Leading artists, writers, thinkers discuss the ideas shaping our lives & links between past & present and new academic research.
Cows in culture and soil
From Cuyp's paintings, to Wordsworth's wanderings to modern dairy management and soil fertility via Victorian Industrial farming and talking Swiss satirical cows - Cumbrian farmer James Rebanks joins Matthew Sweet in a programme marking the anniversary of the poet Wordsworth, who helped shape attitudes to landscape. Other guests include New Generation Thinker Seán Williams from the University of Sheffield and Professor Karen Sayer from Leeds Trinity University who is writing Farm Animals in Britain, 1850-2001 and is part of a team of academics working on the project https://field-wt.co.uk/
James Rebanks is the author of English Pastoral: An Inheritance; The Shepherd's Life and The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd.
An exhibition of paintings by Cuyp (1620–1691) at the Dordrechts Museum in Holland will now run from 3 October 2021– 6 March 2022
Sean read his own translation from the 1850 Novel "The Cheese Dairy in Cattlejoy" by Jeremias Gotthelf.
The contemporary cow-art Karen mentions is in an online exhibition at Reading's Museum of English Rural Life
Producer: Alex Mansfield
You might also be interested in the Free Thinking Collection of episodes Green Thinking which includes discussions about soil, Rachel Carson's influential book Silent Spring, a Free Thinking festival discussion with James Rebanks and anthropologist Veronica Strang, Peter Wohlleben on trees, George Monbiot on the Green Man myth, Chris Packham on music https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07zg0r2
Our Woolly episode looks at sheep from medieval wool merchants and images of the lamb of God to Sean the Sheep on screen https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009bw4
You can find a discussion about Wordsworth with the directors of Lancaster University's Wordsworth Centre for the Study of Poetry https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p087kr4n
Radio 3 is broadcasting new writing from the 2020 Contains Strong Language Festival in Cumbria on The Verb and as the Radio 3 Drama.
Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize 2020
The tribe of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, having a Jamaican Welsh identity, the idea of freedom and anti-colonial resistance, the alarming rise of youth suicide among Indigenous people in Canada and how a group of pioneering cultural anthropologists – mostly women – shaped our interpretation of the modern world: these are the topics tackled in the shortlist for the 2020 prize for a book fostering global understanding. Rana Mitter talks to the authors.
Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands by Hazel V. Carby
Insurgent Empire – Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent by Priyamvada Gopal
Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power by Pekka Hämäläinen
The Reinvention of Humanity: A Story of Race, Sex, Gender and the Discovery of Culture by Charles King
All Our Relations: Indigenous trauma in the shadow of colonialism by Tanya Talaga
The international book prize, worth £25,000, and run by the British Academy, rewards and celebrates the best works of non-fiction that have contributed to global cultural understanding, throwing new light on the interconnections and divisions shaping cultural identity worldwide. Over 100 submissions were received and the winner is announced on Tuesday 27 October.
Producer: Karl Bos
The winner in 2019 was Toby Green for A Fistful of Shells – West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution and other previous winners include Kapka Kassabova, Neil MacGregor and Karen Armstrong. You can find interviews with the winenrs and the other shortlisted authors for the 2019 prize (Ed Morales, Julian Baggini, Julia Lovell, Aanchal Malhotra and Kwame Anthony Appiah in this Free Thinking collection https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07p3nxh
Conservatism, Philanthropy, Liberal and socialist futures
Edmund Fawcett's latest book focuses on the historic and contemporary conflicts in Conservatism. He describes how the constant tensions within the Conservative political thought have been exposed and what it might mean for the continuation of the tradition.
Paul Vallely argues that philanthropy is about more than mere altruism. It is always an expression of power, regardless of any desire to make the world a better place.
He discusses the contradictions at the heart of philanthropy from the Greeks to modern philanthrocapitalists - and how philanthropy might still do good.
Ian Dunt and Grace Blakeley have written about the challenges facing Liberals and Socialists respectively. They discuss how these big intellectual traditions might survive contact with the current moment.
Conservatism: The Fight for a Tradition by Edmund Fawcett is published by Princeton University Press
Philanthropy: From Aristotle to Zuckerberg by Paul Vallely is published by Bloomsbury
How to be a Liberal: Thinking for Yourself in a Populist World by Ian Dunt is published by Canbury Press
Socialist Futures: The Pandemic and the Post-Corbyn Era edited by Grace Blakeley is published by Verso
The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism by Grace Blakeley is published by Verso
Producer: Ruth Watts
New Thinking: The impact of being multilingual
How German argument differs from English, the links between Arabic and Chinese and different versions of The 1001 Nights to the use of slang and multiple languages in the work of young performers and writers in the West Midlands: John Gallagher looks at a series of research projects at different UK universities which are exploring the impact and benefits of multilingualism.
Katrin Kohl is Professor of German Literature and a Fellow of Jesus College. She runs the Creative Multilingualism project. https://www.creativeml.ox.ac.uk/about/people/katrin-kohl
Wen-chin Ouyang is a professor of Arabic literature and comparative literature at SOAS, University of London. Her books include editing an edition for Everyman's Library called The Arabian Nights: An Anthology and Politics of Nostalgia in the Arabic Novel: Nation-State, Modernity and Tradition.
You can hear more from Wen-chin in this Free Thinking discussion of The One Thousand and One Nights https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b052gz7g
Rajinder Dudrah is Professor of Cultural Studies & Creative Industries at Birmingham City University. His books include the co-edited South Asian Creative and Cultural Industries (Dudrah, R. & Malik, K. 2020) and Graphic Novels and Visual Cultures in South Asia (Dudrah, R. & Dawson Varughese, E. 2020).
Saturday, 26 September is the European Day of Languages 2020 and Wednesday, 30 September is International Translation Day 2020 which English PEN is marking with a programme of online events https://www.englishpen.org/posts/events/international-translation-day-2020/
You might also be interested in this Free Thinking conversation about language and belonging featuring Preti Taneja with Guy Gunaratne, Dina Nayeri, Michael Rosen, Momtaza Mehri and Deena Mohamed. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07fvbhn
Here is a Free Thinking episode that looks at the language journey of the 29 London bus https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00014qk
Steven Pinker and Will Self explore Language in this episode of Free Thinking https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04hysms
Arundhati Roy talks about translation and Professor Nicola McLelland and Vicky Gough of the British Council look at language learning in schools https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5hk01
This episode of Free Thinking is put together in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI as one of a series of discussions focusing on new academic research also available to download as New Thinking episodes on the BBC Arts & Ideas podcast feed. You can find the whole collection here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90
Producer: Karl Bos
The film starring Michael Caine was adapted from a 1970 Ted Lewis novel set in an underworld of gangsters and teenage pornography. Mike Hodges, Nick Triplow, Pamela Hutchinson and John Gray talk with Matthew Sweet about the influence of the book and film.
Originally set in Scunthorpe, Lewis' novel Jack's Return Home was relocated to Newcastle/Gateshead for the film which Mike Hodges adapted and directed. A series of events marking what would have been Ted Lewis's 80th birthday are taking place at Scunthorpe, Newcastle, Barton-upon-Humber and Hull.
Jack's Return Home (1970) was published in 1971 as Carter and later re-published as Get Carter after the film was made.
Nick Triplow is the author of a biography Getting Carter: Ted Lewis and the Birth of Brit Noir
Producer: Torquil MacLeod
Family ties and reshaping history
From the influential part played by Sikh queens, through the ties of marriage and religion which helped shape the Western world, back to the links between Neanderthals and early man: Rana Mitter talks to Priya Atwal, Joseph Henrich, and Rebecca Wragg Sykes about family ties, power networks, and history.
Priya Atwal has published Royal and Rebels: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire. Dr Atwal is a Teaching Fellow in Modern South Asian History at King's College London.
Joseph Henrich is a Professor in the department of Human and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the author of The Weirdest People in the World: How the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous.
Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an Honorary Fellow at University of Liverpool and Université de Bordeaux. She is the author of Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art
and is one of the founders of https://trowelblazers.com/
You might be interested in other Free Thinking conversations with Rutger Bregman author of Human Kind https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08d77hx
Penny Spikins speaking about Neanderthal history at the 2019 Free Thinking Festival https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003zp2
Tom Holland on his history of the impact of Christianity on Western thinking in a programme called East Meets West https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00093d1
Producer: Robyn Read