Two women from different parts of the world, united by a common passion, experience or expertise, tell Kim Chakanetsa the stories of their lives.
Women in law
In many countries around the world more women than men take law degrees but they're still much less likely to make partner or become a judge. Kim Chakenetsa talks to two lawyers from Egypt and the UK about the discrimination they face and the need for a more diverse legal profession.
Omnia Gadalla is a professor of law and sharia at Al-Azhar University. She founded an initiative called Her Honour Setting the Bar which aims to encourage and support female law graduates and to challenge discrimination which prevents Egyptian women from becoming judges.
Alexandra Wilson is a barrister in the UK. She's complained about times she's mistaken for a defendant because she's Black and is highlighting the racism she faces in her workplace. She argues that the law profession needs to include more women and people from different ethnic and class backgrounds.
Produced by Jane Thurlow
Left: Omnia Gadalla (courtesy Omnia Gadalla)
Right: Alexandra Wilson (credit Laurie Lewis)
How to focus
Have you ever been so absorbed in an activity that you lost track of time? Experiencing moments of intense focus is something most of us can relate to; but did you know you can train for it? Kim Chakanetsa discusses tips and best practice with two women whose careers demand their absolute concentration.
Lorraine Huber is a Freeride World Champion and a mental strength coach. Freeriding is a discipline that involves skiing off-piste and performing acrobatic jumps on natural terrains. For Lorraine, being able to shut-out the world around her and perform at her best is a matter of life or death.
Kalena Bovell is the assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the only African-American/Hispanic orchestra conductor in the United States. When she is on the podium, she needs to be able to focus for hours, while working with a big group of musicians in front of a public. To excel in her job, she had to learn to master the art of intense focus.
Produced by Alice Gioia.
MUSIC DETAILS: Extract from Kalena Bovell’s international debut with Chineke! Orchestra. The performance was recorded at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall in London, UK.
L: Lorraine Huber
R: Kalena Bovell [credit Cabrillo Festival]
Women running restaurants
Two award winning chefs talk to Kim Chakanetsa about how they've adapted to restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the pressures it's put on their business and the continuing importance of food and their restaurant staff in their lives.
Ana Roš won two Michelin stars after transforming her family restaurant Hisa Franko into a globally renowned dining destination in Slovenia. As a young woman she was a member of the Yugoslavia alpine ski youth team and learned to cook when she and her husband took on his family's restaurant. Ana first worked as a waitress before finding her signature style in the kitchen after the chef left.
Amninder Sandhu is known for setting up the first gas-free restaurant kitchen in India, making a name for herself with unconventional, slow-cooked dishes rooted in traditional techniques. The former head chef at Arth restaurant in Mumbai, she was planning to open a new restaurant when the pandemic hit and instead has set up a home delivery service.
Produced by Jane Thurlow
L: Ana Roš (credit Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images)
R: Amninder Sandhu (courtesy Amninder Sandhu)
Afrofuturism: Black women changing the sci-fi scene
Is science fiction too white? Kim Chakanetsa meets two women who are diversifying the genre. They talk about finding inspiration, dealing with rejection, and what Afrofuturism means to them.
N.K. Jemisin is an African-American psychologist and science fiction writer. Her Broken Earth trilogy won the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row. She’s the first and only author to have achieved that recognition. In her latest book, The City We Became, she addresses the legacy of racism in science fiction.
Chinelo Onwualu is a Nigerian writer and the non-fiction editor of Anathema Magazine. She grew up wanting to write science fiction, but struggled to get her voice heard in a largely white and male-dominated world. She talks about the main narratives and themes emerging within African Speculative Fiction.
Produced by Alice Gioia
L: N.K. Jemisin (Credit: Laura Hanifin)
R: Chinelo Onwualu (courtesy of Chinelo Onwualu)
Women making art from clay
Pottery is one of the oldest and most widespread decorative arts and has enjoyed rising popularity in recent years. At the same time, ceramics are increasingly significant as contemporary art. Kim Chakanetsa talks to two ceramicists about sprigging, drying, firing and smashing; commercial collaborations; and getting their pieces in museums.
Hitomi Hosono is a Japanese ceramicist whose delicate work sits in the British Museum and V&A. She's also collaborated with the world-famous Wedgewood pottery manufacturer to make jasperware vases. Her ceramics, with a chalk-like finish and gold embellishments, are rooted in both Japanese and European traditions. Inspired by the intricacy of plants, leaves and flowers her pots seem to sway in the breeze and grow.
Israeli ceramicist Zemer Peled took up pottery as part of therapy after a break-up in her 20s and now exhibits at galleries and museums around the world. Her work examines the beauty and brutality of the natural world. She makes large and small-scale sculptures and installations from thousands of porcelain shards – and has a growing collection of hammers!
Produced by Jane Thurlow
Left: Hitomi Hosono (courtesy Adrian Sassoon)
Right: Zemer Peled (credit Zemer Peled Studio)
Women digging for answers from the ancient past
Can our modern-day gender biases influence our understanding of the past? Kim Chakanetsa meets two archaeologists to talk about the risks of projecting our own assumptions onto the ancient world.
Dr Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson is a senior researcher in the department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University in Sweden. She’s also one of the lead investigators on the Viking Phenomenon research project and she’s been studying a grave found in Sweden in the 19th century, which contained the remains of a high-ranking Viking warrior. For more than 100 years this person was assumed to be male. But when Charlotte and her team carried out a DNA test on the bones, they found out they belong to an individual who was biologically female. Her discovery shook the academic world.
Dr Sarah Murray is assistant professor at the University of Toronto and she specializes in the material culture and institutions of early Greece. She thinks we should re-consider the way we look at women’s participation in the social and economic structure of Ancient Greece. She recently published a paper dispelling the myth of the so-called Dipylon Master, a pottery artist who has been credited with creating very distinct funerary vases between 760 and 735 BC. Based on her studies, Sarah believes it’s more likely that a group of women were behind these artefacts.
Produced by Alice Gioia.
Left: Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson (credit Linda Koffman)
Right: Sarah Murray (credit Kat Alexakis)
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