Four Thought

Four Thought

United Kingdom

Series of thought-provoking talks in which the speakers air their thinking on the trends, ideas, interests and passions that affect culture and society


Building for a new life  

Mark Breeze asks why architects haven't done more to design shelter for refugees. An architect himself, he tells us that his training was aimed at helping him come up with solutions to the toughest problems, yet none is tougher than finding a balance between impermanence, sustainability and low cost in homes for refugees. After visiting the so-called 'Jungle' camp in Calais and witnessing conditions there, Mark explains how he hopes to find a better framework for architects like him to help. Producer: Giles Edwards.

The Curse of Confidence  

Rowland Manthorpe explains why he thinks the quality of confidence is overrated and is more of a curse than a blessing. "Far from being good for everything, confidence comes with its own set of priorities, not all of which fit the things we claim to want or need." Producer: Sheila Cook.


Ellen Mara De Wachter says collaborative art or "co-art" offers new insights into human relationships and the role of sharing in society. "The co-artists who were successful in their collaborations were those who recognised and valued difference within the group...The key was not to get over personal differences, but to value them as essential to the creative process." Producer: Sheila Cook.


Franklyn Addo describes how witnessing a murder transformed his life. It made him all the more determined to help other young people from underprivileged backgrounds go to top universities, as he did, and to challenge stereotypes. "There's so much more to talk about regarding council estates other than crime and anguish; more pertinent things, more celebratory things and more interesting things," he says. Producer: Sheila Cook.

Ghost Stories  

Writer Jonathan Stroud explains why he thinks ghost stories are good for you. "While it may seem odd that it's pleasurable to be frightened, it's actually - like other activities that get the heart racing - a celebration of being alive. While so much around us is frankly mind-numbing, there's something pure and bracing about a nicely delivered scare." Producer: Sheila Cook.

Digital Millennial  

Jonnie Bayfield reflects on being the last generation to grow up in an analogue childhood. "Looking back, I can see that no-one had any idea what the chemical, biological, or social ramifications of this burgeoning technology might be. In my school we had computer classes, but no-one ever suggested that intense use would lead to anything other than a personal and global liberation." Producer: Sheila Cook.

Performance Teaching  

Matt Hood says we need to raise the standards of teaching by treating it like a performance profession where techniques are honed in rehearsal rather than tried out "live" in front of a class. "When we have low expectations of how complex teaching is, it translates directly into low expectations for how sophisticated training and development for teachers needs to be. As a result teachers learn less. That is a disaster." Producer: Sheila Cook.

Listening to Street Children  

Sarah Thomas de Benitez says our image of childhood has skewed our attitude towards street children and it's time to listen to them. "We listened, learned and found that the most important thing for each child was not 'where' they were but 'who' was there for them." Producer: Sheila Cook.

Dealing With Dementia  

Tommy Whitelaw, who was his late mother's carer, calls for more support and respect for people living with dementia. "If we really are going to make a difference to each other we have to change the conversation from 'what's the matter with you' to 'what matters to you'". Recorded in front of a live audience at Somerset House. Presenter: Mike Williams Producer: Sheila Cook.

Magazine Renaissance  

Jeremy Leslie explains why reports of magazines dying have been greatly exaggerated. Jeremy has spent years working in the print magazine industry, and runs the shop and website magCulture. But in recent years, as much commentary has focused on the rise of online and the accompanying death of print, Jeremy has instead seen a series of small, new and often niche print titles opening, and thriving. But why, and will it continue? Producer: Giles Edwards.

Sensitive Souls  

Hannah Jane Walker makes the case for being a bit sensitive. As a child Hannah was told to toughen up, not to be so sensitive, but now she says her sensitivity is who she is, and it's how she makes her income. And she thinks that people should embrace their sensitivity, and not pretend to be tough if they're not. Producer: Giles Edwards.

Change for the Better  

Katz Kiely argues that we should all learn to better manage change. Katz has advised governments, companies and international bodies on managing change. She says she is always surprised by how many organisations still adopt a top-down model of managing change, and she makes the case for a radically different way of doing so. Producer: Giles Edwards.

Property Ownership  

Chris Pierson makes the case for a radical rethinking of private property. Arguing that we are currently in the midst of a property crisis, Chris challenges us to go back to basics, to ask whether 'property is theft' and to consider whether there might be another way of allocating property. Producer: Giles Edwards.

Supporting Mothers  

Kerry Littleford argues that mothers who have multiple children taken into care need help to stop it happening again. As she shares her own story, Kerry makes the case for focusing not just on the children who have been taken into care, but the women whose problems haven't gone away. Producer: Giles Edwards.

Stories with Food  

Annie Zimmerman and James Wheale argue that food is the perfect storytelling medium. Working together as Understory, they are developing foods which go beyond taste and nutrients, but which pose another question: will people eat food if it doesn't taste delicious? Producer: Giles Edwards.

Other People's Stories  

Anna Derrig asks who has the right to tell someone else's story. Anna has worked in the media, in international development and in social and community work telling stories, and now she is writing the story of her life with a family member. It has made her think carefully about the ethics of writing other people's lives, an issue she now teaches the issue at Goldsmith's, University of London. It's a good time to be thinking about this subject, she argues, since so many of us are telling stories - our own and other people's. Producer: Giles Edwards.

Liberating Men  

Dave Pickering makes the case for a men's liberation movement. Sharing experiences from his own life, he argues that it is not just women who need liberation from 'the patriarchy', but men themselves. Producer: Giles Edwards.

The Art of Diary Writing  

Sally Bayley traces the art of diary writing from Samuel Pepys to today's culture of blogging. "In an age of practically universal web access, the diary represents an old fashioned sense of self scrutiny and surveillance, a period of personal introspection." Four Thought was recorded at the End of the Road music festival. Producer: Sheila Cook Photo Credit: Sarah Caroline Photography.

The Pull of the Land  

Nick Ivins explains how the pull of the land turned him from a city dweller into a homesteader. "We discovered that great pleasure that is putting food, by one's own hand, on to the family table. It is an act of love wrought by an equal share of creativity and sweated laboour that rewards the head, heart and belly in equal measure." Four Thought was recorded at the End of the Road music festival Producer: Sheila Cook.

Funny Politics  

Former political adviser and stand up comedian Ayesha Hazarika explains why she thinks humour is such an important part of our political discourse. "It can be a weapon to attack, or a cloak to shield. But most importantly, it pinpoints the truth about how the world sees you, it shows self-awareness and helps you try to cling on to good faith in bleak times." Four Thought was recorded at the End of the Road music festival. Presenter: Mike Williams Producer: Sheila Cook.

Video player is in betaClose