New Generation Thinkers

Episodes

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20181028"Two Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers with stories from medieval and Victorian Britain.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

Sean Williams introduces tonight's Sunday Feature that offers twin presentations by two of this year's crop of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers.

“Spreading her arms abroad, she cried with a loud voice as though her heart should have burst asunder, for in the city of her soul she saw verily and freshly how our Lord was crucified… ? In the middle ages, the passion of Jesus Christ was a real presence in the lives of the devout. Marjery Kempe was one of many whose recorded dreams of Christ's suffering was as real as the pain of those whose suffered in daily life around her. Hetta Howes travels to Rievaulx Abbey on the path of another devout dreamer, Abbot Aelred and explores the nature of these uncannily transcendental experiences that marked many medieval lives.

And Eleanor Lybeck is on the trail of her Great Grandfather, Albert James, a comic performer with the famous D'Oyly Carte Opera company. D'Oyly Carte now has a reputation as the staid and unyielding preservers of the Gilbert and Sullivan flame maintaining for a century, unchanged, the productions that were such a success in late 19th century Britain. But through Albert's scrapbooks, notices and other documents describing his work with the touring wing of the company, a very different story emerges in which performers felt able to adapt material to the empire venues in which they found themselves, from South Africa to the furthest reaches of the UK. Eleanor gets to know the professional world inhabited by her Grandfather and, in the process, a great deal more about the man himself.

Producers Tom Alban and Simon Elmes"

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature."

20181104"

Sean Williams introduces tonight's Sunday Feature that offers twin presentations by two of this year's crop of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers.

Is it wrong to have children?
I really love my children but are they the biggest moral mistake I ever made? This is the question posed by moral philosopher Dr Simon Beard. In this Sunday Feature, Simon sets out to explore the moral ramifications of his decision to have two children.

Meeting academics, campaigners and ordinary parents, Simon asks whether having a child is ever the right or wrong thing to do. And, in a world of overpoulation and climate change, do we need to change the way we think about family life?

Simon Beard is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

Producer: Georgia Catt

Do terrorists have a problem with Shakespeare?
Terrorists across the globe have cited Shakespeare as a motivation for their actions, but why do some extremists hate the Bard – and why are others inspired by him?
From Osama bin Laden, whose diaries revealed he visited – and hated – Shakespeare's birthplace, to Guy Fawkes who held links to Shakespeare and his family, the world's most famous playwright has been a strange fascination for terrorists over the centuries.
What is it that draws audiences to Shakespeare's bloodiest plays, in the same way that staged beheadings of Isis draw millions of views on YouTube? And what has led terrorists to attack theatres and actors, like the bombing of a 2005 Qatari performance of Twelfth Night?

Dr Islam Issa begins by attempting to understand the mindset of a terrorist, talking to criminologist Imran Awan. They also explore the human attraction to violent displays in such productions as Titus Andronicus:
…..five times he hath return'd
Bleeding to Rome, bearing his valiant sons
In coffins from the field;
And now at last, laden with horror's spoils,
Returns the good Andronicus to Rome,
Renowned Titus, flourishing in arms.

The show also investigates why Nazi extremists were drawn to Shakespeare's most iconic characters, as well as Shakespeare's ominous presence in the Abraham Lincoln assassination.

Dr Issa also visits Stratford-Upon-Avon, meeting Paul Edmondson to discuss how Shakespeare lived through the threat of the UK's biggest ever terror plot – The Gunpowder Plot.

Shakespeare would have been familiar with the conspirators, and had the plot been carried out, it would have been more devastating than even the 7/7 bombers intended: “Thirty-thousand persons would have perished at a stroke … a spectacle so terrible and terrifying ?

With insight from the critic Ewan Fernie, Dr Issa also investigates why Nazi extremists were drawn to Shakespeare's most iconic characters, as well as Shakespeare's ominous presence in the Abraham Lincoln assassination.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall

Two NGAs ask: is it wrong to have children? Do terrorists have a problem with Shakespeare?

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature."

Shakespeare would have been familiar with the conspirators, and had the plot been carried out, it would have been more devastating than even the 7/7 bombers intended: “Thirty-thousand persons would have perished at a stroke … a spectacle so terrible and terrifying”.

20210321New Generation Thinker Alun Withey with a short feature on the history of men's personal grooming, showing that both the practices and the arguments about men's use of 'product' have a longer history than we might think.

The market for male cosmetic products is on the rise, especially in the Zoom age as blemishes are revealed in close-up. But men's cosmetics are not new: the 18th century saw the birth of a whole range of shaving soaps, pastes, powders and lotions. And just like today, their use sparked debates about manliness and over-attention to appearance.

Producer: Eliane Glaser

New Generation Thinkers test their theories in the real world.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

20210523New Generation Thinker Tom Smith reflects on the effect the pandemic has had on the creativity of nightclubs. Club culture has had to improvise during the lockdown as it moved from the dance floor to the living room. But the haven that the night club provides for different communities has been badly missed. How will it have changed when the doors finally reopen and clubbers come back together?

Producer Neil McCarthy

New Generation Thinker Tom Smith explores post-lockdown club culture and what's changed.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

A Passion For Annotations20201227When Dr Kylie Murray started annotating her school textbooks, it was done with the zeal and enthusiasm of a young scholar getting to grips with the wisdom of the ages. But since then she's come to treasure the annotations of others, particularly the ones that appear in the medieval manuscripts she studies. In this short feature Kylie introduces us to some of them, including Johnny Hamyll whose tough existence as a minster of the Protestant church might have faded from history were it not for his annotations of his copy of Boethius' Consolations of Philosophy. Johnny was once the victim of a summons from his local community in Auchterarder in Perthshire for 'dinging and crewall hurting' but he survives unscathed in the notes and comments of what was clearly a favourite book.

Kyle meets more textual ghosts in the virtual company of Julie Gardham and Robert MaClean of the Library of the University of Glasgow, and she talks to Dr April Pierce of the Oxford Marginalia Facebook Page who celebrates the fact that annotating is alive and well in the digital age. And not only that, because of the wonders of technology it can be done without harming original texts or manuscripts. April is a teacher and she recognises annotations as a sure fire way to identify that her students are engaging with texts rather than absorbing them uncritically.

Producer: Tom Alban

Dr Kylie Murray explains her fascination for annotation.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

Covid And The Black Death; The Imperfect Fit20201018It's understandable that, with the onset of a global pandemic, commentators have looked to the past for comparisons. But Dr Seb Falk is concerned that with the easy headlines about the mortality rate or the economic damage, or even the positive transformations inspired by plagues of the past and particularly in his field, the Black Death of the medieval period, more subtle comparisons emerging from exciting new Plague research are being overlooked. He hears from Dr Monica Green, a leading authority on the true origins and journey of the Black Death and finds, in her use of palaeogenetic research, refinements about the plague and its impact on those who lived with it. And he talks to Dr Zoë Fritz, consultant physician and Wellcome Fellow in Society and Ethics at the University of Cambridge, about the human responses beyond the science today that echo the experiences of our ancestors centuries ago. Rather than mortality rates and economic trauma, the more profound links might be the twin challenges of uncertainty and impotence and the human desire to overcome or deny both.

Producer: Tom Alban

Dr Seb Falk challenges the repeated pandemic comparison of Covid-19 with the Black Death.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

Edmund Richardson And Sarah Jackson20171203In search of the Tomb of Alexander the Great, and The Voice and the Machine.
Euphemism And Eroticism In Scottish Gaelic Songs20161113Part of Radio 3's focus on fresh ideas this week and our partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council helping academics turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest.

Dr Peter Mackay takes us on a romp through the titillating, bawdy and sometimes downright filthy Scottish Gaelic songs. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a tendency to clean up Gaelic poetry and censor the undesirable elements, often with religious motivation. But even the most celebrated Gaelic poets wrote verse that was exuberantly and excessively rude and there is an oral tradition of obscene and euphemistic songs. Peter teases out the suggestive references taking us from the Isle of Skye through the rabble-rousing ceilidh house to the work of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns.

Dr Peter Mackay is Lecturer in English at the University of St Andrews

Producer: Clare Walker

2. Reappraising Nollekens

Joseph Nollekens was one of the most revered and prolific sculptors of the eighteenth century. His monuments, portraits busts and sculptures capture the leading politicians and celebrities of his age, inlcuding Dr Johnson, William Pitt the Younger and Charles James Fox and he died enormously rich. But when a disgruntled assistant wrote a malicious biography claiming he was a miser, an eccentric and a fool, Nollekens' reputation was badly tarnished. Dr Danielle Thom sets out to rescue Nollekens from relative obscurity and restore him to his rightful place in the history of English sculpture.

Dr Danielle Thom is curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, specialising in 18th century art.

Producer: Julia Johnson.

As part of Radio Three's partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council helping young academics turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest.

"Part of Radio 3's focus on fresh ideas this week and our partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council helping academics turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest.

As part of Radio Three's partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council helping young academics turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest."

"

Euphemism and eroticism in Gaelic songs and reappraising sculptor Joseph Nollekens.

Glitter And Villainy20191229In a seasonal offering from Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, Sheffield-based theatre director, storyteller and medievalist, Daisy Black, dons the most glittery of all the costumes in the wardrobe to tell the story of camp villains from, she says, King Herod, down through the Bayeux tapestry, to this year's latest oh-no-he-isn't pantomime baddies, on stage this Christmas.

Producer: Simon Elmes

Glitter and Villainy: Camp performance and dressing to kill.

Hope Mirlees In Paris20161120"

Part of Radio 3's partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council working with academics to turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest.

The name Hope Mirlees is largely forgotten, but her long poem about Paris is increasingly considered a lost Modernist masterpiece.

Set within a single day in post-World War One Paris, the poem features a collage of overheard snatches of conversation on the newly-opened Metro, children's games, ancient Greek jokes, French double entendres, musical notation, advertising jingles, memorials carved into gravestones, the cries of street vendors and much more.

Sandeep Parmar traces the poem from the house in the Rue de Beaune, which Hope Mirlees shared with the Cambridge classicist Jane Harrison, across the Seine to the Tuileries Gardens, up to seedier corners of Montmartre and back down to the doors of Notre Dame. She speaks with Lauren Elkin, the author of a recent book on women walking in Paris, Flaneuse; with Geoffrey Gilbert from the American University of Paris; and with Professor Mary Beard, who has written a biography of Jane Harrison.

With a new reading of extracts of the poem, Sandeep makes a powerful case for Paris to enter the canon of Modernist literature.

Sandeep Parmar is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

2. The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War. The story of the vibrant Jewish communities in North Africa during the Second World War and their subsequent fates has long been overshadowed by the destruction of European Jewry in Nazi occupied Europe. Here Professor Daniel Lee reveals the rich, multi-layered worlds of faith and culture in Tunisia, Morocco and Libya and the impact of the implementation of Vichy and Italian antisemitic laws that accompanied the Nazi invasion of North Africa in 1942. Such events are entirely unknown to British audiences. The Jews of North Africa are invisible in the Imperial War Museum's permanent exhibition on the Holocaust, which describes only the experiences of ""Europe's Jews'

Producer: Mark Burman

You can find more new research on BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking programmes broadcast last week as part of Radio 3's week long focus on fresh ideas and in the collection of New Generation Thinkers on the Free Thinking website and available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts."

2. The Jews of North Africa during the Second World War. The story of the vibrant Jewish communities in North Africa during the Second World War and their subsequent fates has long been overshadowed by the destruction of European Jewry in Nazi occupied Europe. Here Professor Daniel Lee reveals the rich, multi-layered worlds of faith and culture in Tunisia, Morocco and Libya and the impact of the implementation of Vichy and Italian antisemitic laws that accompanied the Nazi invasion of North Africa in 1942. Such events are entirely unknown to British audiences. The Jews of North Africa are invisible in the Imperial War Museum's permanent exhibition on the Holocaust, which describes only the experiences of "Europe's Jews'

"Part of Radio 3's partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council working with academics to turn their research into radio, two New Generation Thinkers present documentaries on their special area of interest.

"

Features about lost modernist poet Hope Mirlees and North Africa's Jews during WWII.

Sloe Time20201004Lockdown encourages us to keep local, but for many this has been rewarded with a new take on the close-by, the ordinary, in the natural world (even as nature is wreaking havoc) - such as the humble blackthorn.

New Generation Thinker Dr Lisa Mullen is fascinated by the beauty, cruelty and danger inherent in the blackthorn - flowers, spikes and fruit – the sloes whose alien green flesh dries the mouth, but combines with gin to make the perfect winter drink.

Not a ‘charismatic mega – fauna', like the Giant Redwood, blackthorns dense, strong, dark wood, rippling with veins of toffee, plays an important role in holding our countryside together; dividing fields, feeding us and delighting in being one of the first to blossom in spring.

“A dense thicket, bristling with spines - you realise why blackthorn was used defensively as a dead hedge by the Saxon's, the true precursor of barbed wire.” Roger Deakin

Blackthorn's physical characteristics make it a popular baddie - folk lore depicts it as dangerous as well as useful. Robert McFarlane - a passionate advocate for nature – even describes the blackthorn as “the widow maker” - for its easily infected wounds.

Reliving childhood adventures in the Chiltern's, pretending to be the princess in the thorny bush, Lisa recalls dangerous, warning stabs from the blackthorns cruel spikes. She talks to Samuel Robinson, coppicer and woodsman, who knows the blackthorn better than most. For Lisa he sings a beautiful song about the blackthorn winter, the false spring, his dog's violent encounter with a deer, and his own confrontation with death.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall
Music by Samuel Robinson - ‘Blackthorn' - featuring Hannah Flynn
https://samrobinson.bandcamp.com/
And “Walking on Black Meadow” by The Soulless Party

Nature's barbed wire - and giver of a fruit that creates a delicious warming tipple.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

Susan Greaney And The Jomon Connection20200419Archeologist Susan Greaney has spent much of her life studying the Neolithic monuments of the British isles, including Stonehenge. As part of her role at English Heritage she was invited recently to travel to Japan to see what was happening there at much the same time that the massive stones were being assembled on the high ground in Wiltshire. In this programme Susan reports from three sites in northern Japan were the ancient Jomon civilisations also turned to stones, gathered and shaped in circular formations, for what appear to have been ritual ceremonies. That, half a world away, two peoples should have sought to reflect and respond to nature in this way is astonishing and Susan's knowledge of the ancient past here inspires a new fascination for the sophistication of Japan's ancient history and the relative wealth of material, in the form of pottery and traces of domestic life, that are to be found in these old Jomon sites.

Susan Greaney draws parallels and makes connections between the Neolithic peoples of Britain and the ancient Jomon civilisation of Japan, both of whom used circles of stone in ritual celebrations.

New Generation Thinkers test their theories in the real world.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

The Air That I Breathe20200315Dr Alun Withey became interested in our attitudes to clean air through his study of the beard. A curious piece of Victorian wisdom caught his eye. In extolling the wisdom of the full beard a particularly keen enthusiast suggested that the beard was 'nature's respirator'. Further research lead him to the inventor of the respirator, one Julius Jeffreys, and the subsequent use of it. Following on from that was a growing understanding of how the Victorians responded to the air that they were forced to breathe in increasingly smog-bound cities.

He talks to experts today about our city air and why our thinking remains somewhat confused when it comes to our attitudes to clean air when the pea souper smogs have gone, and - without any reference to face masks used for Coronavirus protection - he explores the extent to which respirators then and now have proved either popular or effective as a response to the fundamental desire for clean air.

Producer: Tom Alban

New Generation Thinker Alun Withey reflects on our desire for clean air.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

The Crankiness Of Cw Daniel20200426Dr Elsa Richardson explores the impact and legacy of radical publisher CW Daniel.

Dr Elsa Richardson studies the history of life reform in Britain, tracking subjects which today are of mainstream importance but were, back in the early years of the 20th century seen to be the territory of eccentrics and cranks. In the process of reading about vegetarianism, herbal medicine, nudism, sunbathing and alternative forms of spirituality as conceived by writers in the early 1900s, she began to notice the significance of the publisher CW Daniel.

In this programme Elsa explores the Daniel publishing story, its roots in Tolstoyan Christianity and the way it became a hub for radical thinkers far removed from the political activism of the women's suffrage and rising Labour movement. CW Daniel's story, his arrests during the First World War for publishing pacifist material and his relationship and meeting with Leo Tolstoy towards the end of the great Russian novelists life, are extraordinary. At the heart of his publishing efforts was a periodical The Crank, which celebrated the spirit of change and progress that he and his wife to be Florence Worland, believed in so passionately.

Elsa also asks how the breadth of the Daniel's interests has fared over time. There was a renewed interest in the 70s but many of the lifestyle ideas, which seemed so radical in the 20th century are now accepted as something close to mainstream in the 21st.

Producer: Tom Alban

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

New Generation Thinkers test their theories in the real world.

The Endless Demise Of The High Street20200329With the rise of internet shopping, high rental rates and declining footfall, it appears that the end is nigh for our high streets. But the end has been nigh for at least the last 50 years and yet still it keeps re-inventing itself. Dr Jade Halbert goes back to her native Glasgow to speak to people who fear that this time there may well be a wolf at the door and others who believe that a revolution is coming which will mean a re-think, but not necessarily the death, of the high street as we've come to know it.

Producer: Tom Alban

Dr Jade Halbert ponders the veracity of the long-running warnings of high street demise.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.