Arts and Ideas

Arts and Ideas

United Kingdom

The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews and debates with artists, scientists and public figures.

Episodes

Free Thinking - Canada 150: Robert Lepage, Katherine Ryan.  

Philip Dodd explores the influence of Canadian history and the difference between stand up and performing a one man show. Katherine Ryan is based in the UK and about to perform at summer festivals and in an autumn tour. The French Canadian playwright, performer and opera director Robert Lepage recently staged his autobiographical "memory play", 887, at the Barbican in London. He has directed a ring cycle for the Metropolitan Opera which was featured in a 2012 documentary Wagner's Dream and productions of Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and has also worked on shows for Cirque Du Soleil. http://www.katherineryan.co.uk/ http://lacaserne.net/index2.php/robertlepage/ Part of Radio 3's Canada 150: a week of programmes marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the nation. You can find links to concerts and other broadcasts on the Radio 3 website. Producer: Robyn Read

Free Thinking: Terrorism  

Rana Mitter goes to a drama which asks the audience to play jury in a trial following the hijacking of a plane. He's joined by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, whose book 'The Enemy Within' looks at attitudes towards the Islamic community in Britain, Richard English author of 'Does Terrorism Work?: A History', Faisal Devji, author of several studies of political Islam and the ideology of Jihad, and 2017 New Generation Thinker Thomas Simpson. 'Terror' by Ferdinand von Schirach in a translation by David Tushingham is directed at the Lyric Hammersmith by Sean Holmes running from 14 Jun ‐ 15 Jul 2017 Baroness Sayeeda Warsi's book is called 'The Enemy Within'. Richard English is the author of Does Terrorism Work?: A History Faisal Devji's books include 'Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity' (2005) and 'The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics' (2009) Tom Simpson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Luke Mulhall

Free Thinking - Man and Machine: Garry Kasparov, Wyndham Lewis. 2017 New Generation Thinker Simon Beard  

Garry Kasparov talks to Philip Dodd about being defeated by a supercomputer in the chess match he played in 1997 and how this affected his view of AI. 100 years ago, Wyndham Lewis was first commissioned as a war artist; Richard Slocombe, curator of a new exhibition and art historian Anna Grueztner Robins discuss his art with John Keane who was a war artist in the Gulf War. 2017 New Generation Thinker Simon Beard outlines his research into overpopulation and our attitude towards death. Garry Kasparov's book is called Deep Thinking: Where Artificial Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War is a display of 160 artworks, books, journals and pamphlets which runs at the Imperial War Museum North in Salford from 23 June 2017 – 1 January 2018 Simon Beard is based at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge researching existential risk. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website.

Free Thinking - Terrorism: Richard English, Baroness Warsi, 2017 New Generation Thinker Thomas Simpson.  

Rana Mitter goes to a drama which asks the audience to play jury in a trial following the hijacking of a plane. He's joined by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, whose book 'The Enemy Within' looks at attitudes towards the Islamic community in Britain, Richard English author of 'Does Terrorism Work?: A History', Faisal Devji, author of several studies of political Islam and the ideology of Jihad, and 2017 New Generation Thinker Thomas Simpson. 'Terror' by Ferdinand von Schirach in a translation by David Tushingham is directed at the Lyric Hammersmith by Sean Holmes running from 14 Jun ‐ 15 Jul 2017 Baroness Sayeeda Warsi's book is called 'The Enemy Within'. Richard English is the author of Does Terrorism Work?: A History Faisal Devji's books include 'Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity' (2005) and 'The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics' (2009) Tom Simpson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Luke Mulhall

Free Thinking: Tom McCarthy. Jacobitism; Satirical Indexes; A Museum of Modern Nature  

Essayist Tom McCarthy joins presenter Anne McElvoy, academics Dennis Duncan + Peter Mackay and the curator of A Museum of Modern Nature. As a new exhibition opens in Edinburgh, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites', poet and New Generation Thinker Peter Mackay explores the hundreds of artefacts gathered from home and abroad and gives us his reflections on the old old story of the Kings over the Water. Dennis Duncan from The Bodleian Centre for the Study of the Book brings a tale of how indexes were used to expose British Jacobite sympathisers in the decades following the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Plus a new exhibition called 'A Museum of Modern Nature' features objects offered by members of the public who were asked to reflect on what connected them to the natural world and their sense of the presence of nature in their own lives with Rosie Stanbury and Rebekah Shaman Tom McCarthy's Essay Collection is called Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish. Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites: National Museum of Scotland 23 June - 12 November 2017 A Museum of Modern Nature: Wellcome Trust exhibition in London 22 June - 8 October 2017 Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Free Thinking: Churchill, Pocahontas and The Idiot  

Anne McElvoy is joined by screenwriter Alex von Tunzelmann who discusses her new film, Churchill. New Generation Thinker Christopher Bannister, an expert on the propaganda unit The Ministry of Information, reveals the influence it still wields today. Academic Nandini Das and Stephanie Pratt, an art historian with Native American heritage, consider the complicated legacy of Pocahontas 400 years after her death. Plus, writer Elif Batuman offers a linguistic guide to the nuisances of the Turkish language and explains why she's so in love with the book titles of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Elif Batuman's The Idiot is out now. You can find information about Pocahontas events from Gravesend Council http://www.visitgravesend.co.uk/events/pocahontas-400/ and http://www.bigideascompany.org/project/pocahontas-2017/ Churchill is on general release from Friday. Christopher Bannister is based at the School of Advanced Study at University College London. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3, BBC Arts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

Free Thinking: Narcissism  

Shahidha Bari and Laurence Scott explore our obsession with the self. Take a look in the mirror with author and photographer Will Storr, the novelist, Olivia Sudjic, Tom Jackson, creator of Postcard from the Past and the neuroscientist, Sophie Scott. Producer: Zahid Warley Will Storr's book Selfie is published by Picador Olivia Sudjic's novel, Sympathy is published by One - the Pushkin Press imprint Tom Jackson's Postcard from the Past is published by Fourth Estate and @PastPostcard Sophie Scott is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London

Free Thinking: Will Self, R. D. Laing and Mandy.  

Will Self joins Matthew Sweet to discuss the mind, consciousness, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and PTSD - all woven together in his new novel Phone. Mad to be Normal director, Robert Mullan, talks about the man at the centre of his film, controversial psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Critic Melanie Williams considers Mandy, Alexander Mackendrick's 1952 film about a deaf child learning to find her way in post-war Britain. Mandy was played by the child actress Mandy Miller who recalls her starring role from sixty five years ago. Will Self's new novel, Phone is out now. Mad to be Normal is in selected cinemas, certificate 15. A new restoration of Mandy is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

Free Thinking: Political Sketch Writing. Enclosure Acts. 2017.  Branwell Bronte. Pushkin House Book Prize 2017  

Anne McElvoy looks at the style of the election campaign and how it's been reflected by political sketch writers with John Crace and Quentin Letts. As Common by DC Moore opens at London's National Theatre, Simon Jenkins and Jonathan Healey discuss the impact of the Enclosure Acts. New Generation Thinker Emma Butcher from the University of Hull marks 200 years since Branwell Brontë was born. The winner of this year's Pushkin House Russian Book Prize - Rosalind Blakesley - talks to Anne along with one of the judges, writer Charlotte Hobson. Rosalind Blakesley's prize-winning book is The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia 1757-1881 You can find more information about events including talks and guided walks for the Branwell Brontë anniversary at the Bronte Parsonage Museum and as part of the Bradford Lit Fest where a statue is being unveiled. https://www.bronte.org.uk/ https://www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk/ New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their ideas into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Free Thinking - Revenge: My Cousin Rachel, Natalie Haynes, 2017 New Generation Thinker Islam Issa.  

Matthew Sweet sees a film version of Daphne Du Maurier's novel directed by Roger Michell and looks at revenge in Shakespeare and Greek drama with 2017 New Generation Thinker Islam Issa and classicist and author Natalie Haynes. Andrew O'Hagan discusses his new book of essays exploring his relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the Australian web developer who may or not be the inventor of the Bitcoin. Natalie Haynes new novel is called The Children of Jocasta. Andrew O'Hagan's new book is called The Secret Life. My Cousin Rachel starring Rachel Weisz is in cinemas around the UK. Islam Issa is a 2017 New Generation Thinker who teaches at Birmingham City University. He is the author of Milton in the Arab-Muslim World and you can hear him in the Free Thinking Landmark exploring Paradise Lost. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Fiona McLean

Free Thinking - Arundhati Roy  

Arundhati Roy, the Man Booker prize winning author and campaigner is in conversation with Philip Dodd as she publishes her second novel 20 years after The God of Small Things. Arundhati Roy's new novel is called The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. It is being read on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. Producer: Zahid Warley

Free Thinking - Hay 2017: Writing History with Sebastian Barry, Jake Arnott, Madeleine Thien.  

The authors of three historical novels discuss the way research and family history have informed their fiction in a discussion recorded at the Hay Festival chaired by New Generation Thinker Sarah Dillon from the University of Cambridge. Jake Arnott has set novels in the 1960s, the 1940s and the 1900s and in his latest novel The Fatal Tree he depicts the criminal world in 18th century London. Madeleine Thien’s novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing explores the impact of the Cultural Revolution on two generations of musicians. It has won prizes in her native Canada and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Sebastian Barry won the Costa Book of the Year for his novel Days Without End, which imagines the gay relationship between soldiers caught up in the American Civil War. Producer: Zahid Warley.

Free Thinking: Ecstasy. Carpe Diem. 2017 New Generation Thinker Hetta Howes on medieval ecstasy.  

Why we need to seize the moment and lose control more often is discussed by philosophers Jules Evans and Roman Krznaric and Canon Angela Tilby. And presenter Rana Mitter is joined by 2017 New Generation Thinker Hetta Howes, whose research looks at medieval attitudes to ecstasy. 'Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day' by Roman Krznaric is out now www.carpediem.click Jules Evans is a 2013 New Generation Thinker who blogs at http://www.philosophyforlife.org/ His book The Art of Losing Control is out now. Canon Angela Tilby is a contributor to Radio 4's Thought for the Day. Her website is http://www.angelatilby.co.uk/Index/Welcome.html Dr Hetta Howes is at Queen Mary The University of London. You can hear Haemin Sunim at the Free Thinking Festival here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08jb1mp New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Arts with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find out more via the Free Thinking website. Producer: Luke Mulhall

Free Thinking: Hay 2017: Women's Voices in the Classical World.  

Colm Toibin, Bettany Hughes and Paul Cartledge join New Generation Thinker Catherine Fletcher for a discussion recorded at Hay. Colm Toibin’s new novel House of Names explores the story of Clytemnestra and the murder of her husband Agamemnon. His other novels include The Testament of Mary, Brooklyn and Nora Webster. Paul Cartledge is A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus at the University of Cambridge and the author of many books which look at the classical world including Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction, Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities and Democracy: A Life Bettany Hughes has presented many TV and Radio programmes exploring the classical world including Divine Women, Genius of the Ancient World, Banishing Eve and The Ideas That Make Us. Her books include Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore, The Hemlock Cup and Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities Catherine Fletcher is a New Generation Thinker who has presented Essays and documentaries for BBC Radio 3. She is the author of The Black Prince of Florence The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici Producer: Zahid Warley Part of Radio 3's week-long residency at Hay Festival, with Lunchtime Concert, In Tune, Free Thinking, The Verb and The Listening Service all broadcasting from the festival.

Free Thinking: Aritst Tom Phillips at 80; How do we save our plants?  

The artist Tom Phillips talks to Philip Dodd about his career as he marks his 80th birthday. His works range from sculptures, like a tennis ball with his own hair, to commissions for the Imperial War Museum and Peckham, and portraits of subjects including Sir Harrison Birtwistle and the Monty Python team. His interest in literature is seen in his version of Dante's Inferno and art made from reworking the text of a Victorian novel, in addition to his post card collection, photographic diaries and his role as a Royal Academician. Plus, as scientists and policymakers gather at Kew to take stock of the world's plant diversity, Philip is joined by botanist Pippa Greenwood, conservationist Murphy Westwood, and the 'Plant Messiah' Carlos Magdalena to consider the lilies. The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World's Rarest Species by Carlos Magdalena is published on the 1st of June. Connected Works by Tom Phillips runs at the Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London from May 26th to July 1st. The South London Gallery hosts the world premiere performance and an audio-visual installation of his opera Irma on the 16 and 17 September 2017, drawn from his Victorian novel artwork A Humument. Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

Free Thinking - Japan and Korea. Hokusai  

Chris Harding discusses the work of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai with Tim Clark, curator of a new exhibition at the British Museum and explores the relationship between Korea and Japan through the visual arts with art historian Angus Locker, Charlotte Horlyck, chair of the Centre for Korean Studies at the School of Oriental & African Studies, and Je Yun Moon, a curator at the Korean Cultural Centre UK overseeing a year-long festival of Korean arts. Plus Aidan Foster-Carter on the US involvement in the formation of North and South Korea. Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave runs at the British Museum from May 25th to August 13th. You can find out more about Hokusai on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time. Producer: Luke Mulhall

Free Thinking - Bella Bathurst. Mike Figgis. Birds in British literature. 2017 New Generation Thinker Daisy Fancourt.  

Author and photojournalist Bella Bathurst suddenly began to lose her hearing as an adult in 1997. Twelve years later, an operation enabled her to recover it. She has written a book about her experience, insights gained about listening and the science behind deafness. 2017 New Generation Thinker Daisy Fancourt researches the effect of the arts on immune response and public health. New Generation Thinker Will Abberley has curated an exhibition exploring birds in British literature. Director, screenwriter and composer Mike Figgis encourages writers to rethink plotting in his new book, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found by Bella Bathurst is available now. Stories on the Wing: British Birds in Literature runs at the Booth Museum in Brighton from 19 May to 21 September 2017. Free admission. The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Mike Figgis is published on 1 June 2017. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio and television. You can find more broadcasts and films on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Karl Bos

Free Thinking: Fiona Shaw and Mark Ravenhill on Brecht, John Knox, 2017 New Generation Thinker Joanne Paul.  

As dramas about John Knox and Galileo open at theatres in Edinburgh and London, Philip Dodd talks to Fiona Shaw and Mark Ravenhill about performing and staging Brecht and to Edinburgh Lyceum director David Greig. He's also joined by 2017 New Generation Thinker Joanne Paul, from the University of Sussex, who researches the idea of parrhesia or 'speaking truth to power'. And satirist Nev Fountain and stand-up comedian Simon Evans discuss whether comedy is still an effective weapon with which to attack the powerful. Bertold Brecht's Life of Galileo directed by Joe Wright in a translation by John Willlett runs at the Young Vic Theatre in London from May 6th - July 1st. Glory on Earth runs at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh from May 20th to June 10th. Written by Linda McLean the drama is directed by David Greig and stars Jamie Sives. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio and television. You can find more broadcasts and films on the Free Thinking website. Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Free Thinking: Rachel Seiffert. James Hawes,Richard Nelson. 2017 New Gen Thinker Alistair Fraser on gangs  

Anne McElvoy talks to the Tony award-winning playwright Richard Nelson about bringing his trilogy depicting a US family over the 2016 election year to the Brighton Festival. Novelist Rachel Seiffert was shortlisted for the Booker prize with her book The Dark Room. Her new novel is inspired by the arrival of the Nazis in a Ukrainian village. The political novelist, James Hawes, explains why a lack of a clear eastern border has informed German history for two thousand years. Plus the etymology of gangs explained by 2017 New Generation Thinker Alistair Fraser, a lecturer in criminology and sociology at the University of Glasgow. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find a collection of films and broadcasts on the Free Thinking website. The Gabriel Trilogy runs at the Brighton Festival from May 20th to May 27th. Rachel Seiffert's novel A Boy in Winter is out now. James Hawes 'The Shortest History of Germany' is out now. Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Free Thinking - Artist Taryn Simon. Deglobalisation. 2017 New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck on the circus.  

Artist Taryn Simon, Master of Photography at this year's Photo London Art Fair, speaks to Matthew Sweet about her work including her latest project Image Atlas inspired by the top image results for given search terms across local engines throughout the world. 2017 New Generation Thinker Eleanor Lybeck from the University of Oxford on the artist Edward Seago and running away to the circus. What if globalisation isn't as unstoppable as once thought? As manufacturing technology advances will the push for cheap labour abroad cease? How will that change the location of factories? And how might that affect you? We consider the idea of deglobalisation with Finbarr Livesey, author of From Global To Local, and Stephanie Flanders, former BBC Economics Editor, now Chief Market Strategist for UK and Europe at J P Morgan. Taryn Simon's art work is on show as part of Photo London at the Embankment Gallery East in Somerset House. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio and television. You can find more information, films and broadcasts on the Free Thinking website. From Global To Local: The making of things and the end of globalisation by Finbarr Livesey is published 18 May 2017. Producer: Zahid Warley

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