2000 episódios

Leading thinkers discuss the ideas shaping our lives – looking back at the news and making links between past and present. Broadcast as Free Thinking, Fridays at 9pm on BBC Radio 4. Presented by Matthew Sweet, Shahidha Bari and Anne McElvoy.

Arts & Ideas BBC Radio 4

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Leading thinkers discuss the ideas shaping our lives – looking back at the news and making links between past and present. Broadcast as Free Thinking, Fridays at 9pm on BBC Radio 4. Presented by Matthew Sweet, Shahidha Bari and Anne McElvoy.

    New Thinking: 2024’s New Generation Thinkers

    New Thinking: 2024’s New Generation Thinkers

    Does reading really encourage empathy? Are we asked to perform a role when we walk into the workplace? How was early film and technicolour embraced for political ends? Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough finds out about the latest research being undertaken by ten academics chosen to work with the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council as the 2024 New Generation Thinkers. They'll be sharing their research on a series of BBC Radio 4 programmes across the coming year and here's a taster from the 2024 New Generation Thinkers.
    Dr Emily Baughan, a historian at the University of Sheffield, is researching childcare. She is the author of Saving the Children: Humanitarianism, Internationalism, and Empire.
    Dr Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal, lectures in drama at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research looks at the way workplaces, from serving coffee to providing care, ask people to perform a role.
    Dr Janine Bradbury is an award-winning poet and critic who is interested in exploring reading, empathy and sentimentality. A lecturer at the University of York, she has recently published a poetry pamphlet “Sometimes Real Love Comes Quick & Easy”.
    Jade Cuttle is writing a book called Silthood and studying for a PhD at the University of Cambridge, looking at the language used by British nature poets of colour and their new word coinings. She has released an album of songs and written poems and articles including for The Times, The TLS, The Guardian, Poetry Review, Ledbury Poetry Festival and the BBC Proms.
    Dr Jacob Downs is departmental lecturer in music at the University of Oxford. He has written on AI-generated music, Beyoncé, how people use headphones for listening and is also an active musician and arranger, and recently worked on Erland Cooper’s Folded Landscapes.
    Jonathan Egid has spent the past few years digging through the archives on the trail of a brilliant and neglected thinker from 17th century Ethiopia, and the question of whether or not Zera Jacob existed. Based at King’s College, London, he also hosts the podcast and interview series ‘Philosophising In…’ on philosophy in lesser-studied languages.
    Dr Shona Minson is a criminologist at the University of Oxford. Originally from Belfast, her work on mothers in prison has helped changed legal professional practice in the UK and overseas.
    Dr Kirsty Sinclair Dootson is interested in the politics of making images in colour. Based at University College London, she has published a book exploring this called The Rainbow’s Gravity.
    Dr Jack Symes is a public philosopher and researcher at Durham University. He hosts The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast, and edits Bloomsbury’s Talking about Philosophy book series. His most recent book was called Defeating the Evil-God Challenge: In Defence of God’s Goodness
    Dr Becca Voelcker's research explores artistic and filmic responses to the environmental crisis. Based at Goldsmiths, University of London, she writes for Sight & Sound and Frieze magazines, introduces films at the BFI, and serves on film festival juries.
    Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough has made a series of programmes for the BBC about Norse sagas, forest bathing, the history of runes, the far north, Roman bathing since being chosen as a New Generation Thinker in 2013.
    This New Thinking podcast and the New Generation Thinkers scheme are run as a partnership between the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UKRI.
    You can hear more insights from academics based at a host of UK universities in a New Research playlist on BBC Radio 4's Free Thinking programme website.

    • 44 min
    Life expectations, philosophy in the world, protest

    Life expectations, philosophy in the world, protest

    Can we still expect a meaningful job, stable income, a chance of owning property? How have expectations changed and what is the place of protest? Matthew Sweet's guests this week are:
    David Willetts is a former Universities Minister and now a life peer. The Rt Hon Lord Willetts FRS is also current President of the Resolution Foundation, Chair of the UK Space Agency and a visiting Professor at King’s College London. His books include The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future – And Why They Should Give It Back
    Dr Tiffany Watt Smith is Director for the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, London. Her books include Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another’s Misfortune, and The Book of Human Emotions. She was chosen as a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker in 2014 and you can hear her in Free Thinking discussions about happiness, schadenfreude and she presented a short feature about the science of baby laughs.
    Professor Will Davies is a sociologist and political economist teaching at Goldsmiths University of London. His books include Nervous States: How feeling took over the world, The Happiness Industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing and This is Not Normal: The collapse of liberal Britain.
    Elizabeth Oldfield's latest book is called Fully Alive: Tending to the Soul in Turbulent Times. She hosts The Sacred podcast and is a former director of Theos, a religion and society think tank.
    Plus a report from an event this week in which the Royal Institute of Philosophy was paying tribute to its outgoing president, the political philosopher and ethicist Onora O’Neill, and welcoming her successor, the political philosopher Jonathan Wolff. We hear from Angie Hobbs, Paul, Tom Shakespeare, Grace Lockrobin, Onora O’Neill and Jo Wolff.
    Producer: Luke Mulhall

    • 56 min
    Winning & Losing, Plato Scroll, the Decline of Nightlife

    Winning & Losing, Plato Scroll, the Decline of Nightlife

    Matthew Sweet talks about the philosophy of winning and losing with Professor Lea Ypi a political scientist at the London School of Economics and the journalist and author Peter Hitchens. They'll be joined by the lawyer Michael Mansfield KC who has headed some of the biggest legal cases in recent history - including the Birmingham Six, the Bloody Sunday massacre and the Hillsborough disaster and also by Cath Bishop a triple Olympian, former British diplomat, leadership and culture coach. Cath is the author 'The Long Win' which examines how we define success in sport, business, education and life.
    Professor Graziano Ranocchia, of the University of Pisa will talk about the discovery of an ancient scroll which contains a previously unknown narrative detailing how the Greek philosopher Plato spent his last evening, describing how he listened to music played on a flute by a Thracian slave girl. The team discuss how our understanding of history is altered as new artefacts or evidence emerge.
    And they consider the cultural role of nightlife against a backdrop of record closures of music venues, nightclubs and pubs.
    Presenter: Matthew Sweet
    Producer: Lisa Jenkinson
    Studio Manager: Tim Heffer

    • 57 min
    Kant today, Spice Girls Reunited, Impersonating an Animal

    Kant today, Spice Girls Reunited, Impersonating an Animal

    Marshmallows and Kant, ideas about girl power from Mary Wollstonecraft (born April 27th 1759) to the Spice girls; and galloping horses, sea-gull sounds and life as a goat. On today's Free Thinking Shahidha Bari is joined by literary historian Alexandra Reza, philosophers Angela Breitenbach, John Callanan and journalist Tim Stanley to look back at the week and discuss ideas about our relationship with birds and beasts; and how the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (born 22nd April 1724) outlined ideas about peace, reason and finding ways to have rational discussion. Plus we hear from Thomas Thwaites, author of Goatman: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.
    Tim Stanley is a journalist. You can hear him discussing rationality and tradition with Steven Pinker, the argument against democracy, and the ideas of John Henry Newman on Free Thinking episodes available on the programme website and BBC Sounds
    Alexandra Reza teaches comparative literature at the University of Bristol. You can hear her in Free Thinking episodes discussing the ideas of Aimee Cesaire, Frantz Fanon and the film-making of Susan Maldoror
    Dr John Callanan teaches philosophy at Kings College London
    Angela Breitenbach is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge
    Producer: Luke Mulhall

    • 57 min
    New Thinking: Exploring the local

    New Thinking: Exploring the local

    Women made up 10-15% of the workforce in the early days of the post office. Looking at a series of different records from the 17th century onwards, Sarah Ward Clavier has discovered stories about spying, how pubs, the links between pubs and post offices.
    Research suggests that communities with a local newspaper are more likely to vote in local elections. Rachel Matthews, who worked as a journalist in local news before turning to academia, explores the relationship between newspapers, readers, and advertisers across time and asks how the role of the local press is changing in the digital age.
    Anna Muggeridge has been looking into the hidden history of women politicians in local politics, in the first half of the twentieth century. This was an age when many important decisions on education and welfare were made at a local level – and where the story of women in local politics became intertwined with arguments around female suffrage.
    Producer in Cardiff: Fay Lomas
    Presenter Dr Joan Passey teaches English at Bristol University and is a New Generation Thinker working with the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to share research on radio.
    Dr Sarah Ward Clavier, from the University of the West of England, researches the expansion and travails of the early Post Office, early modern news and communications, and Wales in the seventeenth century. Her most recent book is Royalism, Religion and Revolution: Wales, 1640-1688.
    Dr Rachel Matthews, from Coventry University, researches the impact of local journalism on the people and places to which it relates, both across history and in a contemporary context. She is the author of The History of the Provincial Press in England.
    Dr Anna Muggeridge is Lecturer in History at the University of Worcester and is currently researching a history of women in local government in interwar England and Wales. She also researches women’s political activism in the 20th century.
    This New Thinking episode of the Arts and Ideas podcast was made in partnership with the AHRC, part of UKRI. You can find more conversations about new research available on the website of Radio 4’s Free Thinking programme and on BBC Sounds

    • 43 min
    Tacitus, Byron's fanmail and Bluey

    Tacitus, Byron's fanmail and Bluey

    Classicist Mary Beard picks Tacitus as a figure who still has relevance if we're thinking about satire, power and celebrity. Shahidha Bari is joined by Mary, historian Helen Carr, who co-edited What is History Now? political sketch-writer from The Times newspaper Tom Peck and Konnie Huq, writer and former presenter of the children's TV show Blue Peter. On April 21st 1964, the tv channel BBC 2 launched with an episode for children of Play School and programmes like Bluey and Peppa Pig, have been making headlines so what do we want from kids TV? Plus - poet Lord Byron died 200 years ago this week - scholar Dr Corin Throsby has been reading the fan mail he received.
    Listen out for Mary Beard and the new series of Being Roman coming to BBC Radio 4 in May - and the first series is available on BBC Sounds.
    And if you're a fan of Oliver Postgate - The Clangers, Bagpuss and Noggin you can find a Free Thinking episode exploring those programmes.
    Producer: Lisa Jenkinson
    Studio Manager: Tim Heffer

    • 57 min

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