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

Arts & Ideas BBC

    • Reisen und Orte

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

    What is good listening?

    What is good listening?

    Matthew Sweet with NYT journalist Kate Murphy, Anne Karpf & David Toop in a conversation about paying attention and how to hear each other properly. Kate's new book You're Not Listening draws on her interviews with a range of people including priests, focus group co-ordinators and CIA interrogators.
    Former radio critic Anne Karpf is the author of the Human Voice and professor of Life Writing and Culture at London Metropolitan University.
    David Toop is a musician, composer and professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation at London College of Communication. His album Entities Inertias Faint Beings includes the track Dry Keys Echo in the Dark and Humid Early Hours which features in the programme.

    • 46 Min.
    Poetry and Science: A 19th century metre on the (uni)verse

    Poetry and Science: A 19th century metre on the (uni)verse

    Astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, poets Sam Illingworth and Sunayana Bhargava, and C19 expert and New Generation Thinker Greg Tate from the University of St Andrews join Anne McElvoy to discuss the parallels between poetry and Victorian laboratory work.

    Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, is perhaps most famous for first discovering Pulsars - strange spinning massively dense stars that emit powerful regular pulses of radiation. she has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Physics, and more recently was recipient of the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Alongside, she collects poetry related to Astronomy.

    Greg Tate's next book looks at the physical and metaphysical part of rhythm in verse by C19 physical scientists. Sam Illingworth's book "Sonnet to Science" looks at several scientists who have resorted to poetry in their work. Sunayana Bhargava works at University of Sussex studying distant galactic clusters, and is also a practising poet. Previously she was Barbican young Poet.

    You can hear Greg discussing the 19th-century scientist and mountaineer John Tyndall in a Free Thinking programme which also looks at mountains through the eyes of artist Tacita Dean https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b3fkt3 and a short feature about poetry and science in the 19th century https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n2zcp

    Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A Museum and Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute, debate the divide and the links between arts and science in a Free Thinking debate recording at Queen Mary University London https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001f5f

    Producer: Alex Mansfield.

    • 45 Min.
    Goddesses of academia

    Goddesses of academia

    Nikita Gill on goddesses, Sandeep Parmar on Hope Mirlees, Francesca Wade looks at the careers of classicist Jane Harrison and LSE's Eileen Power and Victorian Leonard looks at attempts to write more women back into the story of classics. Shahidha Bari presents.

    Francesa Wade has written a new book called Square Haunting which traces the experiences of five women who lived in Bloomsbury's Mecklenburgh Square: Virginia Woolf, Dorothy L Sayers, HD, Eileen Power and Jane Harrison- tracing ideas about women living independently, how academic institutions them and the way Virginia Woolf's ideas about A Room of One's Own resonate in the lives of these 5 women.

    Nikita Gill’s new poetry collection, Great Goddesses: Life lessons from myths and monsters, retells and re-imagines the untold stories of women characters in Greek mythology.

    Victoria Leonard is a founding member of the Women’s Classical Committee https://wcc-uk.blogs.sas.ac.uk/

    You can listen back to New Generation Thinker and poet Sandeep Parmar’s Sunday Feature on Hope Mirrlees’ Paris here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0831fpk
    and she also contributes to a Radio 3 series about the artistic figure Arthur Cravan here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dj0k

    Colm Toibin, Bettany Hughes and Paul Cartledge discuss Women's Voices in the Classical World in a Free Thinking discussion from the Hay Festival https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rsrlt

    Classicist Natalie Haynes discusses Women Finding a Voice with podcaster Deborah Frances White in this discussion https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000bd6

    New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck discusses attitudes towards Victorian women in education in this Essay

    Producer: Karl Bos

    • 46 Min.
    New Thinking: About Face

    New Thinking: About Face

    Would you change your nose if you could? What about an entire face transplant? Des Fitzgerald speaks to two researchers investigating the past and future of facial difference and medical intervention.

    Emily Cock, from the University of Cardiff looks at our relationship with our noses throughout history – from duels and sexual diseases to racial prejudice.

    Fay Bound Alberti, from the University of York, talks about a project called AboutFace which she is running to look at the emotional impact of this complex new surgery and to investigate the moral questions it raises, looking at the impact of facial difference in the age of the selfie, and the emergence of facial transplantation as a response to severe trauma. There have been fewer than 50 face transplants globally since the first was performed in 2005 and none in the UK to date. You can find more at https://aboutfaceyork.com/ @AboutFaceYork
    Fay is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow from the Department of History at the University of York.

    Emily Cock is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, undertaking a three-year project Fragile Faces: Disfigurement in Britain and its Colonies (1600–1850). Her book is called Rhinoplasty and the nose in early modern British medicine and culture
    She and host Des Fitzgerald from Cardiff University are New Generation Thinkers on the scheme run by the BBC with the AHRC to work with academics to put research onto radio.

    Their conversation was recorded with an audience at the New home for School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University.

    This episode is one of a series of conversations - New Thinking - produced in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research & Innovation. Further podcasts are available on the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking website under the playlist New Research https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90

    • 40 Min.
    Psychohistory: Isaac Asimov and guiding the future

    Psychohistory: Isaac Asimov and guiding the future

    100 years on from Isaac Asimov's birth, Matthew Sweet looks at one of the bigger ideas contained in some of his 500 books; Psychohistory.

    The idea, from Asimov's Foundation series, was that rather like the behaviour of a gas could be reduced to statistical probabilities of the behaviour of billions of molecules, so the history of billions of human beings across the fictional galactic empire could be predicted through a few laws he called 'Psychohistory'.

    The idea inspired many to think that social sciences and economics can really be reduced to some sort of idealized set of physics principles, making future events completely predictable. It and similar ideas are still breeding enthusiasm for such things as data science, AI, machine learning, and arguably even the recent job advert by Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings for more 'Super-Talented Wierdos' to work for government. But how do we see what is real and what is not, what is Sci-Fi and what is hype, what is reasonable and what is desirable, in the gaps between innovation and inspiration, restraint and responsibility?

    Jack Stilgoe of University College London has a new book out "Who's Driving Innovation?". Science and Tech journalist Gemma Milne's forthcoming book is called "Smoke and Mirrors: How hype obscures the future and How to see past it". Una McCormack is an expert and teacher in science fiction writing and is author of numerous fiction and fan fiction novels herself, while Alexander Boxer is a data scientist who's new book "Scheme of Heaven" makes the case that we have much to learn about human efforts to deduce the future from observable events by looking at the history of Astrology, its aims and techniques.

    You can find more about robots in the Free Thinking the Future playlist of programmes or by looking for the episode called Robots, Makt Myrkranna

    Matthew's conversation with the late Tony Garnett is in the Free Thinking archive here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07h6r8l

    Producer: Alex Mansfield

    • 45 Min.
    Why we read and the idea of the "woman writer"

    Why we read and the idea of the "woman writer"

    Do men and women use the same language when talking about novels they have enjoyed? How have attitudes in publishing changed towards both readers and writers if figures show that women buy 80% of all novels ? Lennie Goodings is Chair of the Virago publishing house and has now written a memoir. She joins New Generation Thinkers Emma Butcher and Joanne Paul; and Helen Taylor, author of Why Women Read Fiction. Naomi Paxton hosts the conversation about writing and reading.

    Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives by Helen Taylor is out now and is being serialised as the Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qftk
    Lennie Goodings' has written A Bite of the Apple, A Life with Books, Writers and Virago. It is out from OUP in February 2020.

    Anne Bronte was born on 17 January 1820. Her second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was published under the pen name of Acton Bell but following Anne's death in 1849 her sister Charlotte prevented republication saying "it hardly appears to me desirable to preserve. The choice of subject in that work is a mistake, it was too little consonant with the character, tastes and ideas of the gentle, retiring inexperienced writer." Emma Butcher from the University of Leicester researches the Brontes.

    Anne Dowriche (before 1560– after 1613) published Verses Written by a Gentlewoman, upon the Jailor's Conversion and a 2,400-line poem The French Historie. From a prominent Cornish family, she was a fervent Protestant. Joanne Paul from the University of Sussex is working on Anne Dowriche.

    New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to put research on the radio. You can find more New Research on the Free Thinking programme playlist https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03zws90

    • 45 Min.

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