Standing on the Shoulders is a podcast about giants. Not the kind you run into in fairytales...but the more metaphorical, inspirational kind - whose symbolic shoulders you can stand on to reach greater heights. Across each episode Aleks Krotoski chats to innovators and visionaries about what they’ve learned from inspirational giants that shaped their lives.
Lex Gillette is a blind Paralympics champion in the long jump category. He started losing his sight aged seven and despite ten different surgeries at the age of eight doctors told him there was nothing they could do. At school his coach introduced him to long jump, which he excelled at, collecting medals at all levels. He is the current world record holder in this field. He won the gold medal for long jump in the last Paralympics championship, which was in 2019 in Dubai. He's also a motivational speaker and a singer-songwriter.
Lex talked to Aleks about the challenge of adjusting to his circumstances at such a young age, the encouragement he received from his mother to maintain his independence, and about the process he uses to navigate the world and his chosen sport. He also talked about an inspirational pastor whose YouTube videos help him keep focus on his training and his writing.
Find out more about Lex: https://lexgillette.com/
Follow Lex on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LexGillette
Martha Lane Fox
Martha Lane Fox is an entrepreneur and internet activist who first made her name with lastminute.com. She’s had a fascinating and varied career, revolutionising the Karaoke industry, and helping the UK government transform its digital service. She is a director of Twitter and Non Executive Director of Chanel, Chancellor of the Open University, and in 2013 she became a crossbench peer in the UK House of Lords.
Martha talked to Aleks about having success in the early days of the internet, how she helped two different Prime Ministers set a benchmark for government digital services, and about a female tech trailblazer who had to change her name to Stevie to get her CV read.
To find out more about Martha go to marthalanefox.com
Ytasha Womack is an award-winning author, filmmaker, independent scholar, and dance therapist. She is a leading expert on Afrofuturism, the imagination, and its applications. Ytasha frequently lectures on the subject across the world. Her book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture is the leading primer on the subject and taught in colleges and universities. Afrofuturism is also a Locus Awards Nonfiction Finalist. Ytasha directed the Afrofuturist dance film A Love Letter to the Ancestors From Chicago and was a screenwriter of the romantic comedy Couples Night.
Ytasha talked to Aleks about her early love of dance, libraries and the movie The Wiz...and about the icon who inspired her scholarship and art. She also talks about how she looks to the past and present to help her understand how the future might be.
To find out more about Ytasha Womack go to decolonizemars.org.
You can find her on Twitter at @ytashawomack
And if you want to know more about Katherine Dunham and the Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities go to kdcah.org
Roman Mars is an American radio producer and host of the podcasts 99% Invisible, which has been telling stories about design and the things that shape our world for a decade. Both have been credited with defining a new movement of independent radio and podcast creators thanks to their innovative approach to storytelling.
Roman talks to Aleks about his upbringing, about how a group of people he went to college with turned out to be some of the most talented people working in radio today, and about the surprising punk rock inspiration behind his company Radiotopia.
If you want to find out more about 99% Invisible go to 99percentinvisible.org
The book The 99% Invisible City is out now. Go get it...
Lemn Sissay is a poet, performer, and chancellor at the University of Manchester. His work ranges from volumes of poetry and plays to documentaries, and an autobiography. He’s been awarded an MBE for services to literature by the Queen, and in 2019 won the PEN Pinter Prize, given to writers who take an “unflinching, unswerving” view of the world.
Lemn talks to Aleks us about his childhood spent with a foster family who rejected him at the age of 12. He speaks about spending five years in four different children’s homes and realising at the age of 18 his entire life was a lie. He also speaks about transforming experience, however harrowing, into memory and meaning, and about the giant who gave him strength and inspiration throughout.
Futurist, designer and filmmaker Anab Jain talks to Aleks Krotoski about the wild world of future-oriented thinking, our hyper-connected planet, and about an anthropologist and a mushroom that inspired much of her work.
Anab Jain is a designer, futurist, filmmaker, and writer. She develops tools that help people ask the right kinds of questions for living today, and tomorrow. These are questions about wonderful and alarming things: Self-driving cars, dying bees, making blind people see.
To find out more about Anab Jain and her studio Superflux go to http://superflux.in/
Find out more about Anna Tsing and her book ‘The Mushroom at the End of the World’