Essay, The [essay]

Episodes

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A City Is Not A Park20190401

Des Fitzgerald tracks the relationship between the modern city and its green environs. Drawing together psychological research with urban history and literature it asks: what would change, psychologically, socially, emotionally, if we covered the concrete and brickwork of our towns and cities with vines, plants and vertical gardens? A city is not a park but should it be?

Des Fitzgerald is a sociologist at Cardiff University who is researching health, illness and city living. The Essay was recorded at the Free Thinking Festival with an audience at Sage Gateshead.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

What would happen if we covered the industrial fabric of our cities with plantlife?

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Cooking And Eating God In Medieval Drama20190402

Daisy Black looks at religious imagery, food, anti-Semitism and product placement in medieval mystery plays. Eaten by characters, dotted around the stage as saliva-prompting props, or nibbled by audiences - a medieval religious drama is glutted with food but Christianity’s vision of God as spiritual nutrition could provoke horror and fear as well as hunger. We'll hear about some of the gristly, crunchy medieval episodes of culinary performance as the Essay investigates the relationship between faith and food. In one play, sacramental bread is attacked in a kitchen, drawing disturbing parallels between the Eucharist and cannibalism.

Daisy Black lectures in English at the University of Wolverhampton and performs as a storyteller and freelance theatre director. Her essay was recorded at this year's Free Thinking Festival with an audience at Sage Gateshead.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Daisy Black conjures up images of breaking bread and cannibalism in mystery plays.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Healthy Eating Edwardian-style20190405

Elsa Richardson uncovers the early history of the wellbeing industry and introduces Eustace Hamilton Miles, a diet guru who made his name selling health to Edwardian Britons. Reformers promoted the ‘simple life’, one that emphasised fresh air, exercise and the consumption of ‘sun-fired’ foods such as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables but this ‘simple life’ was also a highly profitable enterprise.

Elsa Richardson teaches on the history of the emotions and is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The Essay was recorded at this year's Free Thinking Festival with an audience at Sage Gateshead and you can hear her answering audience questions in the BBC Arts&Ideas podcast.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio

Producer: Zahid Warley

Elsa Richardson on the diet guru who set up a Covent Garden cafe and sold health products.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Shopping Around The Baby Market20190404

Commercial surrogacy – the practice of paying another woman to carry a pregnancy to term – has been criticised for being exploitative, particularly when poorer women are recruited. Even if these women were paid more, and the exploitation element were reduced, would unease remain about “renting out” your body in this way? This essay from New Generation Thinker Gulzaar Barn will explore what, if anything, is different about the buying and selling of bodily services from other forms of trade. Should the body should be taken off the market?

Gulzaar Barn taught philosophy at the University of Birmingham and is now researching at King’s College, London in the Dickson Poon School of Law. The Essay was recorded at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead and a longer version with audience questions is available as a BBC Arts&Ideas podcast.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Zahid Warley

Gulzaar Barn asks questions about commercial surrogacy and the way we view our bodies.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.

Why Trespassing Is The Right Way To Go20190403

Have you ever been somewhere you shouldn't? In this essay, New Generation Thinker Ben Anderson creeps around, and explains how trespassers in the early-twentieth century helped create new attitudes to nature by stepping off the path.

Descriptions of late-nineteenth century trespass and rock-climbing show how different experiences of nature led to fights with landowners and gamekeepers for the rights of urban people. People going off-piste also led to efforts to expose environmental inequalities in the Alps, and calls for the protection of wilderness as a playground for hard men. At a time of ever increasing awareness of the environment, walk your thoughts around how our own, personal experience of nature defines what we come to value, and what we might fight to protect, alter or ‘improve’.

Ben Anderson lectures in twentieth century history at Keele University. The Essay was recorded at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead and - like all the Essays this week - a longer version including audience questions is available as an Arts& Ideas podcast.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select 10 academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer:

Ben Anderson on fights over land rights, access to nature and care of the environment.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond.