304 episodes

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

Arts & Ideas BBC

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 15 Ratings

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

    Saint John Henry Newman

    Saint John Henry Newman

    Catherine Pepinster, Kate Kennedy, Tim Stanley and New Generation Thinker Dafydd Mills Daniel join Rana Mitter to look at the poet, theologian and now Saint John Henry. The programme explores Newman's conversion from the high church tradition of Anglicanism and the Oxford Movement to the Catholic faith looking at his thinking, his poetic writing and what his story tells us about Catholicism and the British establishment.

    Catherine Pepinster is former editor of the Tablet and the author of The Keys and the Kingdom: The British and the Papacy
    Dafydd Mills Daniel is McDonald Departmental Lecturer in Christian Ethics at the University of Oxford and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. His book is called Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment
    Tim Stanley is a columnist and leader writer for the Daily Telegraph who studied history at Cambridge and who is a contributing editor for the Catholic Herald https://www.timothystanley.co.uk/index.html
    Dr Kate Kennedy is Oxford Centre for Life-Writing Associate Director and a music specialist who has written on Ivor Gurney, and co-edited The Silent Morning: Culture and Memory after the Armistice and The First World War: Literature, Music, Memory. You can find her presenting a Sunday Feature for Radio 3 about her research into Ivor Gurney.

    You can find a playlist Free Thinking explores religious belief https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03mwxlp including contributions from Ziauddin Sardar, Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, Rabbi Sacks, Marilynne Robinson and Simon Schama.

    Producer: Ruth Watts

    • 44 min
    Revisit Shoes

    Revisit Shoes

    From Roman sandals to trainers and stilettos. Shahidha Bari looks at the shoe trade, with guests including Thomas Turner, who has written about sneakers in his book The Sports Shoe, A History From Field To Fashion; Tansy Hoskins,who examines global commerce in her book Footwork: What Your Shoes Are Doing To The World; Rebecca Shawcross, Shoe Curator at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery; and Roman shoe expert Owen Humphreys from Museum of London Archaeology.

    Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street runs at the Design Museum in London until October 24th
    Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and its collection of over 15,000 shoes has re-opened this July following a £6million revamp.

    Producer: Emma Wallace

    • 44 min
    Revisit The influence of the British black arts movement

    Revisit The influence of the British black arts movement

    Artists Sonia Boyce, Isaac Julien, Eddie Chambers and Harold Offeh talk to Anne McElvoy about their art and the influence of the British black arts movement - which began around the time of the First National Black Art Convention in 1982 organised by the Blk Art Group and held at Wolverhampton Polytechnic.

    Eddie Chambers has written Roots and Culture: Cultural Politics in the Making of Black Britain and Black Artists in British Art: A History since the 1950s. He teaches at the University of Texas, Austin.

    Sonia Boyce is Professor at Middlesex University, a Royal Academician and the Principal-Investigator of the Black Artists & Modernism project. She will show work in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2022.

    Isaac Julien shows at the Victoria Miro Gallery. His work is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in Scotland until August 31st. Lessons of the Hour is a ten-screen film installation looking at the life and times of Frederick Douglass who, from 1845-7, made repeated visits to Edinburgh, while campaigning across the UK and Ireland against US slavery.

    Harold Offeh is an artist, curator and senior lecturer in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett University. His work Covers features in Untitled: art on the conditions of our time which runs in a newly curated display at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge 10 July 2021 – 3 October 2021 following its opening at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham. You can also see his work in the Wellcome Collection exhibition Joy which runs until February 2022.

    Nottingham Contemporary's The Place Is Here brought together around 100 works by over 30 artists and collectives in 2017 when this episode first aired.


    Producer: Karl Bos
    Editor: Robyn Read

    You might be interested in our playlist on the Free Thinking programme website Exploring Black History https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08t2qbp

    • 44 min
    Revisit: Tokyo Idols and Urban Life

    Revisit: Tokyo Idols and Urban Life

    Tokyo used to be presented as the ultimate hyper-modern city. But after years of economic recession the Tokyo of today has another side. A site of alienation and loneliness, anxiety about conformity and identity, it is a place where self-professed 'geeks' (or 'otaku'), mostly single middle-aged men, congregate in districts like Akibahara to pursue fanatical interests outside mainstream society, including cult-like followings of teenage girl singers known as Tokyo Idols.

    Novelist Tomoyuki Hoshino, photographer Suzanne Mooney, writer/photographer Mariko Nagai and film-maker Kyoko Miyake look at life in the city for the Heisei generation. Presented by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough.

    Director Kyoko Miyake has made a film called Tokyo Idols which looks at the obsession of middle aged men with superstar teenage girls who make a living online
    Suzanne Mooney's photographs depict the urban landscapes of Tokyo.
    Novelist Tomoyuki Hoshino's latest book to be translated into English is called ME. It's about rootless millennials and suicide.
    Mariko Nagai is an author and photographer who has written for children and adults. Her books include Instructions for the Living and Irradiated Cities.

    The translator was Bethan Jones and the speakers were all in the UK to take part in events as part of Japan Now - a festival at the British Library in London, and in Manchester, Sheffield, Norwich. Programmed by Modern Culture in partnership with the Japan Foundation and Sheffield University.

    Producer: Luke Mulhall

    • 44 min
    Revisit Rashōmon

    Revisit Rashōmon

    Who can you trust? That's the question posed in Rashōmon. In today's programme Rana Mitter's guests David Peace, Natasha Pulley, Yuna Tasaka and Jasper Sharp look at both the book and the film.

    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's short story 'In a Grove', published in 1922, became the basis for the 1950 film from Akira Kurosawa 'Rashōmon', one of the first Japanese films to gain worldwide critical acclaim. 'The Rashōmon Effect' has become a byword for the literary technique where the same event is presented via the different and incompatible testimonies from the characters involved. David Peace's book 'Patient X' is a novelised response to Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's last years and his death by suicide at the age of 35. Natasha Pulley is a novelist and Japanophile with a particular interest in Japanese literature of the 1920s, and in the unreliable narrator implied by use of the Rashōmon Effect. Jasper Sharp is a writer and curator, author of the Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema. Yuna Tasaka is one of the contributors to The Japanese Cinema Book published by Bloomsbury.
    David Peace's third novel in his Tokyo trilogy Tokyo Redux is out this summer.
    Natasha Pulley's most recent novel is a time travel story set in Napoleonic times - The Kingdoms. Her book The Watchmaker of Filigree Street became an international best seller.

    Producer: Luke Mulhall.

    You can find a playlist of Radio 3 programmes exploring Japanese Culture on the Free Thinking programme website from the Tale of Genji to Godzilla, jazz to the sound of rain, Rashomon to Rampo https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0657spq

    • 43 min
    Bette Davis

    Bette Davis

    A spinster dominated by her mother in Now Voyager (1942), a strong-willed Southern belle in Jezebel (1938) which won her an Academy award for best actress, a Broadway star in All About Eve (1950): just some of the 100 film roles played Bette Davis during a career which ran from the 1930s to the late 1980s. As the British Film Institute puts on a season of films throughout August, including a re-mastered version of Now Voyager, Matthew Sweet is joined by Sarah Churchwell, Lucy Bolton and Anna Bogutskaya to talk about Bette Davis failing her first screen test because she didn't "look like an actress", her legal fight with the studios, working for the war effort and the appeal of Bette Davis eyes.

    Sarah Churchwell is professorial fellow in American literature and chair of public understanding of the humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London and the author of Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream, Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby, and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe.

    Anna Bogutskaya is a film programmer, broadcaster, writer and creative producer. She is the co-founder of the horror film collective The Final Girls and Festival Director of Underwire Festival.

    Lucy Bolton is Reader in Film Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author of Contemporary Cinema and the Philosophy of Iris Murdoch and co-editor of Lasting Screen Stars: Images that Fade and Personas that Endure.

    Now Voyager, directed by Irving Rapper opens at the BFI and selected cinemas around the UK from August 6th 2021. The BFI is screening 20 films and staging a series of events to celebrate the work of Bette Davis as part of a major season this August.

    You can find other discussions about "landmark" films and Hollywood stars in the Landmarks playlist on the Free Thinking programme website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jwn44

    Episode includes discussions about Marlene Dietrich, Glenda Jackson on Filming Sunday Bloody Sunday, Jacques Tati's Trafic, Jaws and Solaris.

    Still from Now, Voyager (1942) Warner Bros. 2021. All Rights Reserved

    Producer: Ruth Watts

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by BBC