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, 192 Ratings

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

    Prison Break

    Prison Break

    Prison breaks loom large in both literature and pop culture. But how should we evaluate them ethically? New Generation Thinker Jeffrey Howard asks what a world without prison would look like. His essay explores whether those unjustly incarcerated have the moral right to break out, whether the rest of us have an obligation to help -- and what the answers teach us about the ethics of punishment today. Jeffrey Howard is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Dept at University College, London whose work on dangerous speech has been funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. You can find him discussing hate speech in a Free Thinking Episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006tnf

    New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics who can turn their research into radio.

    Producer: Luke Mulhall

    • 14 min
    Facing Facts

    Facing Facts

    Earlier periods of history have seen more people with scarring to their faces from duelling injuries and infectious diseases but what stopped this leading to a greater tolerance of facial difference ? Historian Emily Cock considers the case of the Puritan William Prynne and looks at a range of strategies people used to improve their looks from eye patches to buying replacement teeth from the mouths of the poor, whose low-sugar diets kept their dentures better preserved than their aristocratic neighbours. In portraits and medical histories she finds examples of the elision between beauty and morality. With techniques such as ‘Metoposcopy’, which focused on interpreting the wrinkles on your forehead and the fact that enacting the law led to deliberate cut marks being made - this Essay reflects on the difficult terrain of judging by appearance.

    Emily Cock is a Leverhulm Early Career Fellow at the University of Cardiff working on a project looking at Disfigurement in Britain and its Colonies 1600 – 1850.
    You can hear her discussing her research with Fay Alberti, who works on facial transplants, in a New Thinking podcast episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast called About Face https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080p2bc

    New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year to turn their research into radio.

    Producer: Alex Mansfield

    • 12 min
    Gambling, good leadership and economic history

    Gambling, good leadership and economic history

    Anne McElvoy looks at leadership lessons from past US presidents, the parallels between the betting industry and fears over gambling in 1945 and now and she asks who are the key economic thinkers. Her guests are Callum Williams, senior economics writer at The Economist, 2020 New Generation Thinker Darragh McGee from the University of Bath and ahead of July 4th and Independence Day in the USA she revisits her interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin about her book called Leadership in Turbulent Times.

    Callum Williams' book The Classical School: The Turbulent Birth of Economics in Twenty Extraordinary Lives is out now.


    Producer: Torquil MacLeod

    • 45 min
    Frank Cottrell-Boyce

    Frank Cottrell-Boyce

    The screenwriter and novelist talks to Matthew Sweet about teaching creative writing to children in lockdown, attending mass on zoom, the changing meaning of community and the importance of family and he looks back to the image of Britain he created with Danny Boyle for the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.

    Frank Cottrell-Boyce is the author of books including Millions, Framed, Runaway Robot and a sequel to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
    He has worked on screenplays including The Two Popes, collaborations with Michael Winterbottom on films including 24 Hour Party People and scripts for Coronation Street and Doctor Who.

    You can find Matthew Sweet talking to the author Sarah Perry https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08dmn6l
    and the actor Robin Askwith https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08fgxjp
    about their careers and this current moment in the Free Thinking archives.

    And Frank Cottrell-Boyce giving the 2016 Proms Lecture on the importance of the arts https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p041vxwh


    Producer: Karl Bos

    • 44 min
    Dam Fever and The Diaspora

    Dam Fever and The Diaspora

    New Generation Thinker Majed Akhter explores how large dam projects continue to form reservoirs of hope for a sustainable future. Despite their known drawbacks, our love affair with dams has not abated – across the world more than 3,500 dams are in various stages of construction. In Pakistan this has become entwined with nationalism, both inside the community and in the diaspora - but what are the dangers of this “dam fever” ? This Essay traces the history of river development in the region, from the early twentieth century “canal colonies” in Punjab, to Cold War mega-projects, to the contemporary drive to build large new dams. Previously an engineer and a resource economist, Majed Akhter now lectures in geography at King’s College London. you can hear him discussing the politics of rivers in a Free Thinking episode called Rivers and geopolitics https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00051hb

    New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics each year to turn their research into radio.

    Producer: Alex Mansfield

    • 14 min
    Not Quite Jean Muir

    Not Quite Jean Muir

    Jade Halbert lectures in fashion but has never done any sewing. She swaps pen and paper for needle and thread to create a dress from a Jean Muir pattern. In a diary charting her progress, she reflects on the skills of textile workers she has interviewed as part of a project charting the fashion trade in Glasgow and upon the banning of pins on a factory floor, the experiences of specialist sleeve setters and cutters, and whether it is ok to lick your chalk.
    Jade Halbert is a Lecturer, Fashion Business and Cultural Studies at the University of Huddersfield. You can find her investigation into fashion and the high street as a Radio 3 Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gvpn

    New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics to turn their research into radio.

    Producer: Torquil MacLeod

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
192 Ratings

192 Ratings

SkyscraperWoman ,

Cary Grant: The Perfect Escape

First-time listener here. LOVED this episode and hope to hear more like it!

Bootsy Ampleforth ,

Continuing education as I work

As an artist I listen to many podcasts and this one of my favorites. Ever diverse subject matter is discussed in a civil way between thoughtful, intelligent people who are, generally, authorities in the particular subject at hand. In an age of pitbull mentality discourse, it is particularly appealing. Thank you BBC! I love this podcast! Keep it coming!

Horatio799 ,

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A great program ruined now by repetitive ads. How I detest Mandarin Oriental. If there aim was to foster business well it has spectacularly backfired.

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