tragic heroine and the actress who did so much to promote his legacy, Ellen Terry. Hailey Bachrach has examined how Shakespeare used female characters in deliberate and consistent ways across his history plays. Emma Whipday has written Shakespeare's Sister, a play which follows Virginia Woolf's Room of One's Own in reimagining Shakespeare's sister as the playwright 'Judith Shakespeare'. And, Anouska Lester has looked at the role of Marie Corelli in Shakespeare heritage.Sophie Duncan is a Research Fellow at Magdalen College, University of Oxford and the author of Searching for Juliet: The Lives and Deaths of Shakespeare's First Tragic Heroine. Hailey Bachrach is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Roehampton, drama critic and dramaturg who has worked at Shakespeare's Globe. Her book is called, Staging Female Characters in Shakespeare's English History Plays. Emma Whipday is a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker and author of Shakespeare's Domestic Tragedies. Anouska Lester is researching the role of Marie Corelli in preserving Shakespeare's legacy and has recently completed a PhD at the University of Roehampton.Producer: Ruth WattsYou can find a collection of Free Thinking episodes exploring Shakespeare on the programme website and available to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts and Radio 3 also has podcast versions of some of the dramas to listen to as The Shakespeare Sessions.
1/17/202445 minutes, 24 seconds
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Dust, dirt and domesticity

What is the composition dirt and dust? Is there a better place to hang the washing? And how can I make my home more comfortable? These are all questions which preoccupy our guests.Jay Owens first became interested in the nature of dust around fifteen years ago. Her book entitled ‘Dust’ considers its global significance as a factor in both the dirt in our homes and major economic and political events from the dustbowls of the 1930s to the fallout from nuclear testing.Architect Marianna Janowicz is thinking about what we do with our laundry, how buildings are not well designed to help dry it. The water vapor produced causes indoor mould and damp and yet in many places outside drying is banned. In an era where there’s great interest in finding low energy solutions to a range of humanity’s problems what can be done to alleviate the burden, the domestic drudgery of the washing cycle? More on Marianna's work here ; https://www.editcollective.uk/And are you comfortable with gas central heating, maybe you’d prefer a wood burner? How we heat our homes and what this means for the way we live is a long term research theme for Sam Johnson Schlee, but with increasing cost of fossil fuels and their role as key drivers of climate change what is the future for home comfort?Producer: Julian SiddleYou might also be interested in Free Thinking episodes (available as the Arts and Ideas podcast) looking at Mid Century Modern and changes in the home; sneezing, smells and noses; Housework (and Hannah Gavron's The Captive Wife); and an episode called Breathe brought together writer James Nestor, saxophonist Soweto Kinch, Imani Jacqueline Brown of Forensic Architecture and New Generation Thinker Tiffany Watt Smith.
1/16/202444 minutes, 55 seconds
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Octavia Butler's Kindred

"A hermit in the middle of Los Angeles" is one way she described herself - born in 1947, Butler became a writer who wanted to "tell stories filled with facts. Make people touch and taste and know." Since her death in 2006, her writing has been widely taken up and praised for its foresight in suggesting developments such as big pharma and for its critique of American history. Shahidha Bari is joined by the author Irenosen Okojie and the scholar Gerry Canavan and Nisi Shawl, writer, editor, journalist – and long time friend of Octavia Butler.Irenosen Okojie's latest collection of short stories is called Nudibranch and she was winner of the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for Fiction for her story Grace Jones. You can hear her discussing her own writing life alongside Nadifa Mohamed in a previous Free Thinking episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k8sz Gerry Canavan is co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction. Nisi Shawl writes about books for The Seattle Times, and also contributes frequently to Ms. Magazine, The Cascadia Subduction Zone, The Washington Post.Producer: Luke MulhallYou might be interested in the Free Thinking episode Science fiction and ecological thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000h6yw and on Ursula Le Guin's The Word for World is Forest https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b6yb37 and a playlist exploring Landmarks of Culture including Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks and the writing of Audre Lorde, and of Wole Soyinka https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jwn44
1/11/202443 minutes, 56 seconds
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Essay writing

Montaigne's literary self portraits led to him popularising the Essay form in the mid 1500s. With online articles, long reads in newspapers and magazines and a number of publishing houses interested in promoting essays and reprinting authors, Rana Mitter and guests look at what makes a good Essay drawing on examples from the past and present. Rana's guests are the author Kirsty Gunn; the essayist Chris Arthur, author of Hidden Cargoes; Paul Lay, Senior Editor at Engelsberg Ideas and a former editor of History Today and Emma Claussen is a lecturer in French at Trinity College, University of Cambridge who studies the work of Montaigne.Producer: Ruth WattsIn the Free Thinking archives you can find a collection of episodes available as Arts and Ideas podcasts exploring Prose, Poetry and Drama including discussions about libraries, the history of paper, and what makes a good lecture
1/10/202445 minutes, 20 seconds
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Travel, pleasure and peril

Going on a trip ? get ready to get uncomfortable, pack grease to treat your sore bum, and laudanum for the inevitable travel sickness - and perhaps you might also be in need of an anti-strangulation collar to ward off those potential murderers? We’re delving into the perils of travelling in the past. Back in the 1700s there was no such thing as a relaxing weekend break, travelling could be a fraught and even deadly undertaking. Such was the danger, making a will before you set off seemed reasonable.Emily Stevenson, Lecturer in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature at the University of York, is researching women travellers as far back as the 1550s. Some set out on religious pilgrimages, others on trade missions, smoothing the way for their husband’s wheeler-dealing. It’s a picture of heroines and hardship.Alun Withey, lecturer in History at the University of Exeter is opening the suitcases of the time, what did travellers take with them and why ? How have the accoutrements of travel changed or remained the same over the last 400 years?Art Historian Rebecca Savage from the University of Birmingham, looks at the artistic legacy of travel poster designers from before the second world war. Many were artists in their own right and many were women. Their iconic images of country picnics and modernist landscapes evoke a sense of rural Britain lost in time.And as we move from the era of the railway to the car, Social Historian Tim Cole from the University of Bristol takes us on a journey inspired by paternalistic travel guides and maps given out freely as part of the 1951 Festival of Britain. How relevant are they now, how much of what they describe is lost in the past or still with us?Producer: Julian Siddle
1/3/202445 minutes, 5 seconds
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Dickens, Disney and copyright

Mickey Mouse in his first incarnation in a short film from 1928 becomes available for public viewing without infringing Disney's copyright next year. In a programme looking back at the copyright history which affected authors including Charles Dickens and at current questions around legislation, Matthew Sweet is joined by David Bellos, author of Who Owns This Sentence? – A History of Copyrights and Wrongs, Katie McGettigan, lecturer in C19th American literature and Hayleigh Bosher, Reader in Intellectual Property Law at Brunel University London.Producer: Torquil MacLeod
12/21/202344 minutes, 24 seconds
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New Thinking: Carols and Convents

What links carol singing with dogs? Medieval musicologist Micah Mackay reveals that carols aren’t just for Christmas – they began life as communal songs for anything from lullabies to drinking songs. She explains the detective work required to bring to life a fundamentally oral culture from a small number of manuscript sources, and what the origin of carols can tell us about the concept of Englishness in the medieval period. Englishness is also a key point of interrogation for Dr Caroline Lesemann Elliott, whose research explores the fascinating world of exiled English convents in Continental Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, focusing especially on their musical sound world. We hear from the Basilinda Consort, an ensemble Caroline founded in order to perform the music they discovered and reconstructed as part of their research. The host is BBC New Generation Thinker Leah Broad, author of Quartet, a group biography of four women composers, which came out earlier this year.Dr Caroline Lesemann Elliott recently completed a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Bodleian Visiting Fellowship in Music. They are founder and director of the Basilinda Consort, an early music ensemble dedicated to exploring the lives of English Christian women religious. They are also a composer. https://carolinelesemannelliott.com/ https://basilindaconsort.com/Micah Mackay is a writer and historian who recently submitted her PhD at the University of Oxford as part of the ‘Hearing the Page’ project in the Publication Beyond Print Doctoral Centre. She is also a theatre maker, screenwriter, and presenter based in Edinburgh. https://mamackay.com/about/ https://www.humanities.ox.ac.uk/hearing-pageThis New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more on BBC Sounds and in a collection on Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website called New Research with discussions on topics ranging from diverse classical music to how and why we talk.
12/20/202327 minutes, 36 seconds
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Greek myth, goddesses and art

Greek goddesses are the focus of Natalie Haynes' most recent book. She joins Ian Collins, curator of an exhibition at Pallant House celebrating the paintings made by John Craxton, who relocated from England to Crete after visiting in 1947; Minna Moore Ede, curator of an exhibition inspired by Leda and the Swan at the Victoria Miro Gallery and Dr Lucy Jackson talks about her research into the chorus in Greek drama. Shahidha Bari hosts Natalie Haynes' books include Divine Might, A Thousand Ships, Pandora's Jar, Stone Blind, The Children of Jocasta, The Amber Fury and The Ancient Guide to Modern Life John Craxton: A Modern Odyssey runs at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester until 21 April 2024 curated by Ian Collins, author of John Craxton: A Life of Gifts in partnership with the gallery Leda and the Swan: a myth of creation and destruction runs at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London until Jan 13th 2024 and is also available to view digitally via https://vortic.art/discover Dr Lucy Jackson is Assistant Professor at Durham University Producer: Robyn ReadYou can find Natalie Haynes discussing Phaedra, Cretan Palaces and the Minotaur in a Free Thinking episode in our Women in the World collection on the programme website
12/20/202344 minutes, 59 seconds
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Prize Winners 2023

Cultural revolution memories, European resistance in occupied Poland and France and early attempts to establish trade with Mughal leaders in India are the topics explored in prize winning history books. Rana Mitter talks to authors Tania Branigan, Halik Kochanski and Nandini Das about digging in the archives and seeking out interviewees to help shape our understanding of these different periods in world history. Plus prize winning science books by John Vaillant, who considers the incredible power of fire as it consumes a city in Alberta built on the extraction of fossil fuels, and Ed Yong who reveals the extrodinary range of senses which humans don't have, but other animals do, from navigating using smell to the ability to detect electromagnetic waves.Tania Branigan is the 2023 winner of the Cundill History Prize for Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China's Cultural Revolution Nandini Das is the 2023 winner of the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding for Courting India: England, Mughal India and the Origins of Empire Halik Kochanski won the Wolfson History Prize 2023 with her book Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939–1945 John Vaillant won the 2023 Baillie Gifford Prize for non fiction for his book Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World Ed Yong was the winner of the 2023 Royal Society Trivedi Science Book Prize for An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around UsProducer: Julian SiddleYou can hear more from Nandini Das talking to Rana alongside Peter Frankopan, author of The Earth Transformed: An Untold History in a Free Thinking episode called Climate change and empire building You can hear more from Halik Kolchanski in the interviews Rana recorded with all six finalists for the 2023 Wolfson prize
12/19/202344 minutes, 36 seconds
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Harry Belafonte

Popularising calypso music, performing with Sinatra's Rat pack, Nana Mouskouri, Miriam Makeba and Charlie Parker, starring in films including Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones, the hip hop film he produced called Beat Street, Robert Altman's Kansas City and Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman: Harry Belafonte's career in film and music ran from 1949 to 2018 but he was also a tireless political activist who was inspired by Paul Robeson. As the BFI programmes a season of his films in December, Matthew Sweet is joined by Candace Allen, Kevin Le Gendre and Susanne Rostock.Producer: Torquil MacLeodOn the Free Thinking website you can find Matthew Sweet's interview with Harry Belafonte, recorded in 2012 after the publication of his autobiography My Song and the release of Susanne Rostock's documentary Sing Your Song. Susanne is currently working on another film that she made with Belafonte - Following Harry - that sees him meeting and talking to young activists. Also on the Free Thinking website are more episodes exploring Black History including a discussion about the career of Sidney Poitier and Radio 3 has a series of 5 Essays called Paul Robeson in Five Songs. Kevin Le Gendre's Edgar Allan Poe based musical project - Re:EAP - has just released its debut album 'Zoo For Barbers'.
12/15/202345 minutes, 11 seconds
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Margaret Cavendish

Scientist, novelist, poet, philosopher, feminist, it's 400 years since the birth of Margaret Cavendish. An extraordinary character in many ways - she lived in a tumultuous time, when ideas around science, religion and the very nature of existence were being challenged and changed. And she had a view on them all. Margaret Cavendish’s writings are vast and broad and yet detailed and thoughtful. However for most of the last 400 years she has languished in obscurity before being rediscovered in the last 40 years and elevated to the status of feminist icon. She was in her time very much the only, and often outspoken, female voice in circles dominated by men – and by and large they hated her for it.Nandini Das looks at the life, work and influence of Margaret Cavendish with:Dr Emma Wilkins who has followed the rise in interest in the work and life of Margaret Cavendish in recent times, and has a particular focus on her science.Professor Anne Thell, Vice President of the International Margaret Cavendish Society who is leading work on interpreting and presenting Margaret Cavendish’s writing for wider audiences.Francesca Peacock, whose new biography of Margaret Cavendish ‘Pure Wit’ sets her in a modern feminist context.And Emeritus Professor of Physics Athene Donald, who includes Margaret Cavendish in her book on women in science ‘ Not just for the boys’ arguing that the treatment of Margaret Cavendish by the 17th century scientific establishment illustrates negative attitudes and issues which have still to be addressed for women in science today.In the Free Thinking programme archive you can find a collection of episodes exploring women in the world including programmes about Aphra Behn, Chaucer's the Wife of Bath, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, Gwendolyn Brooks and Phillis Wheatley.Producer: Julian Siddle
12/13/202344 minutes, 56 seconds
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Narnia and CS Lewis

Sixty years after the death of C. S. Lewis's, his best known work, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is still for many a childhood favourite and it's also the subject of a new literary study. Christianity was central to all of Lewis's his novels, his academic writing and generalist non-fiction. It is also his Christianity that divides his admirers and detractors. This tension lies at the heart of a new film which stages a clash between two ways of thinking, the psychoanalytic and the religious. Freud’s Last Session imagines an encounter between Lewis and Freud exploring the clash between their views of human nature and faith. Chris Harding and guests examine how we're still wrestling with the belief and the imagination of C.S. Lewis today.Meg Thomson is the producer of Freud’s Last Session, starring Anthony Hopkins as Freud and Matthew Goode as LewisJem Bloomfield is an assistant professor at the University of Nottingham and the the author of a new, literary exploration of Paths in the Snow: A Literary Journey through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.Ruth Jackson is co-host of the C.S. Lewis podcast and a producer at Premier Unbelievable Christian Radio.Justin Brierley is a writer and broadcaster, his latest book is The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God.Producer: Ruth Watts
12/6/202354 minutes, 24 seconds
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Humboldt, soil, gardens and Frank Walter

For World Soil Day, a celebration of art, research and ideas to revive the earth
12/5/202344 minutes, 59 seconds
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New Thinking: Disability in Music and Theatre

When Hugh Jackman starred in the 2022 revival of ‘The Music Man’, he was taking on a classic Broadway musical with a little known connection to disability. Professor Dominic Broomfield-McHugh at the University of Sheffield has been digging through the archives to uncover how early drafts of the show originally focused on the experience of a young wheelchair user – an idea which was then scrapped by writer Meredith Wilson due to commercial and social pressures. Megan Steinberg is the Lucy Hale Doctoral Composer in Association with Drake Music (a leading national organisation working in music, disability and technology) at the Royal Northern College of Music. Megan researches and creates art that explores adaptive music technologies and able-ist bias in AI. They talk to Louise Creechan about disability politics in music in an episode recorded for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December).Dr Louise Creechan is a Lecturer in Literary Medical Humanities and Research Assosicate at the University of Durham, as well as a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the AHRC to put research on radioThis New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more on BBC Sounds and in a collection on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website under the title New Research including conversations about language learning, sign language, green thinking and neglected women artists.Producer: Lola Grieve
12/1/202339 minutes, 27 seconds
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Kadare, Gospodinov, Kafka and Dickens

The Palace of Dreams is a novel from 1981 that is ostensibly set in the 19th century Ottoman empire, but the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare cleverly smuggles in thinly veiled criticism of the totalitarian state presided over by Enver Hoxha. The book was duly banned shortly after publication. Matthew Sweet looks at this and other examples of fiction that satirise bureaucratic overreach from Dickens to Kafka to Georgi Gospodinov, the Bulgarian novelist who won the 2023 International Booker prize for his novel Time Shelter. Sharing their thoughts on these books and on the history and role of bureaucracy within both democratic and totalitarian states are Lea Ypi, Mirela Ivanova and Roger Luckhurst.Producer: Torquil MacLeodLea Ypi is a Professor at the London School of Economics and the author of Free: Coming of Age at the End of History. You can hear her discussing the culture of Albania in a previous Free Thinking episode Professor Roger Luckhurst's books include Gothic: an illustrated history; Corridors - passages of modernity; Science Fiction: a Literary History Mirela Ivanova teaches at the University of Sheffield. You can hear her in a Free Thinking discussion of Slavic Myths
12/1/202345 minutes, 7 seconds
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Libraries

The Great Library of Alexandria had a mission to collect every book in the world. In attempting to do so it created the foundations for the systems and structures of public libraries that we know today. We discuss the development of libraries, our emotional attachment to them and their pupose in the digital age.Islam Issa's new book traces the development of Alexandria. He joins Andrew Pettegree, author of The Library: A Fragile History, Fflur Dafydd whose murder mystery story The Library Suicides is set in the National Library of Wales and academic Jess Cotton who is researching the history of loneliness and the role played by public libraries as hubs for communities. Laurence Scott hosts.Andrew Pettegree is a Professor at St Andrews University and the author of The Library: A Fragile History Fflur Dafydd is a novelist and screenwriter who writes in Welsh and English. She is the author of BAFTA Cymru nominated thrillers 35 awr and 35 Diwrnod and her novel The Library Suicides has also been made as a film Y Llyfrgell. Dr Jess Cotton from the University of Cambridge has been researching Lonely Subjects: Loneliness in Postwar Literature and Psychoanalysis, 1945-1975 Islam Issa is a Professor at Birmingham City University, author of Alexandria: The City that Changed the World. He is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and Arts and Humanities Research Council to share academic research on radio. You can hear him discussing the Shakespeare collection at the Birmingham Library in an Arts and Ideas podcast episode called Everything to Everybody - Shakespeare for the peopleProducer: Julian Siddle
11/29/202344 minutes, 49 seconds
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Lorca

Women in the villages of Spain and the repression and passions of five daughters are at the heart of Lorca's last play the House of Bernarda Alba, completed two months before he was assassinated in 1936. Rana Mitter looks at the life and writing of Lorca, with guests including The Observer's theatre critic, Susannah Clapp and Professor Maria Delgado of the Central School of Speech and Drama and Professor Duncan Wheeler, Chair of Spanish Studies at the University of Leeds and Dr Federico Bonaddio who teaches Spanish literature at King’s College London.Producer: Ruth WattsThe House of Bernarda Alba in a version by Alice Birch and starring Harriet Walter runs at the National Theatre until 6 January 2024. You can find more discussions about Prose, Poetry and Drama in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website including episodes looking at Ibsen, Moliere, Shakespeare, Lorraine Hansberry, John McGrath, George Bernard Shaw all available as Arts & Ideas podcasts
11/28/202345 minutes, 7 seconds
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AS Byatt and The Children's Book

The perfect childhood and the failure of utopian experiments in living in Edwardian England were explored by AS Byatt in her 2009 novel The Children's Book. In this conversation with Matthew Sweet recorded in that year, they discuss her writing life, mythologising childhood and her meetings with Iris Murdoch, about whom she wrote two critical studies. A lecturer in English literature, AS Byatt's books drew on a wide range of reading and visiting art galleries and museums. In 1990 she won the Booker prize for her novel Possession. You can find other conversations with writers on the Free Thinking programme website in a collection called Prose, Poetry and Drama
11/24/202343 minutes, 32 seconds
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Post-War Germany

Re-invention and moral struggles are at the heart of the story of post-war Germany traced by Frank Trentmann in his new book Out of the Darkness. Anne McElvoy talks to him, to Thomas Meaney the new editor of Granta who is bringing out an edition called Deutschland, to journalist Stefanie Bolzen and to New Generation Thinker Dr Tom Smith who has studied the techno scene in German cities. How have 70 years of political struggles shaped Germany's culture and identity? Producer Ruth Watts
11/22/202344 minutes, 58 seconds
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Sam Selvon and The Lonely Londoners

Caribbean migrants striving to make their lives in London are the focus of this 1956 novel by Samuel Selvon. Written in creolized English, it established him as an important Caribbean voice. In an event organised in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and the British Library, Shahidha Bari is joined by the poet Anthony Joseph, the writer Guy Gunaratne and by Susheila Nasta who is a writer, critic and literary executor and representative for the Sam Selvon literary estate. Guy Gunaratne‘s first novel In Our Mad And Furious City won the International Dylan Thomas Prize, Jhalak Prize and the Authors Club Award. Their second novel published earlier this year is called Mister Mister. Anthony Joseph was born in Trinidad. The author of five poetry collections, Sonnets for Albert, won the T. S. Eliot Prize 2022 and was shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best Collection 2022. Susheila Nasta founded Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary Writing and is an Emeritus Professor at Queen Mary, London and the Open University. Her books include The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing, and Brave New Words: The Power of Writing Now. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find other conversations about prose, poetry and drama - some recorded as events at the British Library and in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature gathered into a collection on the programme website for BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking. They are all available to download as the Arts & Ideas podcast.
11/21/202344 minutes, 55 seconds
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New Thinking: Rediscovering women making film and sculpture

Over 200 women sculptors have been uncovered in the research of Sophie Johnson from Bristol University. She describes some of their creations and discusses the challenges of working with the incomplete personal archives of these artists – including Mrs Goldsmith, Patience Wright, and Catherine Andras, who created wax portrait miniatures and effigies, and Anne Seymour Damer, who carved in marble. Kathleen Collins died in her 40s and left un-filmed screenplays and unpublished stories which Alix Beeston from Cardiff University has been researching. Collins’ finished film Losing Ground didn’t get a theatrical release when it was made in 1982 but it was restored and reissued in 2015. Now her work is finding a new audience. But how should we approach her unfinished works? Joan Passey hosts the conversation. Producer in Cardiff: Fay Lomas Dr Joan Passey teaches English at Bristol University and is a New Generation Thinker working with the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to share research on radio. Sophie Johnson is a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol researching eighteenth century European women sculptors. Her research focuses on women wax modellers and their entrepreneurship. Links to her articles are available at https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/en/persons/sophie-johnson Dr Alix Beeston is a feminist writer and academic based at Cardiff University. Her most recent book is Incomplete: The Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film. More details of her work are available at https://alixbeeston.com/ With special thanks to Michael Minard, who provided the song ‘It Might Be’ – written by Minard and Kathleen Collins, performed by Jenny Burton, intended for use in an unfinished film project by Collins – which we hear in the podcast. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the AHRC, part of UKRI. You can find more conversations about new research available on the website of Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme and another collection exploring Women in the World all available as the Arts & Ideas podcast.
11/17/202340 minutes, 4 seconds
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Ursula Le Guin and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

A miserable child and a summer festival are at the heart of the short work of philosophical fiction first published by Ursula Le Guin in 1973. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas was sparked by "forgetting Dostoyevsky and reading road signs backwards" was the answer given by the author when asked where she got the idea from. Matthew Sweet is joined by guests including the authors Una McCormack, Naomi Alderman, Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson and Kevan Manwaring, and political philosopher Sophie Scott-Brown. They discuss Le Guin's thought experiments and writing career and also the short story called The Ones Who Stayed and Fought which NK Jemisin wrote in response to Le Guin's vision of Omelas. Producer: Luke Mulhall Naomi Alderman's latest novel The Future is out now Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson publishes The Principle of Moments in January 2024 Dr Sophie Scott-Brown is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Histories of Raphael Samuel - A Portrait of A People’s Historian Dr Kevan Manwaring is Programme Leader for MA Creative Writing (online) and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Arts University Bournemouth Dr Una McCormack's books include Star Trek: Picard novel The Last Best Hope You can find many other discussions about science fiction and imagining the future in collections on the Free Thinking programme website including episodes about Philip K Dick, John Rawls, Octavia Butler, Afro-futurism, AI and creativity
11/16/202345 minutes, 50 seconds
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Women, art and activism

The first women’s liberation conference in the UK, Miss World protests, the formation of the Brixton Black Women’s Group and the politics of who cleans the house are all explored in a new exhibition at Tate Britain. Whilst activism and art linked to ecology by 50 women and gender non-conforming artists are on display at the Barbican Centre in London and eco-feminist Monica Sjöö (1938-2005) is celebrated in a show opening at Modern Art Oxford. Naomi Paxton is joined by the academics Sophie Oliver and Ana Baeza Ruiz, by Alona Pardo curator of the Re/Sisters exhibition at the Barbican, and by Marlene Smith, a member of the BLK art group in Britain, who has helped pull together the Tate show. Producer: Julian Siddle Women in Revolt: Art, Activism and the Women’s movement in the UK 1970–1990 runs at Tate Britain until 7 April 2024 Monica Sjöö: The Great Cosmic Mother runs at Modern Art Oxford from 18 November to 25 February 2024 RE/SISTERS A Lens on Gender and Ecology runs at the Barbican Centre, London until Sun 14 Jan 2024 Ana Baeza Ruiz is at Loughborough University working as the Research Associate for the project Feminist Art Making Histories - an oral history of women's art. Sophie Oliver teaches literature at the University of Liverpool, specialising in modernist writing by women and in links between art and writing. Both are New Generation Thinkers on the scheme run by the BBC and the AHRC to put research on the radio.
11/15/202344 minutes, 45 seconds
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Shakespeare as inspiration

Matthew Sweet is joined by Professor Preti Taneja – author of a novel We That Are Young which sets the King Lear in Delhi, by Dr Iain Robert Smith who studies films from around the world, and by Andrew Dickson, journalist and author of Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe. As part of Radio 3’s day of music inspired by Shakespeare, Free Thinking looks at paintings by the Romantics and Pre-Raphaelites, at films from India and Turkey, and at the way Shakespeare’s plays resonate in political hot spots. Producer: Ruth Watts You can find plenty more Shakespeare discussions in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website and available as Arts and Ideas podcasts and we’ve got two New Thinking episodes exploring what else you might have seen in an Elizabethan playhouse aside from Shakespeare plays – and the title of another research project that we hear about might give you a clue - Box Office Bears And you can hear all the music played today on Radio 3 inspired by Shakespeare on BBC Sounds - where you can also find episodes of Words and Music and a Sunday Feature presented by New Generation Thinker (and winner of the British Academy Book Prize) Nandini Das profiling Shakespeare’s rival Robert Greene.
11/8/202344 minutes, 21 seconds
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New Thinking: The Box Office Bears project

Goldilocks, Robin Hood, Little Bess of Bromley, Moll Frith were star performers on the bear baiting circuit in Elizabethan England. New evidence of bear bones uncovered in archaeological digs and over 1,100 accounts in letters and documents from the period, are being studied in a research project called Box Office Bears. Andy Kesson delves into bears’ impact on the literary culture of the time and asks if bear baiting was not so much a sporting contest as a staged spectacles akin to contemporary wrestling. Hannah O’Regan explains how bear bones found in archaeological digs in Southwark’s theatre land reveal the animals’ stressful lives and she suggests that the scary, fighting bears of our cultural imaginary are strikingly different from the playful, conflict defusing bear of real life. Were they unfairly typecast? Hannah O'Regan is Professor of Archaeology and Palaeoecology at the University of Nottingham and Principal Investigator in the BOB Project. She has excavated on sites in the UK, Israel and South Africa. Her current research interests include human-non-human animal interactions (particularly bears). Andy Kesson is a Reader in Renaissance Literature at the University of Roehampton and Co-Investigator in the BOB project. He was the principal investigator for Before Shakespeare, and is working with the theatre maker Emma Frankland on a production of John Lyly’s Galatea which he discussed in an episode of Free Thinking called Galatea and Shakespeare https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001kvpk. He has recently explored a multitude of bears in early modern plays. Box Office Bears: Animal baiting in early modern England, is a project bringing together researchers from the Universities of Nottingham, Roehampton and Oxford and project partner Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) https://boxofficebears.com/about/ Dr Emma Whipday is a Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at Newcastle University and an expert in Shakespeare, early modern literature, women's history, theatre history, and the history of the home and family . Her current book project, Subordinate Roles, explores the cultural importance of the brother-sister relationship and the place of the unmarried woman in early modern society. She’s a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker on the scheme which promotes research on the radio. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more in a collection of the website of BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking programme and all available on BBC Sounds.
11/8/202331 minutes, 58 seconds
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How and why we talk

Ultrasound tests in Burnley market hall will help the phonetics lab at Lancaster University explore tongue positions and accents as part of this year's Being Human Festival. Claire Nance joins John Gallagher to explain more. Alongside them are Rob Drummond from Manchester Met University, author of a new book You're All Talk, Andrea Smith from the University of Suffolk, who is researching early radio voices and Shane O'Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research in Trinity College Dublin, who has been exploring why we converse. Producer in Salford: Faith Lawrence Professor Claire Nance and her team from Lancaster University are at Burnley Market on Saturday 11th November. The Being Human Festival runs a series of public events across the UK showcasing humanities research at universities. It runs November 9th - 18th https://www.beinghumanfestival.org/ Dr Andrea Smith is a Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Suffolk Professor Shane O'Mara teaches at Trinity College Dublin and is the author of books including In Praise of Walking and Talking Heads: The New Science of How Conversation Shapes Our Worlds Professor Rob Drummond's book You're All Talk is out now and you can hear more from him in these podcasts New Thinking: City Talk https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07h30hm and New Thinking: Accents https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d66mtl You can find John Gallagher's programme A History of the Tongue available if you look up Radio 3's Sunday Feature programme website And we have other Free Thinking discussions about speech: Sadie Ryan, Lynda Clark and Allison Koenecke in an episode called Speech, Voice, Accents and AI https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000srbn New Thinking: Language the Victorians and Us https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dmjgwx New Thinking: Language Loss and Revival https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dw6ctr What is Speech? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b1q2f3 What is Good Listening? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000djtd The pros and cons of swearing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09c0r4m Language and Belonging https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006fh9 AI and creativity: what makes us human? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005nml
11/8/202344 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Imperial War Museum Remembrance discussion 2023

From Iraq and Afghanistan and news headlines today back to earlier battles in the Spanish Civil War and World War Two, the relationship between war, photography and the press has affected attitudes towards conflicts. In the annual Remembrance discussion organised in partnership with the Imperial War Museum, Free Thinking presenter Anne McElvoy's panel are: Toby Haggith Senior Curator, Department of Second World War and Mid 20th Century Conflict; Irish Iraqi artist Jananne Al-Ani, whose work explores surveillance, aerial reconnaissance and exodus after warfare; Charlie Calder-Potts, who was an official war artist with the British Army in Afghanistan 2013/14; and Caroline Brothers, author of War and Photography: A Cultural History. The Blavatnik Art, Film and Photography Galleries at IWM London include around 500 works from the museum collections including John Singer Sargent’s painting Gassed, Steve McQueen’s response to the 2003 war in Iraq, Queen and Country, and works by artists including Paul Nash, Laura Knight, Peter Jackson, Olive Edis and Omer Fast. Charlie Calder-Potts works with aluminium, wasli, wood panel and vellum (calf skin); combining photography, painting and drawing and has worked in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and Russia. Jananne Al-Ani is an Irish Iraqi artist who teaches at the University of the Arts London. Her video piece Timelines which was on display at the Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne last year and has recently been seen at the Ab-Anbar Gallery, London, explores Armistice Day 1918 in the town of al-Hindayyah in what is now modern-day Iraq. Caroline Brothers is the author of War and Photography A Cultural History. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find a collection of episodes exploring war and conflict on the Free Thinking programme website which include past discussions organised in partnership with the IWM.
11/7/202344 minutes, 38 seconds
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New Thinking: Playhouses and opera-going

From Lyons’ Corner House opera performances in the 1920s to 1980s productions staged in fish and chip shops in Scotland – Alexandra Wilson has been studying the history of opera going and presents us with a wider audience for the art form than current stereotypes might have you think. Callan Davies has looked at what went on in Elizabethan playhouses aside from plays by the likes of Shakespeare. New archaeological digs and legal documents featuring complaints are giving us evidence for a kind of leisure centre or arena which might have seen animal sports, fencing matches or spectaculars. Laurence Scott hosts the conversation. Alexandra Wilson is Professor of music and cultural history from Oxford Brookes University and the author of Opera in the Jazz Age: Cultural Politics in 1920s Britain Callan Davies is lecturer in 17th-century studies at the University of Southampton. His book is called What is a Playhouse? England at Play, 1520-1620 and he’s involved in a research project called Box Office Bears which you can hear more about in another of our New Thinking episodes of the Arts and Ideas podcast and you can find more information about playhouses here: https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/discover/shakespeares-world/playhouses/ https://www.thestageshoreditch.com/discover/history-heritage Laurence Scott is the author of two books The Four-Dimensional Human and Picnic Comma Lightning. He teaches writing and literature at New York University in London and became a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker in the first year of the scheme in 2011. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find a collection of episodes focused on new research on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website.
11/6/202337 minutes, 20 seconds
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Food

Lady Fanshawe’s ‘Receipt Book’ (c.1651-1707) provides the inspiration for a public cooking event at Tamworth castle hosted by the academic Sara Read which includes preserving vegetables and a look at etiquette. Ideas about hospitality and how we behave when we eat are at the heart of a quiz organised by researchers at Edge Hill University. Both are part of the Being Human Festival and Sara Read and Zayneb Allak join Lindsay Middleton, who is researching food poverty, luxury ingredients and tin cans. Lisa Mullen is also joined at the Free Thinking table for a conversation about new research into food history by two authors: Rebecca May Johnson has written a memoir called Small Fires: an epic in the kitchen and Pen Vogler's History of Good Food and Hard Times in Britain is called Stuffed. So join them for a conversation which covers eel soup, salads, real butter and How to Cook a Wolf. Producer: Jayne Egerton The Being Human Festival runs from Nov 9th to 19th showcasing university research from around the UK in a series of public events https://www.beinghumanfestival.org/ Dr Sara Read teaches at Loughborough University and is running a workshop at Tamworth Castle on Nov 18 Rebecca May Johnson is running an experimental cooking demo in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex on Nov 18 and her memoir is called Small Fires Zaynab Allak at Edge Hill University is running events to do with hospitality 10-16 November Dr Lindsay Middleton is a literary historian of nineteenth-century food writing at the University of Glasgow. Her research projects include Dishes for the Sick Room: Invalid Recipes from Glasgow's Culinary Collections Pen Vogler is the author of Stuffed: A History of Good Food and Hard Times in Britain and Scoff: A History of Food and Class in Britain You can find more episodes exploring new research in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website including New Thinking podcast episodes made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI
11/5/202344 minutes, 51 seconds
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New Thinking: Writing exile and overcoming statelessness

Around 3 million Bengali Pakistanis now live in Pakistan it is estimated and a research project has been exploring their experiences, mixing oral testimony and art projects with analysis of recent history. Humera Iqbal explains their findings to presenter Sarah Jilani. And Ahmad Naji Bakhti discusses his novel about the dreams of a boy growing up in Lebanon and how writing it in exile in Wales has led him to reflect on the language and phrasing he uses and what audience he is addressing. Humera Iqbal is Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Psychology at University College London. Her project is called Partition of Identity https://poistudy.com/ and has led to a film called BHASHAILI (ADRIFT) (2023) directed and produced by: Jawad Sharif and produced by: Humera Iqbal, Syeda Kashmala, Anushay Malik based on their research work and that of Maria Rashid. It is being screened at Rich Mix as part of the Being Human Festival on November 16th https://richmix.org.uk/events/paper-boats-the-pakistani-bengali-story/ Ahmad Naji Bakhti is a lecturer in creative writing at Aberystwyth University and the author of a novel called Between Beirut and the Moon published by Influx Press. He is also working on a project with Syrian residents in Aberystwyth. Dr Sarah Jilani is a Lecturer in English at City, University of London, looking at post-colonial world literatures and film and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on the radio. This episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the AHRC, part of UKRI.
11/2/202331 minutes, 39 seconds
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African identity via China and photography

Writers Teju Cole and Noo Saro-Wiwa and Tate curator Osei Bonsu talk to Laurence Scott. The exhibition A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography at Tate Modern has a mission statement - to confront reductive representations of African peoples and cultures. All the images are from an African perspective, and explore ideas about masks, spiritual worlds, royalty, family portraits and shared dreams. The lives of African settlers in China are at the heart of the new book Black Ghosts by Noo Sara-Wiwa. Opportunities for Africans to live and work in China are precarious and tightly controlled, the book explores why many choose to live under such restrictions. And Teju Cole’s new novel is entitled Tremor. His central character a teacher of photography considers the revaluation of contemporary and historical identity in both Africa and America. Producer: Julian Siddle You can find more episodes exploring Black History including episodes on Octavia Butler, the Black Atlantic, Sankofa and Afro-futurism and Zimbabwean writing on the Free Thinking programme website and available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas podcast https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp
11/2/202345 minutes, 43 seconds
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Robert Aickman

"Strange stories" is the way Robert Aickman (1914-1981) described his fiction and to be honest that's putting it mildly. When he wasn't writing fiction that leaves both his protagonists and his readers in some very weird places, he was involved in an investigation into the haunting of Borley Rectory, was a member of The Ghost Club and he also co-founded the British Inland Waterways Association to restore canals. Matthew Sweet is joined by three fans of his work - critic Suzy Feay, writer Andrew Male and publisher R.B. Russell. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Robert Aickman published the following collections of stories: Powers of Darkness (1966), Sub Rosa (1968), Cold Hand in Mine (1976), Tales of Love and Death (1977) and Intrusions (1980) You can find other spooky Free Thinking episodes including a discussion of Ghost Stories with Irving Finkel and Jeremy Dyson, a ghost hunt in Portsmouth and a discussion of Blade Runner and a programme about the TV programme Ghostwatch
11/2/202345 minutes, 15 seconds
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Eliza Flower and non-conformist thinking

The first live concert in 175 years of songs and music written by Eliza Flower (1803-1846) takes place tomorrow. A friend of JS Mill, Harriet Martineau and Robert Browning, Flower set to music some of Walter Scott's romantic songs, composed music for her sister Sarah Flower Adams, who penned hymns including Nearer, My God, to Thee. Singer Frances M Lynch, accompanied on piano by Laurence Panter, joins New Generation Thinker and historian Oskar Jensen and Dr Clare Stainthorp, who is researching the Freethought Movement: Atheism, Agnosticism, and Secularism, 1866–1907. Matthew Sweet hosts. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Flower of the Seasons: Politics, power and poverty takes place at Conway Hall in London on Friday 27th October at 7pm performed by Electric Voice Theatre. Clare Stainthorp will be leading an event - Great and Good? - at Conway Hall on Saturday 11th November as part of the Being Human Festival.
10/27/202345 minutes, 11 seconds
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Sleep

Sleep science pioneer Nathaniel Kleitman descended into a cave in 1938 to investigate the nature of our sleep cycle. The experiment was not a success. And while it may not have yielded much evidence - a thrilling news report detailing the subterranean sleep project caught the public imagination. It's one of the stories told in a new book by Kenneth Miller tracing the history of research into sleeping patterns and the impact of sleep deprivation which takes in figures including Pavlov, Joe Borelli, William Dement and Mary Carskadon. John Gallagher talks to Kenneth Miller and to - Dr Diletta da Cristaforo about how contemporary writers are dealing with our fraught relationship with a good night's sleep. Professor Sasha Handley is an expert in the approach to sleep of early modern people - and we consider if they have any tips to help us now. Dr Emily Scott Dearing discusses Turn it Up - a new exhibition at the London Science Museum which explores the soothing sounds - and surprising power of the lullaby. Producer in Salford: Kevin Core Radio 3's evening programmes include Night Tracks and Night Tracks mixes presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Hannah Peel, Unclassified on Thursday evenings with Elizabeth Alker and six hours of music Through the Night - all available to listen at any time on BBC Sounds Mapping the Darkness by Kenneth Miller is out now Dr Diletta de Cristofaro is an Assistant Professor at Northumbria University and is working on a project Writing the Sleep Crisis https://www.writingsleep.com/ Sleeping Well in the Early Modern World is a project run at Manchester University by Professor Sasha Handley https://sites.manchester.ac.uk/sleeping-well/ It includes a series of public events at Ordsall Hall near Salford Quays. Turn it Up an exhibition about music which was at Manchester Science Museum opens in London's Science Museum and includes a section about sleep and music. The BBC Philharmonic Concert at Bridgewater Hall on Saturday October 28th takes us from dawn to dusk in a programme of music by Finnish composers and in London on the same evening Hannah Peel presents a 4 hour concert of Night Tracks Live at Kings Place. Both will become available on BBC Sounds and broadcast on Radio 3. You can find a Free Thinking Festival lecture about the need to sleep from Professor Russell Foster available on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08hz9yw
10/24/202344 minutes, 15 seconds
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Sankofa and Afrofuturism

Ekow Eshun is curating an exhibition exploring the idea of Sankofa, taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present. Sarah Jilani teaches novels written by Ama Ata Aidoo (1942-2023) and Flora Nwapa (1931-1993). Sculptor Zak Ové is showing a work called The Mothership Connection as part of Frieze Sculpture display in London's Regents Park which brings together the form of a Pacific Northwest totem and a rocket with elements relating to African culture like tribal masks. They join Shahidha Bari for a conversation exploring African ideas about a better future. Producer: Marcus Smith The Mothership Connection is on display in Regents Park as part of Frieze London's sculpture display and he has work on show in an exhibition opening at the Saatchi Gallery. He also in the past curated an exhibition called Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers Power to the People: Horace Ové’s Radical Vision is running at the BFI in London and Pressure, his film which was Britain’s first Black feature, has been newly restored by the BFI National Archive and is screening. Sarah Jilani teaches world literatures in English at City, University of London and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to showcase new research on radio. Ekow Eshun is a writer and curator. His most recent show In and Out of Time runs at Accra’s Gallery 157 until December 12th 2023. You can hear him discussing ideas about The Black Fantastic in a previous episode of Free Thinking. You can find a collection of episodes exploring Black History on the Free Thinking programme website and available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp
10/23/202344 minutes, 45 seconds
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Valis and Philip K Dick

A series of revelatory hallucinations that Philip K Dick experienced in 1974, radically altering his view of belief, time and history, were the inspiration for his quasi-autobiographical novel Valis which was published in 1981. Roger Luckhurst, Sarah Dillon, Beth Singler and Adam Scovell join Matthew Sweet to unravel this deeply strange book and to discuss how Dick's experience of mental illness and his tireless attempts at self-diagnosis thread their way through his novels and short stories, despite being largely absent from the many film and TV adaptations of his work, including Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
10/20/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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Humours and The Body

Bach's view of the body and how that comes through in his cantatas is being studied by violinist and contributor to Radio 3's Early Music Show, Mark Seow. He joins presenter Naomi Paxton and historians of medicine Alanna Skuse and Michelle Pfeffer, alongside evolutionary biochemist Nick Lane. Together they look at music, metaphors and the idea that vital bodily fluids (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile) and links with five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space) could regulate our health. Producer: Luke Mulhall Alanna Skuse is an Associate Professor at the University of Reading. She has researched representations of self-wounding in plays, ballads, moral writings and medical texts from 1580-1740. Her first book is called Constructions of Cancer in Early Modern England: Ravenous Natures and her second Surgery and Selfhood in Early Modern England. Michelle Pfeffer is an early modern historian at Oxford with research interests in the history of science, religion, and scholarship in Europe. Nick Lane is Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London. Mark Seow is a violinist and academic who teaches at the University of Cambridge https://markseow.co.uk/about Radio 3's Early Music Show is broadcast each Sunday afternoon at 2pm and available on BBC Sounds. You can hear former Radio 3 controller Nicholas Kenyon exploring The Early Music Revolution in the Sunday Feature broadcasting on October 22nd. Radio 3's weekly selection of Words and Music has a recent episode called Blow winds, blow.
10/18/202344 minutes, 26 seconds
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Victorian colour, jewellery and metalwork

Man-made gems are the subject of research being undertaken by jeweller Sofie Boons. She joins presenter Nandini Das alongside Matthew Winterbottom, the curator of an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford which explores the explosion of colour in design, textiles, paintings and jewellery in the Victorian period. Dinah Roe has been looking at the the way colour infuses the pages of Victorian literature and in 1773, Birmingham Assay Office was founded to provide testing and hallmarking of precious metal items - Chris Corker from the University of York has been researching that history. Colour Revolution at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford runs until 18 Feb 2024 and Matthew Winterbottom is its co-curator and Assistant Keeper, Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Ashmolean. You can find out more about "the alchemical jeweller" at https://sofieboons.com/ Dr Chris Corker lectures at the School for Business and Society at the University of York and you can hear more about his research in a previous episode of Free Thinking called Tin cans, cutlery and sewing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001jcr0 Dinah Roe is Reader in Nineteenth Century Literature at Oxford Brookes University. You can hear her discussing the writing and artwork of the Rosetti family which was displayed in an exhibition at Tate Britain in a previous episode of Free Thinking. Nandini Das is a historian and New Generation Thinker based at the University of Oxford. She is the author of a book called Courting India and has presented Essays and Sunday Features for BBC Radio 3 including Rainsong in Five Senses and A Jig Into History about a bet undertaken by Shakespeare's former clown Will Kemp https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001j4rz
10/17/202344 minutes, 53 seconds
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New Thinking: Work and protest

Jane Eyre and Shirley by Charlotte Bronte both refer to the unrest in Yorkshire which took place in the early years of the nineteenth century as new technology threatened jobs in the mills. Literary historian Sophie Coulombeau discusses parallels between the Luddites and concerns over AI now, and looks at what is real and what is fictional in the novels studied by Jonathan Brockbank of the University of York. Tania Shew shares some of the accounts of strikes outside the workplace which she has uncovered in her research. These include a charity worker strike and school strikes organised by pupils in 1911. How far do they strike a chord with more modern strike action? Dr Jonathan Brockbank is a Lecturer in Modern Literature at the University of York who is exploring Luddite protests and their depiction in literature. Dr Tania Shew is the holder of the Isaiah Berlin Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford researching the women’s suffrage movement. You can hear her discussing her work on suffrage sex strikes in this episode of New Thinking called Women’s History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bsjyr8 Dr Sophie Coulombeau teaches literature at the University of York and has published articles on the writing of Frances Burney, Elizabeth Montagu, William Godwin and Jeremy Bentham. She is editing a volume of essays, Mary Hamilton and Her Circles, alongside colleagues working on the “Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers” project at the John Rylands Library and is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker on the scheme which promotes research on the radio. This New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UKRI. You can find more collected on the Free Thinking programme website of BBC Radio 3 under New Research or if you sign up for the Arts & Ideas podcast you can hear discussions about a range of topics.
10/13/202335 minutes, 29 seconds
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Being Blonde

What links “the British Marilyn” Diana Dors, the last women to be hanged in Britain Ruth Ellis, the artist Pauline Boty and the soap and film star Barbara Windsor? Professor Lynda Nead is giving a series of lectures this Autumn exploring Blondes, attitudes to desire and technological changes in film-making. She joins presenter Matthew Sweet alongside film critics Phuong Le and Christina Newland, and philosopher Heather Widdows. Producer Luke Mulhall The Paul Mellon Lectures run from on 5 Wednesday nights at the V&A Museum between 18 October to 15 November 2023 https://www.paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk/whats-on/forthcoming/paul-mellon-lectures-2023/event-group You can find a host of Free Thinking episodes exploring film stars including Marlene Dietrich, Asta Nielson and Audrey Hepburn all available to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts and on BBC Sounds
10/12/202344 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Frieze/Radio 3 Museum Directors Debate 2023

Nicholas Cullinan from the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG) and Elvira Dyangani Ose from the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA) join Anne McElvoy to discuss the challenges of running a major art museum and their visions for the future of their respective institutions. They discuss connecting with a wider community which has involved the NPG showing a David Beckham portrait in the hospital he was born in, and plans at MACBA to open out the ground floor and use the squares that surround the museum in Barcelona; the impact of blockbuster shows about Vermeer and Picasso and creating a space for VR and video at the NPG and whether the trend for immersive art experiences - like the David Hockney immersive show running at The Lightroom near Kings Cross station until December 2023 – is a good thing. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Frieze London runs from 11th - 15th October 2023. You can find previous Frieze/Free Thinking debates hearing from directors including Michael Govan, Sabine Haag & Hartwig Fischer; Suhanya Raffel, Richard Armstrong and Nathalie Bondil, Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, Kaywin Feldman and Siak Ching Chong.
10/11/202344 minutes, 14 seconds
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Art, Kew, a symphony and nature

An accidental invention which revolutionised plant collecting has inspired an artwork from Mat Collishaw, created in collaboration with video artists based in Ukraine, which is being premiered in a gallery at Kew Gardens. The nine minute video, accompanied by music by Samuel Barber's Adagio for strings, draws on the discovery in 1829 that a Wardian case could allow plants to grow under airtight glass. And the way art and music respond to environmental concerns is at the heart of this Free Thinking conversation hosted by Jade Munslow Ong. Jimmy López Bellido has written a symphony inspired by photographs of a changing landscape, Sarah Casey's drawings look at the impact of ice melting in glaciers and New Generation Thinker Vid Simoniti has written a book exploring the political ambitions of contemporary art in the early twenty-first century. He talks about the work of Alberta Whittle, Olafur Eliasson, El Anatsui, Maurice Mbikayi, Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim. Producer in Salford: Nick Holmes Petrichor, a new exhibition of work by Mat Collishaw runs from 20 October 2023- 7 April 2024 at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens. Sarah Casey is Director of the School of Art in Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and has worked on The Emergency project which uses drawing to examine artefacts emerging from alpine glaciers as a result of climate change and ice melting. She also convenes a group studying rocky environments and geology. From 26-28th October ‘Rocky Futures’, an art exhibition in the form of three live video events streamed from destinations across the globe on the theme of geology, mobilities and the climate emergency will be available online at https://wp.lancs.ac.uk/rocky-climates/rocky-futures/ Vid Simoniti's book is called Artists Remake the World: A Contemporary Art Manifesto. He is a New Generation Thinker and teaches at The University of Liverpool. Symphony No 3, Altered Landscapes by Jimmy López Bellido is being played by the BBC Concert Orchestra in a concert at London's Southbank Centre on Thu 12 Oct 2023 and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on October 25th. With thanks to the Concert Orchestra for providing a recording of part of their rehearsal of the piece recorded on 10 October. The Hyundai Commission from artist El Anatsui runs at Tate Modern in London from October 10th - April 14th 2024 Jade Munslow Ong teaches at the University of Salford and is writing a book about the environment in literature. She is on the New Generation Thinkers scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with early career researchers on making radio. Green Thinking is a collection of programmes exploring different aspects of art and history and the environment available via the Free Thinking programme website - all episodes are downloadable as the Arts & Ideas podcast and on BBC Sounds.
10/10/202344 minutes, 18 seconds
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New Thinking: Modernism, exile and homelessness

DH Lawrence described outcasts living by the Thames, Mina Loy made art from trash, calling her pieces “refusées", Wyndham Lewis moved from England to North America in search of fame and stability after having been spurned by the cultural establishment in Britain. In this conversation about new research, Jade Munslow Ong discusses the way widening the canon of writers traditionally labelled as “modernist” might allow a greater understanding of attitudes towards homelessness and poverty in the early decades of the twentieth century. Dr Laura Ryan was a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Galway researching modernism and homelessness investigating the work of writers who were literally homeless, including D. H. Lawrence, Claude McKay, Jean Rhys and Tom Kromer, and also looking at depictions of homelessness in modernist texts by George Orwell, Mina Loy and Samuel Beckett. She now teaches at the University of Limerick. Dr Nathan Waddell is Associate Professor in Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Birmingham. He is writing new books about Wyndham Lewis and about George Orwell. He has also edited collections of essays on Lewis, who featured in books already published by Nathan called Modernist Nowheres and Moonlighting. Nathan is also editing The Oxford Handbook of George Orwell. You can hear Nathan in a Free Thinking episode exploring futurism in a collection of discussions about modernism on the website of the Radio 3 Arts and Ideas programme Dr Jade Munslow Ong is a Reader in English Literature at the University of Salford where she is working on a project entitled South African Modernism 1880-2020. You can hear about some of the authors featured in her Essay for Radio 3 called The South African Bloomsberries. She is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to turn research into radio This podcast is made in partnership with the AHRC, part of UKRI. You can sign up for more episodes of the Arts and Ideas podcast wherever you find your podcasts or look at the collection of discussions focused on New Research available via the Free Thinking programme website.
10/9/202329 minutes, 44 seconds
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Faith, consciousness and creating meaning in life

I've been Thinking is the title of a memoir from philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett. Philip Goff is a Professor at Durham University who's written Why ? The Purpose of the Universe. The Bishop Auckland Project is opening a new museum exploring faith and their curator Amina Wright joins them and podcaster and former director of Theos Liz Oldfield for a discussion about finding meaning. The presenter is Chris Harding. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find a collection of programmes exploring Philosophy and looking at Religious Belief on the Free Thinking programme website. All of them are available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts and on BBC Sounds
10/5/202344 minutes, 46 seconds
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Refuge and National Poetry Day

Loss and belonging are explored in an installation at the Barbican Centre in London from Sierra Leonian poet and artist/filmmaker Julianknxx which hears choirs and musicians from cities across the world voice a single refrain: ‘We are what’s left of us’. Momtaza Mehri has been Young People's Poet Laureate for London. A poem from her collection Bad Diaspora Poems is picked out in a selection for this year's National Poetry Day on October 5th, which has the theme of refuge. Matthew Sweet explores with them where we find refuge and hears from the academic Dr Jesús Sanjurjo about refugees from Spain who arrived in Somers Town in Camden in 1823 . Producer: Julian Siddle Chorus in Rememory of Flight by Julianknxx runs until 11 Feb 2024 at The Curve in the Barbican Centre London. He also has a film exploring Sierra Leone in the exhibition A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography on at Tate Modern until Jan 14 2024 and an artwork on show in an exhibition about Sankofa curated by Ekow Eshun on in Accra, Ghana. On the National Poetry Day website https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/ you can find the text and teaching resources relating to the poem by Momtaza Mehri Brief Dialogue Between the Self-declared East African Micronations of Regent Park Estate (Toronto) & Regent’s Park Estate (London) Dr Jesús Sanjurjo is an Early Career Fellow of the Leverhulme and Isaac Newton Trusts at the University of Cambridge
10/4/202344 minutes, 42 seconds
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Slavic culture and myth

Tales of adventure and magic connect the Slavic lands: East Slavs (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus), West Slavs (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland) and South Slavs (the countries of former Yugoslavia plus Bulgaria). Matthew Sweet has been reading a new collection of Slavic myths. The authors Noah Charney and Svetlana Slapšak join academic Mirela Ivanova to talk about the way Slavic tales connect with stories from Greece, Rome, Egypt and Scandinavia and how they were used to bolster power in new Slavic nations. Producer: Torquil MacLeod The Slavic Myths by Noah Charney and Svetlana Slapšak and illustrated by Joe McLaren is out now. You might also be interested in a Free Thinking discussion of Albanian culture and history, and in a Radio 3 New Generation Thinker Essay from Mirela Ivanova called Contesting an Alphabet about the competing claims over the invention of Cyrillic.
10/3/202344 minutes, 54 seconds
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Hobbes and New Leviathans

"Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" is the way Thomas Hobbes described the life of man in a state of nature in his 1651 book The Leviathan. The seventeenth century philosopher reasoned that what men needed was a "common power to keep them in awe". It was a conclusion that has not endeared him to the enlightenment and liberal thinkers of the centuries that followed. The philosopher John Gray thinks that Hobbes' bleak vision of the human condition might help us understand the recent disappointments of progressive politics and the failures of liberal democracies. Anne McElvoy talks to him about this theory and to journalist and author of Politics: A Survivors Guide, Rafael Behr and Teresa Bejan, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford and author of Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration. Producer: Ruth Watts You can find other episodes exploring ideas about politics and history in the Free Thinking archives and available to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts. They include - Utopianism in Politics a discussion about Thomas More's ideas with guests including Kwasi Kwarteng and Gisela Stuart John Maynard Keynes with guests including Adam Tooze and Zachary D. Carter John Rawls's A Theory of Justice with Rupert Read, Teresa Bejan and Jonathan Floyd
9/28/202345 minutes, 24 seconds
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Childbirth and parenthood: Contains Strong Language Festival

From the forceps inventor Peter Chamberlen to letters written by Queen Victoria about giving birth saying ‘Dearest Albert hardly left me at all, & was the greatest support & comfort’: John Gallagher and his guests discuss childbirth and parenting. Dr Jessica Cox is the author of In Confinement: The Hidden History of Maternal Bodies in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Dr Laura Sellers is programmes curator at the medical history museum in Leeds The Thackray. We also hear from the dramatist Testament, whose play Daughter was nominated for the Prix Europa and Hannah Silva, whose book My Child The Algorithm is a memoir of queer parenting which started out as a radio play written using text generated by a machine-learning algorithm. The discussion is hosted by New Generation Thinker and historian at the University of Leeds John Gallagher in a recording at The Howard Assembly Room in Leeds as part of the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival. Testament's play Daughter is available on BBC Sounds here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011545 Producer based in Salford: Nick Holmes You can find a whole series of BBC programmes recorded at the 2023 Contains Strong Language Festival on the festival website and available on BBC Sounds. They include Radio 3's new writing programme The Verb, a Drama on 3, the music magazine programme Music Matters, Radio 4's discussion programme Start the Week and a special episode of Radio 3's The Early Music Show coming later this month.
9/26/202345 minutes, 24 seconds
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Betty Miller and Marghanita Laski

Rejected by her usual publisher, Farewell Leicester Square is a novel by Betty Miller, written in 1935, exploring antisemitism, Jewishness and "marrying out". Marghanita Laski may now be best known for her contributions to broadcasting on programmes like The Brains Trust but was also a published author of many stories including The Victorian Chaise-Longue and Little Boy Lost. Both writers have now been republished by Persephone Books. Matthew Sweet's guests are the novelist Howard Jacobson, the academic Lisa Mullen and the author Lara Feigel. They explore the writers' lives and why they both abandoned writing fiction to focus on literary biographies. At the end of the discussion Howard Jacobson tells listeners “I very rarely hear people describing a novel that makes me want to read it - in fact if there is any listener out there who now does not want to read Marghanita Laski they are heartless.” Producer: Fiona McLean Betty Miller published 7 novels including Farewell Leicester Square and On the Side of the Angels (1945) and a biography of Robert Browning (1952). Marghanita Laski's books include To Bed with Grand Music (1946), Tory Heaven (1948), Little Boy Lost (1949), The Village (1952) and The Victorian Chaise-longue (1953), biographies of Jane Austen and George Eliot . She was also a prolific contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). On the Free Thinking programme website you can find a collection of episodes exploring prose, poetry and drama including previous discussions featuring Howard Jacobson, Lara Feigel and Lisa Mullen
9/26/202345 minutes, 32 seconds
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Notebooks and new technology

Novelist Jonathan Coe joins book historians Roland Allen, Prof Lesley Smith and Dr Gill Partington and presenter Lisa Mullen. As Radio 3’s Late Junction devotes episodes this September to the cassette tape and the particular sound and way of recording and assembling music which that technology provided, we look at writing. At a time when there’s a lot of chat about AI and chatbots creating writing, what does it mean to write on a page of paper which is then printed and assembled into a book. The author Jonathan Coe’s many books include The Rotter's Club, What a Carve Up! Mr Wilder and Me and his latest Bournville is now out in paperback Roland Allen has worked in publishing and has now written The Notebook: A History of Thinking on Paper Gill Partington (with Simon Morris and Adam Smyth) is one of the founding editors of Inscription: Journal of Material Text, which brings together artists, book historians, and academic theorists. After editions looking at beginnings, holes and folds, the new issue coming soon looks at touch. Lesley Smith is Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Harris Manchester College, Oxford and has chosen a selection of handwritten documents from the collections of the Bodleian Library published as Handwritten: Remarkable People on the Page. Producer: Ruth Watts
9/21/202345 minutes, 17 seconds
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Why go into space?

From Cold War triumphalism to wanting to secure the future of humanity, people have given many reasons for wanting to go into space. Christopher Harding is joined by an historian, a science fiction writer, a scientist and a visionary to unpick some of those reasons, and ask what they tell us about technology, society and utopia. With Dr Ghina M. Halabi, Timothy Peacock, Una McCormack and Avi Loeb. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can hear more from Timothy Peacock, who teaches at the University of Glagow, in an episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast called New Thinking: From life on Mars to space junk Una McCormack has contributed to Free Thinking episodes discussing Time, Star Trek, Quatermass, Dystopian Thinking, Asimov. Avi Loeb has written Interstellar: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and Our Future Beyond Earth Dr Ghina M. Halabi spent 13 years working on astrophysics research before becoming a consultant
9/20/202345 minutes, 11 seconds
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Black Atlantic

In 1816, Richard Fitzwilliam donated money, literature and art to the University of Cambridge, and the museum which bears his name began. A research project led by New Generation Thinker Jake Subryan Richards has been exploring Cambridge’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and he has curated an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam. Artist and writer Jacqueline Bishop who features in this show, joins Jake and April-Louise Pennant, who has been researching the history of Penrhyn Castle in Wales. Plus, Sherry Davis discusses the rediscovery of Black professionals in East African archaeology. Producer: Ruth Watts Black Atlantic: Power, people, resistance runs at the Fitzwilliam until Jan 7th 2024 and a catalogue accompanies the show. You can find more on BBC Sounds from Jake Subryan Richards, who is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to showcase new academic research. These include an Essay called John Baptist Dasalu and Fighting for Freedom as part of a series by New Generation Thinkers 2021 and Free Thinking/BBC Arts & Ideas discussions about Ships and History https://jacquelineabishop.com/ Dr April-Louise Pennant, a sociologist based at Cardiff University, has a Leverhulme fellowship to research history and Penrhyn Castle https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/wales/penrhyn-castle-and-garden and she will be sharing some of her discoveries as part of the Being Human Festival which features public events taking place in partnership with UK universities from November 9th - 18th https://www.beinghumanfestival.org/ Sherry Davis is founder of Rehema Cultural Arts and a 2023 winner of the Deutsch Bank Award for Creative Entrepreneurs (DBACE). Rehema Cultural Arts partner with cultural institutions to decolonise their collections relating to African history. She has curated an exhibition at the Horniman Museum in South London that explores historic images and stories of African archaeologists https://www.horniman.ac.uk/event/ode-to-the-ancestors/ A BBC Proms concert featuring spirituals sung by Reginald Mobley is available on BBC Sounds until October 9th.
9/19/202345 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Red Shoes

The dancer Moira Shearer starred in the 1948 film written, directed, and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger which reworks a Hans Christian Andersen story, mixed with elements of ballet history and the founding of the Ballet Russes by Diaghilev. The film, about the tangled relationships between a dancer, composer and ballet impresario, had a cast involving many professional dancers, and gained five Academy Award nominations including best score for Brian Easdale. As the BFI prepares a UK-wide season of Powell and Pressburger films running from 16th October to 31st December (including a re-release of The Red Shoes), Matthew Sweet is joined by film critics Lillian Crawford, Pamela Hutchinson, dance reviewer Sarah Crompton and New Generation Thinker and film lecturer Lisa Mullen. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find Matthew Sweet presenting Radio 3's regular strand devoted to film and TV music Sound of Cinema on Saturday afternoons at 3pm and available on BBC Sounds and a whole host of Free Thinking episodes devoted to classics of cinema are in a collection on the programme website labelled Landmarks including: Jean Paul Belmondo and the French New Wave, Marlene Dietrich, Dirk Bogarde and the Servant, Bette Davis, Sidney Poitier, Asta Nielsen.
9/14/202345 minutes, 17 seconds
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Queer history, new narrative in San Fransisco

New narrative was a way of mixing philosophical and literary theory with writing about the body and pop culture. It was promoted by a group of writers in 1970s San Francisco. One of the chapters in New Generation Thinker Diarmuid Hester's new book Nothing Ever Just Disappears explores their work. He joins Dodie Bellamy in a programme exploring different aspects of the gay imagination and the re-inventing of tradition presented by Naomi Paxton. Alongside them is Lauren Elkin, author of a study of unruly bodies in feminist art called Art Monsters which explores artists including Carolee Schneemann, and the influence of writers like Kathy Acker. And James Corley has adapted a play, opening at Wilton's in London, which takes an influential essay by Merle Miller as its starting point. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find a collection called Identity Discussion on the Free Thinking programme website which includes episodes about including Rocky Horror and camp, the V&A exhibition Diva, punk, tattoos, and perfecting the body. Based on the essay On Being Different by Merle Miller, James Corley's What It Means is at Wilton's Music Hall in London 4th - 28th October 2023 Dodie Bellamy's first novel, The Letters of Mina Harker, took a character from Bram Stoker's Dracula. She has also published poetry, essays and memoirs. Nothing Ever Just Disappears Seven Hidden Histories by Diarmuid Hester is out now. He is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Council to put academic research on the radio and you can find him talking about Derek Jarman's Garden in a previous Free Thinking episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jgm5 exploring Stories of Love including Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001hxhk and hosting an Arts and Ideas podcast episode about Raiding Gay’s the Word & Magnus Hirschfeld https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ff53xv Check out Forever Blue - Radio 3's broadcast on Sunday and then on BBC Sounds of a programme inspired by Derek Jarman's Blue, the film released 30 years ago which was also broadcast on Radio 3.
9/13/202344 minutes, 58 seconds
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Wolfson Prize 2023

Six historians have been shortlisted for the 2023 history writing prize which has been awarded for over fifty years. Rana Mitter has been talking to the authors about the books in contention: African and Caribbean People in Britain: A History by Hakim Adi The World the Plague Made: The Black Death and the Rise of Europe by James Belich The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire by Henrietta Harrison Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth-Century London by Oskar Jensen Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-1945 by Halik Kochanski Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers by Emma Smith The winner is announced on November 13th 2023. You can find interviews with past nominees for the Wolfson prize, plus winners of other non fiction prizes like the Cundill and the British Academy Book Prize in previous editions of Free Thinking all available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas podcast. Producer: Ruth Watts
9/5/202344 minutes, 49 seconds
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Writing and Place: The Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National Park has inspired writing by Merryn Glover, whose books include The Hidden Fires: A Cairngorms Journey with Nan Shepherd. Writer and artist Amanda Thomson's book Belonging is on the longlist for the 2023 James Cropper Wainwright Prize for nature writing. As the BBC Proms broadcasts a concert from Perth, they talk to Radio 3's Kate Molleson about place and capturing Scottish nature in their work. Producer Ruth Watts You can find out more about Amanda Thomson at https://passingplace.com/home.html You can find out more about Merryn Glover at https://merrynglover.com/ This is part of a series of conversations about writing and place recorded for BBC Proms around the UK in summer 2023. You can find more conversations about writing and about nature and green thinking on the website for BBC Radio 3's arts and ideas programme Free Thinking.
9/4/202323 minutes
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Writing and Place: Cornwall

The coastline of Cornwall and its communities are the subject of a non fiction book called The Draw of the Sea by Wyl Menmuir. He joins writer Natasha Carthew in a conversation about the importance of place hosted by Joan Passey, who is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and author of Cornish Gothic 1830-1913. Wyl Menmuir's novels include The Many and Fox Fires. Natasha Carthew is a poet and author of a memoir called Undercurrent: A Cornish Memoir of Poverty, Nature and Resilience Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/27/202320 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Black Country past and present

In The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens portrayed The Black Country as a polluted hellscape where little Nell sickens and dies. So popular was the book that this idea of the region was rivetted into history and endures to this day. In this edition of Free Thinking Matthew Sweet sets out to find the real Black Country, a place whose borders you can cross without knowing, with a reputation for insularity in spite of centuries of migration. In a programme recorded at the Birmingham Hippodrome for the BBC’s 2022 Contains Strong Language Festival, Matthew’s guests are the poet Liz Berry - author of the prize winning 2014 collection Black Country, whose latest collection The Dereliction is a collaboration with the photographer Tom Hicks; dialectologist Dr Esther Asprey, from the University of Wolverhampton, who published the first complete scholarly account of Black Country dialect; the artist and film-maker Dawinder Bansal, who uses her upbringing in her parents' electrical shop, which also rented VHS Bollywood films as the starting point for the art installation Jambo Cinema which was part of The Birmingham 2022 Festival https://www.dawinderbansal.com/projects; and a pair of historians, Dr Simon Briercliffe from the Black Country Living Museum, author of Forging Ahead – Austerity to Prosperity in the Black Country and Dr Matthew Stallard from the Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slavery UCL who grew up in Wolverhampton. Producer: Olive Clancy. The 2023 Contains Strong Language Festival takes place in Leeds from September 21st - 24th at Leeds Playhouse so go to their website for tickets and listen out for programmes on BBC Sounds.
8/25/202344 minutes, 4 seconds
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Landladies

Louise Jameson joins Matthew Sweet to recall the women who ran the digs she stayed in as a touring actor and the landladies that she's played (including a homicidal one!). Historian Gillian Williamson looks at how life in boarding houses in Georgian London has been portrayed both in contemporary accounts and in fiction, while Lillian Crawford encounters some memorable landladies in Ealing comedies and other post-war British films. Gillian Williamson is the author of Lodgers, Landlords, and Landladies in Georgian London. Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
8/23/202343 minutes, 42 seconds
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Depicting AIDS in Drama

Russell T. Davies is joined by his friend and author of Love from the Pink Palace, Jill Nalder to discuss their importance in one another’s lives, the importance of literature in their lives, and the TV series It’s a Sin with New Generation Thinker and psychiatrist Sabina Dosani and chair Matthew Sweet in a conversation recorded in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature which was recorded to mark World AIDS Day. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find a collection of discussions recorded in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature in a collection called Prose, Poetry and Drama on the Radio 3 Free Thinking programme website.
8/23/202344 minutes, 7 seconds
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Late works

Dame Sheila Hancock, Geoff Dyer and Rachel Stott join Matthew Sweet to discuss the work and performance of writers, artists, athletes and musicians near the end of their careers. Old Rage by Sheila Hancock is out now in paperback and she can be seen on BBC i-player in the drama The Sixth Commandment The Last Days of Roger Federer by Geoff Dyer is out now in paperback. Rachel Stott is a composer and plays viola with the Revolutionary Drawing Room, the Bach Players and Sopriola. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can hear music composed by Beethoven as part of this BBC Proms season available on BBC Sounds.
8/22/202344 minutes, 28 seconds
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Dark Places

Crime writer Ann Cleeves, theologian Mona Siddiqui, deep sea fish expert and podcast host Thomas Linley and poet Jake Morris-Campbell join Matthew Sweet to explore areas beyond the reach of light, both literally and metaphorically, as part of Radio 3's 2022 overnight festival at Sage Gateshead. What darkness makes someone commit a murder? Shetland and Vera are two TV series developed from the crime novels of Ann Cleeves. Her most recent book is The Heron's Cry featuring detective Matthew Venn and his colleague Jen Rafferty, played on TV in an adaptation of The Long Call by Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie. Poet and New Generation Thinker Jake Morris-Campbell writes about the mining communities of Northumberland and Durham and the experience of working in darkness. Professor Mona Siddiqui joined the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity school in December 2011 as the first Muslim to hold a Chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies Dr Thomas Linley hosts The Deep-Sea podcast and researches the behaviour of deep sea fish. He's based at Newcastle University. You can read the paper he co-authored 'Fear and loathing of the deep ocean: why don't people care about the deep sea?' here: https://bit.ly/3IBHsPT Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find a series of BBC Proms concerts broadcast from Sage Gateshead available on BBC Sounds and a conversation about writing and place with North Eastern authors Jake Morris-Campbell and Jessica Andrews in conversation with Ian McMillan.
8/21/202344 minutes, 51 seconds
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ETA Hoffmann

The German Romantic author of horror and fantasy published stories which form the basis of Jacques Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann, the ballet Coppélia and the Nutcracker. In the theatre he worked as a stagehand, decorator, playwright and manager and he wrote his own musical works, his opera Undine ended its run at the Berlin Theatre after a fire. But during his lifetime he also saw Warsaw and Berlin occupied by Napoleon and during the Prussian war against France, he wrote an account of his visit to the battlefields and he became entangled in various legal disputes towards the end of his life. Anne McElvoy is joined by: Joanna Neilly Associate Professor and Fellow and Tutor in German at the University of Oxford. Keith Chapin senior lecturer in music at Cardiff University. Tom Smith a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. He is Senior Lecturer and Head of German at the University of St Andrews. You can find details about performances of Offenbach's works on the website of the society http://offenbachsociety.org.uk/ Producer: Tim Bano
8/4/202343 minutes, 55 seconds
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My Neighbour Totoro

A world of sprites and spirits encountered by childhood sisters in the 1988 animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) and Studio Ghibli has become a hit stage adaptation for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The original composer Joe Hisaishi worked with playwright Tom Morton-Smith and Director Phelim McDermott and the production returns to the Barbican this autumn. Chris Harding and guests look at how this story of Totoro relates to Japanese beliefs about ghosts and nature, and how Miyazaki used ideas of childhood innocence to critique post-War Japanese society. Chris Harding is joined by the playwright Tom Morton-Smith, Michael Leader from the podcast Ghiblioteque, Dr Shiro Yoshioka, Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Newcastle, and Dr Xine Yao, co-director of qUCL at University College London, and a Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker. My Neighbour Totoro from the Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV runs at the Barbican Theatre in London from 23 November Music from Studio Ghibli films is included in a BBC Prom concert being performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra on Monday August 28th and then available on BBC Sounds. You can find a collection of programmes exploring different facets of Japanese culture on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0657spq Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/3/202343 minutes, 4 seconds
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Oliver Postgate

The creator of much-loved children's TV classics including The Clangers, Bagpuss and Pogles' Wood is discussed by Matthew Sweet and his guests: Daniel Postgate who took over Smallfilms from his father, singer Sandra Kerr who was the voice of Madeleine in Bagpuss, composer and author Neil Brand, and writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed. Oliver Postgate's father was a communist and his mother was a political activist, daughter of prominent Labour figure George Lansbury - how much of this political background can we find in the fantastical worlds that he created? There's also discussion of the music that plays such a major role in the programmes - the deep folk roots of the songs performed by Sandra and John Faulkner in Bagpuss and Vernon Elliot's sparse and poignant compositions for The Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. CLANGERS: The Complete Scripts 1969-1974 has been published You can find more Free Thinking/Arts & Ideas discussions of influential TV, film, books and art in a collection on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme website called Landmarks Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/2/202344 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Wife of Bath

Chaucer's widow and clothmaker is one of three characters given a longer confessional voice than other pilgrims in his Canterbury Tales and she uses her narrative to ask who has had the advantage in setting out the stories of women - "Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?" Shahidha Bari explores both the roots and the influence of Chaucer's creation and the different modern versions created by writers such as Zadie Smith and Ted Hughes and a film version by Pasolini. Shahidha's guests are Marion Turner, author of The Wife of Bath: A Biography, Patience Agbabi who reimagines this timeless character as a Nigerian businesswoman in her poem The Wife of Bafa, and New Generation Thinker Dr Hetta Howes who teaches at City University, London. You can hear Marion Turner discussing Chaucer's own life in a past episode of Free Thinking hearing from nominees for the 2020 Wolfson History Prize https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000j2qw You can find a discussion about Chaucer's court case in an Arts and Ideas podcast episode with Hetta Howes called A Feminist Take on Medieval History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n28wv And Free Thinking has a whole collection of programmes exploring Women in the World all available on BBC Sounds and as Arts & Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084ttwp Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/1/202343 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Wife of Bath

Chaucer's widow and clothmaker is one of three characters given a longer confessional voice than other pilgrims in his Canterbury Tales and she uses her narrative to ask who has had the advantage in setting out the stories of women - "Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?" Shahidha Bari explores both the roots and the influence of Chaucer's creation and the different modern versions created by writers such as Zadie Smith and Ted Hughes and a film version by Pasolini. Shahidha's guests are Marion Turner, author of The Wife of Bath: A Biography, Patience Agbabi who reimagines this timeless character as a Nigerian businesswoman in her poem The Wife of Bafa, and New Generation Thinker Dr Hetta Howes who teaches at City University, London. You can hear Marion Turner discussing Chaucer's own life in a past episode of Free Thinking hearing from nominees for the 2020 Wolfson History Prize https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000j2qw You can find a discussion about Chaucer's court case in an Arts and Ideas podcast episode with Hetta Howes called A Feminist Take on Medieval History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n28wv And Free Thinking has a whole collection of programmes exploring Women in the World all available on BBC Sounds and as Arts & Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084ttwp Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/1/202343 minutes, 57 seconds
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Glenda Jackson on filming Sunday Bloody Sunday

Glenda Jackson plays part of a love triangle in John Schlesinger's follow up to his Oscar winning Midnight Cowboy. The plot written by Penelope Gilliat centres on an artist who has relationships with a female job consultant and a male doctor. Was the 1971 film ahead of its times? Matthew Sweet re-watched it with guests including Glenda Jackson, playwright Mark Ravenhill, film historian Melanie Williams and BFI National Archive curator Simon McCallum. They discuss the different elements of the film, including the score, which features the trio Soave sia il vento from Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, the very precise decor and evocation of late '60s London and filming inside a Jewish synagogue. Glenda Jackson died in June 2023 and we are repeating this discussion to mark her death. Producer: Fiona McLean Sunday Bloody Sunday is available on Blu-ray You can find Matthew Sweet discussing other classics of British Cinema in the Free Thinking archives including British New Wave Films of the 60s - Joely Richardson and Melanie Williams evaluate the impact and legacy of Woodfall Films, the company behind Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09ysnl2 An extended interview with Mike Leigh, recorded as he released his historical drama Peterloo, but also looks back at his film from 1984 Four Days in July https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000tqw Early Cinema looks back at a pioneer of British film Robert Paul and at the work of Alice Guy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dy2b Philip Dodd explores the novel and film of David Storey's This Sporting Life with social historian Juliet Gardiner, journalist Rod Liddle, writer Anthony Clavane and the author's daughter Kate Storey https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09j0rt6 Samira Ahmed convenes a discussion about British Social Realism in Film https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pz16k
7/31/202344 minutes, 52 seconds
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Writing and Place: Wales

A Roman road which winds up through central Wales forms the spine of the latest book by Tom Bullough. He joins poet Zoë Skoulding in a conversation with Joan Passey about how the Welsh landscape has fed into their writing. Tom Bullough spent his early years on a hill farm in Radnorshire and his books include the novel Addlands. Zoë Skoulding is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Bangor University. She lives in Porthaethwy/Menai Bridge and her latest poetry collection is called Marginal Sea. Joan Passey is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker who teaches on literature at the University of Bristol. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find a collection of conversations about Prose, Poetry and Drama on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme website, all available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts.
7/30/202321 minutes, 15 seconds
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Writing and Place: The North-East

Jessica Andrews grew up in Sunderland and has written two novels - Saltwater and Milk Teeth. Jake Morris-Campbell still lives in his native South Shields and his poetry includes the collection Corrigenda for Costafine Town and various Radio 3 commissioned pieces. He is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. They talk to Ian McMillan, host of Radio 3's new writing programme The Verb, about how their sense of the North East of England has fed into their writing. Producer Torquil MacLeod You can find a collection of conversations about Prose, Poetry and Drama on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme website, all available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts.
7/22/202320 minutes, 16 seconds
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Writing and Place: Northern Ireland

Small town life in Northern Ireland is the focus of this conversation about writing and place. Since his debut Divorcing Jack in 1994, Colin Bateman has written many novels, dramas and screenplays and most recently Thunder and Lightning: A Memoir of Life on the Tough Cul-de-Sacs of Bangor. Michelle Gallen’s novels Big Girl, Small Town and Factory Girls have appeared on literary prize lists and they focus on life in a border town. Shahidha Bari, who presents Radio 3's arts and ideas programme Free Thinking is the host of the first in this series of conversations about writing and place to tie into a series of BBC Proms concerts. Producer: Robyn Read You can find a collection of conversations about Prose, Poetry and Drama on Radio 3's Free Thinking programme website, all available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts. You can find recordings of Michelle Gallen's books available to listen to on BBC Sounds
7/17/202323 minutes, 28 seconds
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Rock Follies

Rula Lenska was one of the stars of this 1970s TV series about a fictional female band, playing the role of Nancy "Q" Cunard de Longchamps, alongside Julie Covington and Charlotte Cornwell. She joins Matthew Sweet along with Howard Schuman, who wrote the series, and Andy Mackay, saxophonist with Roxy Music, who co-wrote the songs with Howard. Also taking part are Chloë Moss who has written the book for a stage adaptation of the series that is opening at the Chichester Festival Theatre, and critic David Benedict. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Rock Follies based on the television series written by Howard Schuman. Book by Chloë Moss/ Songs by Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay runs at Chichester Festival Theatre from Mon 24 Jul – Sat 26 Aug You can find other discussions about groundbreaking TV in our Free Thinking archives and available on BBC Sounds including Russell T Davies, Sabina Dosani and Jill Nalder on Depicting AIDS in Drama and It's A Sin Crossroads and TV soaps with Paula Milne, Gail Renard and Russell T Davies Quatermass discussed by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Una McCormack, Claire Langhamer and Matthew Kneale Star Trek with George Takei, Naomi Alderman, Una McCormack and José-Antonio Orosco Oliver Postgate discussed by Sandra Kerr, Daniel Postgate, Neil Brand and Samira Ahmed
7/14/202344 minutes, 15 seconds
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Oxford Philosophy

The influence of World War Two on philosophical thinking is the focus of today's discussion as Chris Harding explores the years when the University of Oxford hosted one of the most distinctive and influential philosophy departments in the English speaking world. Thinkers like J.L. Austin, Gilbert Ryle and Elizabeth Anscombe, although very different in their own right, developed a style of philosophising that is sometimes called 'ordinary language philosophy': rejecting grand theory or metaphysical speculation, it was driven by the earnest conviction that philosophical problems could be dissolved, rather than solved, by paying close attention to the minutiae of language and speech as they are actually used. The proponents of ordinary language philosophy were profoundly influenced by the experience of the Second World War: they were serious, modest, and working in the same spirit as the post-War reconstruction of Britain (including the foundation of the NHS) that was going on around them. And yet within a couple of decades, that style of philosophy was completely out of fashion. Chris Harding is joined by: Nikhil Krishnan, author of A Terribly Serious Adventure: Oxford Philosophy 1900 - 1960 Rachael Wiseman, co-author (with Clare MacCumhaill) of Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back To Life M.W. Rowe, author of J.L. Austin: Philosopher and D-Day Intelligence Officer And David Edmonds, author of Parfit, a biography of one of the most influential moral philosophers of recent decades, and a leading light of the generation that succeeded ordinary language philosophy at Oxford. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find a collection of episodes exploring philosophy on the Free Thinking programme website including, Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, early and later Wittgenstein, pansychism, epistemic injustice
7/12/20231 hour, 9 minutes, 42 seconds
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Childhood and play

How do children develop language and experiment with sounds? What toys help them develop? And, how they explain their games? As the Young V&A, previously the Museum of Childhood, opens in East London, Anne McElvoy hosts a discussion looking at the history of play. Does our interest in children's play tells us more about them or, the adults who care for them? Dr Helen Charman, is the Director of the revamped Young V&A in East London Dr Yinka Olusoga is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests focus on the social construction of children and childhood in the educational policy, political debate, art and popular culture, in the present and in the past. She has been leading research in the Iona and Peter Opie Archive and with the Play Observatory. Dr Rebecca Woods is a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker and a senior lecturer in language and cognition at the University of Newcastle. Her work focuses on children’s language acquisition. Joe Moshenska is Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of University College. Another BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker, he has been researching Tudor toys. Producer: Ruth Watts You might be interested in a recent Free Thinking episode exploring boyhood to manhood which looks at teenage experiences - and you can find more about museum displays including the re-opening of the National Portrait Gallery in London and the V&A exhibition Diva in a collection on the website called art, architecture, photography and museums.
7/11/202344 minutes, 50 seconds
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South Asia: poverty and princes

Joya Chatterji has written about the South Asian twentieth century in her new book called Shadows at Noon. Tripurdaman Singh has been researching Indian princely states. Novels by Kamala Markandaya (1924-2004) are being republished. Her daughter Kim Oliver and literary scholar Alastair Niven discuss Nectar in a Sieve. A bestseller when it first came out in 1954, it's a story about a tenant farmer, his wife and the impact of a tannery built in a neighbouring village. Rana Mitter hosts. The books recommended by our guests are: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Those-Days-Sunil-Gangopadhyay/dp/0140268529 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lady-Alice-Bhatti-Mohammed-Hanif/dp/0099516756 https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/23130761 Producer: Julian Siddle
7/6/202345 minutes, 2 seconds
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New Thinking: women and football

In 1897 women played American football in San Fransisco. Dr Katie Taylor, is a qualified coach who previously managed the Great Britain Men's Flag Football Team, supporting the team at three European Championships. She is a Lecturer in Sociology of Sport at Nottingham Trent University and has been researching the history of women playing the sport and the language used in newspaper to describe both women players and coaches working in the game. Stacey Pope is Associate Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise at Durham University. She is author of The Feminization of Sports Fandom and has recently published research looking at newspaper coverage of women’s football, the impact of the Lionesses and at continuing sexist attitudes amongst male fans to women playing football. She has also worked on an oral history project with women fans of Newcastle football club recording their experiences of attending games which you can find here https://womenfootballfans.org And you can read more here https://canvas.vuelio.co.uk/5047/study-reveals-misogynistic-attitudes-towards-womens-sport/view Christienna Fryar is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker who studies sport, and Caribbean/British history This Arts & Ideas podcast is part of the New Thinking series of episodes which focuses on new research from UK universities. It was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find a collection under New Research on Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website
7/6/202334 minutes, 45 seconds
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Liverpool Biennial + art at MIF

The Sacred Return of Lost Things is the theme of this year's Art Biennial in Liverpool. Catherine Fletcher talks to some of the artists showing work about how they have engaged with the city's history. Visual artist Melanie Manchot introduces her first full length feature film, STEPHEN, about a character recovering from gambling and alcohol addictions. Rudy Loewe describes their new large-scale installation The Reckoning, based around the Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. And Charmaine Watkiss introduces a sacred space she has created in Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum, with life-size drawings and a sculpture representing unheard voices and stories that survived the Middle Passage. New Generation Thinker Vid Simoniti gives his view and reports on an exhibition at the Whitworth in Manchester called Economics the Blockbuster – It’s not Business as Usual which looks at disrupting ideas about value, ownership, trade and economy. Liverpool Biennial runs until 17th September 2023. Economics the Blockbuster – It’s not Business as Usual is part of Manchester International Festival MIF23 and this show runs until October 22nd. You can hear about music featured in MIF in other Radio 3 broadcasts and on BBC Sounds and on the Free Thinking programme website there is a collection of discussions about art, architecture, photography and museums.
7/4/202344 minutes, 57 seconds
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A lively Tudor world

Marrying someone based on a portrait was part of life in Renaissance Europe. An exhibition in Bath explores the politics of wedlock and painting - New Generation Thinker Christina Faraday has been to visit. Eleanor Chan has been studying the history of depicting musical notes on the page, whilst Sew What podcast host Isabella Rosner looks at needlework skills in Tudor England. John Gallagher hosts the conversation. Producer: Nick Holmes BBC Radio 3 is marking the anniversary of the Tudor composer William Byrd with episodes of Composer of the Week, concerts including one during the Proms season at Londonderry and other discussions - all available on BBC Sounds. You can also find Eleanor Chan's Essay about another Tudor composer - The discordant tale of Thomas Weelkes . Painted Love: Renaissance Marriage Portraits runs at the Holburne Museum in Bath until October 1st 2023. Christina Faraday's book Tudor Liveliness: Vivid Art in Post-Reformation England is out now from Yale University Press. You might also be interested in other Free Thinking conversations about Tudor history, including: The Tudor Mind with guests including Helen Hackett https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0017dsp Tudor Families with guests including Joanne Paul and Emma Whipday https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0017dvc What do you call a stranger with guests including Nandini Das and John Gallagher https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b89ssp A collection of discussions about Shakespeare collected on the Free Thinking programme website
7/4/202344 minutes, 16 seconds
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New Thinking: oral histories and the NHS

160 volunteers recorded over 2,400 interviews with over 1,200 people on their lived experience of the NHS - as patients, staff and members of the public in an oral history project run by the University of Manchester. Professor Stephanie Snow discusses the way these help us understand how caring for children has changed in the NHS, what it felt like to get health care and not have to pay for it and other stories which interviews with policy makers in the archives didn't reveal. The Voices of Our National Health service is held at the British Library and a book has been published Our Stories: 75 Years of the NHS from the People who Built it, Lived it and Love it https://www.nhs70.org.uk/story/voices-our-national-health-service-nhs https://blogs.bl.uk/sound-and-vision/2021/07/the-nhs-at-73.html Film maker Sara David talks about NHS Untold Film Stories and her documentary Khichdi which focuses on three Indian women, including the filmmaker’s mother, who trained together in India, became friends and came to work as nurses in the NHS in the 1990s You can find out more about her film and others which have been funded in this article https://www.ukri.org/news/next-generation-of-filmmakers-to-tell-nhs-untold-film-stories/ and you can find more archive films here https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/collection/nhs-on-film Dr Sarah Jilani is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker who is a Lecturer in English at City, University of London This New Thinking conversation is part of a series marking NHS75 made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. If you don’t want to miss an episode sign up for the BBC Arts & Ideas podcast from BBC Sounds.
7/4/202329 minutes, 37 seconds
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New Thinking: Children and health

What can we learn from children's experiences in the Pandemic at home and at school? Can children express their experiences through drawing, and how might a simple curtain help create happy family homes? Lindsey McEwen is Professor of Environmental Management within the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Her research involved working with children in Bristol to understand their experiences and impact of the Pandemic on their school lives. As part of the research, she helped to create a children's book called "Learning to Live With Fog Monsters" which aims to understand and help children to cope with the impacts of invisible threats like pandemics or climate change. The book and more information on the project are available at https://www.vip-clear.org/the-primary-book/ Rosie Parnell is Professor of Architecture & Pedagogy at the University of Newcastle. Her research explored the impact on home design and sharing family spaces during the pandemic, and how families changed homes during the Covid lockdowns. As part of the research, she helped to create a "Home Hack Help Kit" to help families come up with solutions to issues around shared spaces in the home, which can be found here https://homehacktoolkit.co.uk/ Dr Daisy Fancourt is Associate Professor of Behavioural Science and Health Institute of Epidemiology & Health and University College London and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. Producer: Sofie Vilcins This New Thinking conversation is a part of a series of 5 episodes of the Arts and Ideas podcast marking the 75th anniversary of the NHS focusing on new research in UK universities which explores links between the arts and health. It is made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find out more on their website https://www.ukri.org/councils/ahrc/ and if you want to hear more there is a collection called New Research on the website of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0144txn or sign up for the Arts and Ideas podcast on BBC Sounds
7/3/202334 minutes, 26 seconds
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New Thinking: health inequalities

From exercise on prescription to museum visits and debt advice. Christienna Fryar hears about social prescribing projects which are trying to link up the arts with other services to improve people’s health and tackle loneliness. These include wild swimming in the waterways of Nottinghamshire, the “Arts for the Blues” project based in the North west of England, a pilot programme in Scotland called “Art at the Start”, and a community hub at the Grange in Blackpool. Helen Chatterjee, Professor of Human and Ecological Health at UCL is heading a programme which brings together a range of national partners including NHS England’s Personalised Care Group, the National Academy for Social Prescribing, and the National Centre for Creative Health. Myrtle Emmanuel, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management & Organisational Behaviour at the University of Greenwich is starting a project aiming to have an impact on mental health by using Caribbean folk traditions working with communities in Greenwich and Lewisham, which have the fastest growing Caribbean communities in London. Christienna Fryar is a historian of sport and the history of Britain and the Caribbean. She is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker You can find more about the projects Helen is involved in https://culturehealthresearch.wordpress.com/health-disparities/ You can find out more about projects being funded by the AHRC including Myrtle’s in this article https://www.ukri.org/news/ahrc-projects-kickstart-future-of-health-and-social-care-dialogue/ Producer: Jayne Egerton This New Thinking conversation is part of a series marking NHS75 made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. If you don’t want to miss an episode sign up for the BBC Arts & Ideas podcast from BBC Sounds.
7/2/202329 minutes, 10 seconds
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New Thinking: Design and health

How a new material helps stroke patients recover and how mapping where infections and contamination happen helps staff training. New Generation Thinker Elsa Richardson hears from two leading designers whose new research ideas have transformed the lives of stroke survivors and the elderly. Laura Salisbury is founder of the Wearable MedTech Lab at the Royal College of Art and CEO of KnitRegen and Professor Alastair Macdonald is Senior Researcher in the School of Design at The Glasgow School of Art. They discuss the importance of collaborative design and testing usability. Laura tells us about her PowerBead design – a garment embedded with beads that aid in the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. Alastair discusses his work with the ageing population and how an app to register not just food provided but what patients have eaten has helped improve malnutrition in hospitals. Dr Elsa Richardson is a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Strathclyde in the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) and is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker You can find out more about Laura’s work here https://www.rca.ac.uk/research-innovation/research-degrees/research-students/laura-salisbury/ And Alastair’s work here https://www.gsa.ac.uk/research/design-profiles/m/macdonald,-alastair/ The AHRC funds projects linking art and health https://www.ukri.org/councils/ahrc/ Producer: Belinda Naylor This New Thinking conversation is part of a mini-series of Arts and Ideas podcasts made to mark the anniversary of the NHS 75 years ago. It was produced in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find out more more in a collection called New Research on Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website or sign up for the Arts and Ideas podcast on BBC Sounds.
7/1/202332 minutes, 22 seconds
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New Thinking: Writing the NHS

In the first NHS hospital to be opened in 1948 by then Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan, a prize winning poet and academic has been sitting in the restaurant which serves as the canteen, persuading hospital workers to share their stories and take time to involve themselves in writing. Dr Kim Moore is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her time as NHS75 writer in residence at Trafford General Hospital has led to an anthology being published Untold Stories of the NHS Kim Moore talks to Jade Munslow Ong alongside Kim Wiltshire, who works with the Lime Arts charity to roll out projects like this in healthcare settings and who has created a poetic collage about working in the NHS. Dr Kim Wiltshire is Programme Leader for the BA Creative Writing at Edge Hill university in Lancashire and she has collaborated with Lime Arts as an artist and project manager over 20 years https://www.limeart.org/ Kim Moore’s project Untold Stories of the NHS is a partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), MFT’s arts for health organisation Lime Arts, Health Education England, and Manchester UNESCO City of Literature and includes a display at Trafford General, and an exhibition in the Manchester Poetry Library running over the Summer. Dr Jade Munslow Ong teaches literature at the University of Salford and is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker Producer: Nancy Bennie This New Thinking conversation is a part of a series of 5 episodes of the Arts and Ideas podcast marking the 75th anniversary of the NHS focusing on new research in UK universities which explores links between the arts and health. It is made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find out more on their website https://www.ukri.org/councils/ahrc/ and if you want to hear more there is a collection called New Research on the website of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0144txn or sign up for the Arts and Ideas podcast on BBC Sounds
6/30/202337 minutes, 19 seconds
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Dystopian thinking

Dystopias are a longstanding staple of film and literature, particularly science fiction, but what can we learn from them? Do they simply entrench despair or act as a prompt to improve the world? And what do The Two Ronnies have to do with all this? As a stage adaptation of Kay Dick's 1977 novel 'They: A Sequence of Unease' opens at the Manchester International Festival - a work that imagines a Britain that has been purged of culture - Matthew Sweet is joined by writer Una McCormack and New Generation Thinkers Sarah Dillon and SJ Beard to trace the history of dystopias and what they tell us about the fears and preoccupations of successive generations. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight's adaptation of 'They: A Sequence of Unease' by Kay Dick is at John Rylands Library, Manchester 5th-9th July 2023.
6/30/202345 minutes, 18 seconds
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Julian the Apostate

Ibsen referred to Emperor and Galilean as his "major work". The play describes the life of Julian, who ruled the Roman empire from AD361-363. Julian attempted to abolish the recently established state religion of Christianity and replace it with the worship of the ancient, pagan gods. The play is brimming with action and ideas, but is rarely performed. Rana Mitter discusses Ibsen's play and the history and religious ideas behind it with theatre critic and writer, Mark Lawson; historian and author of Pax, Tom Holland; Nicholas Baker-Brian, a theologian; and, Catherine Nixey, a journalist at the Economist and author of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World. Producer: Ruth Watts Emperor and Galilean will be broadcast as the Drama on 3 in July on BBC Radio 3 and available on BBC Sounds You can find another conversation about Ibsen's dramas available as an episode of Free Thinking and on BBC Sounds and a collection on the programme website exploring religious belief
6/28/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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Boyhood to manhood

The Second World War obsessed Luke Turner when he was growing up, before he founded the music website Quietus. Music has also been former teacher and now Add to Playlist host Jeffrey Boakye's passion and he's written a novel for teens called Kofi and the Rap Battle. Lisa Sugiura researches the online world that has drawn in so many. Chris Harding has been to see the new James Graham play at the National Theatre which explores the football team put together by Gareth Southgate. They come together for a conversation about how young men find their role models and navigate growing up? Jeffrey Boakye's books include Hold Tight: Black masculinity, millennials and the meaning of grime and What is Masculinity? Why does it matter? And other big questions (co-authored with Darren Chetty); his new childrens' book is called Kofi and the Rap Battle Summer. Lisa Sugiura researches focuses on cybercrime and gender at the University of Portsmouth Men at War: Loving, lusting, fighting, remembering 1939-1945 by Luke Turner is out now Dear England by James Graham runs at the National Theatre until August 11th 2023 You might also be interested in a Free Thinking conversation about the changing image of masculinity with authors Ben Lerner, JJ Bola and Derek Owusu https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b0mx And Matthew Sweet talked with photographer Sunil Gupta, authors CN Lester and Tom Shakespeare, and a Barbican exhibition curator Alona Pardo about How do we build a new masculinity? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gm6h
6/26/202344 minutes, 43 seconds
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Gut instinct

The Skeptic Editor Michael Marshall talks to Matthew Sweet about how we judge actions and truth. They're joined by New Generation Thinkers Elsa Richardson, who is a historian of the emotions at the University of Strathclyde working on a popular history of the gut-brain connection and digestion more widely, and Brendan McGeever, who teaches on sociology, racism and anti-semitism at Birkbeck, University of London. Producer: Julian Siddle
6/23/202345 minutes, 58 seconds
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Diva

Maria Callas (1823-1977) and Adelina Patti (1843-1914) are two of the performers whose images are on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum's Diva. Professor Peggy Reynolds and Dr Ditlev Rindom have been to visit the exhibition which runs from opera, through films like Cleopatra, to pop performers such as Grace Jones, Lizzo and Cher. But what about performers from an earlier era ? Brianna Robertson-Kirkland shares her research, whilst Michael Twaits shares what the idea of Diva means to drag performers. Naomi Paxton hosts. Producer: Sofie Vilcins Diva opens June 24th at the V&A museum. BBC Radio 3 broadcasts opera every Saturday evening except during the Proms season and discussions about the making of music each Saturday on Music Matters. You can find other Free Thinking conversations about Women in the World collected on the programme website.
6/21/202344 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Sorrows of Young Werther

An instant bestseller in 1774, The Sorrows of Young Werther was carried by Napoleon on his campaign in Egypt, it led to spin offs in fashion, porcelain and perfume and created Werther fever. A work of his Sturm und Drang years, Goethe's epistolary novel was published anonymously when he was aged 24. The story captures the intensity of unrequited love, frustrated ambition and mental suffering. It is also a novel that keys into the big philosophical arguments of its age and has given rise to a wide range of artistic responses in the two centuries since. With the Royal Opera House staging Massenet's operatic adaptation of the story, Anne McElvoy explores the ideas that fed into it. Professor Sarah Hibberd is Stanley Hugh Badock Chair of Music at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on nineteenth century opera and music theatre in Paris and London. Dr Sean Williams is a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker and Senior Lecturer in German and European Cultural History in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield and is a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker. Dr Andrew Cooper is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick and is a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker. Dr Sabina Dosani is a doctoral researcher in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. She is a consultant psychiatrist and a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker. Producer: Ruth Watts Werther: Antonio Pappano conducts Massenet's opera with a cast including Jonas Kaufmann and Aigul Akhmetshina. Performances at the Royal Opera House are from June 20th - July 4th You can find other discussions about artworks, literature, film and TV which are Landmarks of culture gathered into a collection on the Free Thinking programme website. They include episodes about Gunter Grass, ETA Hoffmann, Hannah Arendt, and Thomas Mann https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jwn44
6/20/202344 minutes, 43 seconds
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Life, art and drama in the kitchen

In the Kitchen (washing machine) 1977 is an art work by Helen Chadwick being displayed at the Hepworth Wakefield, whilst Carrie Mae Weems' images called Kitchen Table Series 1990 are coming to a Barbican show. Art critic Sarah Kent joins New Generation Thinker and archaeologist Marianne Hem Eriksen, film scholar Melanie Williams, whose latest book looks at Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey, and journalist and writer Angela Hui, whose memoir is called Takeaway: Stories from a childhood behind the counter, for a conversation about kitchens from the ancient hearth to kitchen sink realism. Matthew Sweet is the chef in charge. Producer: Julian Siddle You might also be interested in a discussion about mid century modern and kitchen appliances https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000x709 Housework https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001629r Bedrooms https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pmsl
6/16/202345 minutes, 16 seconds
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Glenda Jackson and Filming Sunday Bloody Sunday

Glenda Jackson (May 1936-June 2023) starred in many plays and films. One of those was Sunday Bloody Sunday where she plays part of a love triangle in John Schlesinger's follow up to his Oscar winning Midnight Cowboy. The plot written by Penelope Gilliat centres on an artist who has relationships with a female job consultant and a male doctor. Was the 1971 film ahead of its times? Matthew Sweet re-watched it with guests including Glenda Jackson, playwright Mark Ravenhill, film historian Melanie Williams and BFI National Archive curator Simon McCallum. They discuss the different elements of the film, including the score, which features the trio Soave sia il vento from Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, the very precise decor and evocation of late 60s London and filming inside a Jewish synagogue. This programme was recorded in July 2022. Producer: Fiona McLean Sunday Bloody Sunday is available on Blu-ray You can find Matthew Sweet discussing other classics of British Cinema in the Free Thinking archives including: British New Wave Films of the 60s - Joely Richardson and Melanie Williams evaluate the impact and legacy of Woodfall Films, the company behind Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09ysnl2 An extended interview with Mike Leigh, recorded as he released his historical drama Peterloo, but also looks back at his film from 1984 Four Days in July https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000tqw Early Cinema looks back at a pioneer of British film Robert Paul and at the work of Alice Guy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dy2b Philip Dodd explores the novel and film of David Storey's This Sporting Life with social historian Juliet Gardiner, journalist Rod Liddle, writer Anthony Clavane and the author's daughter Kate Storey https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09j0rt6 Samira Ahmed convenes a discussion about British Social Realism in Film https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pz16k
6/15/202344 minutes, 52 seconds
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Portraits

What exactly is a portrait? As the National Portrait Gallery re-opens and Sheffield Documentary Festival begins, Shahidha Bari talks to the gallery's Chief Curator Alison Smith, film-makers Kim Longinotto and Franky Murray Brown about their film Dalton's Dream, photographer Johny Pitts, whose project Home is Not a Place moves to the Photographers’ Gallery in London and New Generation Thinker Ana Baeza Ruiz about an oral history project with 1970s feminist artists. Producer: Sofie Vilcins You can hear music relating to an image held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery every day on BBC Radio 3's Breakfast programme next week and an episode of the weekly curation of Words and Music inspired by portraits is broadcast on Sunday June 18th and then available on BBC Sounds for a month. On BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds a series called Close Encounters presented by Martha Kearney invites ten leading figures of today to the newly refurbished National Portrait Gallery to champion a favourite picture from the Gallery's collection. The NPG re-opens after refurbishment on June 22nd 2023. The NPG has linked up with Creative Southampton to open a show at Southampton City Art Gallery and Museums: which is a follow up to a project run by the NPG with Sheffield Galleries. Joshua Reynolds' birth on July 16th 1723 is being marked by an exhibition in the city of his birth at the Box Plymouth which runs until October 29th Johny Pitts' work has been on show in Sheffield, Edinburgh and is now opening at the Photographers Gallery London this June. The Sheffield Doc Festival runs June 14th to 19th premiering a host of films, tv and podcasts which will be coming your way soon. The screenings include Dalton's Dream on 15th June, by Kim Longinotto and Franky Murray Brown, which tracks the journey of the first non-British and Black man to win X-Factor UK and the new life which follows Blood & Fire: Our Journey Through Vanley Burke's History runs at Soho House in Birmingham until Nov 4th 2023
6/14/202345 minutes, 7 seconds
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Ideas about health

Edinburgh GP Gavin Francis has been reading the writings of Thomas Browne (1605 -1682), who travelled to Padua and Leiden to qualify in medicine and then wrote on topics including religion, burial and examples of false understanding of science at the time. A Fortunate Woman - a depiction of a country doctor working now - takes inspiration from A Fortunate Man published in 1967 by John Berger and photographer Jean Mohr. Author Polly Morland joins Gavin Francis and New Generation Thinker Matt Smith from Strathclyde University, who is working on a history of health and medicine and who researches mental health, to discuss with Rana Mitter how our ideas have changed. Producer: Julian Siddle You can hear Gavin Francis discussing Ancient Wisdom and Remote Living in a previous Free Thinking episode available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas podcast https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000q3by There's more about Thomas Browne in an episode devoted to his writings https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02tw4xw Matt Smith discusses Ritalin in an episode about Resting and Rushing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bp2c and an Essay for Radio 3 looks at The Magic Years, a manuscript found in the American Psychiatric Association archives, written when the eradication of mental illness was believed possible https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08j9x3c Ways of Talking about Health looks at new research from UK universities https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000q12w Mental Health hears from Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and New Generation Thinker Dr Sabina Dosani https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0016ynv
6/13/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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Adam Smith

The father of capitalism or a sensitive moral philosopher? Adam Smith has been claimed as the defender of self-interest and advocate of free market economics, but his reputation has undergone a recent reappraisal. With his tercentenary in 2023, Anne McElvoy hears about the unexpected side of Adam Smith and his enduring presence in modern political economy. Glory Liu is a Lecturer on Social Studies at Harvard University. Her first book, Adam Smith's America: How a Scottish Philosopher became an Icon of American Capitalism, is a history of of the reception of Adam Smith's ideas in America. Maha Rafi Atal is a lecturer in Global Economy at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. Dafydd Mills Daniel is a lecturer in Divinity at the University of St Andrews who looks at the history of philosophy and religious thought. He is a BBC Radio 3 AHRC New Generation Thinker. Roos Slegers is Assistant Professor in the School of Humanities and Digital Sciences at Tilburg University. Her research focuses on the intersection of philosophy, literature and economics in the late 18th Century authors. Producer: Ruth Watts Adam Smith 300 sees events taking place at universities in Scotland including Adam Smith 300 at the University Glasgow. Smith, Ferguson, and Witherspoon at 300 runs at St Andrews University from 18th-21st July Previous Free Thinking episodes exploring economic ideas include an episode about John Rawls's A Theory of Justice (1971) and Mandeville's view of 18th century economics in his Fable of the Bees (1714)
6/8/202345 minutes
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Yellowface, AI and Asian stereotypes

Is it ever okay to pass off someone else’s work as your own? What if it’s a computer programme faking it? And how are our perceptions of ownership and Identity influenced by the apparent power of digital technology? These are some of the big questions Chris Harding discusses with : Rebecca Kuang, author of a new novel, ‘Yellowface’, which is largely a story about plagiarism and publishing, but also touches on identity, social media and use of digital technology in perpetuating misinformation. New Generation Thinker Kerry McInerny, who researches the impact of AI. Amongst other aspects she’s looking at how it can get things wrong, and its misuse in racial profiling. https://www.gender.cam.ac.uk/technology-gender-and-intersectionality-research-project/kerry-mackereth And, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu, whose new book ‘Power and Progress’ says advances in technology don’t always equate with positive outcomes. He discusses the way AI algorithms have been used in social media to make money and spread hate, but also outlines how we can harness tech for good Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity written by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson is out now Ghislaine Boddington is a curator and director, specialising in the future human, body responsive technologies and digital intimacy. She is a Reader in Digital Immersion at the University of Greenwich. https://ghislaineboddington.com/ You can find more from Kerry on the Arts and Ideas podcast as part of our strand New Thinking – made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council which focuses specifically on research being done in UK universities – And the AHRC is also behind a big project involving academics in Edinburgh and the Ada Lovelace Institute looking at AI ethics And if you want to hear about AI in music – composers Robert Laidlow and Emily Howard talked to Radio 3’s Music Matters programme and you can find that on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001l4d8
6/7/202345 minutes, 5 seconds
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Michel Piccoli

Le Mépris in 1963 brought fame to Michel Piccoli. Jean-Luc Godard's new wave film was based on an Italian novel about a love triangle and power dynamics involving a playwright asked to work on a film script. Piccoli (1925-2020) went on to work with many other directors, including Buñuel, Chabrol, Varda, Rivette, Demy and Sautet in roles which run from a weak priest to a confused pope, with a host of rebels, cynics, lovers and losers mixed in. Matthew Sweet is joined by Geoff Andrew, Muriel Zagha, Phuong Le and Adam Scovell to look at this remarkable career that spanned seven decades. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Michel Piccoli: A Fearless Talent, is running at BFI Southbank from 1-29 June You can find a series of discussions about film stars and key films available as Arts & Ideas podcasts and on BBC Sounds including Marlene Dietrich, Jacques Tati, Audrey Hepburn, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Sidney Poitier, Laurel and Hardy's The Music Box, Charlie Chaplin's City Lights. Each Saturday on Radio 3 Matthew Sweet presents Sound of Cinema looking at film music relating to the week's new film releases - all the episodes are on BBC Sounds.
6/6/202344 minutes, 37 seconds
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Nature Memoirs

From Pakistan to Bulgaria to swimming the waterways of Britain: Rana Mitter is joined by a panel of writers to look at our relationship with particular landscapes and the natural world. Kapka Kassabova’s latest book Elixir: In the Valley at the End of Time details her stay in a remote valley by the River Mesa in Bulgaria and the knowledge of herbalism she finds there. Patrick Barham's latest book is about Roger Deakin, the environmentalist who co-founded Common Ground and was passionate about wild swimming. New Generation Thinker Noreen Masud from the University of Bristol has written a memoir called A Flat Place which details the impact of displacement from her Pakistani roots and her pilgrimage to the low lying landscapes of Orkney, Morecambe Bay and Orford Ness. The programme is part of Radio 3's broadcasts from the 2023 Hay Festival and was recorded in front of an audience there earlier this week. You can find a collection of discussions about Green Thinking all available to download or on BBC Sounds on the Free Thinking programme website of BBC Radio 3. Radio 3 is also broadcasting a series of lunchtime concerts from this year's Hay Festival and you can find past Hay festival discussions about Prose, Poetry and Drama in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website Producer: Luke Mulhall.
5/31/202344 minutes, 20 seconds
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Europe

From dockworkers in Poland to meetings with European prime ministers and presidents and witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall - the latest book by Timothy Garton Ash is a memoir called Homelands: A Personal History of Europe. He is joined by the Turkish writer now in exile from her home country Ece Temelkuran, by journalist Ben Judah who has been interviewing citizens across different European countries and by Misha Glenny, who has written on the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe and presents for BBC Radio 4 a history series about different countries called The Invention of …. Rana Mitter chairs the discussion which is recorded in front of an audience as part of BBC Radio 3's programming from the Hay Festival. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find a series of concerts from Hay, an episode of the Verb and other BBC discussions all available on BBC Sounds. Ece Temelkuran was born into a political family and after her work as an investigative journalist and author of a series of books exploring Turkey’s history and politics, including How to Lose a Country and Ten Choices for a Better Now. She now lives outside the country. Ben Judah has written This is Europe: The Way We Live Now which draws on a series of interviews with a range of European citizens detailing their experiences of life. Misha Glenny's books include The Balkans 1804-2012 and McMafia.
5/31/202345 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Troubles in Northern Ireland

The Imperial War Museum in London is putting on display recently collected objects and new first-hand testimony describing life in Northern Ireland during The Troubles in its first show to look at this topic. Anne McElvoy explores what it means to explore this history in writing, music and museum displays. The author Louise Kennedy's novel Trespasses is a 1970s love story. Poet Maria McManus and composer Keith Acheson have collaborated on a piece called Ellipses which they describe as being about "doubling back and reclaiming the sense of wonder, awe and timelessness that came before all the grimness". And Maria Fusco has worked on a new opera film which highlights the experiences of working class women in Belfast. Producer: Robyn Read Louise Kennedy's books include the short story collection The End of the World is a Cul de Sac and a novel set during 1970s Belfast called Trespasses which is now out in paperback. Northern Ireland: Living with the Troubles is a free exhibition at the IWM London curated by Craig Murray Ellipses is being performed at the Belfast International Arts Festival in November History of the Present an opera film was made on 35mm and SD video in the streets of Belfast, the Ulster Museum and the Royal Opera House in London. It was co-directed by Maria Fusco and Margaret Salmon with music by composer Annea Lockwood and will be screened 24.06.23 at Art Night, Dundee 02.07.23 The Royal Opera House, London and 11.08.23 for the Edinburgh Art Festival [live version]
5/26/202345 minutes, 21 seconds
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Sneezing, smells and noses

The profound effects of losing our sense of smell, why historians should think more about the smells of the past and some thoughts on sneezing from Montaigne and La Condamine. Rana Mitter is joined by philosopher and wine-taster Barry Smith, Chrissi Kelly who founded the charity AbScent following her own experience of anosmia (the loss of smell), sensory historian William Tullett and New Generation Thinker Gemma Tidman. William Tullett's book Smell and the Past: Noses, Archives, Narratives is out now. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find previous Free Thinking discussions about other body parts available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas podcast. We have looked at Knees From dance to prayer, knees ups to kneeling https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gv2t Hands Matthew Sweet explores hands with psychoanalyst Darian Leader, an art historian and a computer scientist https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07gnj18 Barry Smith discussed what gives us Pleasure https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tf72 Novelist Michele Roberts discussed evoking smell in fiction https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08n24f5
5/26/202345 minutes, 45 seconds
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Linda Grant and Jewish history

A Baltic forest in 1913, Soho and the suburbs of Liverpool and the Jewish community that grows up there are the settings for Linda Grant's new novel The Story of the Forest. She joins presenter John Gallagher, Rachel Lichtenstein and Julia Pascal for a conversation about writing and Jewish identity in the North West as we also hear about Julia Pascal's play Manchester Girlhood and look at the re-opening of the Manchester Jewish Museum with curator Alex Cropper . Producer in Salford: Nick Holmes https://www.manchesterjewishmuseum.com/ has re-opened after a £6 million redevelopment Dr Rachel Lichtenstein is a writer, curator who teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Centre for Jewish Studies http://www.juliapascal.org/ has links to Julia's new play You can find other Free Thinking discussions about Jewish history and identity including Jonathan Freedland, Hadley Freeman, Howard Jacobson and Bari Weiss on Jewish Identity in 2020 Simon Schama and Devorah Baum on Jewish history and jokes Howard Jacobson delivering a lecture on Why We Need The Novel and talking to Philip Dodd about his dystopian novel J Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger and New Generation Thinker Brendan McGeevor from the Pears Institute discussing stereotypes and also anti-Semitism Matthew Sweet in conversation with David Grossman Jonathan Freedland exploring Jewish identity in fiction from Amos Oz, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen & Jonathan Safran Foer Linda Grant alongside AD Miller, Boris Dralyuk, and Diana Vonnak discussing Odessa Stories and the writing of Isaac Babel
5/25/202345 minutes, 12 seconds
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Mermaids, Caribbean tales and copyright

Disney's The Little Mermaid and a musical adaptation of a Caribbean version of the story kick off our conversation as Shahidha Bari is joined by director Ola Ince, historian and Sarah Peverley, who is writing a cultural history of mermaids. "Mermaid hunter" Sacha Coward considers mermaids as queer icons and Claudy Op den Kamp talks us through Disney copyright history. Producer: Sofie Vilcins Once On This Island directed by Ola Ince runs at the Regent's Park Theatre until June 10th. It's the story of peasant girl Ti Moune and a boy called Daniel, and it's based upon a novel by Rosa Guy called My Love, My Love or The Peasant Girl which takes its inspiration from the Hans Christian Andersen story The Little Mermaid Disney's The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey and directed by Rob Marshall is in cinemas from May 26th.
5/24/202344 minutes, 57 seconds
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Essex

Thanks in part to the birth of those enduring caricatures - Essex Man & Essex Girl - in the 1990s, this is a county that has struggled to break free from a whole raft of stereotypes and assumptions. Matthew Sweet and his guests - all Essex residents - are here to present a more nuanced, complicated and historically rich vision of this woefully misunderstood part of England. Tim Burrows has written The Invention of Essex: The Making of an English County Elsa James is an artist whose work includes the Forgotten Black Essex project Simon Heffer is a historian and journalist who first coined the term 'Essex Man' Dan Taylor is a New Generation Thinker. He lectures in Social and Political Thought at the Open University and his most recent research has taken him along the route of the A13, from east London to Southend on Sea Producer: Torquil MacLeod Composer William Byrd has strong Essex connections - and you can hear his music daily on Essential Classics between 9am and 12 as part of Radio 3's Byrd spotting series to mark the anniversary of his birth in July 1623 In the Free Thinking archives you can find Matthew Sweet talking to Essex born author Sarah Perry in conversations about spookiness and fear and her book The Essex Serpent https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000kk2 and a Covid conversation about Melmoth the Wanderer https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jgcs
5/19/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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Rocky Horror and camp

Premiered to 63 people at the Royal Court back in 1973, the Rocky Horror Show is marking its anniversary with a production touring the UK. New Generation Thinkers Louise Creechan and Joan Passey explore its links with Frankenstein and the Gothic tradition and Paul Baker discusses its place in a history of camp. Shahidha Bari presents. Camp: The Story of the Attitude that Conquered the World is out now. Paul Baker is a Professor at Lancaster University. Rocky Horror runs at Sadlers Wells Peacock Theatre in Holborn, London until June 10th and then moves on to venues including Crewe, Leeds, Truro, Belfast, Nottingham and Eastbourne. For more details https://rockyhorror.co.uk/tour-dates You can find other conversations about LGBTQ+ culture and history in the Free Thinking collection of episodes called Identity Discussions on the programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06jngzt Programmes include The politics of fashion and drag https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09zcjch Polari Prize winners from 2020 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nmrl Queer Histories https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000f74j New Thinking: Raiding Gay’s the Word & Magnus Hirschfeld https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ff53xv
5/17/202345 minutes, 43 seconds
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Zimbabwean writing

A '70s London squat was home to the writer Dambudzo Marechera when he was writing his first novel The House of Hunger (1978), which was published in the Heinemann African Writers series and has now been issued as a Penguin Classic. Tinashe Mushakavanhu is researching his story and writings. Mufaro Makubika has adapted the coming of age story published by NoViolet Bulawayo in 2013 as a play, which is now touring England. Jocelyn Alexander is involved in creating an archive and oral history documenting Southern Africa's liberation armies and has researched experiences of political imprisonment over 50 years in Zimbabwe. Rana Mitter hosts the conversation. Producer: Ruth Watts We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, in a new adaptation by Mufaro Makubika is a Fifth Word and New Perspectives co-production directed by Monique Touko. It tours to Derby, Manchester, Newcastle, Peterborough, and Bristol The House of Hunger is available as a Penguin Classic You can find more discussions about African writing and history in a collection called Exploring Black History on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp They include Pettina Gappah on African Empire Stories https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fgxm Louise Egbunike on Pan-Africanism and Nana Oforiatta Ayim on her African encyclopedia https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000c4mf A focus on Wole Soyinka's writing with novelist Ben Okri, academic Louisa Egbunike and playwright Oladipo Agboluaje https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k35s An exploration of the politics and writing of Amílcar Lopes da Costa Cabral https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001ghhz
5/16/202344 minutes, 58 seconds
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Agoraphobia

"Not so much a fear of going out as a fear of something dreadful happening whilst being out" - writer Graham Caveney talks to Matthew Sweet about his own experience of agoraphobia and also how the condition has been reflected in the work of other writers, including Shirley Jackson and Emily Dickinson. Writer Kate Summerscale and New Generation Thinker Joan Passey trace the shifting ideas about sources of phobias in the 19th century and the explosion of interest in naming and cataloguing them. Film critic Christina Newland explores Alfred Hitchcock's portrayal of phobias in films including Frenzy and Marnie. Graham Caveney's book 'On Agoraphobia' is available now. Kate Summerscale is the author of 'The Book of Phobias and Manias'. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
5/12/202345 minutes, 47 seconds
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Mountaineering, Lizzie Le Blond, sport and science

Overcoming grief, historian Rachel Hewitt's new book mixes recent personal history and her experiences of fell running and lockdown with her research into the pioneering mountain climber known as Lizzie Le Blond (1860 – 1934). In 1907, Le Blond set up the Ladies' Alpine Club and over her lifetime made 20 first ascents of different peaks. Chris Harding is joined by Rachel Hewitt, Dr Ben Anderson from Keele University, and science writer Caroline Williams to discuss alpine sports, running, risk and research into health and fitness ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week. Producer: Julian Siddle Rachel Hewitt and Ben Anderson were both chosen as BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers in the scheme which turns research into radio. Rachel's book In Her Nature How Women Break Boundaries in the Great Outdoors : A Past, Present and Personal Story is out now. You can hear more from Dr Ben Anderson in an episode called Simplify your life - ideas from 20th-century radicals https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d826 Caroline Williams is the author of Move ! The new science of body over mind. You might be interested in other Free Thinking discussions all available as Arts & Ideas podcasts, on BBC Sounds and the programme website Running https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b087yrll Tacita Dean, Mountains, John Tyndall https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b3fkt3 Radio 3 has a series of programmes exploring different music for Mental Health including special episodes of the Classical Mixtape
5/10/202345 minutes, 23 seconds
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Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe

650 years since the visions of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe's birth in King's Lynn, two novels have been published which explore these influential medieval mystics. Shahidha Bari brings together Claire Gilbert - author of I, Julian - and Victoria MacKenzie - author of For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain - and New Generation Thinker Hetta Howes to discuss these very different characters and what we know of their lives and faith. Producer: Robyn Read You can find other conversations about medieval figures including Chaucer's Wife of Bath, and Melusine in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website on BBC Radio 3 called Women in the World. All the episodes are available as the Arts and Ideas podcast to download and on BBC Sounds Radio 3's weekly Early Music Show broadcast every Sunday focuses on music of the period
5/8/202344 minutes, 42 seconds
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Kingship and ceremony

Luxury and Power is the title of a new British Museum exhibition focusing on the politics of display used by rulers in Persia and Greece. Ahead of the coronation, Anne McElvoy hears from the curator, from academics researching past royal rituals in Tudor and Medieval England and about power and royalty on the operatic stage from Verdi's Don Carlos and Aida and to Philip Glass's Akhnaten and Britten's Gloriana. Dr Jamie Fraser is curator for the Ancient Levant and Anatolia at the British Museum and has curated Luxury and power: Persia to Greece Dr Joanne Paul is a writer, historian and broadcaster working on the history of the Renaissance, Tudor and Early Modern Periods. Professor Sarah Hibberd is Stanley Hugh Badock Chair of Music at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on nineteenth century opera and music theatre in Paris and London. Dr Julia Hartley is a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker who writes about Dante, Proust and representations of Iran. She lectures at the University of Glasgow School of Modern Languages and Cultures. Producer: Ruth Watts Luxury and power: Persia to Greece runs at the British Museum in London from 4 May 2023 - 13 Aug 2023 On BBC Radio 3 you can find a discussion about recordings of Coronation Anthems on Building a Library, part of Record Review and music by Royal composers featured on In Tune and Radio 3 is broadcasting the music commissioned for the coronation before the ceremony begins. You can find that on BBC Sounds Music: Meyerbeer, Le Prophète, The Coronation March, London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Bonynge, Decca – SXL.6541 Verdi, Don Carlos, Act II, Cejour heureux est plein d’allgègresse! Coro del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Claudia Abbado, Deutsche Grammophon – DEF058231107
5/5/202345 minutes, 11 seconds
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Sidney Poitier

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) tackled inter-racial relationships. In the Heat of the Night won the Best Picture Oscar in 1967. For Love of Ivy (1968) satirised white liberal attitudes and treated audiences to the indelibly suave image of Poitier eating sushi and talking Japanese. A new play at the Kiln Theatre in London explores the decisions Poitier had to make in his film career. The playwright Ryan Calais Cameron joins Matthew Sweet with film critic Jan Asante and biographer Aram Goudsouzian to look at the acting career of Sidney Poitier, the first Black actor to win the Best Actor Academy Award. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Retrograde is at the Kiln Theatre, London until May 27th 2023 - a Sidney Poitier film season runs alongside. You can find other Free Thinking episodes exploring actors including Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Asta Nielsen, Marlene Dietrich all available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas podcast.
5/4/202345 minutes, 1 second
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Sound, conflict and central heating

Recordings in sub-zero temperatures and the hottest day on record have fed into the sound of Erland Cooper's latest composition. Ahead of a performance at the Barbican Centre, he discusses the way his Folded Landscape piece thaws through seven movements. New Generation Thinker Sam Johnson-Schlee is researching the social history of central heating, how its changed what we do in the home, and why climate change and global geopolitics are leading to questions about its' future. Sarah Jilani has suggested reading for the Nigerian take on the impact of the oil industry, which has produced a new style of literature 'Petropoetry'. And in her new book 'Nomad Century' science writer Gaia Vince looks at how global temperature changes are raising the prospect of mass migration in response to climate change . Matthew Sweet presents. Producer: Julian Siddle Folded Landscapes by Erland Cooper is released as an album in May and performed with the Scottish Ensemble at the Barbican Centre from May 11th-13th Sam Johnson-Schlee is a 2023 New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on the radio. He teaches at London South Bank University and has written a book called Living Rooms Dr Sarah Jilani is also on the scheme. She teaches at City University London You can find out about books and articles from science writer Gaia Vince at https://wanderinggaia.com/about-me/
5/2/202345 minutes, 23 seconds
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Lady Antonia Fraser

From Mary Queen of Scots - about whom her mother was going to write until she intervened - to her most recent biography of Caroline Lamb, out in mid May, Lady Antonia Fraser has had a career publishing prize winning books exploring historical figures. In this conversation, recorded at her London home with historian Rana Mitter, she reflects on what she calls "optical research", the crime fiction she has written, meeting figures from history including Clement Atlee dressed as Santa and the prize, established by her daughter Flora, in memory of her mother - The Elizabeth Longford Prize for historical biography. Producer: Torquil MacLeod The shortlist for the 2023 Elizabeth Longford Prize for historical biography is announced in May Lady Antonia Fraser's books which are discussed include Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell our Chief of Men, The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-century England, The Case of the Married Woman: Caroline Norton: A 19th Century Heroine Who Wanted Justice for Women, The King and the Catholics: The Fight for Rights In May 2023 Lady Antonia Fraser publishes Lady Caroline Lamb: A Free Spirit You can find other episodes hearing from historians who have been nominated for the Wolfson History Prize, the Cundill History Prize and the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding on the Free Thinking website and available on BBC Sounds.
4/27/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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Queen Charlotte, fashion and music

Music making, fashion and behaviour at court in the Georgian period are the focus of new research by Sophie Coulombeau, Mary-Jannet Leith and Lizzy Buckle. As Bridgerton launches a spin off series about Queen Charlotte and an exhibition opens at the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace called Style and Society, Shahidha Bari hosts a discussion about soirées, soprano stardom and sexual scandals. Producer: Julian Siddle A Georgian inspired episode of Radio 3's weekly curation of Words and Music is available on BBC Sounds until May 25th 2023 You can find other conversations about Georgian history on BBC Sounds and Free Thinking and available as the Arts and Ideas podcast Bridgerton and Georgian Entertainment heard from Brianna Robertson-Kirkland, Sophie Coulombeau, Ian Kelly and Hannah Greig https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015v3c Harlots and 18th-century working women https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rdfz Samuel Johnson's Circle https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000vq3w The Value of Gossip https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fwfb 18th century crime and punishment https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b040hysp Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians runs at the Queen's Gallery until October 8th Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story launches on May 4th on Netflix
4/25/202345 minutes, 19 seconds
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New Thinking: Fashion, sustainability and Earth Day

From unboxing and influencers to circular fashion and a new artwork unveiled for Earth Day: New Generation Thinker Xine Yao from University College London hosts a conversation about sustainable fashion ideas. How does the London College of Fashion experiment with materials and teach design practices and fashion media which focus on sustainability? Monica Buchan-Ng is the Acting Head of Knowledge Exchange at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and she tells us about online courses and innovations including material made from algae https://www.futurelearn.com/partners/lcf Lucy Orta has been a Professor since 2002 and is currently the Chair of Art and the Environment at the University of the Arts London, where she founded the Art for the Environment Artist in Residency Program. She also runs her own studio in partnership with George Orta https://www.studio-orta.com/ Her artwork Fabulae Naturae, comprises three 60-foot draperies adorning the Granary Building behind Kings Cross station. A programme of events is taking place across Earth Day on April 22nd https://www.kingscross.co.uk/event/earth-day-at-kings-cross This New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI https://www.ukri.org/opportunity/ukri-circular-fashion-and-textile-programme-networkplus/ UCL is home to a People and Nature Lab https://www.ucl.ac.uk/biosciences/gee/people-and-nature-lab East Bank is the new cultural quarter which is home to UCL, London College of Fashion, BBC Music Studios and other cultural partners https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/east-bank You can hear on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds a special Earth Day concert featuring the music of Max Richter and find a whole collection of conversations about Green Thinking on the Radio 3 Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zg0r2 and if you want more discussions about fashion check out these New Thinking podcasts Arts & Ideas: Fashion Stories in Museums https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p096hw0q Arts & Ideas: Fashion AI and sustainability https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07nhbrd
4/20/202327 minutes, 51 seconds
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Hilma af Klint

As a new Tate exhibition of paintings puts the work of Swedish painter Hilma af Klint alongside modernist giant, Piet Mondrian. Both were painters fascinated by esoteric and occult ideas that became more marginal with the ascendancy of modernism. Matthew Sweet and guests discuss these abstract art works, theosophy and a search for the spirit world. Nabila Abdel Nabi is co-curator of Hilma Af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life runs at Tate Modern in London Jennifer Higgie is the author of The Other Side: A Journey into Women, Art and the Spirit World Daniel Birnbaum is a Swedish art curator and an art critic. Since 2019, he has been director and curator of Acute Art in London Sarah Kent is an art critic Producer: Ruth Watts Hilma Af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life runs at Tate Modern in London from April 20 - September 3 2023 You can find a series of Radio 3's The Essay: Artists and the Spirit World written and read by Jennifer Higgie available on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001323q
4/20/202345 minutes, 24 seconds
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Tartan, Kidnapped and Highland writing

Stevenson's swashbuckling Jacobite set novel has been translated into a play which is touring Scotland. Tartan and its history are on show at V&A Dundee, including a piece of tartan found in a peat bog in Glen Affric around forty years ago newly dated to circa 1500-1600 AD, making it the oldest known surviving specimen of true tartan in Scotland. The Highland Book prize has announced its shortlist. Anne McElvoy is joined by New Generation Thinker and poet Peter Mackay, fashion historian Jonathan Faiers and theatre director Isobel McArthur. Kidnapped: a swash-buckling rom-com adventure is directed by Isobel McArthur and Gareth Nicholls for the National Theatre of Scotland and the tour visits venues in Greenock, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth, Newcastle and Brighton Presented by the Highland Society of London, and facilitated by Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, the Highland Book prize shortlist is: Companion Piece by Ali Smith, Confessions of a Highland Art Dealer by Tony Davidson, Crann-Fìge/ Fig Tree: Short Stories by Duncan Gillies, WAH! Things I Never Told My Mother by Cynthia Rogerson. The winner will be announced on the 6th of June https://www.highlandbookprize.org.uk/ Tartan at V&A Dundee opened on April 1st and includes over 300 objects. The book Tartan: Revised and Updated by Jonathan Faiers is out now, published by Bloomsbury. Producer: Harry Parker
4/19/202345 minutes, 29 seconds
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Galatea and Shakespeare

John Lyly's play Galatea, first recorded in 1588, inspired Shakespeare to write As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Brighton, Emma Frankland is directing a rare professional revival of it, so she and the academic advisor on the project Andy Kesson join Globe Theatre head of research Will Tosh and New Generation Thinker Emma Whipday for a conversation about cross-dressing in Elizabethan dramas and about the plays gathered together in Shakespeare's First Folio. Shahidha Bari hosts. Emma Frankland's Galatea is commissioned by and is on as part of Brighton Festival, from the 5-21 May, 2023 Dr Andy Kesson teaches at Roehampton University and runs a Before Shakespeare project Dr Emma Whipday is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She teaches at the University of Newcastle Dr Will Tosh is Head of Research at Shakespeare's Globe, London. He is currently working on a book called Straight Acting: The Many Queer Lives of William Shakespeare The Globe Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream runs 27th April to 12th August On the Free Thinking programme website you can find a collection of discussions about Shakespeare and the Shakespeare Sessions on BBC Sounds includes a whole series of plays available to listen to. The most recent addition is Henry IV part II which you can also hear as a Drama on 3 on Sunday night on Radio 3. Producer: Harry Parker
4/18/202345 minutes, 30 seconds
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Caruso, Elsie Houston, Peter Brathwaite

The singers Enrico Caruso and Elsie Houston, a new opera at ENO and links between musical and artistic traditions in Latin America, Europe and New York are explored by the academics Ditlev Rindom and New Generation Thinker Adjoa Osei. Plus the baritone Peter Brathwaite has an exhibition of lockdown photographs in which he recreates the poses of black people portrayed in paintings from the last 800 years opening in Bristol (the photographs have also been published in a book) and has a musical work in progress, shown at the ROH, which explores his family's Barbadian history. Shahidha Bari hosts Blue runs at English National Opera from April 20th - May 4th Adjoa Osei is organising a conference at Trinity College, the University of Cambridge on April 28th called Performing Black Womanhood Dr Ditlev Rindom is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at King's College, London currently finishing his first book, Singing in the City: Opera, Italianità, and Transatlantic Exchange, 1887-1914 Peter Brathwaite's Insurrection: A Work in Progress was performed at the Royal Opera House and you can hear more about his research in this Sunday feature for BBC Radio 3 Rebel Sounds: Musical Resistance in Barbados https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001hg3t An exhibition of his photographs Rediscovering Black Portraiture is at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from April 14th to July 16th. A book accompanies the show. You can find his Essay series about the portraits on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nbrl Producer: Torquil MacLeod
4/13/202345 minutes, 15 seconds
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Land and soil politics

From nature as "a living whole" in the ideas of Goethe and Alexander von Humboldt to the "Blood and Soil" ideas of Nazi Germany: New Generation Thinker Jim Scown, from Cardiff University, traces the links between ideas about the order of nature to more troubling views about links with the land that led organic pioneer Jorian Jenks to refer to "alien hands" tilling "British soil". Producer: Torquil MacLeod
4/13/202314 minutes, 14 seconds
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Ginger Rogers

‘Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels’ said cartoonist Bob Thaves. Matthew Sweet is joined by Lucy Bolton, Pamela Hutchinson, David Benedict and Miles Eady to look at her life (1911-1995) and a film career that stretched far beyond the 10 movies she made with Astaire, including an Oscar winning performance in Kitty Foyle. Producer: Torquil MacLeod The BFI season runs to the end of April Many of Ginger Rogers' RKO films are available to watch on iPlayer, including Primrose Path, Kitty Foyle, Vivacious Lady, Carefree and The Gay Divorcee. You can find a whole series of episodes of Free Thinking devoted to film stars including Asta Nielsen, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
4/12/202345 minutes, 11 seconds
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Children of the Waters

An ancient Japanese Buddhist ritual which involves a red baby bib, a small statue and water, has been taken up by women wanting to have some way of marking a miscarriage and the life not lived. New Generation Thinker Sabina Dosani is a psychiatrist and writer doing research at the University of East Anglia. Her essay looks at the language we use for unborn children who die and at what we can learn about mourning rituals from the work of the nineteenth century French sociologist Emile Durkheim, to modern services performed by Rabbis, in cathedrals and in peoples' back gardens. Producer: Ruth Watts
4/11/202314 minutes, 10 seconds
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Pirates

From the Pirates of Penzance and Captain Hook, to Ottoman corsairs, Henry Avery, Mary Read and Lady Killigrew: Anne McElvoy is joined by New Generation Thinkers Michael Talbot and Joan Passey, and by Robert Blyth, Senior Curator of World and Maritime History, Royal Museums Greenwich, who is also one of the co-curators of Pirates at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Producer: Harry Parker Pirates runs at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall from April to December and then moves in 2025 to Royal Museums Greenwich Other conversations in the Free Thinking archives available on the website include Ships and History with Hew Locke, Sara Caputo, Jake Subryan Richards and Tom Nancollas https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001626t Seagoings with artists Katie Patterson, Charlotte Runcie and Julia Blackburn and Cutty Sark curator Hannah Stockton https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002868 Oceans and the Sea with Nobel Prize-winning author Abdulrazak Gurnah, climate scientist Professor Emily Shuckburgh and literature scholar and New Generation Thinker Joan Passey at Hay Festival https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0017m2y
4/11/202345 minutes, 27 seconds
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Revolutionary free speech

"Cancel culture" is used to describe debates which touch on freedom of expression today but what can we learn if we look back at events after the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen? Clare Siviter, who lectures on the French Revolution and theatre at the University of Bristol, takes us through the experiences of playwrights and authors, Marie-Joseph Chénier, Olympe de Gouges, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Suard and Destutt de Tracy, who wrote about how ideas spread. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find a collection of essays, discussions and features which showcase the research of New Generation Thinkers on the Free Thinking programme website. The Arts and Humanities Research Council has worked with BBC Radio 3 on the scheme since 2012.
4/7/202314 minutes, 18 seconds
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Fugitive slaves, Victorian justice

The trial of sisters begging on the streets of South London led to donations sent in by Victorian newspaper readers and an investigation by the Mendicity Society. New Generation Thinker Oskar Jensen, from Newcastle University, unearthed this story of the Avery girls in the archives and his essay explores the way attitudes to former slaves and to the reform of criminals affected the sisters' sentencing. Producer: Ruth Watts
4/6/202313 minutes, 41 seconds
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Religion and Science

Nicholas Spencer, Emily Qureshi-Hurst and Philip Ball join Christopher Harding for a conversation about the nature of reality – as science reveals it, as religion reveals it, and how the world might look if we treat science and religion not as competitors but as collaborators; a cosmic dynamic duo. Magesteria: The Entangled Histories of Science and Religion by Nicholas Spencer is out now. Producer: Ruth Watts
4/6/202345 minutes, 12 seconds
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A family of witches

An 8 year old who condemns his own mother to execution in 1582: New Generation Thinker Emma Whipday, who researches Renaissance literature at Newcastle University, has been reading witch trial records from Elizabethan and Jacobean England to explore how they depict single mothers. And she finds chilling echoes of their language in newspaper articles in our own times. Producer: Ruth Watts
4/5/202314 minutes, 18 seconds
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New Thinking: Raiding Gay’s the Word & Magnus Hirschfeld

Customs officers raided the London bookshop Gay’s the Word on April 10th 1984 and seized 144 titles. A campaign was mounted after the directors were charged with conspiracy to import indecent books. Dr Sarah Pyke tells Diarmuid Hester about an oral history project which aims to raise awareness of Operation Tiger and how it ties into wider work on a history of queer reading. Dr Ina Linge has been looking at the way LGBTQ+ people used autobiographical writing to critically engage with the science of sexology and how their writing was used by and critiqued the work of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and a book based on this research called Queer Livability: German Sexual Sciences and Life Writing is coming out in 2023. Ina also hosts a sex and nature salon https://www.comedysalon.co.uk/ and along with other researchers at Exeter University held workshops for LGBTQ+ teenagers exploring climate activism https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/socialinequality/lgbtqplus/ https://ies.sas.ac.uk/people/sarah-pyke is taking part in an event at the Bodleian on June 8th Queer Bibliography: A Discussion Diarmuid Hester is at the University of Cambridge and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council https://www.diarmuidhester.com/ His book Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Histories is out in August 2023 You can hear him discussing Rita Mae Brown’s novel Rubyfruit Jungle on an episode of Free Thinking called Stories of Love https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001hxhk This New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more in a collection called New Research on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90
4/5/202342 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Rossettis and Walter Pater

What is that people hate about the Pre-Raphaelites? From the 19th century to the present day their detractors have been remarkably consistent in the language that they have used to the describe their visceral dislike of these artists and their works. Dinah Roe, Greg Tate and Lynda Nead join Matthew Sweet to examine what makes Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his gang such a polarising force in art history. They also delve into the powerful and sensual poetry of Christina Rossetti and Walter Pater's scandalous book about the Renaissance. The Rossettis runs at Tate Britain from April 6th to September 24th 2023 Dr Dinah Roe teaches at Oxford Brookes University and is currently editing the Collected Poems of Christina Rossetti. Dr Gregory Tate teaches at St Andrews University and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Professor Lynda Nead teaches at Birkbeck University, London You might also be interested in a Radio 3 Sunday feature presented by Lily Cole called Plot 5779: Unearthing Elizabeth Siddall https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009c67 And Radio 3 listeners wrote a new carol inspired by Christina Rosetti's poem Love Came Down at Christmas https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/309PX0cDlP1wZpy4JkHTL1Y/radio-3-carol-competition-2021 Producer: Torquil MacLeod
4/5/202345 minutes, 3 seconds
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Introducing New Generation Thinkers 2023

From lessons in civility learnt playing French board game to the value of babbling by babies in speech development, a history of central heating to the neglected industrial landscapes of the A13, Anti-Asian tropes in AI, Quaker needlework to Viking burial practices, 70’s women’s art collectives, the history of Ireland’s Magdalen laundries to the first philosophy book by a woman to be published in C17 century Germany: Chris Harding hears about the research topics of ten early career academics chosen as the 2023 New Generation Thinkers on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to promote academic research and turn it into radio broadcasts Incidentally you can also find on BBC Sounds the set of Essays by the 2022 New Generation Thinkers and there's a collection of other discussions and features from New Generation Thinkers across the years on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking programme website But in this podcast Chris Harding talks to: Dr Marianne Hem Eriksen, Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Leicester is working on a project which asks what does it mean if a human body isn’t buried and the bones are broken apart and scattered? Dr Andrew Cooper, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick is researching "Germany’s Mary Wollstonecraft" - Amalia Holst Dr Ana Baeza Ruiz, Loughborough University is conducting an oral history project looking at women’s art collectives in 1970s Britain and Ireland Dr Gemma Tidman, a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at Queen Mary, is working on her second book, Playing on Words: A History of French Literary Play, 1635–1789 Dr Rebecca Woods, a Senior Lecturer in Language and Cognition at Newcastle University, researches how play helps language learning and the value of multi-lingualism Dr Dan Taylor works at the Open University. His most recent book is Spinoza and the Politics of Freedom and he’s been an advisor on a BBC-Open University co-production Union, a four-part tv series due later this year presented by David Olusoga Dr Sam Johnson-Schlee, from London South Bank University has been researching a history of gas heating and he's published a kind of domestic spaces memoir titled Living Rooms Dr Kerry McInerney, a Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge co-hosts the Good Robots podcast and looks at anti-Asian racism in AI Isabella Rosner, is a PhD student at King’s College London and presenter of the Sew What? podcast and her research looks at Quaker needlework Dr Louise Brangan, Chancellor's Fellow in Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow is researching the way Ireland is now coming to terms with the impact of the Magdalene Laundries and the treatment of women and babies. Producer: Ruth Watts
4/4/202353 minutes, 17 seconds
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Charles Babbage and broadcasting the sea

The noisy Victorian world annoyed the mathematician, philosopher and inventor Charles Babbage, who came up with the idea of a programmable computer. He wrote letters complaining about it and a pamphlet which explored ideas about whether the sea could record its own sound, had a memory and could broadcast sound. New Generation Thinker Joan Passey, from the University of Bristol, sets these ideas alongside the work done by engineers cabling the sea-bed to allow communication via telegraph and Rudyard Kipling's images of these "sea monsters." Producer: Torquil MacLeod New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in partnership with BBC Radio 3. Ten early career academics are chosen each year to share their research on radio. You can find a collection of discussions, features and essays on the Free Thinking programme page. Joan Passey can be heard in Free Thinking episodes discussing Cornwall and Coastal Gothic, Oceans and the Sea at the Hay Festival 2022, Vampires and the Penny Dreadful.
4/4/202314 minutes, 11 seconds
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Translating Cultures

Composer Alex Ho, novelist Xiaolu Guo, curator George Young and director Anthony Lau join Rana Mitter to discuss a Cinderella story Ye Xian which has inspired a new music theatre piece, a new Manchester gallery display of Chinese life and history, a Brecht play set in China which looks at love, hospitality and goodness and a memoir which describes ideas about love and what it feels like to be based in a new city. Producer: Robyn Read George Young is Head of Exhibitions and Collections at the Manchester Museum which has re-opened with new galleries including the Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery which features on display a late Qing dynasty (1636–1912) ‘Manchu’ headdress decorated with blue kingfisher feathers, a 20-metre scroll showing Emperor Kangxi’s birthday procession through the streets of Beijing in the 18th century and a taxidermy milu deer. Untold is a music theatre piece co-created by composer Alex Ho and creative director/choreographer Julia Cheng for premiere by Jasmine Chiu, Keith Pun, and Tangram at Concertgebouw Brugge in April 2023. Co-produced by Muziektheater Transparant, O.Festival Rotterdam, and Tangram, Untold won the FEDORA Opera Prize 2022 awarded at Opéra national de Paris. Anthony Lau is director of a version of Brecht’s The Good Person of Szechwan with a new adaptation by Nina Segal on at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (Saturday 11 March - Saturday 1 April 2023) and then transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith (Saturday 15 April – Saturday 13 May). It is one of the first major revivals in the UK to have a creative team and company represented from the East Asian heritage where the play is set. Radical: A Life of My Own is being launched by Xiaolu Guo at the British Library on April 13th http://www.guoxiaolu.com/ You can find other conversations about Chinese culture on the Free Thinking programme website and available on BBC Sounds and as Arts & Ideas podcasts. They include discussions about World Politics, Ink Art and Insomnia https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015vns China, Freud, War and Sci-Fi https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0014grr Bruce Lee's Film Enter the Dragon https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015l7z Africa, Babel, China https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002h89 The Inscrutable Writing of Sui Sin Far https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000v9gl
3/28/202345 minutes, 9 seconds
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East Germany

Katja Hoyer and Karen Leeder join Anne McElvoy to discuss new histories of East Germany, stories depicting life in the state which have recently been translated into English as well as a recently translated edition of Uwe Wittstock's February 1933. Plus, Emily Oliver on the history of BBC German service and Elizabeth Ward is beginning a research project on the cinema of East Germany and its involvement in International Film Festivals. Katja Hoyer's book is called Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990 Professor Karen Leeder has been reading February 1933, a new translated work by one Germany’s leading contemporary writers, Uwe Wittstock Producer: Ruth Watts
3/28/202345 minutes, 7 seconds
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The culture of Albania

Lea Ypi, author of a memoir entitled Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, joins Matthew Sweet to explore the history and culture of Albania - its art, music and literature. They're joined by Adela Demetja - curator and director of the Tirana Art Lab - Centre for Contemporary Art in Albania and curator of the Albania pavilion in last year's Venice Biennale, which featured the work of Lumturi Blloshmi. Ani Kokobobo, Associate Professor and chair of Slavic Languages & Literatures at the University of Kansas and translator of Ismail Kadare, discusses Kadare's major works including his 1981 novel The Palace of Dreams. Violinist Aurel Qirjo performs in studio - music featured on the album At least wave your handkerchief at me: The joys and sorrows of Southern Albanian song, by his band Saz'iso. Producer: Eliane Glaser
3/23/202344 minutes, 54 seconds
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New Thinking: AI, feminism, human/machines

What ethical questions arise from new human-machine relations as we are increasingly asked, as citizens and workers, to collaborate with AI systems? And how might a feminist approach to AI design help us shape an equitable future for AI-Human relations? Research Associate, Kerry McInerney, discusses how facial recognition AI software is being deployed in job recruitment and to tackle gender based violence. Lecturer, Kendra Briken describes her work on the integration of the human labour force with AI, including in the nursing profession. Research Fellow, Eleanor Drage, discusses the use of Facial Recognition by the UK police and its implications for civic rights and privacy. Kerry McInerney and Eleanor Drage co-host THE GOOD ROBOT Podcast and are Research Associates at the University of Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Their book The Good Robot: Feminist Voices on the Future of Technology is out soon. Kendra Briken is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. This episode of the New Thinking podcast was put together in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI as part of our series New Thinking focusing on new research at UK universities. There is a collection of discussions Free Thinking the Future on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website, from AI and creativity to our increasing reliance on robotics and automation. All of the conversations are available to download as the Arts and Ideas podcast. For more information about the research the AHRC support around AI https://www.ukri.org/what-we-offer/browse-our-areas-of-investment-and-support/research-into-artificial-intelligence/ Producer: Jayne Egerton
3/23/202347 minutes, 11 seconds
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Busking and Billy Waters

Billy Waters became a celebrity in early 19th century London as a talented street performer. New Generation Thinker Oskar Jensen and Mary L. Shannon join Rana Mitter to tell Billy's story and those of other musicians performing on the streets of London at the time. Charlie Taverner has written a history of Street Food. We also hear from Marigold Hughes about the latest production from Streetwise Opera, an organisation that devises opera productions with people who are or have been homeless. Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth-century London by Oskar Jensen is out now. Mary L. Shannon's book 'Billy Waters Is Dancing’ will be published later this year. Street Food: Hawkers and the History of London by Charlie Taverner is out now Streetwise Opera, BBC Concert Orchestra and The Sixteen perform Re:sound at the Southbank Centre, London on Weds 22nd March and at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on Sun 26th March. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
3/21/202344 minutes, 33 seconds
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The wicked? stepmother

Cinderella is opening in a new ballet production at the Royal Opera House and Mothering Sunday is coming up so Matthew Sweet is joined by New Generation Thinkers Sabina Dosani and Emma Whipday and Marina Warner for a conversation about good and bad mothering and how images are changing. Marina Warner's many books include From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers Frederick Ashton's ballet Cinderella has been re-imagined using video design for a new production running at the Royal Opera House 27th March - 3rd May Producer: Eliane Glaser
3/16/202344 minutes, 39 seconds
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Decadent Art

A Persian epic depicted in The Yellow Book which Aubrey Beardsley was art editor for, Iranian figures on the French operatic stage and Rudyard Kipling's links with decadent ideas: Shahidha Bari is joined by Dr Julia Hartley, Dr Alexander Bubb and Professor Jennifer Yee to discuss new research into late nineteenth century art, literature and opera and what we mean by decadence. Was it really a-political and focused on surface and ornament? And how far are ideas about art for art's sake and sex for sex's sake linked? Producer: Robyn Read Dr Alexander Bubb teaches at the University of Roehampton, London and is the author of Flights of Translation: Popular Circulation and Reception of Asian Literature in the Victorian World. Professor Jennifer Yee teaches Modern Languages at the University of Oxford and has edited a book French Decadence in a Global Context. Julia Hartley is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker who teaches at Glasgow University. Later this year she will be publishing Iran and French Orientalism: Persia in the Literary Culture of Nineteenth-Century France You might be interested in a Radio 3 Sunday Feature asking Should Feminists Read Baudelaire ? And the Free Thinking programme website has a collection of discussions exploring Prose, Poetry and Drama
3/15/202344 minutes, 39 seconds
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Debt

Debt is central to the modern economy and it has long been so. The idea of debt has long been loaded with as much morality as financial meaning. Anne McElvoy explores our ideas about debt, what it is and how it works. Decisions about borrowing or paying down debt are currently being faced the world over. They’re informed by political beliefs and a whole history of ideas behind that. So, how have our ideas changed over time and what can or should be done about it? Professor Kenneth Rogoff is Maurits C. Boas Chair of International Economics at Harvard University, a former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund and the author of This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Vicky Pryce is an economist and a former Joint Head of the United Kingdom's Government Economic Service. New Generation Thinker Philip Roscoe is a Reader in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews and the author of How to Build a Stock Exchange: On the past, present and future of finance. And, New Generation Thinker, Dafydd Mills Daniel is a lecturer in Divinity at the University of St Andrews who looks at the history of philosophy and religious thought. Producer: Ruth Watts
3/14/202345 minutes, 8 seconds
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New Thinking: British Sign Language

Body language is being studied as a way of working out new ways of learning Sign Language and if British Sign Language is to be taught as a GCSE in schools who should do the teaching? As we mark 20 years since British Sign language was acknowledged as a language in its own right (18th March 2003) and then the passing in 2022 of recognition in law that it is an indigenous language of Great Britain: Naomi Paxton talks to two researchers in the field. Doctor Kate Rowley is the Deputy Director of the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at UCL, and Doctor Gerardo Ortega is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. They talk to New Generation Thinker Naomi Paxton about their research into language and literacy development in deaf children, body gestures and iconicity. Kate explains how regional accents are interpreted in sign language and Gerardo tells us how he and his team have created the first gesture dictionary in the Dutch community. They also discuss the importance of deaf education and the representation of deaf people in mainstream popular culture. And Kate and Gerardo share their own favourite sign. They are also joined in the studio by BSL interpreters Kal Newby and Susan Booth and you can find a transcript of the conversation on supporting content. This conversation is a New Thinking episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more discussions about New Research collected on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme website
3/13/202343 minutes, 15 seconds
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Making Your Voice Heard

Iranian women using song to protest and whose voices do we pay attention to ? On International Women's Day, Shahidha Bari hosts a conversation with the authors of books called On Being Unreasonable and Who Gets Believed, an artist and a researcher looking at Iranian women using song. Michelle Assay is an academic specialising in music who was born in Iran and had to leave the country. Dina Nayeri is an Iranian American writer now based in Scotland and Kirsty Sedgman studies the behaviour of audiences. Alberta Whittle represented Scotland in the Venice Biennale and has exhibitions on at Bath's Holburne Museum and in Scotland. Alberta Whittle: Dipping below a waxing moon, the dance claims us for release is at the Holburne Museum until May 8th. Alberta Whittle | create dangerously runs at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art from Sat 1 Apr 2023 - Sun 7 Jan 2024 Kirsty Sedgman's On Being Unreasonable: Breaking the Rules and Making Things Better is out now https://kirstysedgman.com/ Dina Nayeri's latest book is called “Who Gets Believed? https://www.dinanayeri.com/ You can hear more from her in a previous episode of Free Thinking called Language and Belonging https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006fh9 Free Thinking has a whole collection of programmes Women in the World with conversations ranging from fictional characters including The Wife of Bath and Lady Macbeth to Arabian queens, landladies, women warriors and goddesses ttps://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084ttwp Producer: Jayne Egerton
3/8/202345 minutes, 14 seconds
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Anarchism and David Graeber

Bullshit jobs, Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value, Debt: The First 5000 Years: the titles of some of David Graeber's books give a sense of his take on the world and his concerns. Matthew Sweet talks with archaeologist David Wengrow - co-author with Graeber of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity and looks at Graeber's involvement with the Occupy movement and the influence of anarchist ideas. They are joined by historian of ideas Dr Sophie Scott-Brown, and by Kirsten Stevens-Wood, a lecturer for the School of Education and Social Policy at Cardiff Metropolitan University who studies communal living and intentional communities. Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David Graeber has been published posthumously in 2023. Producer: Luke Mulhall
3/7/202344 minutes, 53 seconds
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Dom Sylvester Houédard

The monk and poet Dom Sylvester Houédard (1924-92) used his Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter to fuse art and writing in concrete poetry. Born in 1924 he worked in Army Intelligence in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore during the Second World war and in 1949 he joined the Benedictine Abbey of Prinknash, Gloucestershire. Matthew Sweet looks at his life and art with guests Nicola Simpson, Rey Conquer, Charles Verey and Greg Thomas. Charles Verey is writing a biography of Dom Sylvester Houédard and jointly editing a book of talks given by Dom Sylvester in the context of Beshara, in the last years of his life. Nicola Simpson is editor of The Cosmic Typewriter, The Life and Work of Dom Sylvester Houédard (Occasional Papers, 2012) and curator of The Cosmic Typewriter exhibition and symposium (South London Gallery, 2012) and The Yoga of Concrete (Norwich University of the Arts, 2010). Her research interests focus on the influence of Zen and Vajrayana Buddhism on British Conceptual Art of the 1960s and 1970s. She has also worked on an online exhibition at the Lisson Gallery Greg Thomas is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh studying concrete poetry. Rey Conquer writes on poetry and religion and lectures in German at the University of Oxford and researches the problem religious belief in art and literature poses to the secular imagination. Producer: Luke Mulhall
3/2/202343 minutes, 36 seconds
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Sesame Street and Soviet culture

Muppets in Moscow is Natasha Lance Rogoff's account of launching a Russian version of the American tv series Sesame Street. If a single announcer supplies the dialogue dubbing when a foreign film is shown in Russia where do you find the technical skills you need? Should you feature exclusively ethnically Russian actors or include nationalities from former Soviet republics? What puppets from Russian folklore might be suitable and what kind of education for children are you trying to achieve? Anne McElvoy asks Natasha about how she found the answers to these questions and how that period of Russian TV differs from the media landscape there today. Plus New Generation Thinker Victoria Donovan looks at punk protest and films such as Little Vera (1988); Lucy Weir traces the ways in which art and music responded to the era of Perestroika and beyond; and, Tamar Koplatadze explores how literature from across the former republics of the USSR is beginning to process the Soviet past. Producer: Ruth Watts
3/2/202345 minutes, 3 seconds
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Tin cans, cutlery and sewing

How sewing machines wrecked sewing. Why people mistrusted tin cans. What the invention of stainless steel had to do with the military. New research into the impact of industrialisation on materials like tin, steel and sewing machines is shared by the academics Chris Corker from the University of York, Lindsay Middleton from the University of Glasgow, and Serena Dyer who teaches at De Montfort University. Chris Harding hosts the conversation. Producer: Tim Bano
2/28/202344 minutes, 59 seconds
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Ghosts of Caribbean History

Hungry Ghosts is the new novel set in colonial Trinidad by Kevin Jared Hosein. Colin Grant has written a memoir about his Jamaican family. A new art project, Windrush Portraits, is a collaboration between Mary Evans and Michael Elliott with communities in both Kingston, Jamaica, and Southampton, UK. Shahidha Bari looks at the way ghosts of history haunt these artworks. Producer: Robyn Read Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein is out now. Colin Grant's memoir I'm Black So You Don't Have to Be is out now and you can find out more about his work at https://colingrant.info/ Colin is also Director of the Royal Literary Fund website Writers Mosaic https://writersmosaic.org.uk/ This is an online magazine and developmental resource focused on UK writers of the global majority. Windrush Projects will see special billboards on display across Jamaica throughout February 2023 and the artists Mary Evans and Michael Elliott will make new artworks, created in collaboration with communities that will be presented during October 2023 (Black History Month in the UK) in both Southampton, UK and Kingston, Jamaica. You can find a collection of conversations exploring different aspects of Black History on the Free Thinking programme website. It includes recent episodes about Phillis Wheatley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Idrissa Ouédraogo, Amílcar Cabral and the Victorian circus performer Pablo Fanque https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp
2/24/202344 minutes, 50 seconds
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Climate change and empire building

Haggling with Indian customs officials and presenting a mighty emperor with the distinctly unimpressive gifts of a cheap sword and a broken carriage are two particularly inauspicious moments that feature in the tale told by historian and New Generation Thinker Nandini Das in her new book about the four years Thomas Roe spent as James VI and I's ambassador to the Mughal Empire. Peter Frankopan has previously written about The Silk Roads and the First Crusade. Now he has turned his attention to writing a 5 billion year long history of the natural world, geography and climate change and the influence that these have had on shaping empires and civilisations. Nandini and Peter join Rana Mitter to share insights from their research and to discuss different ways writing history. Courting India: England, Mughal India and the Origins of Empire by Nandini Das is out on 16th March. Peter Frankopan's The Earth Transformed: An Untold History is published on 2nd March. Producer: Torquil MacLeod. You can hear Nandini Das presenting a Sunday feature about a wager journey made in Tudor England by Shakespeare's clown Will Kemp available on BBC Sounds and another feature The Kristapurana follows Thomas Stephens to Goa https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00016st Peter Frankopan discussed What Kind of History Should we Write ? with Rana Mitter and Cundill prize winner Maya Jasanoff in a previous Free Thinking episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00016vf
2/23/202344 minutes, 29 seconds
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Phaedra, Cretan palaces and the minotaur

A new exhibition at the Ashmolean looks at the digs conducted by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in Crete. At the National Theatre Janet McTeer stars as the Cretan princess Phaedra in a new play by Simon Stone. Classicist Natalie Haynes, curator Andrew Shapland and Minoan archaeologist Nicoletta Momigliano join Rana Mitter to explore what the artefacts found at Knossos can tell us about the world of the Minoans and to delve into the powerful myths these Bronze Age Cretans left us. Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth and Reality runs at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford from 10 Feb 2023 to 30 July 2023 Phaedra a new play by Simon Stone after Euripides, Seneca and Racine runs from 1 February to 8 April at the National Theatre in London Natalie Haynes is the author of books including Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths A production of Medea starring Sophie Okenedo and Ben Daniels runs at the Soho Theatre in London from Feb to 22nd April A debut novel called Phaedra by Laura Shepperton puts the stories of Medea and Phaedra together. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Radio 3's Words and Music has an episode inspired by The Aeniad broadcasting on Sunday February 26th at 17.30 and available on BBC Sounds for the following month You can find more conversations about the Classics in the Free Thinking archives including a discussion with Bettany Hughes, Paul Cartledge and Colm Toibin recorded at Hay 2017: Women's Voices in the Classical World
2/21/202344 minutes, 16 seconds
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Idrissa Ouédraogo

Burkinabé filmmaker Idrissa Ouédraogo (21 January 1954 – 18 February 2018) was awarded the Grand Prix at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival for his film Tilaï. Much of Ouédraogo's work deals with the tensions between rural and city life and tradition and modernity in his native Burkina Faso. Matthew Sweet is joined by Boukary Sawadogo who teaches cinema studies at City College of New York and New Generation Thinker Sarah Jilani. Boukary Sawadogo is the author of books including “West African Screen Media: Comedy, TV Series, and Transnationalization” and “African Film Studies: An Introduction” Producer: Torquil MacLeod
2/16/202344 minutes, 27 seconds
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Stories of Love

Proust as an agony uncle, Romeo and Juliet rewritten as 21st century Welsh teenagers in a new drama by Gary Owen, the Lesbian coming of age novel by Rita Mae Brown that inspired the lead character in Willy Russell's Educating Rita to change her name and a new book inspired by the historical figures who collaborated on the first English medical textbook on homosexuality. Tom Crewe's novel The New Life depicts the married lives and love triangles of John Addington Symonds and Henry Havelock Ellis and the impact of Oscar Wilde's trial on their attempts to publish their study of what they called "inversion". Naomi Paxton is joined by Tom Crewe, Gary Owen and New Generation Thinkers Julia Hartley and Diarmuid Hester. Romeo and Julie by Gary Owen runs at the National Theatre in London until April 1st and then moves to the Sherman Theatre Cardiff Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown was first published in 1973 and is available now as a paperback. On the Radio 3 website you can find an Essay from Diarmuid Hester about the writing of Dennis Cooper and a Sunday Feature about the radical life of suffrage pioneer Edith Craig. New Generation Thinker Julia Hartley has published a book looking at reading Proust and Dante. Tom Crewe's novel is called The New Life. Other conversations about love in the Free Thinking archives include Sappho, Jonathan Dollimore and a Punjabi version of Romeo and Juliet A quartet of researchers exploring dating, relationships and stories from the National Archives to London's gay bars. Free Thinking, Being Human: Love Stories And we’ve discussions of poetry, philosophy and novels about love with the likes of AL Kennedy and Andrew McMillan, Alain de Boton and Tahmima Anam And a discussion and article about Rude Valentines' cards https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/34JCKJtrl07f5kY3G9kFNpd/eight-incredibly-offensive-victorian-valentines Producer: Robyn Read
2/14/202344 minutes, 44 seconds
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Donkeys

From Orwell and Shakespeare back to Greek myth, Aesop, and early Christianity: Matthew Sweet and guests look at a cultural history of the donkey. EO, a film out in UK cinemas this month, follows the life of a donkey born in a Polish circus. New Generation Thinker Lisa Mullen is an expert on George Orwell and lecturer in film at the University of Cambridge Lucy Grig is Senior Lecturer in Roman History at the University of Edinburgh Faith Burden is Executive Director of Equine Operations at the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski EO is inspired by Robert Bresson's 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar and is showing at venues across the UK organised by the BFI. Producer: Luke Mulhall
2/9/202344 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Heir of Redclyffe

Soldiers fighting in the Crimean War lapped up this story and it also influenced the young William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones who read it at Oxford. The Heir of Redclyffe, published in 1853, reflects the mid-Victorian trend for medievalism and resurgence of High Church Anglicanism, combining gothic melodrama with sharply observed social realism, sprightly dialogue and wry humour. Although Charlotte M Yonge came to be associated mainly with domestic realism, in her long career (1823–1901) she worked across a wide range of genres, writing biographies, histories, children's books, and novels from historical epics to long-running family sagas. In Yonge's bicentenary year, New Generation Thinker Clare Walker-Gore argues that now is the time to rediscover this brilliant and neglected woman writer. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
2/9/202314 minutes, 5 seconds
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Lady Macbeth

Playwright Zinnie Harris, author Isabelle Schuler and New Generation Thinker Emma Whipday and Michelle Assay have looked at the murdering husband and wife of Shakespeare's Scottish play. Chris Harding hosts a discussion about the Macbeth story from Kurosawa and Shostakovich to a novel called Lady MacBethad and a play called Macbeth an Undoing. Macbeth - an Undoing by Zinnie Harris runs at the Lyceum Edinburgh from Feb 4th to 25th 2023. Throne of Blood Akira Kurosawa's 1957 film is part of a BFI season celebrating the director which runs across February. https://whatson.bfi.org.uk You can find Free Thinking discussions about Rashomon https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b01vwk and Seven Samurai https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yqt07 available on BBC Sounds Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler is published March 2023. Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk from the New York Metropolitan Opera, starring soprano Svetlana Sozdateleva and tenor Brandon Jovanovich and conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson is being broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on February 25th and available on BBC Sounds for a month afterwards. Alice Birch’s 2016 version of this story relocated to Yorkshire is a film available for rent. Michelle Assay is a musician and has researched Shakespeare. A collection called Free Thinking explores Shakespeare are all available to download as the Arts & Ideas podcast and on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06406hm Producer: Ruth Watts
2/8/202344 minutes, 52 seconds
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Berji Kristin: Tales from the Garbage Hills

Urbanisation, migration and ‘folk language’ are explored in the 1984 novel by Latife Tekin. The story is a carnivalesque fusion of contrasts like its title – where ‘Berji’ conjures images of an innocent shepherdess and ‘Kristin’ of a sex worker. There’s blind old Güllü Baba, rumoured to cure the ills caused by a nearby factory’s chemical wastewater. There’s Fidan of Many Skills, rumoured to know all the ‘arts of the bed’. There’s the rumour of roads, jobs, and clean water coming to Flower Hill: they never materialise. In his foreword to Berji Kristin: Tales from the Garbage Hills, John Berger crowns ‘rumour’ its ultimate storyteller. New Generation Thinker Sarah Jilani looks at the way the inhabitants of Flower Hill make sense of their disorienting transition from village life to shantytown in the story from one of Turkey's most influential female authors writing today. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
2/8/202314 minutes, 19 seconds
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Gwendolyn Brooks

Inner city life in Chicago's Bronzeville and the experiences of ordinary people inspired the first poetry collection published by Gwendolyn Brooks in 1945 and she followed this with a sequence of poems Annie Allen and a novella Maud Martha depicting Black women entering adulthood. Chicago based poet Peter Kahn, editor of an anthology of modern poets responding to the writing of Brooks, and poets Malika Booker and Keith Jarrett join Shahidha Bari to discuss the themes and textures in Gwendolyn Brooks' writing and what it means to write a Golden Shovel poem, whilst literature scholar Sarah Parker and pattern maker Gesa Werner talk about putting on an exhibition about fashion and poetry which features a poem by Brooks. Producer: Robyn Read Poets in Vogue curated by Sophie Oliver, Sarah Parker and Gesa Werner runs Feb 17th to June 25th 2023. It includes a skirt that belonged to Sylvia Plath, a reconstruction of Anne Sexton’s red ‘reading dress’, creative interpretations of Audre Lorde’s, Edith Sitwell’s and Stevie Smith’s signature looks, a fabric-adaptation of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks and the clothes-performances of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Peter Kahn edited The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. His own poetry collection Little Kings is published by Nine Arches Press. In the Free Thinking archives you can find Noreen Masud on the aphorisms of Stevie Smith https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000srj1 A discussion Landmark: Audre Lorde hearing from her children, Jackie Kay and Selina Thompson https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004my0 and during February's Queer History month on BBC Sounds - a Words and Music episode celebrates Audre Lorde's writing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000ql9k Sophie Oliver discusses Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000
2/7/202345 minutes, 7 seconds
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The mermaid-like Mélusine

The legend of Mélusine emerges in French literature of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries in the texts of Jean d’Arras and Coudrette. A beautiful young woman, the progeny of the union between a king and a fairy, is condemned to spend every Saturday with her body below the waist transformed into the tail of serpent. She agrees to marry only on the condition that her husband should never seek to see her on that day every week. Shahidha Bari explores the emergence of the hybrid mermaid-woman, her historical significance and the legacy of the medieval myth of Mélusine. Olivia Colquitt is an AHRC funded doctoral candidate at the University of Liverpool whose research focuses upon the socio-cultural significance of the late Middle English translations of the French prose romance Mélusine and its verse counterpart, Le Roman de Parthenay. Hetta Howes is Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature at City, University of London and is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. She is the author of Transformative Waters in Medieval Literature. Lydia Zeldenrust is an Associate Lecturer in Medieval Literature, where she currently holds a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. She is the author of The Melusine Romance in Medieval Europe. The Royal Opera House is staging a version of Rusalka opening February 21st 2023. This folk-tale is a Slavic version of the water sprite figure seen in the Melusine story. This production will be broadcast as an episode of Opera on 3 on Radio 3 later in spring. Producer: Ruth Watts
2/3/202344 minutes, 55 seconds
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Crossroads and TV soaps

Russell T Davies has written a 3 part mini-series - Nolly - about Crossroads star Noele Gordon. He joins Matthew Sweet along with screenwriter Paula Milne who wrote for Crossroads and Coronation Street and devised Angels for the BBC, and writer Gail Renard, who was working at ATV during the Crossroads years, to explore the unique and sometimes undervalued place of the soap opera in TV drama. Nolly will begin streaming on ITVX from Thursday 2nd February. The drama will be accompanied by a documentary entitled The Real Nolly which will also be available from the same date. Crossroads: The Noele Gordon Collection - a 96 DVD boxset - has just been released by Network. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
2/2/202344 minutes, 22 seconds
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The English Civil War

If the Tudors are the soap opera of English history, the restless years of the mid 17th century, often called the English Civil War, are more like a seminar in political and religious theory with an added component of armed violence. How did historians in the 20th century make sense of the period? And how are historians of today rising to the challenge? The Restless Republic: The People’s Republic of Britain, by Anna Keay, was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2022. Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588-1688, by Clare Jackson, was the winner of the 2022 Wolfson History Prize. New Generation Thinker Jonathan Healey has just published The Blazing World: A New History of Revolutionary England. Producer: Luke Mulhall
1/31/202345 minutes
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Holocaust Memorial Day 2023

Romani history and how mass murder is intertwined with a modern day pilgrimage site and the experiences of Portuguese Jewish communities are discussed by Matthew Sweet and his guests. Richard Zimler's talks about his latest book, The Incandescent Threads; Stuart Taberner reflects on the ways modern writers connect to the Holocaust; Victoria Biggs has been researching a pilgrimage site close to the a place of mass murder and Daniel Lee looks at the drawings left behind by the children of the Maison d'Izieu. Richard Zimler has written twelve novels that have been translated into twenty-three languages. The Incandescent Threads is the latest in his Sephardic Cycle, a group of works that explore the lives of different branches and generations of a Portuguese-Jewish family, the Zarcos. He was a finalist for the US Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award. Stuart Taberner is Professor of German Literature at the University of Leeds. He works on literary responses to the Holocaust and German Jewish identities. Daniel Lee is a senior lecturer in modern French history at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of The SS Officer's Armchair. He is a BBC Radio 3 Arts and Humanities Research Council New Generation Thinker. You can hear him on previous episodes discussing Writing a life and biography with Hermione Lee and Rachel Holmes https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000n6vj and looking at WWII radio propaganda and French relations https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hwz9 Victoria Biggs is La Retraite Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham. She researches memory, pilgrimage and the genocide of Roma people during the Holocaust. Producer: Ruth Watts
1/26/202345 minutes, 6 seconds
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William Stukeley

Stone circles, Roman Britain, a fossil crocodile and the flood described in the Book of Genesis, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, a fake monk's manuscript: these were all studied by William Stukeley, English antiquarian, physician and clergyman (1687-1765) who pioneered research into Stonehenge and Avebury. Rana Mitter brings together a panel of archaeologists, historians and writers to look at the works of the first secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of London. His guests are New Generation Thinker and Lecturer in Archaeology at University of Exeter Susan Greaney; Rosemary Hill, whose book Time's Witness: History in the Age of Romanticism is a study of 18th-century antiquarianism; Ronald Hutton, historian of religion who has written about Stukeley and the Druids; and Robert Iliffe, Professor of the History of Science at Oxford. You can hear Susan Greaney discussing Stonehenge in a previous Free Thinking episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0014g7y and changing archaeological digs also heard from Alexandra Sofroniew, Damian Robinson and Raimund Karl https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03xpn5p Ronald Hutton has taken part in discussions about witchcraft and Margaret Murray https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001271f and goddesses https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0014g7y Producer: Luke Mulhall
1/25/202344 minutes, 42 seconds
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Audrey Hepburn

Matthew Sweet marks the 30th anniversary of the death of this icon of film and fashion who was also an EGOT (winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award) and a noted humanitarian. Born in Belgium she supported the Resistance in World War II after moving to Holland, although her parents were Nazi sympathisers. Her films included My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, The Nun's Story, Funny Face and Charade. Matthew Sweet is joined by film historian Lucy Bolton, curator and fashion & film historian Keith Lodwick, film critic Phuong Le, and writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You might like other episodes focusing on film all available on BBC Sounds and as the Arts & Ideas podcast: Jean-Paul Belmondo and the French New Wave https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00131ml Bette Davis https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000y068 Asta Nielsen https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0013t59 Cary Grant https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hn1z
1/19/202345 minutes, 51 seconds
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Higher Education for women and working class students

Over the last two hundred years, working class and women students, have found a place insides universities. Anne McElvoy hears about some of the stories behind the social expansion of higher education. Joanna Bourke's new book is a history of Birkbeck, the University of London college that began life as the London Mechanics’ Institution in 1823 and is now a leading centre of research in many areas. Iona Burnell Reilly has been looking at the lives of working class academics and Ann Kennedy Smith has considered women's pursuit of education at the University of Cambridge. And Clare Bucknell discusses the history of one educational resource, the anthology. Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the author of Birkbeck 200 years of radical learning for working people. Dr Clare Bucknell is a fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford and author of a social history of poetry anthologies, The Treasuries: Poetry Anthologies and the Making of British Culture. Dr Iona Burnell Reilly is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education and Communities at the University of East London and she is the author of The Lives of Working Class Academics: Getting Ideas Above your Station Dr Ann Kennedy Smith is an independent scholar and literary critic. She was awarded a Women’s History Network Independent Researcher fellowship in 2021-22, and her blog about Cambridge women is called ‘The Cambridge Ladies’ Dining Society 1890-1914’. Producer: Ruth Watts You might be interested in other content exploring the history of education including BBC AHRC New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck's Essay on social attitudes to Victorian women pioneers: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09v64pk
1/18/202345 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Wife of Bath

Chaucer's widow and clothmaker is one of three characters given a longer confessional voice than other pilgrims in his Canterbury Tales and she uses her narrative to ask who has had the advantage in setting out the stories of women - "Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?" Shahidha Bari explores both the roots and the influence of Chaucer's creation and the different modern versions created by writers including Zadie Smith and Caroline Bergvall. Her guests are Marion Turner, author of The Wife of Bath: A Biography, Patience Agbabi who reimagines this timeless character as a Nigerian businesswoman in her poem The Wife of Bafa, and New Generation Thinker Hetta Howes. You can hear Marion Turner discussing Chaucer's own life in a past episode of Free Thinking hearing from nominees for the 2020 Wolfson History Prize https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000j2qw You can find a discussion about Chaucer's court case in an Arts and Ideas podcast episode called A Feminist Take on Medieval History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n28wv And Free Thinking has a whole collection of programmes exploring Women in the World all available on BBC Sounds and as Arts & Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084ttwp Producer: Torquil MacLeod
1/17/202344 minutes, 56 seconds
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New Thinking: Language Loss and revival

A language is a window onto a culture, history and way of life. So what do we lose when a community stops speaking the language of its ancestors? John Gallagher is joined by Gwenno, who writes and sings in Cornish, and researchers working to reclaim endangered languages around the world. With Mandana Seyfeddinipur of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, and Mel Engman and Mary Hermes who work in communities that speak Ojibwe, an indigenous language of Minnesota and elsewhere in North America. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI Producer: Luke Mulhall Other episodes in our series exploring language include: What Language did Columbus Speak? Lingua franca in 15th-century travel and today’s refugee camps. Dead Languages: John Gallagher says hello in Oscan, the daily language of ancient Pompeii and looks at the translation of hieroglyphics. The Black Country: Matthew Sweet hears about the way the region has been depicted in writing which seeks to celebrate the local accent. Language, the Victorians, and Us: Greg Tate, Louise Creechan, Lynda Mugglestone and Simon Rennie. And Arts and Ideas New Thinking podcast episodes on research into Accents: From variations in Mancunian to descriptions of the Geordie voice. City Talk: Mapping the accents of Greater Manchester with a camper van and a laptop.
1/13/202343 minutes, 33 seconds
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Anna Kavan

Asylum and psychiatric institutions, obsession and heroin, and imagining a new self are explored in the writing of Anna Kavan (1901-1968). With the republication of her novel Ice, her reputation is now on the rise. Matthew Sweet is joined by critic and author Chris Power, Carole Sweeney, who researches experimental fiction, Sally Marlow, who studies the psychology of addiction and is Radio 3’s researcher in residence, and the literary scholar Victoria Walker, who founded the Anna Kavan Society. Producer: Luke Mulhall You might also be interested in an episode of Words and Music curated by Sally Marlow exploring ideas about addiction and intoxication being broadcast in January. Free Thinking has a playlist called Prose, Poetry and Drama where you can find plenty of conversations about other authors including John Cowper Powys, Sylvia Plath, Claude McKay, ETA Hoffmann
1/11/202344 minutes, 5 seconds
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Phillis Wheatley

In her short life, the 18th century African American woman, Phillis Wheatley was a slave, a prodigy, a poet and a celebrity. As a child, she was kidnapped from her home in West Africa and transported to Boston, where she was sold as a domestic slave to the Wheatleys, a prominent family of merchants. She was named Phillis, after the ship that brought her across the Atlantic. Unusually, the Wheatleys took an interest in her education and within a few years, she was producing exquisite poetry. Since no one in Boston would publish the work of an enslaved black woman, she was taken to London, and in 1773 her remarkable first book of poetry was published. She was praised and feted by the literati and became a celebrated poet. But her success was shortlived. After returning to Boston, she was freed, but died in poverty and obscurity at the age of 31. In this, the 250th anniversary of the publication of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, the historian Christienna Fryar looks back on an extraordinary life and examines why, Phillis Wheatley is still largely unknown, on both sides of the Atlantic. She's joined by Xine Yao, lecturer in American Literature at University College London, who's also a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker; the historian Montaz Marché, a PhD student researching the lives of black women in 18th century London; Brigitte Fielder, Associate Professor of Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Ade Solanke, a British-Nigerian writer, who wrote a play, Phillis in London, depicting Wheatley’s time in London. Producer: Jonathan Hallewell There are more conversations like this on the Free Thinking programme website, which has a collection called Exploring Black History: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp There is more information on Adeola Solanke's play, Phillis in London, at https://www.sporastories.com/
1/11/202344 minutes, 13 seconds
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Katherine Mansfield & Mavis Gallant

Insecurity, sexuality and bliss are amongst the topics explored in the short stories of Katherine Mansfield (14 October 1888 – 9 January 1923). Having left a New Zealand suburb she came to England aged 19 and made friends with the Bloomsbury set, meeting writers like Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence. A new biography by Claire Harman uses ten stories to tell the story of Mansfield's life and writing. One of her admirers was the Canadian author Mavis Gallant (11 August 1922 – 18 February 2014) who spent much of her writing life in France. Laurence Scott and Kirsty Gunn join Claire Harman and Shahidha Bari to explore what these authors have to tell us about the art of short story writing. Claire Harman's biography is called All Sorts of Lives: Katherine Mansfield and the art of risking everything Kirsty Gunn is the author of My Katherine Mansfield project a long essay. Her own writing includes a collection of stories Infidelities and her latest novel Caroline's Bikini Laurence Scott is the author of Picnic, Comma, Lightning. Producer: Ruth Watts On the Free Thinking programme website you can find a collection of discussions about Prose, Poetry and Drama https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p047v6vh and a collection exploring Modernism around the World https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
1/6/202344 minutes, 50 seconds
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Amílcar Cabral

The anti-colonial leader killed 50 years ago (20th January) was a poet, influenced by Marxism and led the nationalist movement of Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands. António Tomás, José Lingna Nafafé and New Generation Thinker Alexandra Reza join Rana Mitter to explore his life, thinking and legacy. José Lingna Nafafé is Senior Lecturer in Portuguese and Lusophone Studies at the University of Bristol. His work concentrates on the Black Atlantic abolitionist movement in the 17th Century and the Lusophone Atlantic African diaspora. Alex Reza is a writer and lecturer in comparative literatures and cultures working in French, Portuguese and English at the University of Bristol. She is also a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker. António Tomás is the author of several publications in Portuguese and English, namely Amílcar Cabral, the Life of a Reluctant Nationalist (2021) and In the skin of the City: Spatial Transformation in Luanda (2022). He is currently an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, at the University of Johannesburg. Producer: Ruth Watts You might be interested in other Free Thinking discussions exploring Black History gathered into a collection on the programme website and all available to listen on BBC Sounds and to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp They include a conversation about the writing of Aimé Césaire and the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nmxf A discussion of Frantz Fanon https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tdtn
1/6/202344 minutes, 48 seconds
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Wilkie Collins & disability

A blind woman who temporarily regains her sight is the heroine of Wilkie Collins’ 1872 novel Poor Miss Finch. Matthew Sweet is joined by Clare Walker Gore, Tom Shakespeare and Tanvir Bush to discuss how Collins’ own poor health led him to write about disability and physical difference in a more nuanced way than many of his contemporaries. Apart from Lucilla Finch, who has more agency when blind than sighted, other examples include the apparently monstrous Miserrimus Dexter ('the new centaur: half-man, half-chair') in The Law and the Lady, and the shockingly moustachioed Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White. Tanvir Bush is the author of Cull. You can also hear her discussing John Wyndham's novel The Day of the Triffids on Free Thinking. Clare Walker Gore has contributed to a Free Thinking discussion about Depicting Disability and written essays for Radio 3 about authors including Dinah Mulock Craik and Margaret Oliphant. Tom Shakespeare is Professor of Disability Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. You can hear his Radio 3 essay on Tolkien on BBC Sounds. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
1/5/202344 minutes, 32 seconds
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1922: Wimbledon and tennis fashions

How tennis stars developed in the 1920s. Historian David Berry and poet Matt Harvey talk to Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough about Centre Court, its opening in the new home of the All England Club in 1922, the styling of stars and how participation in tennis changed. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find more conversations about art and culture of the 1920s in a collection called Modernism on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
12/22/202214 minutes, 52 seconds
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1922: Leisure and Sport

A new craze for body building and that distinctive figure of the 20th century, the hobbyist, are the topic of conversation as we continue our series of features looking at cultural life in 1922. John Gallagher considers what the expansion of free time in the 1920s meant for leisure and the things people did for fun. He is joined by historian Elsa Richardson and literary scholar Jon Day. Producer: Luke Mulhall Find more discussions about culture and the arts of the 1920s in a collection called Modernism on the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
12/22/202214 minutes, 49 seconds
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1922: The Hollywood Bowl

Created in a natural landscape feature, a conclave hillside, the Hollywood Bowl had already hosted religious services before its stage arrived. In 1922 the Los Angeles Philharmonic played its first season of open air concerts inaugurating a music venue. Lisa Mullen hears how the amphitheatre has hosted some of the greats of classical and popular music from Felix and Leonard Slatkin to Ella Fitzgerald. Michael Goldfarb and Mark Glancy discuss the emergence of a cultural landmark. Producer: Ruth Watts You can find a collection of programmes called Modernism on the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking programme website which discuss other art and culture from the 1920s https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
12/22/202213 minutes, 52 seconds
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1922:Food fads

Virginia Woolf has a premonition of the microwave, protein bars are launched and a cookbook offers a recipe for iguana soup: New Generation Thinker John Gallagher is joined by food historians Annie Gray and Elsa Richardson for a conversation about what we might have eaten in 1922 Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find other discussions about art and culture from the 1920s in a collection called Modernism on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
12/22/202214 minutes, 46 seconds
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1922: Reader's Digest

Reader’s Digest magazine is celebrating its centenary this year. In the first of a series of features looking back at cultural milestones in 1922 – the year the BBC was founded – New Generation Thinker Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough finds out about the history of the Reader’s Digest talking to Professor Sarah Churchwell and Dr Victoria Bazin. Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find a playlist about books, art and philosophy from 1922 in a collection called Modernism on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
12/22/202214 minutes, 51 seconds
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Landladies

Louise Jameson joins Matthew Sweet to recall the women who ran the digs she stayed in as a touring actor and the landladies that she's played (including a homicidal one!). Historian Gillian Williamson looks at how life in boarding houses in Georgian London has been portrayed both in contemporary accounts and in fiction, while Lillian Crawford encounters some memorable landladies in Ealing comedies and other post-war British films. Gillian Williamson is the author of Lodgers, Landlords, and Landladies in Georgian London. Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
12/16/202244 minutes, 52 seconds
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Bestiaries and Beyond

Are animals a human invention? What is a lama like? Do plants have sex? Was Amelia Earhart eaten by crabs? These are just some of the questions posed by Shahidha Bari and addressed by her guests Katherine Rundell, Dan Taylor, Helen Cowie and Stella Sandford, as they trace the history of human conceptualisations of animals and the natural world. From the Medieval tendency to draw moral lessons from animals, to Linnaeus' attempts to organise them into taxonomies, via Darwin's abolition of the distinction between humans and animals, to the sense of wonder at the natural world needed to orient us towards tackling ecological crises. Plus, the growing area of plant philosophy and how it overturns the history of western metaphysics. Producer: Luke Mulhall
12/14/202244 minutes, 55 seconds
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Lists

The list of contributors joining Lisa Mullen: Henry Eliot, author of a book of bookish lists which details everything from the different deaths of Greek tragedians to the contents of Joan Didion's travel bag; Florence Hazrat, New Generation Thinker and historian of punctuation; Liam Young, author of a book about lists as a way of organising knowledge, from Ancient Mesopotamia to Buzzfeed; and Joanna Nolan, a researcher in sociolinguistics at SOAS who asks whether lists are ever private languages. Eliot's Book of Bookish Lists, List Cultures by Liam Cole Young and An Admirable Point: A Brief History of the Punctuation Mark by Florence Hazrat and The Elusive Case of Lingua Franca: Fact and Fiction by Joanna Nolan are out now and you can hear Joanna talking about that research in a previous episode called What Language Did Columbus Speak? A Radio 3 Essay from Florence Hazrat called Pause for Thought exploring the way punctuation has developed over the centuries is available now on BBC Sounds The Free Thinking programme website has a collection of discussions exploring The Way We Live Now including episodes about breakfast, hitchhiking, immortality, writing about money, tattoos, mental health Producer: Luke Mulhall
12/13/202244 minutes, 54 seconds
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Depicting AIDS in Drama

Russell T. Davies is joined by his friend and author of Love from the Pink Palace, Jill Nalder, to discuss their importance in one another’s lives, the role of literature in their lives, and the TV series It’s a Sin with New Generation Thinker and psychiatrist Sabina Dosani and chair Matthew Sweet in a conversation recorded in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature at the British Library. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
12/8/202244 minutes, 47 seconds
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Trapeze acts and circus celebrities

From a Norwich workhouse to performing as "The American Voltigeur" - Pablo Fanque, or William Darby as he was born, was a star of 1830s circus in Britain. Nearly a hundred years later one of the names topping the bill was Lillian Leitzel. Kate Holmes is also an aerial performer and she shares her research into female aerialists with John Woolf, author of Black Victorians. Plus the presenter Shahidha Bari is also joined by New Generation Thinker Naomi Paxton who compares researching early music hall and pantomime performers with the experience of taking part in a professional panto and by novelist Lianne Dillsworth whose novel Theatre of Marvels imagines a Black British actress who performs at Crillick's Theatre as the "Great Amazonia". Producer: Sofie Vilcins Black Victorians: Hidden in History by John Woolf and Keshia N Abraham is out now. John Woolf has also published The Wonders: : Lifting the Curtain on the Freak Show, Circus and Victorian Age Naomi Paxton made a Sunday Feature for Radio 3 about suffragette theatre and Punch and Judy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0008qdl She is now playing the baddie, Queen Rat in Dick Whittington at The Theatre Chipping Norton Lianne Dillsworth's Theatre of Marvels is out now. You can find more programmes on Free Thinking about Victorian life Oskar Jensen and Fern Riddell are amongst Matthew Sweet's guests in a conversation about Victorian Streets https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0017v2s Kathryn Hughes talks Victorian Bodies and George Eliot https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b088jl64 How the Victorians tried to make us sound the same looks at ideas about accents and reading https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001fng4 Matthew Sweet looks at the career of impresario Philip Astley and 250 years of the circus https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09k8gyw How we talk about sex and female bodies, including Saartje Baartman https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000f5n6 Swing High short documentary film was directed by Jack Cummings, and was produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1932.
12/7/202244 minutes, 56 seconds
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New Thinking: Language, the Victorians and Us

Why Hardy's spelling matters, how Lancashire reflected on the American Civil War through dialect poems printed in local newspapers, how education inspectors at Victorian schools policed pupils dropping the letter "h" : a quartet of academics: Greg Tate, Louise Creechan, Lynda Mugglestone and Simon Rennie join John Gallagher for the latest part of Free Thinking's series looking at the way we speak, accents and multilingualism. With recent research from the Sutton Trust showing prejudice against regional accents is still rife, this conversation looks at earlier examples of attempts to standardise English spelling and speaking and at where local dialects were celebrated. Producer: Luke Mulhall This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI Other episodes include: What Language did Columbus Speak? Lingua franca in 15th century travel and today’s refugee camps Dead Languages: John Gallagher says hello in Oscan, the daily language of ancient Pompeii and looks at the translation of hieroglyphics The Black Country: Matthew Sweet hears about the way the region has been depicted in writing which seeks to celebrate the local accent.
12/6/202245 minutes, 24 seconds
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How do we look at Art?

What does sound add to looking at a painting? Four ambitious multi-media installations make up the shortlist for this year's Turner prize, addressing issues from environmental change to identity politics to motherhood. There is a trend for immersive art experiences but does triggering other senses than the visual help us understand art better? Meanwhile a set of exhibitions in London explores sight itself and how we see and are seen by others. We'll be asking what happens when we open ourselves up to the idea of seeing things differently. New Generation Thinker Vid Simoniti teaches on art and philosophy at the University of Liverpool. He joins presenter Catherine Fletcher to discuss this year's Turner prize along with Dr Cleo Hanaway-Oakley, whose research interests include the role of the senses in culture and the artist Sally Booth, who is visually impaired. In Plain Sight runs at the Wellcome Collection in London until 12 February 2023 The four shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize 2022 whose work is on display at Tate Liverpool until to 19 March 2023 are: Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Sin Wai Kin. The winner is announced on December 7th. Immersive shows in London currently include Mexican Geniuses: A Frida & Diego Immersive Experience runs at Canada Water; Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, Klimt the immersive experience, Frameless, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms and The World of ASMR. Layers of Visions, featuring work by Sally Booth and others, is on show at the Kings' College exhibition space in Bush House Arcade, London until Dec 16th 2022 More information on her work is at https://sallybooth.co.uk/ Cleo Hanaway-Oakley discussed James Joyce and vision on a Free Thinking episode Bloomsday, Dalloway Day and 1922 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001828l The Free Thinking programme website has a collection of episodes exploring Art, Architecture, Photography and Museums with recent episodes focusing on shows about Plastic and Clay; The Frieze/Radio 3 Museum Directors Debate 2022 hearing about running the Guggenheim New York, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and M+ in Hong Kong; Alexander the Great, and Hollow Earth: Art, Caves & The Subterranean Imaginary at Nottingham Contemporary. Producer in Salford: Olive Clancy
11/30/202244 minutes, 23 seconds
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Soil, Chickens and City Farms

Soil degradation threatens our ecosystem and is among the most significant problems at a global level for agricultural production, food security and sustainability. World Soil Day 2022 on December 5th aims to heighten soil awareness so ahead of this, Anne McElvoy explores changes to both rural and urban farming. Mike Collins charts the evolution of the city farm; Jim Scown considers the relationship between soils, science and literary realism in Victorian Britain; Catherine Oliver asks why a growing number of city dwellers are rising with the rooster & discovering community in chicken keeping and Peter Wright, a film director, discusses his documentary, Arcadia, which captures the magic of rural Britain and our changing views towards the land and has a soundtrack from Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp). Jim Scown is a New Generation Thinker and Post Graduate Researcher at Cardiff University Catherine Oliver, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge Mike Collins is Head of Public Engagement for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and has written an article for the BBC History magazine Peter Wright's documentary, Arcadia is being screened with the soundtrack by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) performed live in Sunderland on November 30th and can be seen in Leeds and London March 2023 You can find more discussions about Green Thinking in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website also available from the Arts & Ideas podcast feed - programmes includes episodes about mushrooms, forests, rivers, eco-criticism and designing the home https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zg0r2
11/29/202243 minutes, 13 seconds
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Star Trek

The first interracial kiss on American TV, a decidedly internationalist cast of characters: Star Trek has always been a deeply political programme but what are those politics? How did they arise in the Cold War America in which the show was initially developed? And where does the vision of an international (or even intergalactic) Federation developed in the series fit into the politics of today? Matthew Sweet is joined by George Takei, who played Lieutenant Sulu in the original Star Trek series, novelist and screenwriter Naomi Alderman, screenwriter and academic Una McCormack, and academic José-Antonio Orosco, author of Star Trek's Philosophy of Peace and Justice: A Global, Anti-Racist Approach. George Takei's Allegiance is at the Charing Cross Theatre in London from 7th January - 8th April Producer: Luke Mulhall
11/25/202244 minutes, 47 seconds
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Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment

A smouldering gorilla suited man racing through London on a motorbike is one of many striking images from Karel Reisz's 1966 film that starred David Warner (who had just played Hamlet at the RSC) alongside Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Stephens. Matthew Sweet is joined by Stephen Frears who worked as assistant director on the film, the director's son Matthew Reisz and film historian Lucy Bolton to look back at the talents of both Karel Reisz (21 July 1926 - 25 November 2002) and David Warner (29 July 1941 – 24 July 2022). Producer: Torquil MacLeod You can find other episodes of Free Thinking focused on key films and TV programmes in a collection called Landmarks on the Free Thinking programme website including discussions of Enter the Dragon and Bruce Lee, Asta Nielsen and a silent Hamlet, Dirk Bogarde and The Servant, Glenda Jackson and Sunday Bloody Sunday https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jwn44
11/24/202244 minutes, 41 seconds
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Arabian queens, Bangladeshi mothers and women's tales

Shahidha Bari looks at the voices of women emerging from new writing in novels, plays and histories. Zenobia, Mavia, and Khadijah are Arabian queens and noblewomen who feature in the new book by Emran Iqbal El-Badawi which looks at the way female rulers of Arabia were crucial in shaping the history of the region. Hannah Khalil's new play at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe in London imagines a writers room of women weaving the tales that will last Scheherazade for 1,001 nights. And, Abdul Shayek's new production at the Tara Theatre in London is based on the testimony of women who survived Bangladesh's war of independence, a subject familiar in the writings of Tahmima Anam, including her novel A Golden Age. Queens and Prophets - How Arabian Noblewomen and Holy Men Shaped Paganism, Christianity and Islam by Emran Iqbal El-Badawi is published in December 2022 Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights is co-produced by Tamasha and runs at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe from December 1st 2022 to January 14th 2023. Amma runs at the Tara Theatre in Earlsfield, London from November 30th to December 17th 2022. You can hear Tahmima Anam discussing her latest novel about a tech start up The Start Up Wife in this episode of Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000wc3p On the Free Thinking programme website is a collection of discussions about women in the world from goddesses to Tudor families, women warriors to sisters, witchcraft to artists' models https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084ttwp Producer: Ruth Watts
11/23/202244 minutes, 52 seconds
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New Thinking: Game of Thrones and history

House of the Dragon was inspired by a medieval period known as The Anarchy. What do the real historical conflicts tell us about power, succession, class, and the status of women in medieval times, and why are fantasy writers so drawn to them? New Generation Thinker Sarah Peverley is Professor English Literature at Liverpool University. She is joined by Professor Carolyne Larrington of St John’s College Oxford, and Danielle Park, lecturer in Late Medieval History at the University of York. A 12th century war of succession between Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I, and her cousin Stephen of Blois which caused widespread breakdown in law and order in England and Normandy inspired the premise of House of the Dragon, with King Viserys Targaryen I lobbying for his eldest daughter Rhaenyra to be his heir whilst his nobles prefer his son Aegon II. And the warring dynastic families of the Starks and Lannisters in Game of Thrones are based on the 15th century Houses of York and Lancaster who battled for the throne of England throughout of the Wars of the Roses. Producer: Ruth Thomson This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI You can find other episodes showcasing New Research in a collection on the programme website of BBC Radio e’s Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90 It includes episodes on Beowulf https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0db7883 What language did Columbus speak https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d0tk22 Hey Presto magic in medicine and the history of panto https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p090yn26
11/23/202230 minutes, 31 seconds
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New Thinking: Game of Thrones and history

House of the Dragon draws on ‘The Anarchy’ - a 12th century war of succession. What does this conflict tell us about power, succession, class, and the status of medieval women ? New Generation Thinker Sarah Peverley is joined by Professor Carolyne Larrington of St John’s College Oxford, and Danielle Park, lecturer in Late Medieval History at the University of York. A 12th century war of succession between Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I, and her cousin Stephen of Blois which caused widespread breakdown in law and order in England and Normandy inspired the premise of House of the Dragon, with King Viserys Targaryen I lobbying for his eldest daughter Rhaenyra to be his heir whilst his nobles prefer his son Aegon II. And the warring dynastic families of the Starks and Lannisters in Game of Thrones are based on the 15th century Houses of York and Lancaster who battled for the throne of England throughout of the Wars of the Roses. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI You can find other episodes showcasing New Research in a collection on the programme website of BBC Radio e’s Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90 It includes episodes on Beowulf https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0db7883 What language did Columbus speak https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d0tk22 Hey Presto magic in medicine and the history of panto https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p090yn26
11/23/202230 minutes, 31 seconds
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St Teresa/Vivekananda/Nietzsche

St Teresa formulated a specifically Catholic version of contemplative religion in response to the 16th-century Protestant Reformation; Vivekananda was a Hindu holy man who articulated a religious path that set the template for much 20th-century spiritual thinking; Friedrich Nietzsche set out to subvert 1,800 years of religious thinking in his iconoclastic book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which has been newly translated by poet Michael Hulse. Rana Mitter is joined by New Generation Thinker Dafydd Mills Daniel, historian Ruth Harris, and philosopher Katrina Mitcheson to discuss. Producer: Luke Mulhall. On the Free Thinking progamme website you can find a collection of Free Thinking episodes exploring religious belief including programmes about Cardinal Newman, early Buddhism, the links between Judaism and Christianity, Islam Mecca and the Quaran and a collection exploring philosophy
11/22/202244 minutes, 25 seconds
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Going Underground

As Nottingham’s network of 800 man-made caves inspire an exhibition called ‘Hollow Earth’ at the city’s contemporary art gallery, Shahidha Bari and guests explore the underground world. Archaeologist Chris King discusses discoveries under Nottingham's streets, literary historian Charlotte May suggests stories to read, curator Sam Thorne picks out images, and award-winning cave explorer Andy Eavis, tells us about his career discovering more territory on earth than anyone else alive - all of it underground. Producer: Ruth Thomson Hollow Earth: Art, Caves & The Subterranean Imaginary runs at Nottingham Contemporary until January 22nd 2023. Organised in collaboration with Hayward Gallery Touring, the exhibition features works by René Magritte, Santu Mofokeng, Kaari Upson, Jeff Wall and Aubrey Williams, as well as new commissions from Sofia Borges, Emma McCormick-Goodhart, Goshka Macuga, Lydia Ourahmane and Liv Preston. In 2023, the exhibition will tour to The Glucksman in Cork and to RAMM in Exeter. The Being Human Festival which showcases academic research has several events in Nottingham exploring the city's caves and underground history throughout November 2022. You can find another Free Thinking episode exploring Breakthroughs in electricity research showcased at this year's Festival https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dhyp89 The Green Thinking collection on the Free Thinking programme website features a host of discussions about the environment and our landscapes https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zg0r2 You can find a discussion about holes in the ground featuring Prof Paul Younger from Glasgow University, Geoscientist magazine editor Ted Nield and writer Rosalind Williams in the Free Thinking archives https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06vs6g0 And poet Sean Borodale, archaeologists Francis Pryor, Paul Pettitt and Ruth Whitehouse join Sharon Robinson Calver in an episode called What Lies Beneath; Neanderthal Cave Art to Fatbergs
11/22/202243 minutes, 6 seconds
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Experimental writing

"Creative daring" is the quality rewarded by the Goldsmiths Prize, now in its tenth year. What does it mean for an artist or writer to be daring and experimental? Shahidha Bari is joined by this year's winners Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams who have co-written their novel Diego Garcia, composer Matthew Herbert whose latest project is making music from the skeleton of a horse, and poet Stephen Sexton who has written a poetry collection structured round every level of the 90s video game Super Mario World. Producer in Salford: Ruth Thomson. The Goldsmiths Prize of £10,000 is awarded to "a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best" https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/prize2022/ Matthew Herbert's new piece for the Estuary Sound Ark will have its interactive world premiere at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in Canterbury on Sunday 27th November at 3pm before being archived and left untampered with in a carefully selected location for 100 years. https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/events/estuary-sound-ark/ He has also published a novel The Music: An Album in Words Stephen Sexton won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2019 for If All the World and Love Were Young. This year he is judging the prize You can find a collection of discussions exploring Prose and Poetry on the Free Thinking programme website including a discussion of mould-breaking writing featuring Max Porter and Chloe Aridjis, poet Will Harris and academic Xine Yao https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pxn0 and a series of episodes exploring modernism hearing from Will Self and Alexandra Harris and looking at Mrs Dalloway, Finnegans Wake, Dada and Wittgenstein https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
11/22/202244 minutes, 10 seconds
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New Thinking: Breakthroughs at Being Human 2022

The African American inventor Lewis Latimer who lived in South London and worked with Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison on developing light bulbs; Benjamin Franklin was one of the founders of the United States of America but what was he doing pouring oil on Derwent Water in the Lake District? How did theatrical department store demonstrations help sell Kenwood Chefs ? And Ganzflicker - the online experiment that depending on your neural pathways might make you see animals, fairies, and monsters – or nothing at all. Catherine Fletcher meets the academics whose research was showcased as part of the annual Being Human Festival of the Humanities which puts on a series of public events linked to universities across the UK. Her guests are cultural historian Christopher Donaldson from Lancaster University, design historian Alice Naylor from the University of Portsmouth and the British Science Museum, Ayshah Johnston from the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton and the University of Surrey, and cognitive neuroscientist Reshanne Reeder from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. Benjamin Franklin’s Scientific Adventures in the English Lakes Putting on a Show with the Kenwood Chef at The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre in Havant A Lightbulb Idea: Lewis Latimer's Scientific Breakthroughs at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton Ganzflicker: art, science, and psychedelic experience at The Atkinson in Southport Producer in Salford: Ruth Thomson This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI You can find a host of conversations showcasing New Research in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website and available to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90 This includes information about research showcased in previous Being Human festivals available to listen or download Lost Words and Language https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00013xg Death Rituals https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001419 Buses Beer and VR https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00014qk Covid comics and codes in Dickens https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011d1v
11/22/202241 minutes, 37 seconds
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New Thinking: Net Zero Design

What does zero carbon look like if you are planning a new housing development in your town. The UK’s building stock is one of the oldest in Europe, accounting for nearly 40% of the nation’s total carbon emissions, so how possible is it for our cities to cut them to zero before 2050? Lecturer Lara Salinas explains how she has worked with local residents in the borough of Southwark in South London, encouraging them to take up zero carbon building design and retrofit. Professor Ljubomir Jankovic describes working with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, supporting their thinking about how housing developments could be built in future and how to build in net zero principles as part of the design process. New Generation Thinker Des Fitzgerald hosts the conversation. Ljubomir Jankovic is Professor of Advanced Building at the University of Hertfordshire and leads the Zero Carbon Lab. Lara Salinas is Lecturer in the Design School at London College of Communication and Senior Research Fellow in Knowledge Exchange at University of the Arts London. Professor Des Fitzgerald is a New Generation Thinker who has co-written a book called The Urban Brain: Mental Health in the Vital City. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. If you want to dig out other episodes you can find a collection called Green Thinking on the website of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme – there are discussions about a range of topics including climate justice, energy, trees and transport. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zg0r2 For more information about the research the AHRC’s supports around climate change and the natural world you can visit: Responding to climate change – UKRI or follow @ahrcpress on twitter. Producer: Jayne Egerton
11/18/202228 minutes, 3 seconds
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Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu

Matthew Sweet gathers together four Proust fans from very different backgrounds - the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Jane Smiley, the psychotherapist, Jane Haynes, Christopher Prendergast, who has a translation of the book and written Living and Dying with Marcel Proust, and from France, the writer, Marie Darrieussecq. The actor Peter Marinker tackles the difficult task of giving an English voice to Proust. The novel In Search of Lost Time is a modernist masterpiece which offers a symphonic account of what it meant to be alive in France as the 19th century became the 20th. Producer: Zahid Warley You can find a collection of programmes on the Free Thinking website exploring different aspects of modernism around the world https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh On Sunday Nov 20th at 5.30pm and for a month afterwards BBC Radio 3's curated selection of Words and Music inspired by the writing of Proust will be available on BBC Sounds.
11/18/202244 minutes, 19 seconds
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George Bernard Shaw

Disillusionment with war and how you sue for peace are at the heart of Shaw's drama Arms and the Man, being staged in Richmond this autumn. Whilst in Bath a touring production of Mrs Warren's Profession stars Caroline Quentin and her daughter Rose Quentin as the former prostitute and her disapproving daughter. Anne McElvoy is joined by director Paul Miller, Professor Sos Eltis who has edited Shaw's work and theatre critic and writer Mark Lawson to look at Shaw's ability to construct arguments on stage and the resonances of his plays now. Arms and the Man runs at the Orange Tree Theatre in London directed by Paul Miller from 19 November 2022 – 14 January 2023 Mrs Warren's Profession directed by Anthony Banks runs at the Bath Theatre Royal from 9th - 19th November starring Caroline Quentin and her daughter Rose Quentin as Mrs Warren and her daughter Vivie. It then tours to the Richmond Theatre from 22nd November to 26th November 2022 and goes on to visit theatres including the Chichester Festival Theatre, the Hall for Cornwall, the Yvonne Arnaud in Guilford. My Fair Lady - a production from the Lincoln Centre directed by Bartlett Sher - is at the Cardiff Millennium Centre from November 8th to 26th and it then tours to Edinburgh, Southampton, Sunderland, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. Producer: Ruth Watts You can find other Free Thinking conversations about drama past and present including discussions about Moliere, Ibsen, the playwright Rona Munro, John McGrath's Scottish drama, in a collection called Prose, Poetry and Drama https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p047v6vh
11/16/202251 minutes, 26 seconds
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Plastic and Clay

It revolutionised domestic chores, signified modernity and has been made into packaging, textiles, electrical machinery but plastic has also contributed to our throw-away society. Clay is turned into bricks, cookware and used in industrial processes including paper making, cement production, and chemical filtering and increasingly contemporary artists are taking up the material. As exhibitions at the V&A Dundee and the Hayward Gallery in London display the different qualities and associations of these materials Lisa Mullen is joined by ceramic artist Lindsey Mendick, curators Cliff Lauson and Johanna Agerman Ross, and Kirsty Sinclair Dootson who studies materials in visual culture. Plastic: Remaking Our World is at the V&A Dundee. It features product design, graphics, architecture and fashion from the collections of the V&A and Vitra Design Museum, and other collections. It is the first exhibition produced and curated by V&A Dundee, the Vitra Design Museum and maat, Lisbon, with curators from V&A South Kensington. Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art is at the Hayward Gallery in London until 8 January 2023 and features 23 international artists. You can find a collection of programmes exploring Art, Architecture, Photography and Museums on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026wnjl Producer: Torquil MacLeod
11/9/202244 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Imperial War Museum Remembrance Discussion 2022

Do video games help explore war? An exhibition at the Imperial War Museum includes Sniper Elite 5, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and a military training simulator. For the 2022 discussion about how we look at warfare past and present Anne McElvoy is joined by writer & broadcaster Louise Blain, retired Colonel Lincoln Jopp, game designer Florent Maurin and IWM curator Chris Cooper. War Games runs at IWM London until May 2023 and is a free exhibition. Louise Blain presents Radio 3's Sound of Gaming - a monthly show looking at the music written for games. You can find previous discussions available on BBC Sounds and downloadable as the Arts & Ideas podcast: Former soldier Lincoln Jopp, war reporter Christina Lamb, novelist Elif Shafak and curator Hilary Roberts explore the impact of the words we use to describe conflict in 2021 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011cxv What does it mean to make art to commemorate histories of conflict? Anne McElvoy's talked to the artists Es Devlin and Machiko Weston, Art Fund director Jenny Waldman, chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group Ekow Eshun and Paris Agar from the IWM as Radio 3 joined with the Imperial War Museum for the 2020 Remembrance Debate https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000p85j On the Free Thinking programme website is a collection of programmes called Free Thinking on War and Conflict which includes episodes on Odesa Stories; Abdulrazak Gurnah and Margaret McMillan on War in Fact and Fiction; architect Marwa al-Sabouni on Syria: Hope and Poetry Producer: Torquil MacLeod
11/8/202244 minutes, 2 seconds
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John Knox

The Scottish theologian and preacher John Knox died on 24th November 1572, bringing to an end a life packed with drama and controversy. Matthew Sweet is joined by historian Steven Reid, literary historian Lucy Hinnie and New Generation Thinker Dafydd Mills Daniel to go through some of the most vivid and important episodes in that life, including his periods in exile, his highly antagonistic meetings with Mary Queen of Scots, and his time on the high seas as a prisoner forced to row a French galley. They also address the question of what makes Knox such an important figure and how his influence is still felt in Scotland today. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
11/3/202244 minutes, 38 seconds
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Goethe, Schiller and the first Romantics

Putting I at the centre, the Ich, was the creed of philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte whilst Friedrich Schelling, saw the self as at one with the rest of nature: naturphilosophie. These competing ideas were debated in literary salons in the German town of Jena in the 1790s and Andrea Wulf's new biography Magnificent Rebels: The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self tells this story. She joins Anne McElvoy alongside New Generation Thinker Dr Seán Williams and the musicologist and Classical music biographer, Stephen Walsh, author of The Beloved Vision: Music in the Romantic Age. Producer: Ruth Watts This edition features discussion of music inspired by the Jena writers and extracts of: Franz Schubert, “Gretchen am Spinnrade” sung by Bernarda Fink (soprano) with Gerold Huber (piano), Harmonia Mundi, HMC901991 Weber, Der Freischütz, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Carlos Kleiber Deutsche Grammophon, 4577362 You can find other programmes exploring German culture and thinking in the Free Thinking archives and available to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts including ETA Hoffmann https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00188r7 Rainer Maria Rilke https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0016k0v Wittgenstein's Tractatus https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000wcwk The 1920s Philosophy's Golden Age https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000q380 The Tin Drum https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05stw9v Thomas Mann https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001025h
11/2/202244 minutes, 55 seconds
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Alexander the Great

King of Asia and Pharoah are two of the titles taken by Alexander, ruler of Macedonia from 336 B.C. to 323 B.C. He died aged 32 having conquered a vast area and founded the city of Alexandria in present day Egypt but his reputation stretched even further as a kind of philosopher king, and in myths and stories, as someone who travelled to paradise, created the first flying machine and explored underwater. Rana Mitter has been to visit a new exhibition at the British Library which illustrates these different images of Alexander and he's joined by New Generation Thinkers Dr Julia Hartley, Professor Islam Issa and by Peter Toth, curator of ancient and medieval manuscripts at the British Library. Plus we hear about the books on the shortlist of this year's Cundill History Prize from the chair of the judges, Professor J.R. McNeill. Julia Hartley teaches on French, Italian, and Iranian art and literature at King's College London . You can find an Essay she wrote for Radio 3 on Alexander and the Persians available on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0016rpp Islam Issa is Professor of Literature and History at Birmingham City University. His book, Alexandria: The City that Changed the World, will be out in 2023. Alexander the Great: The Making of a Myth runs at the British Library until February 19th 2023. The Cundill History prize has shortlisted the following books (the winner is announced on December 1st) https://www.cundillprize.com/ Cuba: An American History by Ada Ferrer All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union by Vladislav M. Zubok Producer: Ruth Watts. You can hear an episode of Radio 3's Words and Music on the theme of Egypt co-curated by New Generation Thinker Islam Issa available on BBC Sounds for a month after being broadcast on Sunday November 6th at 5.30pm. And an episode of Free Thinking available now on BBC Sounds and as an Arts & Ideas podcast explores Dead Languages and the deciphering of hieroglyphics.
11/1/202245 minutes, 6 seconds
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New Thinking: Beowulf

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough takes a look at the latest research shaping our understanding of the great Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf. She’ll be finding out about the insights that digital approaches are bringing to the tale of gold-hoarding dragons, sword-wielding heroes and murderous fenland beasties. We discover what video games and grammar have to tell us about Old English literature. Andrew Burn Andrew Burn is Professor of English, Media and Drama at University College London’s Institute of Education. He is director of ReMap a research centre that focuses on media arts, creative practice and play and games. He has published work on many aspects of the media, including young people's production of digital animation, film and computer games. Further information about his research can be found at: https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=ANBUR40 and www.andrewburn.org. Roxanne Taylor is a research student at the University of Manchester where she is completing her PhD. She is working on an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project on argument structure and genitive modification in Old English noun phrases. Beowulf Retold is on Radio 3 on Sunday 30th October and is available on BBC Sounds for the following 28 days. This podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. Producer: Ruth Watts
10/28/202230 minutes, 49 seconds
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Ghostwatch

The director and writer of Ghostwatch Lesley Manning and Stephen Volk join Matthew Sweet and academic Lucy Arnold to look back at the reality–horror/pseudo-documentary TV, which aired on British tv screens on Halloween night 1992. The BBC switchboard received an estimated 1,000,000 phone calls on the night of the broadcast and it has never been repeated on British tv although it is now part of a BFI season exploring horror. Producer: Luke Mulhall A BFI Horror season In Dreams are Monsters is running at venues across the UK until 31 December 2022 with screenings and events themed around the vampire, the ghost, the zombie, the witch and the beast.
10/27/202245 minutes, 56 seconds
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Orhan Pamuk and the Ottoman Empire

A pandemic, crumbling empire and new nationhood are the backdrop for Orhan Pamuk's latest novel Nights of the Plague. He talks to Rana Mitter about the historical basis for his novel. They're joined by historian and BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker Michael Talbot and literary scholar Keya Anjaria. Some of the books they recommend at the end of the conversation are Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901 – 1962) whose The Time Regulation Institute and A Mind at Peace have been published in English by Penguin Halide Edib Adıvar (1884 – 1964) whose memoirs have been published in English Yasher Kemal (1923 – 2015) author of Mehmet My Hawk Orhan Kemal - the pen name of Turkish novelist Mehmet Raşit Öğütçü (1914 - 1970) whose books describe the life of the poor in Turkey Oğuz Atay (1934 - 1977) a pioneer of the modern novel whose The Disconnected has become a best-seller Latife Tekin (1957 - ) and the film-maker Yılmaz Güney (1937 - 1984) Producer Luke Mulhall You can find more conversations about Turkish history via the Free Thinking website
10/26/202244 minutes, 59 seconds
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New Thinking: Dead Languages

John Gallagher discusses the latest research on the languages of the ancient world that weren't Latin and Greek. We associate places like Italy and Cyprus with those two best known ancient languages. But both were linguistically diverse. What informed people's choice of language in these places? How were alphabets developed and used? Plus, an exhibition at the British Museum explores the world opened up when Egyptian hieroglyphics were deciphered 200 years ago, and how the invention of the Cyrillic alphabet, developed in the Balkans over 1,000 years ago, still has political repercussions today. With Dr Katherine McDonald, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Durham, Dr Mirela Ivanova, Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield, and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker, Dr Philippa Steele is Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge, and Dr Ilona Regulski, an Egyptologist based at the British Museum. The British Museum exhibition Hieroglyphs: Unlocking Ancient Egypt runs until Feb 189th 2023. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find other episodes exploring language in the New Research playlist on the Free Thinking programme website
10/26/202244 minutes, 56 seconds
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Oliver Postgate

The creator of much-loved children's TV classics including The Clangers, Bagpuss and Pogles' Wood is discussed by Matthew Sweet and his guests Daniel Postgate who took over Smallfilms from his father, singer Sandra Kerr who was the voice of Madeleine in Bagpuss, composer and author Neil Brand, and writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed. Oliver Postgate's father was a communist and his mother was a political activist, daughter of prominent Labour figure George Lansbury - how much of this political background can we find in the fantastical worlds that he created? There's also discussion of the music that plays such a major role in the programmes - the deep folk roots of the songs performed by Sandra and John Faulkner in Bagpuss and Vernon Elliot's sparse and poignant compositions for The Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. CLANGERS: The Complete Scripts 1969-1974 is published on November 10th. You can find more programmes celebrating 100 years of the BBC on iPlayer and BBC Sounds. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
10/21/202244 minutes, 43 seconds
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British Academy Book Prize 2022

Deafness and communication, writing Chinese, women as killers in Chile, German postwar history, testimony from a Swedish village and a global history of science are the topics explored in the books shortlisted for this year's prize for Global Cultural Understanding run by the British Academy. Rana Mitter talks to the six authors about their findings. The books are: The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell's Quest to End Deafness by Katie Booth Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich by Harald Jähner Osebol: Voices from a Swedish Village by Marit Kapla Horizons: A Global History of Science by James Poskett When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold by Alia Trabucco Zerán Kingdom of Characters: A Tale of Language, Obsession and Genius in Modern China by Jing Tsu The prize of £25,000 will be awarded on October 26th 2022. You can find interviews with writers shortlisted in previous year's on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00106pn and https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000n0bv Producer: Tim Bano
10/18/202245 minutes, 2 seconds
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Romanticism Revisited

The ridiculous side of Romanticism, a new biopic of Emily Brontë and an exhibition about Fuseli and women are on today's agenda as Shahidha Bari is joined by New Generation Thinkers Emma Butcher, Sophie Oliver, Chris Harding and by Andrew McInnes. Emily from writer/director Frances O'Connor starring Emma Mackey as Emily Brontë opens at cinemas across the UK this week. Fuseli and the Modern Woman: Fashion, Fantasy, Fetishism runs at the Courtauld Gallery in London from Oct 14th to Jan 8th 2023 Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born 21 October 1772. You can find more about Fuseli in the book Dinner with Joseph Johnson written by New Generation Thinker Daisy Hay and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford prize - she discussed it in an episode of Free Thinking called Teaching and Inspiration Producer: Luke Mulhall
10/13/202245 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Frieze/Radio 3 Museum Directors Debate 2022

Hong Kong, Paris and New York galleries and museums are in the spotlight as we hear the latest in a series of discussions exploring what it means to run museums and galleries in the 21st century. For the Frieze/Radio 3 Museum Directors Debate 2022 Anne McElvoy is joined by Suhanya Raffel (director of M+ Museum for Visual Culture, Hong Kong), Richard Armstrong (director of the Guggenheim Museum, NYC) and Nathalie Bondil (head of museums and exhibitions at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris). The directors chose 3 artists whose work is either currently on show or has been recently displayed at their institutions: the graffiti painter Tsang Tsou-choi, better known as "King of Kowloon"; Cecilia Vicuña (currently showing at Tate Modern in the Turbine Hall 16 April 2023) and the Jordanian sculptor Mona Saudi who died earlier this year and whose work can be seen outside the Institut du Monde Arabe. They also discuss issues including their approach to questions about donors, decolonisation and digital displays. You can find other discussions with directors from galleries in Singapore, Dresden, Washington, Paris, Beijing and London in the Free Thinking collection exploring art, architecture, photography and museums https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026wnjl Frieze London runs from Oct 12th - 16th 2022 Producer: Torquil MacLeod
10/12/202244 minutes, 24 seconds
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New Thinking: Accents

How Manc are the Gallaghers? John Gallagher hears about the results of a project to map accents in the city talking to Prof Rob Drummond. In Northumbria Dr Robert McKenzie has discovered that a Northern accent can cost you marks at school and job opportunities. However you speak, your accent reveals something about you. Dr John Gallagher talks to two researchers whose projects explore the variation in accents across England, and the way those accents shape our place in society. Rob Drummond is Reader in Sociolinguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University. With the help of an Accent Van and archive recordings, his project Manchester Voices maps the accents of Greater Manchester, documenting people’s relationships with their own accent and charting how accents have changed over time, from lost rhotic Rs to the made-up Manchester accent of the Gallagher brothers. https://www.manchestervoices.org/ You can find an earlier New Thinking conversation with Rob about setting up the project in an episode called City Talk which is available in the New Research collection on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90 Robert McKenzie is Associate Professor in Sociolinguistics at Northumbria University. His project Speaking of Prejudice analyses both explicit and implicit attitudes towards accents in the South of England compared to the North, revealing that prejudices still exist towards particular accents and the effect on school progress and job opportunities. https://hosting.northumbria.ac.uk/languageattitudesengland/ This podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. Producer: Tim Bano
10/12/202245 minutes, 24 seconds
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Miles Davis and On The Corner

From James Brown to Stockhausen, the influences which fed into Miles Davis's 1972 album On The Corner are explored by Matthew Sweet and guests, 50 years after its release. Bill Laswell, Chelsea Carmichael, Kevin LeGendre and Paul Tingen join Matthew to celebrate an album that was dismissed by some jazz critics as evidence of Davis 'selling out' when it came out, but that has gone on to be appreciated as an important and influential milestone. Producer: Torquil MacLeod Bill Laswell's many recordings and productions include Panthalassa: The Music of Miles Davis 1969-1974. Chelsea Carmichael is a saxophonist and composer. Her most recent album is The River Doesn't Like Strangers. Paul Tingen is the author of Miles Beyond: The Electric Explorations of Miles Davis, 1967-1991. Kevin Le Gendre is one of the presenters of BBC Radio 3's J to Z broadcast Saturdays at 5pm You can hear Matthew and Kevin exploring the politics, history and music which fed into Marvin Gaye's What's Going On in a previous episode of Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011l7t Radio 3 will be broadcasting a range of programmes from the London Jazz Festival between Nov 11th and 20th https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011l7t
10/11/202244 minutes, 47 seconds
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How We Read

The word 'reading' may appear to describe something specific and universal, but in reality it's more of an umbrella term, covering a huge range of ways in which people interact with text. Dyslexia and hyperlexia may be two of the more obvious departures from normative ideas of reading, but whether we're neurodivergent or not we all read in different ways that can vary significantly depending on what we're reading and why we're reading it. Matthew Sweet is joined by Matt Rubery, Louise Creechan and poets Debris Stevenson and Anthony Anaxagorou. Matt Rubery, Professor of Modern Literature at Queen Mary, University of London has worked on books including The Untold Story of the Talking Book; Audiobooks, Literature, and Sound Studies, Further Reading and Reader’s Block: A History of Reading Differences. You can hear more from him in an episode about the history of publishing called Whose Book is it Anyway? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b080xzm6 Dr Louise Creechan is studying is a Lecturer in Literary Medical Humanities at Durham University and a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to showcase academic research. You can hear her discuss Dickens' Bleak House in an episode called Teaching and Inspiration https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00169jh Debris Stevenson describes herself as 'Dyslexic educator, Grime-poet and Dancehall raving social activist'. Anthony Anaxagorou's latest collection of poetry is Heritage Aesthetics, published on 3rd November 2022. Free Thinking has a playlist featuring discussions about prose and poetry https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p047v6vh The theme of this year's National Poetry Day is the Environment and you can hear Radio 3's weekly curation of readings and music inspired by that topic on Sunday at 5.30pm and then on BBC Sounds for 28 days https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006x35f Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
10/7/202244 minutes, 34 seconds
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Female power and influence past and present

Kamila Shamsie's new novel Best of Friends follows two women from Pakistan who take different route to power. Rona Munro's new plays explore the courts of James IV and Mary Stuart. Caroline Moorehead has written a biography of Edda Mussolini, the Italian leader's favourite daughter. Anne McElvoy talks to them about power and influence past and present. Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie is out now. You can hear her discussing her novel Home Fire and the Antigone story in a previous episode of Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b095qhsm Edda Mussolini: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe by Caroline Moorehead is out on October 27th 2022. James IV - Queen of the Fight by Rona Munro:is touring from Sept 30th to Nov 12th 2022 It is presented by Raw Material and Capital Theatres in association with National Theatre of Scotland www.capitaltheatres.com Mary by Rona Munro runs at the Hampstead Theatre in London from 21 Oct to 26 Nov 2022 www.hampsteadtheatre.com You can hear Rona discussing previous plays in the James trilogy and a drama inspired by Manchester in the Industrial Revolution in a previous episode of Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b050xpsd And Free Thinking has a playlist exploring Women in the World https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084ttwp Producer: Ruth Watts
10/5/202244 minutes, 52 seconds
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My Neighbour Totoro

A world of sprites and spirits encountered by childhood sisters in the 1988 animated feature film by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) and Studio Ghibli has been adapted for stage by the original composer Joe Hisaishi working with playwright Tom Morton-Smith and Director Phelim McDermott. Chris Harding and guests look at how this story relates to Japanese beliefs about ghosts and nature, and how Miyazaki used ideas of childhood innocence to critique post-War Japanese society. Chris Harding is joined by Tom Morton-Smith, Michael Leader from the podcast Ghiblioteque, Dr Shiro Yoshioka, Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Newcastle, and Dr Xine Yao, co-director of qUCL at University College London, and a Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker. My Neighbour Totoro from the Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV runs at the Barbican Theatre in London from 8 Oct 2022—Sat 21 Jan 2023 Producer: Luke Mulhall
10/4/202244 minutes, 17 seconds
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John Cowper Powys

With their casts of outsiders, deviants and miscreants, the novels of John Cowper Powys explore where meaning can be found in a world without God. Very often, the answer is in semi-mystical communion with nature and landscape. Heir of both Thomas Hardy and Friedrich Nietzsche, Powys was admired by contemporaries like Iris Murdoch, and anticipated lots of the concerns of ecocritical writers and thinkers of today. But few of his books are currently in print. To mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, Matthew Sweet discusses his life and writing with Margaret Drabble, John Gray, Iain Sinclair and Kevan Manwaring. Producer: Luke Mulhall
9/29/202254 minutes, 4 seconds
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Claude McKay and the Harlem Renaissance

From a farming family in Jamaica to travelling in Europe and Northern Africa, the writer Claude McKay became a key figure in the artistic movement of the 1920s dubbed The Harlem Renaissance. Publishing under a pseudonym, his poems including To the White Friends and If We Must Die explored racial prejudice. Johnny Pitts has written an essay about working class community, disability and queer culture explored in Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille, which was published for the first time in 2020. Pearl Cleage's play Blues for an Alabama Sky is set in 1930s New York. The African-American playwright is the daughter of a civil rights activist, and has worked as speechwriter for Alabama's first black mayor, founded and edited the literary magazine Catalyst, and published many novels, plays and essays. Nadifa Mohamed's novels include Black Mamba Boy and her most recent The Fortune Men (shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize). They talk to Shahidha Bari about Claude McKay and the flourishing of ideas and black pride that led to the Harlem Renaissance. Producer: Tim Bano Blues For an Alabama Sky runs at the National Theatre in London from September 20th to November 5th. Johny Pitts presents Open Book on Radio 4. His books include Afropean: Notes from Black Europe which you can hear him discussing on Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005sjw His collaboration with Roger Robinson Home Is Not A Place exploring Black Britishness in the 21st century is out this month. You can hear more from Nadifa talking about her latest novel The Fortune Men and comparing notes about the writing life with Irenosen Okojie in previous Free Thinking episodes available on our website in the prose and poetry playlist and from BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000x06v and https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k8sz Alongside Verso’s reissue of Home to Harlem they have 3 other books out: Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes, The Blacker The Berry by Wallace Thurman, and Quicksand And Passing by Nella Larson. On BBC Sounds and in the Free Thinking archives you can find conversations about Black History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp and a Radio 3 Sunday Feature Harlem on Fire in which Afua Hirsch looks at the history of the literary magazine https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s6z0b
9/28/202244 minutes, 47 seconds
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Ibsen

The individual versus the masses is at the heart of Enemy of the People. A bank manager speculating with his customers' money is the story told in John Gabriel Borkman. Lucinda Coxon and Steve Waters have written new versions of these Ibsen plays. They join Norwegian actor and director Kåre Conradi, theatre critic and writer Mark Lawson and presenter Anne McElvoy to explore the ways in which Ibsen's characters and dramas resonate now. John Gabriel Borkman starring Simon Russell Beale, Lia Williams and Clare Higgins runs at the Bridge Theatre, London September 24th to November 26th. Drama on 3 scripted by Steve Waters will be on air early in 2023. Kåre Conradi has established The Norwegian Ibsen Company which has brought productions to the Print Room at the Coronet Theatre in London. Conradi is an actor and a lifetime employee at The National Theatre of Norway. Mark Lawson is theatre critic for The Tablet and has written many radio dramas for BBC Radio 4. Producer: Ruth Watts On BBC Sounds and the Free Thinking programme website you can find previous discussions about Adapting Molière https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00138km John McGrath's Scottish drama https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0017tzt Shakespeare https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06406hm Lorraine Hansbery https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tpdh3 and other key thinkers and writers on morality like Hannah Arendt/ Iris Murdoch/ Thomas Mann in our landmarks collection https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jwn44
9/26/202243 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Black Country - past and present

Matthew Sweet and guests explore the roots and resonance of "the Black Country" region
9/23/202244 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Black Country - past and present

Matthew Sweet and guests explore the roots and resonance of "The Black Country" region
9/22/202244 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Normans

Ruthless mercenaries who happened to be very good at PR or a dynamic force in Medieval European politics? Rana Mitter and guests Judith Green and Eleanor Parker discuss the current state of scholarship on the Normans. Plus: from the idea of the Norman yoke, to dreams of Hereward the Wake, to contemporary discussions about the right to roam and Brexit, what role have ideas of the Normans and Anglo-Saxons played in the British political imagination? Historian of ideas Sophie Scott Brown, and Phillip Blonde, director of the think tank Res Publica join Rana to debate. Judith Green's book The Normans: Power, Conquest and Culture in 11th Century Europe looks at the role the Normans played in shaping their world, from Northern France and England, to Southern Italy, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Eleanor Parker's book Conquered: The Last Children of Anglo-Saxon England looks at the generation that came of age as the Normans invaded and consolidated their hold over England, and examines the role they played in shaping the society that followed. Dr Sophie Scott-Brown is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, where she teaches intellectual history and is the author of The Histories of Raphael Samuel - A Portrait of A People’s Historian (2017) Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find past episodes of Free Thinking discussing Tudor history, The Vikings and Victorian streets all available to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts.
9/21/202244 minutes, 56 seconds
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Cuba, cold war and RAF Fylingdales

Ian McEwan's new novel Lessons sets a relationship against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis and the fall of the wall in Berlin. Researcher and artist Michael Mulvihill, from the University of Newcastle, has been recording the sounds of radar interference and uncovering the archives held at RAF Fylingdales in Yorkshire which depict the replacement of the "golf balls" and the technology involved in operating the early warning systems. Jessica Douthwaite, University of Stirling, is looking at how the cold war is collected and represented in museum collections across the UK and is a historian of civilian experiences of the cold war in Britain. Christoph Laucht, from Swansea University, researches responses the the nuclear threat They join Anne McElvoy to discuss the impact of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 and public fears about nuclear conflict. You can find out more at https://fylingdalesarchive.org.uk/ Operations began there on 17th September 1963 and about Michael Mulvihill's Arts and Humanities Research Council project at https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FS013067%2F1 Lessons by Ian McEwan is published in September 2022. His other books include On Chesil Beach set 3 months before the Cuban missile crisis. Producer: Ruth Watts You can find other discussions about history in the Free Thinking archives including an episode looking at the Stasi poetry circle https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001556q
9/20/202244 minutes, 55 seconds
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Immortality

Karel Čapek's 1922 play The Makropulos Affair about a famous singer who has lived for over 300 years was adapted into an opera by the composer Leoš Janáček and premiered in 1926. George Bernard Shaw's play Back to Methuselah, which premiered in 1922, also looks at human destiny and ideas about long life. As Welsh National Opera's new touring production of The Makropulos Affair opens in Cardiff, Matthew Sweet and guests New Generation Thinker Sarah Dillon, classicist Charlotte Higgins and philosopher Rebecca Roache explore the quest for endless youth in literature, film and myth and discussions of the idea by philosophers including Bernard Williams. The Makropulos Affair opens at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on Friday 16th September for three performances and then goes on tour to Llandudno, Plymouth, Birmingham, Southampton and Oxford. Professor Sarah Dillon is working on a student guide How to Study the Contemporary and researching a literary history of AI. Her books include Storylistening: Narrative Evidence and Public Reasoning and she is on the editorial boards of C21: Journal of Twenty-First Century Writing and Fantastika. Charlotte Higgins' books include Greek Myths: A New Retelling and Red Thread: On Mazes and Labrynths Producer: Torquil MacLeod The Free Thinking programme website has a playlist called Free Thinking the Future which includes discussions about AI, robots and an interview with Ray Kurzweil https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zwn4d
9/16/202244 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Lindisfarne Gospels and new discoveries

A dig at Lindisfarne this September aims to find out more about the early Medieval monastery raided by Vikings. New Generation Thinker David Petts from Durham University shares his findings on Holy Island. Professor Michelle Brown has been looking closely at the text and illustrations in the Lindisfarne Gospels and the culture of producing books in Anglo Saxon England. And as the gospels produced by Eadfrith, a monk at Lindisfarne who became bishop in c. 698 until his death in c. 722, go on show at the Laing Gallery in Newcastle, New Generation Thinker Jake Morris-Campbell writes a poem to mark their return to the North East. Shahidha Bari hosts. You can find out more about the dig at https://projects.digventures.com/lindisfarne/ and about the gospels https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/lindisfarne-gospels Michelle Brown is giving a number of talks associated with the exhibition at the Laing Gallery which runs from Saturday 17 September - Saturday 3 December with a host of related exhibitions and events across the region https://laingartgallery.org.uk/lindisfarne-gospels-2022 Jake Morris-Campbell's poetry collection called Corrigenda For Costafine Town is out now from Blue Diode Publishing. You can also hear him talking about mining and dark places in a recording from the After Dark Festival at Sage Gateshead https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015c8p Radio 3's weekly curation of readings and music Words and Music takes inspiration from Northumbria and can be heard on Sunday September 25th at 5.30pm or on BBC Sounds for 28 days. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006x35f Producer: Ruth Watts
9/14/202245 minutes, 10 seconds
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New Thinking: What language did Columbus speak?

Christopher Columbus spoke to lots of people: his family and kin in Genova, merchants in Venice, royalty in Madrid, the crew of his ship, not to mention the people he met on the other side of the Atlantic. Today, we would consider this a case of multilingualism. But is that how Columbus would have seen it? What language did he think he spoke himself? In the same period a pidgin language developed to allow linguistically diverse communities in the eastern Mediterranean and north Africa to carry out trade, diplomacy, and general communication. We look at the latest research on this language, known as lingua franca, and consider what it might tell us about communication amongst the linguistic communities of the same region today. New Generation Thinker John Gallagher is joined by guests Dr Joanna Nolan, Professor Nandini Das, Dr Birgül Yılmaz, and translator David Bellos. This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find other episodes focusing on language in the playlist New Research on the Free Thinking programme website The impact of being multi-lingual https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08s6mjd Birmingham’s Shakespeare Library https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084zd37 An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare’s Language https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07h2z4r City Talk: a project to map Manchester accents https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07h30hm Producer: Luke Mulhall Dr Joanna Nolan teaches at SOAS, University of London and is the author of The Elusive Case of Lingua Franca: Fact and Fiction
9/13/202245 minutes, 22 seconds
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1922: The Hollywood Bowl

Created in a natural landscape feature, a conclave hillside, the Hollywood Bowl had already hosted religious services before its stage arrived. In 1922 the Los Angeles Philharmonic played its first season of open air concerts inaugurating a music venue. Lisa Mullen hears how the amphitheatre has hosted some of the greats of classical and popular music from Felix and Leonard Slatkin to Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles and James Taylor. Michael Goldfarb and Mark Glancy discuss the emergence of a cultural landmark. Producer: Ruth Watts
9/6/202220 minutes, 5 seconds
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1922: The Lincoln Memorial

Dedicated in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial is a neoclassical temple built to honour the 16th president of the United States. Lisa Mullen discovers why America chose to mark the man who led the nation in the civil war and issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves forever. Michael Goldfarb, Professor Sarah Churchwell and Dr Joanna Cohen discuss the how the Lincoln Memorial became the backdrop for the continuing civil rights movement. Producer: Ruth Watts
9/2/202217 minutes, 13 seconds
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Prison Break

Prison breaks loom large in both literature and pop culture. But how should we evaluate them ethically? New Generation Thinker Jeffrey Howard asks what a world without prison would look like. His essay explores whether those unjustly incarcerated have the moral right to break out, whether the rest of us have an obligation to help -- and what the answers teach us about the ethics of punishment today. Jeffrey Howard is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at University College London, whose work on dangerous speech has been funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. You can find him discussing hate speech in a Free Thinking Episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006tnf New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics who can turn their research into radio. Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/26/202214 minutes, 41 seconds
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Egyptian Satire

Dina Rezk from the University of Reading looks at politics and the role of humour as she profiles Bassem Youssef, “the Jon Stewart of Egyptian satire”. As protests reverberate around the world, she looks back at the Arab Spring and asks what we can learn from the popular culture that took off during that uprising and asks whether those freedoms remain. You can hear her in a Free Thinking discussion about filming the Arab Spring https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005sjw and in a discussion about Mocking Power past and present https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dzww You can find of Dina's research https://egyptrevolution2011.ac.uk/ New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics to turn their research into radio. Producer: Robyn Read
8/25/202212 minutes, 47 seconds
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Pogroms and Prejudice

New Generation Thinker Brendan McGeever traces the links between anti-Semitism now and pogroms in the former Soviet Union and the language used to describe this form of racism. Brendan McGeever lectures at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck University of London. You can hear him discussing an exhibition at the Jewish Museum exploring racial stereotypes in a Free Thinking episode called Sebald, anti-Semitism, Carolyn Forché https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00050d2 New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics each year to turn their research into radio. Producer: Robyn Read
8/24/202214 minutes, 9 seconds
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Facing Facts

Earlier periods of history have seen more people with scarring to their faces from duelling injuries and infectious diseases but what stopped this leading to a greater tolerance of facial difference? Historian Emily Cock considers the case of the Puritan William Prynne and looks at a range of strategies people used to improve their looks from eye patches to buying replacement teeth from the mouths of the poor, whose low-sugar diets kept their dentures better preserved than their aristocratic neighbours. In portraits and medical histories she finds examples of the elision between beauty and morality. With techniques such as ‘Metoposcopy’, which focused on interpreting the wrinkles on your forehead and the fact that enacting the law led to deliberate cut marks being made - this Essay reflects on the difficult terrain of judging by appearance. Emily Cock is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cardiff working on a project looking at Disfigurement in Britain and its Colonies 1600 – 1850. You can hear her discussing her research with Fay Alberti, who works on facial transplants, in a New Thinking podcast episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast called About Face https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080p2bc New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year to turn their research into radio. Producer: Alex Mansfield
8/23/202212 minutes, 57 seconds
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Dam Fever and the Diaspora

New Generation Thinker Majed Akhter explores how large dam projects continue to form reservoirs of hope for a sustainable future. Despite their known drawbacks, our love affair with dams has not abated – across the world more than 3,500 dams are in various stages of construction. In Pakistan this has become entwined with nationalism, both inside the community and in the diaspora - but what are the dangers of this “dam fever” ? This Essay traces the history of river development in the region, from the early twentieth century “canal colonies” in Punjab, to Cold War mega-projects, to the contemporary drive to build large new dams. Previously an engineer and a resource economist, Majed Akhter now lectures in geography at King’s College London. you can hear him discussing the politics of rivers in a Free Thinking episode called Rivers and geopolitics https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00051hb New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics each year to turn their research into radio. Producer: Alex Mansfield
8/22/202214 minutes, 25 seconds
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1922: Allotments

From a way of addressing the loss of common land due to the enclosures of the 18th and 19th centuries, to a means for the urban poor gainfully employed and away from drink, allotments have meant different things to different people. The Allotments Act of 1922 was an important step in defining the allotment as we know it today, and it's a fascinating window onto the social and economic tensions of the inter-war years. John Gallagher tells the story, with help from historian Dr Elsa Richardson and philosopher Dr Sophie Scott-Brown. Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/18/202214 minutes, 43 seconds
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1922: Nanook of the North

Robert Flaherty’s ground-breaking documentary film Nanook of the North came out in the same year as the BBC was founded. Continuing our series explores cultural events from 1922, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough talks to film historian Roswitha Skare and journalist Luke Dormehl about why this study of life in the Arctic has proved to be both controversial and influential. Roswitha Skare is the author of Nanook of the North from 1922 to Today: The Famous Arctic Documentary and Its Afterlife. Luke Dormehl has written A Journey Through Documentary Film. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/17/202214 minutes, 44 seconds
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1922: Leisure and the body

A new craze for body building and that distinctive figure of the 20th century, the hobbyist, are the topic of conversation as we continue our series of features looking at cultural life in 1922. John Gallagher considers what the expansion of free time in the 1920s meant for leisure and the things people did for fun. He is joined by historian Elsa Richardson and literary scholar Jon Day. Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/17/202214 minutes, 49 seconds
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1922: Food

From health fads, to Virginia Woolf having a premonition of the microwave, New Generation Thinker John Gallagher is joined by food historians Annie Gray and Elsa Richardson Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/16/202214 minutes, 46 seconds
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Not Quite Jean Muir

Jade Halbert lectures in fashion, but has never done any sewing. She swaps pen and paper for needle and thread to create a dress from a Jean Muir pattern. In a diary charting her progress, she reflects on the skills of textile workers she has interviewed as part of a project charting the fashion trade in Glasgow and upon the banning of pins on a factory floor, the experiences of specialist sleeve setters and cutters, and whether it is ok to lick your chalk. Jade Halbert is a Lecturer, Fashion Business and Cultural Studies at the University of Huddersfield. You can find her investigation into fashion and the high street as a Radio 3 Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gvpn and taking part in a Free Thinking discussion called The Joy of Sewing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002mk2. She has also broadcast another Essay for Radio 3 looking at the fashion label Droopy & Browns https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0014ysq New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics to turn their research into radio. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/12/202214 minutes, 8 seconds
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Tudor Virtual Reality

Advances in robotics and virtual reality are giving us ever more 'realistic' ways of representing the world, but the quest for vivid visualisation is thousands of years old. This essay takes the guide to oratory and getting your message across written by the ancient Roman Quintilian and focuses in on a wall painting of The Judgment of Solomon in an Elizabethan house in the village of Much Hadham in Hertfordshire. Often written off as stiff, formal and artificial with arguments that the Reformation fear of idolatry stifled Elizabethan art, New Generation Thinker Christina Faraday argues that story telling and conveying vivid detail was an important part of painting in this period as art was used to communicate messages to serve social, political and religious ends. Christina Faraday is a New Generation Thinker who lectures in the History of Art at the University of Cambridge. You can hear her talking about more Tudor art in a Free Thinking discussion called The Tudor Mind and explaining her work on an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of the painting of Nicholas Hilliard in a Free Thinking episode about the joy of miniatures https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002mk2 New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics each year to turn their research into radio. Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/11/202213 minutes, 59 seconds
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Coming Out Crip and Acts of Care

This Essay tells a story of political marches and everyday acts of radical care; of sledgehammers and bags of rice; of the struggles for justice waged by migrant domestic workers but it also charts the realisation of Ella Parry-Davies, that acknowledging publicly for the first time her own condition of epilepsy – or “coming out crip” – is part of the story of our blindness to inequalities in healthcare and living conditions faced by many migrant workers. Ella Parry-Davies has a post as Lecturer in Theatre, Performance and Critical Theory at King’s College London. She is working on an oral history project creating sound walks by interviewing migrant domestic workers in the UK and Lebanon. You can hear her discussing her research in a Free Thinking episode called Stanley Spencer, Domestic Servants, Surrogacy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000573q New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics each year who can turn their research into radio. Producer: Robyn Read
8/10/202213 minutes, 14 seconds
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Digging Deep

There is fascinating evidence that 5,000 years ago, people living in Britain and Ireland had a deep and meaningful relationship with the underworld seen in the carved chalk, animal bones and human skeletons found at Cranborne Chase in Dorset in a large pit, at the base of which had been sunk a 7-metre-deep shaft. Other examples considered in this Essay include Carrowkeel in County Sligo, the passage tombs in the Boyne Valley in eastern Ireland and the Priddy Circles in the Mendip Hills in Somerset. If prehistoric people regarded the earth as a powerful, animate being that needed to be placated and honoured, perhaps there are lessons here for our own attitudes to the world beneath our feet. Susan Greaney is a New Generation Thinker who works for English Heritage at Stonehenge and who is studying for her PhD at Cardiff University. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council which selects ten academics each year to turn their research into radio. You can hear her journey to Japan to compare the Jomon civilisations with Stonehenge as a Radio 3 Sunday Feature and there is an exhibition opening at Stonehenge in September https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hgqx Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/9/202214 minutes, 20 seconds
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Berlin, Detroit, Race and Techno Music

When Tom Smith sets out to research allegations of racism in Berlin’s club scene, he finds himself face to face with his own past in techno’s birthplace: Detroit. Visiting the music distributor Submerge, he considers the legacy of the pioneers Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, the influence of Afro-futurism and the work done in Berlin to popularise techno by figures including Kemal Kurum and Claudia Wahjudi. But the vibrant culture which seeks to be inclusive has been accused of whiteness and the Essay ends with a consideration of the experiences of clubbers depicted in the poetry of Michael Hyperion Küppers. Tom Smith is a New Generation Thinker who lectures in German at the University of St Andrews. You can find another Essay from him called Masculinity Comrades in Arms recorded at the York Festival of Ideas 2019 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00061m5 and a New Thinking podcast discussion Rubble Culture to techno in postwar Germany https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07srdmh New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who turn their research into radio. Producer: Robyn Read
8/9/202214 minutes, 43 seconds
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Yolande Mukagasana - women writers to put back on the bookshelf

A nurse who survived the genocide in 1994 against the Tutsi in Rwanda has written a testimony which New Generation Thinker Zoe Norridge has translated. In Rwanda, Yolande Mukagasana is a well-known writer, public figure and campaigner for remembrance of the genocide. She has authored three testimonies, a collection of interviews with survivors and perpetrators and two volumes of Rwandan stories. Her work has received numerous international prizes, including an Honorable Mention for the UNESCO Education for Peace Prize. Zoe Norridge, from King’s College London, argues there should be a place for Mukagasana on our shelves in UK, alongside works from the Holocaust and other genocides. Why? Because listening to survivor voices helps us to understand the human cost of mass violence. Producer: Luke Mulhall
8/5/202214 minutes, 21 seconds
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Margaret Oliphant - women writers to put back on the bookshelf

The novel Miss Marjoribanks (1866) brought to life a large comic heroine who bucked 19th-century conventions. New Generation Thinker Clare Walker Gore's essay outlines the prolific writing career of Margaret Oliphant and laments the way she was used by fellow novelist Virginia Woolf as a symbol of the dangers of needing to write for money to keep yourself and your family afloat. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select academics who can turn their research into radio. You can find more conversations, features and Essays from the ten years of the scheme in a collection on the Free Thinking programme website of BBC Radio 3.
8/3/202213 minutes, 57 seconds
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Lady Mary Wroth - women writer to put back on the bookshelf

Author of the first prose romance published in England in 1621, her reputation at court was ruined by her thinly veiled autobiographical writing. Visit the family home, Penshurst Place in Kent, and you can see Lady Mary Wroth's portrait, but New Generation Thinker Nandini Das says you can also find her in the pages of her book The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, which places centre stage women who "love and are not afraid to love." Scandal led to her withdrawing it from sale and herself from public life. If you are interested in more discussions about women writers you can find an Arts & Ideas podcast episode called Why We Read and the Idea of the Woman Writer which includes a discussion of both Anne Bronte and Anne Dowriche. And there is a collection of programmes about women writers on the Free Thinking programme website Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/2/202214 minutes, 30 seconds
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1922: Wimbledon

In a series of features looking back at cultural milestones in 1922 – the year the BBC was founded – Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough finds out about the All England Lawn Tennis Club's move to a new home talking to David Berry, author of A People's History of Tennis, and Matt Harvey who was poet in residence at Wimbledon in 2010. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/2/202214 minutes, 52 seconds
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Charlotte Smith - women writers to put back on the bookshelf

New Generation Thinker Sophie Coulombeau argues that we should salute this woman who supported her family through her writing, who perfected sonnets about solitude before Wordsworth began writing his, and who explored the struggles of women and refugees in her fiction. Mother to 12 children, Charlotte Turner Smith wrote ten novels, three poetry collections and four children's books and translated French fiction. In 1788 her first novel, Emmeline, sold 1500 copies within months but by the time of her death in 1803 her popularity had declined and she had become destitute. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio. Producer: Robyn Read
8/1/202214 minutes, 19 seconds
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1922: Reader's Digest

Reader’s Digest magazine is celebrating its centenary this year. In the first of a series of features looking back at cultural milestones in 1922 – the year the BBC was founded – Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough finds out about the history of the Reader’s Digest talking to Professor Sarah Churchwell and Dr Victoria Bazin. Producer: Torquil MacLeod
8/1/202214 minutes, 51 seconds
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Touki Bouki

A motorbike adorned with a zebu skull is one of the central images of Djibril Diop Mambéty's classic 1973 film, whose title translates as The Journey of the Hyena. Listed as one of the 100 greatest films of all time in the Sight and Sound magazine poll, it mixes West African oral traditions with influences from the French New Wave and Soviet cinema. Mory and Anta are two young people growing up in a newly independent Senegal who fantasise about leaving Dakar for a new life in France, but how can they realise those dreams and do they really want to leave? Matthew Sweet is joined by New Generation Thinker Sarah Jilani, Estrella Sendra Fernandez and Ashley Clark. Touki Bouki is being screened at the BFI London on July 27th as part of the Black Fantastic season of films drawing on science fiction, myth and Afrofuturism. The curator of that season Ekow Eshun joined Shahidha Bari in a recent Free Thinking episode which you can find on BBC Sounds and as the Arts and Ideas podcast. Sarah Jilani is a lecturer in English at City, University of London and has written on neocolonialism in Francophone West African cinema. Estrella Sendra Fernandez lectures in film and screen studies at SOAS, University of London. She directed the award-winning documentary film Témoignages de l’autre côté about migration in Senegal. Ashley Clark is curatorial director at the Criterion Collection. He is the author of the book Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” Producer: Torquil MacLeod In the Free Thinking archives you can find a series of programmes exploring silent film, star actors including Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marlene Dietrich, Dirk Bogarde, and classics of cinema around the world including Kurosawa's Rashomon, Satyajit Ray's films, the films of Jacques Tati and Charlie Chaplin.
7/26/202245 minutes, 4 seconds
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Filming Sunday Bloody Sunday

Glenda Jackson is the subject of a BFI season and in this film she plays part of a love triangle in John Schlesinger's follow up to his Oscar winning Midnight Cowboy. The plot written by Penelope Gilliat centres on an artist who has relationships with a female job consultant and a male doctor. Was the 1971 film ahead of its times? Matthew Sweet re-watches it with guests including Glenda Jackson, playwright Mark Ravenhill, film historian Melanie Williams and BFI National Archive curator Simon McCallum. They discuss the different elements of the film, including the score, which features the trio Soave sia il vento from Mozart's opera Così fan tutte, the very precise decor and evocation of late 60s London and filming inside a Jewish synagogue. The Glenda Jackson season runs at the BFI across July with a screening of this film on July 24th. Producer: Fiona McLean Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) still courtesy BFI Sunday Bloody Sunday is available on Blu-ray You can find Matthew Sweet discussing other classics of British Cinema in the Free Thinking archives including: British New Wave Films of the 60s - Joely Richardson and Melanie Williams evaluate the impact and legacy of Woodfall Films, the company behind Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09ysnl2 An extended interview with Mike Leigh, recorded as he released his historical drama Peterloo, but also looks back at his film from 1984 Four Days in July https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000tqw Early Cinema looks back at a pioneer of British film Robert Paul and at the work of Alice Guy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dy2b Philip Dodd explores the novel and film of David Storey's This Sporting Life with social historian Juliet Gardiner, journalist Rod Liddle, writer Anthony Clavane and the author's daughter Kate Storey https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09j0rt6 Samira Ahmed convenes a discussion about British Social Realism in Film https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pz16k
7/25/202245 minutes, 9 seconds
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New Thinking: Archiving the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth ties

From the kit for athletes to interviews which tell us the impact of race times changing – Islam Issa hears about an oral history project in Scotland which aims to capture experiences of past Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Another project explores the commercial and business links between commonwealth countries and what attempts to build connections tell us about and sharing units of measurement, currencies and the impact of EEC membership. New Generation Thinker Islam Issa talks to two researchers: Christopher Cassidy is a researcher based at Stirling University working on the Commonwealth Games Archive in Scotland https://www.sportingheritage.org.uk/content/collection/university-stirling Dr Andrew Dilley at the University of Aberdeen is researching the Federation of Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce https://www.abdn.ac.uk/sdhp/people/profiles/a.dilley#research https://search.lma.gov.uk/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/LMA_OPAC/web_detail?SESSIONSEARCH&exp=refd%20CLC/B/082 Dr Islam Issa teaches in the School of English at Birmingham City University and is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to turn research into radio. This conversation is part of the New Thinking series of Arts and Ideas podcasts made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find other discussions about archives across the UK and new research into archaeology, history, literature and language in a collection called New Research on the website for the Free Thinking programme on BBC Radio 3 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0144txn
7/25/202226 minutes, 47 seconds
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Futurism

"The beauty of speed. Time and space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created the eternal, omnipresent speed." Part of the 1909 manifesto drawn up by Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti that declared the aims of the groundbreaking Futurist branch of modernism. Their rejection of the past included embracing the march of machinery, the power of youth and of violence so how do we view this now? Matthew Sweet is joined by Steven Connor, Selena Daly, Rosalind McKever, and Nathan Waddell. Producer: Luke Mulhall Image: Futurist food Originally broadcast as part of the Modernism season on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC Sounds. There is a collection on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh And across the Proms season, various interval features are focusing on cultural openings and events from 1922. You can find those available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts.
7/22/202244 minutes, 17 seconds
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Modernism around the world

Murals which aimed to synthesise the history and culture of Mexico, Japanese novels exploring urban alienation, an exhibition of Bauhaus paintings from Germany which inspired a generation of Indian artists. Presenter Rana Mitter is joined by Jade Munslow Ong, Christopher Harding, Maria Blanco, and Devika Singh. Amongst the Modernist writers and artists mentioned are: Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and poet Manuel Maples Arce Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier, and painter Wifredo Lam Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges Indian writer and artist Rabindranath Tagore, and artist Amrita Sher-Gil South African writers Olive Schreiner, Roy Campbell, Solomon Plaatje, Rolfes Dhlomo Japanese theorist Okakura Kakuzō, and writers Edogawa Ranpo, and Ryūnosuke Akutagawa Producer: Luke Mulhall Image: the Indian polymath and modernist Rabindranath Tagore Image credit: Keystone France/Getty Images Originally broadcast as part of the Modernism season on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC Sounds. There is a collection on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh And across the Proms season, various interval features are focusing on cultural openings and events from 1922. You can find those available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts.
7/21/202244 minutes, 13 seconds
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New Thinking: Citizen researchers and the history of record keeping

How a disaster in the 1922 led to new thinking about record keeping. Ahead of the ICHORA conference Dr William Butler, Head of Military Records and Jenny Bunn, Head of Archives Research from The National Archives join Naomi Paxton to discuss some of the researchers across the UK who have helped catalogue our history and about a research project based on documents held by the royal hospital which tell us about pension negotiations and disability history. You can find more about the records held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on the National Archives website https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14232 https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-research-and-academic-collaboration/research-events/ichora-2022/ https://archivaldiscourses.org/news/ This podcast was made in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI. You can find more conversations about New Research gathering into a playlist on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90 Producer: Paula McFarlane
7/21/202232 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Daleks

The Daleks are back! As restorations of the two 1960s Dr Who films are rereleased in British cinemas, Matthew Sweet lifts the lid on the most memorable monsters of post-war British science fiction. Expert guests will have 2000 rels - that’s 45 earth minutes - to explore Dalek culture, politics and philosophy, and to explore how Terry Nation’s creations carry the weight of the second world war, the cold war and contemporary arguments about race and difference. Matthew is joined by Roberta Tovey, who played the Doctor's granddaughter Susan in the 1960s film adaptation of the Dalek stories; Nicholas Briggs, who uses a voice modulator to give us the voice of the Daleks; political journalist Stephen Bush; and by Jonn Elledge, whose blog A Misadventure In Space And Time charts his project of watching every available episode of Doctor Who in order, from 1963 to today. Plus, the writer, actor, director and producer Mark Gatiss. Doctor Who And The Daleks and Daleks: Invasion Earth are being given a 4K restoration and screenings in UK cinemas across the summer. Producer: Luke Mulhall You can find more discussions about key tv programmes, films, books and art in our playlist on the Free Thinking programme website called Landmarks which runs from 2001 Space Odyssey and Jaws to writing by Hannah Arendt, Simone De Beauvoir and John Wyndham
7/14/202245 minutes, 45 seconds
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Satyajit Ray's films

Tariq Ali picks Pather Panchali and New Generation Thinker Sarah Jilani describes Jalsaghar or The Music Room. Rana Mitter presents this programme which looks at what marked out the directing of Satyajit Ray. The BFI has a season of his films screening across July and August and is re-releasing The Big City. Rana's other guests are the programme of the BFI season and herself a film-maker, Sangeeta Datta, and Professor Chandak Sengoopta from Birkbeck, University of London. Sarah Jilani researches postcolonial film and literature at the University of Cambridge. She is a 2021 New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who use their research to make radio programmes. Professor Chandook Sengoopta is writing on the historical, cultural and ideological contexts that shaped the work and impact of the film-maker, writer, designer and composer Satyajit Ray. Sangeeta Datta is director of Baithak UK http://www.baithak.info/director-sangeeta-datta. You can find details of the season she has put together at BFI.org.uk Tariq Ali has written more than 2 dozen books on world history, culture and politics https://www.versobooks.com/authors/63-tariq-ali You can find a collection of Radio 3 programmes exploring film on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/FJbG166KXBn9xzLKPfrwpc/all-about-film-on-radio-3 Producer: Jayne Egerton
7/14/202244 minutes, 53 seconds
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France, music hall and history

How does France look when viewed from different places and at different times? Graham Robb knows France well from his academic career and decades of travels and offers an alternative route through French history in his new book. Hannah Scott has looked at the role of low-brow music in forming an idea of ‘Britishness’ for the French at the height of cross-channel rivalry in the last century. Tash Aw has translated the latest work of biographical writing by Édouard Louis. Professor Ginette Vincendeau is currently co-editing a book on Paris in the cinema. They join Anne McElvoy to explore ideas of France and the French through it's history and culture. Graham Robb has published widely on French literature and history and was a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. His latest book is France: An Adventure History Hannah Scott is an academic track fellow at the University of Newcastle. She is the author of Singing the English: Britain in the French Musical Lowbrow 1870-1904 Ginette Vincendeau is a Professor in Film Studies at King's College, University of London. She is is currently co-editing a book on Paris in the cinema. She has recently published on ethnicity in contemporary French cinema and is researching popular French directors of the 1950s and 1960s. A Woman's Battles and Transformations by Édouard Louis (author)and translated by Tash Aw is out now. Édouard Louis's earlier book Who Killed My Father has been adapted into a stage drama by Ivo Van Hove. You can see that at the Young Vic in London between 7th September and the 24th September and you can hear Édouard talking to Philip Dodd about street protest, gilets jaunes and his own upbringing in this episode of Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0704m92 Producer: Ruth Watts