300 episodes

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

Arts & Idea‪s‬ BBC

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

    Deleuze and Guattari, Capitalism and Schizophrenia

    Deleuze and Guattari, Capitalism and Schizophrenia

    Capitalism and Schizophrenia is a major text of French poststructuralist thought by Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Made up of the two volumes Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, it articulates a new way of doing both philosophy and psychoanalysis that insists on the concrete relevance and transformative potential of the disciplines for day-to-day life. Matthew Sweet is joined by Henry Somers-Hall, Reader in Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London and editor of A Thousand Plateaus and Philosophy; Claire Colebrook, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, Philosophy, and Woman's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State University; and Ian Parker, practicing psychoanalyst and managing editor of the Annual Review f Critical Psychology.

    Producer: Luke Mulhall

    You can find a playlist exploring philosophy on the Free Thinking programme website with episodes looking at Michel Foucault, Derrida, the Vietnamese thinker Tran Duc Thao who influenced Derrida, as well as editions on Hegel and on the quartet of female philosophers who helped shaped British philosophy in the twentieth century https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07x0twx

    • 44 min
    Milton: Samson Agonistes

    Milton: Samson Agonistes

    Blind, and with his hair cut and his strength shorn - in Milton's dramtic poem Samson has already been betrayed by Delilah. It goes on to explore ideas about violence , revenge and tragedy. Published on May 29th 1671 alongside Paradise Regained, Milton's notes show that he started thinking of ideas for this work 30 years earlier. In 1741 Handel finished writing his version - a three act oratorio called Samson. Rana Mitter is joined by New Generation Thinker Islam Issa, music expert Professor Suzanne Aspden, poet Nuala Watt and classics expert Simon Goldhill to look at the poetic language of Samson Agonistes, the politics it was reflecting, the imagery of blindness and what Handel took from Milton's writing.

    Dr Islam Issa from Birmingham City University is a New Generation Thinker and author of Milton in the Arab-Muslim and Milton in Translation and Digital Milton.
    You can hear him presenting this recent Radio 3 Sunday Feature on The Balcony from Shakespeare to these Covid times https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0972325

    Professor Suzanne Aspden from the University of Oxford is the author of The Rival Sirens: Performance and Identity on Handel’s Operatic Stage and co-editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal.

    Professor Simon Goldhill from the University of Cambridge is the author of How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today and Love, Sex & Tragedy

    Dr Nuala Watt has written on the role of partial sight in poetics. Her poems have appeared in Magma and Gutter and her work is included in the anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (2017).

    Producer: Ruth Watts

    • 44 min
    John Milton's Samson Agonistes

    John Milton's Samson Agonistes

    Blind, and with his hair cut and his strength shorn - in Milton's dramtic poem Samson has already been betrayed by Delilah. It goes on to explore ideas about violence, revenge and tragedy. Published on May 29th 1671 alongside Paradise Regained, Milton's notes show that he started thinking of ideas for this work 30 years earlier. In 1741 Handel finished writing his version - a three act oratorio called Samson. Rana Mitter is joined by New Generation Thinker Islam Issa, music expert Professor Suzanne Aspden, poet Nuala Watt and classics expert Simon Goldhill to look at the poetic language of Samson Agonistes, the politics it was reflecting, the imagery of blindness and what Handel took from Milton's writing.

    Dr Islam Issa from Birmingham City University is a New Generation Thinker and author of Milton in the Arab-Muslim and Milton in Translation and Digital Milton. You can hear him presenting this recent Radio 3 Sunday Feature on The Balcony from Shakespeare to these Covid times https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0972325

    Professor Suzanne Aspden from the University of Oxford is the author of The Rival Sirens: Performance and Identity on Handel’s Operatic Stage and co-editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal.

    Professor Simon Goldhill from the University of Cambridge is the author of How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today and Love, Sex & Tragedy

    Dr Nuala Watt has written on the role of partial sight in poetics. Her poems have appeared in Magma and Gutter and her work is included in the anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (2017).

    Producer: Ruth Watts

    • 44 min
    The Liverpool Biennial debate

    The Liverpool Biennial debate

    Slavery and empire building shaped Liverpool's development. Can art works help give a new understanding of the city's history? In a discussion organised in partnership with the Liverpool Biennial, Anne McElvoy is joined by the Festival curator Manuela Moscoso, by the artist Xaviera Simmons, the historian Dr Diana Jeater and the composer Neo Muyanga. The Biennial runs from 20 March to 6 June 2021 with art works sited around the city.

    Neo Muyanga is a composer and sound artist whose work traverses new opera, jazz improvisation, Zulu and Sesotho idiomatic songs. His project A Maze in Grace is a 12'' vinyl record and a video installation at the Lewis’s Building, inspired by the song “Amazing Grace”, composed by English slaver-turned-abolitionist John Newton, who lived in Liverpool. The piece was co-commissioned by Fundação Bienal São Paulo, echoing some of the trading links which operated in the transatlantic slave trade.

    Xaviera Simmons has previously spent two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the transatlantic slave trade with Buddhist monks. Her installation at the Cotton Exchange Building uses images and texts set against backdrops of the American landscape to explore ideas about "whiteness". It's co-presented by Liverpool Biennial and Photoworks

    Curator Manuela Moscoso has worked at the Tamayo Museo in Mexico City and has come up with a framework for the Biennial -The Stomach and the Port- that uses the body as an image to think about the city

    Historian Diana Jeater, from the University of Liverpool, is also Emeritus Professor of African History at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and teaches themes that help understand African history such as witchcraft and territorial cults, healing systems, nationalist movements and religious institutions.

    Producer: Torquil MacLeod

    You can find a playlist of programmes exploring the visual arts on the Free Thinking website, include discussions with museum curators held in partnership with Frieze Art Fair and interviews with artists including Michael Rakowitz, Taryn Simon, William Kentridge and Sonia Boyce amongst others
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026wnjl

    And our 2021 New Generation Thinker Vid Simoniti is hosting a podcast talking to some of the Biennial artists called Art Against the World which you can find here
    https://www.biennial.com/

    • 44 min
    Spy talk

    Spy talk

    One Cold War spy has his story retold by journalist Simon Kuper, while the granddaughter of another - Charlotte Philby - writes novels that explore the human side and cost of espionage. Nigel Inkster, former MI6 director of operations and intelligence, looks at the role of spying in present day relations between China and the US, while journalist Margaret Coker explains how old school intelligence gathering without any hi-tech bells and whistles has been reaping rewards in Iraq. Rana Mitter hosts a conversation about spying fact and fiction.

    The Happy Traitor: Spies, Lies and Exile in Russia - The Extraordinary Story of George Blake by Simon Kuper is out now.
    Charlotte Philby's most recent novel is A Double Life.
    The Great Decoupling: China, America and the Struggle for Technological Supremacy by Nigel Inkster is out now.
    Margaret Coker's book Spymaster of Baghdad is out now.
    Penguin Classics is re-issuing Len Deighton's novels.

    In our archives you can find Stella Rimington in discussion with Alan Judd https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b048ngpw
    John le Carré in conversation with Anne McElvoy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b039q13n
    The links in the world of French philosophy and spies https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2mfh3
    And a playlist of programmes on War and Conflict https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06kgbyb

    Producer: Torquil MacLeod

    • 45 min
    From Blackface to Beyoncé

    From Blackface to Beyoncé

    Hanif Abdurraqib, the American poet and essayist, has written a book in praise of black performance challenging stereotypes and recovering figures including the magician Ellen Armstrong who performed along the Atlantic seaboard in the 1900s, the dancer William Henry Lane described by Dickens and Merry Clayton, the gospel singer who performed on the Rolling Stones song Gimme Shelter. He joins New Generation Thinker Adjoa Osei and Dawn Walton, founder of Eclipse Theatre Company for a conversation with Matthew Sweet looking at how attitudes towards black performance have changed - or not.

    Hanif Abdurraqib's book is called A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance.

    Dawn Walton is directing The Death of a Black Man by Alfred Fagon at the Hampstead Theatre 28 May – 10 July. It premiered at that theatre in 1975.

    Adjoa Osei is a 2021 New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to make radio from academic research. She researches at the University of Liverpool and her postcard looks at the Brazilian TV series on Netflix Coisa Mais Linda or Girls from Ipanema.

    You can find a playlist on the Free Thinking website exploring identity from speakers including Eddie Glaude Jr and Nadia Owusu on James Baldwin; the writers JJ Bola and Derek Owusu in an episode about masculinity; novelist Paul Mendez in a discussion about Queer Bloomsbury; a quartet of artists on the Black British Art movement, Le Gateau Chocolat in a discussion about the subversion of Cabaret and Suzan-Lori Parks on her play Father Comes Home from the Wars https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06jngzt
    and a second playlist offers other discussions exploring Black History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp

    The Lights Up festival of performance is running across BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC TV. The opening drama Giles Terera's The Meaning of Zong is available now on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000tdk4

    Producer: Caitlin Benedict

    • 44 min

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