300 episodes

History as told by the people who were there.

Witness History BBC

    • History

History as told by the people who were there.

    Fighting oil pollution with art in Nigeria

    Fighting oil pollution with art in Nigeria

    "Battle Bus" was a sculpture made by Sokari Douglas Camp in memory of Nigerian environmentalist Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists who were controversially executed in 1995. The sculpture was seized and impounded by Nigerian port authorities in 2015 when the art work was shipped to Nigeria. Sokari Douglas Camp talks to Rebecca Kesby about growing up in the Niger Delta and how it's shaped her art work.

    PHOTO: "Battle Bus" by Sokari Douglas Camp on show in London in 2015 (Sam Roberts Photography).

    • 9 min
    How meditation changes your brain

    How meditation changes your brain

    In 2002, scientists in the US began performing a landmark series of experiments on Buddhist monks from around the world. The studies showed that the brains of experienced meditators alter, allowing them to focus better and manage their emotions. Alejandra Martins talks to Professor Richard Davidson of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    PHOTO: A monk taking part in the experiment (Center for Healthy Minds).

    • 12 min
    The Pale Blue Dot

    The Pale Blue Dot

    In February 1990, the Nasa space probe Voyager took a famous photo of Earth as it left the Solar System. Seen from six billion kilometres away, our planet appears as a mere dot lit up by the Sun, and the image is credited with giving humanity a sense of our small place in the Universe. Darryll Morris speaks to Nasa planetary scientist, Candice Hansen, who worked on the Voyager programme. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production.

    Photo: The Earth seen as a pale blue dot in a band of sunlight (Nasa)

    • 9 min
    The Rules: A dating handbook

    The Rules: A dating handbook

    On Valentine's Day 1995, authors Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein published a dating handbook called The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr Right. The book advised women that if they wanted to find a husband they should not approach a man first or pay for themselves on dates. Criticised in some quarters as anti-feminist, it soon became a bestseller, with celebrity fans from Beyonce to Meghan Markle. Lucy Burns speaks to Sherrie Schneider about creating a cultural phenomenon.

    (Photo: Groom and bride exchanging wedding ring. Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock)

    • 9 min
    The best-seller Fear of Flying

    The best-seller Fear of Flying

    The groundbreaking novel about female sexuality, called Fear of Flying, was first published in 1973. Dina Newman has been speaking to its author, Erica Jong.

    Photo courtesy of Erica Jong

    • 9 min
    Diary of life in a favela

    Diary of life in a favela

    A poor single mother of three, Carolina Maria de Jesus lived in a derelict shack and spent her days scavenging for food for her children, doing odd jobs and collecting paper and bottles. Her diary, written between 1955 and 1960, brought to life the harsh realities faced by thousands of poor Brazilians who arrived in cities like São Paulo and Rio looking for better opportunities. Her daughter, Vera Eunice de Jesus Lima, speaks to Thomas Pappon about how the book changed her family's life.

    (Photo: Carolina Maria de Jesus in the Canindé Favela. Credit: Archive Audálio Dantas)

    • 9 min

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