300 episodes

Leading artists, writers, thinkers discuss the ideas shaping our lives & links between past & present and new academic research.

Arts & Ideas BBC

    • Places & Travel
    • 4.3, 76 Ratings

Leading artists, writers, thinkers discuss the ideas shaping our lives & links between past & present and new academic research.

    New Thinking: Tackling Modern Slavery

    New Thinking: Tackling Modern Slavery

    Naomi Paxton looks at the impact of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, talking to researchers Katarina Schwarz and Alicia Kidd who are trying to measure and improve its effectiveness.

    Katarina Schwarz from the Rights Lab at Nottingham University works with the Wilberforce Institute at the University of Hull on a project looking into what makes people from particular countries vulnerable to being trafficked and exploited, including in the UK.

    Over the past five years, over 75% of people identified as potential victims of modern slavery in the UK represent only ten nationalities. The top 20 nationalities make up over 90% of referrals to the authorities. Rights Lab and Wilberforce Institute are working on research that interrogates the legal, policy, economic and social situation in these top 20 countries.

    The Wilberforce Institute at the University of Hull, together with partners, is working on a project to develop a package of workshops targeted at front line practitioners, businesses, recruitment agencies and NGOs in local areas across the UK. Rather than relying on often dry and theoretical traditional workshops raising awareness on forms of modern slavery, the workshops will be based on real life situations. Alicia Kidd is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute working on this training project.

    These projects are part of the work done through the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre.
    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

    Producer: Robyn Read

    • 41 min
    Robin Askwith

    Robin Askwith

    Robin Askwith experienced isolation as a child with polio. In a conversation with Matthew Sweet, he reflects on a career running from the Confessions sex comedies to arthouse cinema working with directors including Lindsay Anderson and Pier Paolo Pasolini. His first film role was playing the schoolboy, Keating, in the film if.... and his most recent TV role has seen him appear on Coronation Street.

    Producer: Robyn Read

    • 44 min
    Revisit: Tokyo Story

    Revisit: Tokyo Story

    Actor Richard Wilson, Professor Naoko Shimazu and film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh join Rana Mitter to look at this cinematic classic which was one of the 53 films made by Yasujiro Ozu before his death in 1963. Tokyo Story follows an elderly couple who go to visit their busy grown up children and their widowed daughter-in-law.
    It is being rereleased this month by the BFI as part of their season of Japanese Film – the Ozu collection goes on BFI Player on 5 June (with 25 titles available) and TOKYO STORY is released on BFI Blu-ray on 15 June.

    You can find more on their website www.bfi.org.uk/japan
    You might also be interested in the Free Thinking playlist on Japanese culture which includes discussions about the Kurosawa films Rashomon and Seven Samurai

    And if you want more discussions about significant cultural landmarks from The Tin Drum, This Sporting Life and 2001 to novels by Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark and George Orwell we have a playlist of landmarks too https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jwn44

    Producer: Laura Thomas

    • 44 min
    Revisit: Rowan Williams and Simon Armitage

    Revisit: Rowan Williams and Simon Armitage

    Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written about Auden, Dostoevsky and tragedy. At Hay Festival he talks to poet Simon Armitage about the imprint of landscapes in Yorkshire, West Wales, and the Middle East, the use of dialect words and reinterpreting myths. Chaired by Rana Mitter.

    Books by Rowan Williams include Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction and The Tragic Imagination. He is Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
    Books by Simon Armitage include The Unaccompanied, Flit, Selected Poems, Walking Home, Travelling Songs, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Homer's Odyssey. He is now the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. You can find out more from his website https://www.simonarmitage.com/

    A playlist featuring other conversations and in depth interviews with writers is available on the Free Thinking website with episodes free to download as Arts & Ideas podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04ly0c8 and you can find more programmes from this year's online Hay Festival https://www.hayfestival.com/home

    Producer: Fiona McLean

    • 44 min
    Sarah Perry

    Sarah Perry

    Matthew Sweet talks to author Sarah Perry about her gothic imagination, writing about religion, rationalism and disease in novels including The Essex Serpent, After Me Comes The Flood and Melmoth. Recorded from her home in Norwich, Sarah discusses her experience of these times as someone who has an auto-immune condition, her interest in comets and the way she used sewing to overcome a temporary inability to write.

    You can hear more from authors in the Norfolk area on the website of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival https://nnfestival.org.uk/

    There is a collection of in depth interviews with guests including Zadie Smith, Mark Haddon, Sebastian Faulks, Marilynne Robinson and other authors on the Free Thinking website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04ly0c8

    Sarah Perry can be found discussing her novel Melmoth in detail in this episode of Free Thinking called Sarah Perry, Spookiness and Fear https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000kk2
    and she discusses the Essex Serpent in this episode Still Loving Victoriana Jokes and All https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081tkr7

    Producer: Robyn Read

    • 55 min
    Revisit: My Body Clock is Broken

    Revisit: My Body Clock is Broken

    Jay Griffiths, Vincent Deary, Louise Robinson and Matthew Smith discuss our mental health.

    How does depression affect our sense of time and the rhythms of daily life? Our body clocks have long been seen by scientists as integral to our physical and mental health - but what happens when mental illness disrupts or even stops that clock? Presenter Anne McElvoy is joined by those who have suffered depression and those who treat it - and they attempt to offer some solutions.

    Jay Griffiths is the author of Tristimania: a Diary of Manic Depression and a book Pip Pip which explores attitudes to time across the world.

    Doctor Vincent Deary teaches at Northumbria University, works as a clinician in the UK's first trans-diagnostic Fatigue Clinic and is the author of a trilogy about How To Live - the first of which is called How We Are.

    Professor Louise Robinson is Director of Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing.

    Professor Matthew Smith is a New Generation Thinker from 2012 who teaches at Strathclyde University at the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare.

    This programme was recorded as part of Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival in front of an audience at Sage Gateshead in 2017 and is being broadcast now as part of the BBC's contribution to Mental Health Awareness week.

    You might be intereseted in Sleep;Freedom to Think from the Festival Lecturer Professor Russell Foster https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08hz9yw
    and another Festival discussion from 2019 looking at how medical staff cope Should Doctors Cry ? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000488q
    and an interview with Buddhist monk and thinker Haemin Sunim about coping with the pace of life https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08jb1mp

    Producer: Zahid Warley.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
76 Ratings

76 Ratings

NurseYogi ,

Interesting topics


Ed AB Canada ,

From Canada

I really enjoyed the podcast on Stan and Laurel...As a preteen and teenager 40 years ago l watched the reruns of some of their comedy’s...Thank you for explaining their histories. It made me understand their unique personalities and how they clinched together throughout their careers in show biz.

sunflowergrrrl ,


absolutely adore this podcast, always facinating with interesting points of view from people you'd love to sit around and talk, the best podcast of all the ones ive ever heard

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