New Generation Thinkers

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
Hoarding or Collecting?20210423Vivian Maier left over 150,000 negatives when she died in 2009. Her boxes and boxes of unprinted street photographs were stacked alongside shoulder-high piles of newspapers in her Chicago home. The artist Francis Bacon's studio has been painstakingly recreated in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin complete with paint-spattered furniture and over 7,000 items. New Generation Thinker Diarmuid Hester's research looks at ideas about waste and in this Essay he considers what the difference might be between hoarding and collecting and between the stuff assembled by these artists and his own father's shelves of matchday programmes.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Dr Diarmuid Hester is radical cultural historian of the United States after 1950, and he teaches on sexually dissident literature, art, film, and performance at the University of Cambridge. He has published a critical biography of Dennis Cooper called Wrong and you can find his Essay for Radio 3 about Cooper in the series Books to Make Space For on the Bookshelf and his postcard about Derek Jarman's garden in the Free Thinking archives. 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 turn their research into radio.

Diarmuid Hester sorts through stuff saved by Francis Bacon, Vivian Maier and his own dad.

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

201601Food: Are We What We Eat?20161003Christopher Kissane explores the role of food in past and present conflicts over identity.

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

201602Partitioned Memories2016092720161004 (R3)
20170818 (R3)
Anindya Raychaudhuri considers people's memories of India and Pakistan in 1947.

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

201603Telephone Terrors2016092820161005 (R3)Poet Sarah Jackson explores the phone and its voices in philosophy and fiction.

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

201604Strindberg And 'the Woman Question'2016092920161006 (R3)Leah Broad considers 'the woman question' in 19th-century Scandinavian countries.

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

201605The Rise And Fall Of The Hairdresser2016093020161007 (R3)New Generation Thinker Se\u00e1n Williams on the depiction of hairdressers in prints and prose

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

201801Rehabilitating The Reverend John Trusler2018062520191007 (R3)Sophie Coulombeau tells the story of John Trusler, an eccentric Anglican minister who was the quintessential 18th-century entrepreneur. He was a prolific author, an innovative publisher, a would-be inventor, and a 'medical gentleman' of dubious qualifications. Dismissed by many as a conman and scoundrel, today, few have heard of the man but his madcap schemes often succeeded, in different forms, a century or two later. In his efforts we can trace the ancestors of the thesaurus, the self-help book, Comic Sans, professional ghostwriting, the Society of Authors, and electrotherapy. New Generation Thinker Sophie Coulombeau argues that telling his story can help us to reinterpret and rehabilitate the very idea of 'failure'.

Recorded with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas 2018.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the AHRC to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Sophie Coulombeau challenges the way we look at failure in the story of a C18 entrepreneur

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

201802The Forgotten German Princess2018062620191008 (R3)The most famous imposter of the seventeenth century - Mary Carleton. John Gallagher, of the University of Leeds, argues that the story of the "German Princess" raises questions about what evidence we believe and the currency of shame.

Her real name was thought to be Mary Moders and she became a media sensation in Restoration London, after her husband's family, greedy for the riches they believed her to be concealing, accused her of bigamy and put her on trial for her life. Her life, and what remains to us of it, forces us to ask hard questions of the sources from her time. Whose word do we trust?

Recorded with an audience at the 2018 York Festival of Ideas.
New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

The tale of Mary Moders, a C17 bigamist and media sensation, is retold by John Gallagher.

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

201803Sarah Scott And The Dream Of A Female Utopia2018062720191009 (R3)A radical community of women set up in 1760s rural England is explored in an essay from New Generation Thinker Lucy Powell, recorded with an audience at the 2018 York Festival of Ideas.

Sarah Scott's first novel, published in 1750, was a conventional French-style romance, the fitting literary expression of a younger daughter of the lesser gentry. One year later, she had scandalously fled her husband's house, and pooled finances and set up home with her life-long partner, Lady Barbara Montagu. Her fourth novel, Millennium Hall, described in practical detail the communal existence of a group of women who had taken refuge in each other's company and created an all-female utopia in rural England. On Lady Bab's death, in 1765, Scott would attempt to create this radical community in actuality. Lucy Powell will explore the life, work, and far-reaching influence of this extraordinary writer.

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

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Lucy Powell tells the story of a radical community of women set up in 1760s rural England.

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

201804John Gower, The Forgotten Medieval Poet2018062820191010 (R3)The lawyer turned poet whose response to political upheaval has lessons for our time - explored by New Generation Thinker Seb Falk with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas

The 14th century's most eloquent pessimist, John Gower has forever been overshadowed by his funnier friend Chaucer. Yet his trilingual poetry is truly encyclopedic, mixing social commentary, romance and even science. Writing 'somewhat of lust, somewhat of lore', Gower's response to political upheaval was to 'shoot my arrows at the world'. Whether you want to be cured of lovesickness or learn the secrets of alchemy, John Gower has something to tell you.

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

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Curing lovesickness or learning alchemy's secrets. Seb Falk on Chaucer's friend John Gower

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

201805Elizabeth Cady Stanton And Women's Rights2018062920191011 (R3)170 years ago one woman launched the beginning of the modern women's rights movement in America. New Generation Thinker Joanna Cohen of Queen Mary University of London looks back at her story and what lessons it has for politics now.

In the small town of Seneca Falls in upstate New York, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote The Declaration of Sentiments, a manifesto that took one of the nation's most revered founding documents, Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, and turned its condemnation of British tyranny into a blistering attack on the tyranny of American men. But why did Stanton choose to rebrand her claim for rights with the power of sentiment?

Recorded with an audience at the York Festival of Ideas.

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

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Joanna Cohen looks back at the manifesto which remodelled the Declaration of Independence.

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

2019Of Dogs And Duchesses20191117Sometime in the late eighteenth century, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, sat in Chatsworth House penning a poem to her pooch. Although heartfelt, at first glance there is little to say about this doggerel verse. The rhymes are bad and it ends abruptly, we don't know the date, and we are none the wiser about the name of the canine companion in which Georgiana confided...

But if we look across Europe around this time, lap dogs and house dogs were being written about more than ever before. And - allegedly - picking up the pen themselves… they sent letters, not infrequently in French: Frederick the Great's princessly whippet replied to a little spaniel who solicited her affections; the flirtatious Madame Rococo sent a note to the 6th Duke of Devonshire's Mr Bony… and dogs took on leading roles in popular literature of the age, too.

Dr Seán Williams from University of Sheffield is curious about these scraps of cultural history. They tell us as much about humans, our ideals and fears, as they do about man's best friend. Seán visits the archives at Chatsworth, digs up readings from Germany, and talks to historian Ingrid Tague, an expert on pets in the eighteenth century. In that period, ideas of innate goodness and trained, proper sociability - the best version of humanity in a civilised world - were projected onto little dogs. But lapdogs in particular also characterised modern society's ills, sent up in satire to show the worst sides of their human owners.

Creative dogs that voice such cultural aspirations and anxieties are also common today - though they're more likely to be found on social media than as epistles penned by paws. So Seán visits a Pop-Up-Pug-Cafe - surely a first on BBC Radio 3 - where there are pugs a plenty - a dog breed that has been in Britain since the royal court of William and Mary, and mocked by none other than Jane Austen...
He meets 21st century canine characters, to get their own opinions, as well as those of their two-legged friends.

Dr Seán Williams is Lecturer in German and European Cultural History at the University of Sheffield, with a dogged devotion to the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He's a BBC New Generation Thinker.

Dr Ingrid Tague is Associate Professor of History at the University of Denver in the US. She's author of Animal Companions: Pets and Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Britain (2015, Penn State University Press).

Producer: Sara Jane Hall

Who knew the fluffy, furry lap dog had such depths.

Short feature from one of the 2019 BBC New Generation Thinkers.

Sometime in the late eighteenth century, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, sat at Chatsworth penning a poem to her pooch. Although heartfelt, at first glance there is little to say about this doggerel verse. Its bad rhymes end abruptly, we don't know the date, and we are none the wiser about the name of the canine companion in which Georgiana confided...

But if we look across Europe around this time, lap dogs and house dogs were being written about more than ever before. And — allegedly — they were picking up the pen themselves… they sent letters, not infrequently in French. Frederick the Great's princessly whippet replied to a little spaniel who solicited her affections. The flirtatious Madame Roccoco sent a note to the 6th Duke of Devonshire's Mr Bony… And dogs took on leading roles in popular literature of the age, too.

Dr Seán Williams from University of Sheffield is curious about these scraps of cultural history. They tell us as much about humans, our ideals and fears, as they do about man's best friend. Seán visits the archives at Chatsworth, digs up readings from Germany, and talks to historian Ingrid Tague, an expert on pets in the eighteenth century. In that period, ideas of innate goodness and trained, proper sociability — the best version of humanity in a civilised world — were projected onto little dogs. But lapdogs in particular also characterised modern society's ills, sent up in satire to show the worst sides of their human owners.

Creative dogs that voice such cultural aspirations and anxieties are also common today. Though they're more likely to be found on social media than as epistles penned by paws. So Seán visits a dog café where there are pugs a plenty — a little dog that has been in Britain since the royal court of William and Mary, and a breed mocked by none other than Jane Austen... He meets 21st canine characters, to get their own opinions, as well as those of their two-legged friends.

Who knew the fluffy, furry lap dog had such depths!

2019Sir Isaac Newton And The Philosopher's Stone20190630Dafydd Mills Daniel investigates Sir Isaac Newton's more obscure studies in alchemy, hoping to find out what they can tell us about modern notions of religion, science and reason.

Famous falling apple victim Sir Isaac Newton is known for his formation of the theories of gravity, calculus and motion. Yet while we celebrate Newton's scientific achievements to this day, other areas of his studies remain almost entirely unheard of; his theology, which was spurred on by his devout christian beliefs and his research into the occult world of Alchemy.

Much of Newton's writing details his search for the Philosopher's Stone, a rock made of the material God used to create the Universe. Theologian and former Religious Education teacher Dafydd Mills Daniel goes on a trail to discover what Newton the Alchemist can tell us about our world today. Is the way that Newton blurred the boundaries of faith, science and magic irrelevant in our modern, secular age? Or does his legacy live on?

Dafydd goes in search of answers from pagans, theoretical physicists and even the great natural philosopher himself.

Presented by Dafydd Mills Daniel and Produced by Sam Peach, with readings by Chris Pavlo.

Dafydd Mills Daniel investigates Newton's obscure studies of Alchemy for today's world.

Short feature from one of the 2019 BBC New Generation Thinkers.

Short feature from one of the 2019 BBC New Generation Thinkers.

202001Berlin, Detroit, Race And Techno Music20200629Tom Smith looks at the early pioneers of this music scene & arguments about whiteness now.

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

Tom Smith looks at the early pioneers of techno and arguments about whiteness now.

When Tom Smith sets out to research allegations of racism in Berlin's club scene, he finds himself face to face with his own past in techno's birthplace: Detroit. Visiting the music distributor Submerge, he considers the legacy of the pioneers Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, the influence of Afro-futurism and the work done in Berlin to popularise techno by figures including Kemal Kurum and Claudia Wahjudi. But the vibrant culture which seeks to be inclusive has been accused of whiteness and the Essay ends with a consideration of the experiences of clubbers depicted in the poetry of Michael Hyperion Küppers.

Tom Smith is a New Generation Thinker who lectures in German at the University of St Andrews. You can find another Essay from him called Masculinity Comrades in Arms recorded at the York Festival of Ideas 2019 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00061m5 and a New Thinking podcast discussion Rubble Culture to techno in post war Germany https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07srdmh

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

Producer: Robyn Read

202002Digging Deep20200630Susan Greaney asks whether Neolithic attitudes to the earth could shape our thinking.

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

There is fascinating evidence that 5,000 years ago, people living in Britain and Ireland had a deep and meaningful relationship with the underworld seen in the carved chalk, animal bones and human skeletons found at Cranborne Chase in Dorset in a large pit, at the base of which had been sunk a 7-metre-deep shaft. Other examples considered in this Essay include Carrowkeel in County Sligo, the passage tombs in the Boyne Valley in eastern Ireland and the Priddy Circles in the Mendip Hills in Somerset. If prehistoric people regarded the earth as a powerful, animate being that needed to be placated and honoured, perhaps there are lessons here for our own attitudes to the world beneath our feet.

Susan Greaney is a New Generation Thinker who works for English Heritage at Stonehenge and who is studying for her PHD at Cardiff University.
New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council which selects ten academics each year to turn their research into radio. You can hear her journey to Japan to compare the Jomon civilisations with Stonehenge as a Radio 3 Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hgqx

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

202003Coming Out Crip And Acts Of Care20200701This Essay tells a story of political marches and everyday acts of radical care; of sledgehammers and bags of rice; of the struggles for justice waged by migrant domestic workers but it also charts the realisation of Ella Parry-Davies, that acknowledging publicly for the first time her own condition of epilepsy – or “coming out crip” – is part of the story of our blindness to inequalities in healthcare and living conditions faced by many migrant workers.

Ella Parry-Davies is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London working on an oral history project creating sound walks by interviewing migrant domestic workers in the UK and Lebanon. You can hear her discussing her research in a Free Thinking episode called Stanley Spencer, Domestic Servants, Surrogacy https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000573q

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

Producer: Robyn Read

Ella Parry-Davies draws on experiences of migrant domestic workers in the UK and Lebanon.

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

202004Tudor Virtual Reality20200702The link between VR dinosaurs and a Tudor wall painting of the Judgement of Solomon.

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

What's the link between VR dinosaurs and a Tudor painting of the Judgement of Solomon?

Advances in robotics and virtual reality are giving us ever more 'realistic' ways of representing the world, but the quest for vivid
visualisation is thousands of years old. This essay takes the guide to oratory and getting your message across written by the ancient Roman Quintilian and focuses in on a wall painting of The Judgment of Solomon in an Elizabethan house in the village of Much Hadham in Hertfordshire. Often written off as stiff, formal and artificial with arguments that the Reformation fear of idolatry stifled Elizabethan art, New Generation Thinker Christina Faraday argues that story telling and conveying vivid detail was an important part of painting in this period as art was used to communicate messages to serve social, political and religious ends.
Christina Faraday is a New Generation Thinker who lectures in the History of Art at the University of Cambridge. You can hear her discussing the history of fairgrounds at the end of a Free Thinking episode called Kindness https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000j9cd and her work on an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of the painting of Nicholas Hilliard in a Free Thinking episode about the joy of miniatures https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002mk2

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

Producer: Luke Mulhall

202005Not Quite Jean Muir20200703Jade Halbert lectures in fashion but has never done any sewing. She swaps pen and paper for needle and thread to create a dress from a Jean Muir pattern. In a diary charting her progress, she reflects on the skills of textile workers she has interviewed as part of a project charting the fashion trade in Glasgow and upon the banning of pins on a factory floor, the experiences of specialist sleeve setters and cutters, and whether it is ok to lick your chalk.
Jade Halbert is a Lecturer, Fashion Business and Cultural Studies at the University of Huddersfield. You can find her investigation into fashion and the high street as a Radio 3 Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gvpn and taking part in a Free Thinking discussion called The Joy of Sewing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002mk2

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten early career academics to turn their research into radio.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

How does sewing a dress add to Jade Halbert's understanding of disappearing skills.

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

202006Dam Fever And The Diaspora20200706How do large dam projects attract adoration, despite the lessons of the twentieth century?

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

New Generation Thinker Majed Akhter explores how large dam projects continue to form reservoirs of hope for a sustainable future. Despite their known drawbacks, our love affair with dams has not abated – across the world more than 3,500 dams are in various stages of construction. In Pakistan this has become entwined with nationalism, both inside the community and in the diaspora - but what are the dangers of this “dam fever” ? This Essay traces the history of river development in the region, from the early twentieth century “canal colonies” in Punjab, to Cold War mega-projects, to the contemporary drive to build large new dams. Previously an engineer and a resource economist, Majed Akhter now lectures in geography at King's College London. you can hear him discussing the politics of rivers in a Free Thinking episode called Rivers and geopolitics https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00051hb

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

Producer: Alex Mansfield

202007Facing Facts20200707From duelling injuries to eye patches, Emily Cock asks how we respond to peoples' faces.

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

Earlier periods of history have seen more people with scarring to their faces from duelling injuries and infectious diseases but what stopped this leading to a greater tolerance of facial difference? Historian Emily Cock considers the case of the Puritan William Prynne and looks at a range of strategies people used to improve their looks from eye patches to buying replacement teeth from the mouths of the poor, whose low-sugar diets kept their dentures better preserved than their aristocratic neighbours. In portraits and medical histories she finds examples of the elision between beauty and morality. With techniques such as ‘Metoposcopy', which focused on interpreting the wrinkles on your forehead and the fact that enacting the law led to deliberate cut marks being made - this Essay reflects on the difficult terrain of judging by appearance.

Emily Cock is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cardiff working on a project looking at Disfigurement in Britain and its Colonies 1600 – 1850.
You can hear her discussing her research with Fay Alberti, who works on facial transplants, in a New Thinking podcast episode of the Arts & Ideas podcast called About Face https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080p2bc

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

Producer: Alex Mansfield

From duelling injuries to eye patches - Emily Cock asks how we respond to peoples' faces.

202008Pogroms And Prejudice20200708Brendan McGeever looks at anti-Semitism from Russian attacks to the present day.

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

New Generation Thinker Brendan McGeever traces the links between anti-Semitism now and pogroms in the former Soviet Union and the language used to describe this form of racism.
Brendan McGeever lectures at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck University of London. You can hear him discussing an exhibition at the Jewish Museum exploring racial stereotypes in a Free Thinking episode called Sebald, anti-semitism, Carolyn Forche https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00050d2

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

Producer: Robyn Read

202009Egyptian Satire20200709The power of humour in protest.

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

Dina Rezk from the University of Reading looks at politics and the role of humour as she profiles Bassem Youssef “the Jon Stewart of Egyptian satire”. As protests reverberate around the world she looks back at the Arab Spring and asks what we can learn from the popular culture that took off during that uprising and asks whether those freedoms remain. You can hear her in a Free Thinking discussion about filming the Arab Spring https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005sjw and in a discussion about Mocking Power past and present https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dzww

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

Producer: Robyn Read

202010Prison Break20200710Prison breaks loom large in both literature and pop culture. But how should we evaluate them ethically? New Generation Thinker Jeffrey Howard asks what a world without prison would look like. His essay explores whether those unjustly incarcerated have the moral right to break out, whether the rest of us have an obligation to help -- and what the answers teach us about the ethics of punishment today. Jeffrey Howard is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Dept at University College, London whose work on dangerous speech has been funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. You can find him discussing hate speech in a Free Thinking Episode https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006tnf

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

Producer: Luke Mulhall

New Generation Thinker Jeffrey Howard asks if it is ever ok to escape from prison.

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

202101The Feurtado's Fire20210419Claude Mackay the Haarlem poet wrote about his experiences of an earthquake in Kingston in 1907. Twenty years earlier the city was putting itself back together following a devastating fire set off by a disgruntled employee. New Generation Thinker Christienna Fryar has been reading through diaries and archives and her Essay suggests that there are lessons we can take about the way societies rebuild after disasters.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Dr Christienna Fryar is Lecturer in Black British History at Goldsmiths London and convenor of the MA in Black British History, the first taught masters' programme of its kind in the UK. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Council to select ten academics each year to make radio programmes based on their research. You can find a playlist of discussions, documentaries and other Essays featuring New Generation Thinkers on the Free Thinking programme website which include Christienna hosting discussions about women and slavery, and talking with Professor Olivette Otele.

Christienna Fryar looks at Caribbean earthquakes and fires and lessons for rebuilding now.

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

202102Jean Rhys's Dress20210420Blousy chrysanthemums pattern the cotton dress, designed for wearing indoors, that a pregnant Sophie Oliver found herself owning. It helped her come to terms with motherhood. In this Essay, the New Generation Thinker reflects upon the daydreams of Jean Rhys, the way she tried to connect with her daughter Maryvonne through clothes and examples from her fiction where fashion allows dissatisfied female characters to express and transform themselves.

Producer: Ruth Watts

Dr Sophie Oliver lectures in English at the University of Liverpool and curated an exhibition at the British Library in 2016 - Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea and the Making of an Author. 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 use their research to make radio programmes.
You can find Sophie discussing a novel based on the actress Ingrid Bergman, and the writing of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath in episodes of Free Thinking available on the programme website and BBC Sounds.

A pregnant Sophie Oliver found comfort in a floral outfit owned by the Caribbean author.

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

202103A Social History Of Soup20210421The potato famine saw a Dublin barracks turned into place where starving people were given six minutes to eat their soup in silence. Tom Scott-Smith researches humanitarian relief and his Essay takes us from the father of the modern soup kitchen in 1790 Bavaria and the meaning of "to rumfordize" to Boston, America a hundred years later and a recipe developed by an MIT Professor, Ellen Swallow Richards, which dunked meat in condensed milk and flour. What lessons about society's values can we take from their different recipes for soup?

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Tom Scott-Smith is Associate Professor of Refugee Studies and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford. He has published a book called On an Empty Stomach: Two Hundred Years of Hunger Relief, and taken part in a film project Shelter without Shelter which was the winner of one of the 2020 AHRC Research in Film Awards. This research was featured in an exhibition staged by the Imperial War Museum which you can hear about in the Free Thinking episode called Refugees.. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to choose ten academics each year who use their research to make radio programmes.

Tom Scott-Smith uses four recipes to track social reforms and changes in what we value.

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

202104The Inscrutable Writing Of Sui Sin Far20210422Chinatown, New York, in 1890 was described by photo-journalist Jacob Riis as "disappointing." He focused only on images of opium dens and gambling and complained about the people living there being "secretive". But could withholding your emotions be a deliberate tactic rather than a crass stereotype of inscrutability? Xine Yao has been reading short stories from the collection Mrs. Spring Fragrance, published in 1912 by Sui Sin Far and her Essay looks at what links the Asian American Exclusion Act of 1882, the first American federal law to exclude people on the basis of national or ethnic origin, to writings by the Martinican philosopher Édouard Glissant.

Producer: Caitlin Benedict.

Xine Yao researches early and nineteenth-century American literature and teaches at University College London. She hosts a podcast PhDivas and you can hear her in Free Thinking discussions about Darwin's Descent of Man, Mould-breaking Writing and in a programme with Ian Rankin and Tahmima Anam where she talks about science fiction. New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to choose ten academics each year to turn their research into radio programmes.

Xine Yao suggests that a poker Chinese face can be a good way of fighting back

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

202105Hoarding Or Collecting?20210423Vivian Maier left over 150,000 negatives when she died in 2009. Her boxes and boxes of unprinted street photographs were stacked alongside shoulder-high piles of newspapers in her Chicago home. The artist Francis Bacon's studio has been painstakingly recreated in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin complete with paint-spattered furniture and over 7,000 items. New Generation Thinker Diarmuid Hester's research looks at ideas about waste and in this Essay he considers what the difference might be between hoarding and collecting and between the stuff assembled by these artists and his own father's shelves of matchday programmes.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Dr Diarmuid Hester is radical cultural historian of the United States after 1950, and he teaches on sexually dissident literature, art, film, and performance at the University of Cambridge. He has published a critical biography of Dennis Cooper called Wrong and you can find his Essay for Radio 3 about Cooper in the series Books to Make Space For on the Bookshelf and his postcard about Derek Jarman's garden in the Free Thinking archives. 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 turn their research into radio.

Diarmuid Hester sorts through stuff saved by Francis Bacon, Vivian Maier and his own dad.

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

202106Battlefield Finds20210426Gold fob seals, Sheffield silver, Mesolithic stone tools - these were some of the discoveries detailed in the 28 papers, books and pamphlets published by a soldier turned archaeologist who began looking at what you might find in the soil in the middle of a World War I battlefield. In her Essay, Seren Griffiths traces the way Francis Buckley used his training for military intelligence to shape the way he set about digging up and recording objects buried both in war-torn landscapes of France and then on the Yorkshire moors around his home.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Dr Seren Griffiths teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University and is involved in a project to use new scientific dating techniques to write the first historical narrative for two thousand years of what was previously 'prehistoric' Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain and Ireland. She has also organised public events at the excavations she co- directs at Bryn Celli Ddu in North Wales and you can hear her talking about midsummer at a Neolithic monument in an episode of Free Thinking.

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

Seren Griffiths tells the story of the soldier turned archaeologist Francis Buckley.

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

202107Colonial Papers20210427The First Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris 1956 staged debates about colonial history which are still playing out in the protests of the Gilets Noirs. New Generation Thinker Alexandra Reza leafs through the pages of the journal Présence Africaine, and picks out a short story by Ousmane Sembène tracing the dreams of a young woman from Senegal. Her experiences are echoed in a new experimental patchwork of writing by Nathalie Quintane called Les enfants vont bien. And what links all of these examples is the idea of papers, cahiers and identity documents.

Producer: Emma Wallace

Alexandra Reza researches post-colonial literature at the University of Oxford. You can hear her in a Free Thinking discussion about Aimé Césaire https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nmxf
She also appears alongside Tariq Ali and Kehindre Andrews in a discussion Frantz Fanon's Writing https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tdtn
And in last week's Free Thinking episode looking at the fiction of Maryse Condé https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000v86y
She is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Council to select academics to turn their research into radio.

Alexandra Reza's Essay considers the Gilets Noirs, Ousmane Semb\u00e8ne and Nathalie Quintane.

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

202108Beyond The Betting Shop20210428Darragh McGee takes the long view of the risk-based games we have played throughout history. He explores the experiences of their losers and the moral censure that their losses have attracted; from the 18th-century gentry who learned to lose their fortune with good grace at the gaming tables of Bath to the twenty-first century smartphone user, facing an altogether more lonely ordeal. He considers the cultural history gambling - and, what the games we have staked our money on through the centuries, tell us about ourselves and society.

Producer: Ruth Watts

Dr Darragh McGee teaches in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. He is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year to turn their research into radio. You can hear him talking about gambling in this Free Thinking episode
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000khhq

Darragh McGee on the history of gambling, from 18th-century card games to phone apps.

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

Producer: Ruth Watts

Dr Darragh McGee teaches in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. He is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year to turn their research into radio. You can hear him talking about gambling in this Free Thinking episode
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000khhq

Darragh McGee considers gambling, from 19th-century bookies to apps and Peaky Blinders.

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

202109A Norwegian Morality Tale20210429Eight churches were set on fire, and a taste for occult rituals and Satanic imagery spiralled into suicide and murder in the Norwegian Black metal scene of the 1990s. Lucy Weir looks at the lessons we can take from this dark story about the way we look at mental health and newspaper reporting.

Producer: Emma Wallace

Dr Lucy Weir is a specialist in dance and performance at the Edinburgh School of Art. You can hear her discussing the impact of Covid on dance performances in this Free Thinking discussion about audiences https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nvlc and her thoughts on dance and stillness https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k33s

She is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio.

Lucy Weir learns dark lessons from newspaper coverage of Black Metal and Satanic rituals.

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

202110In Praise Of Flatness20210430Why are mountains linked with uplifting feelings? Noreen Masud's Essay conjures the vast skies of Norfolk and the fantasy of hope felt by Kazuo Ishiguro's characters in his novel Never Let Me Go, the idea of openness described by Graham Swift in his fenland novel Waterland and the feeling of freedom felt by poet Stevie Smith who declared: "I like … flatness. It lifts the weight from the nerves and the mind."

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Dr Noreen Masud teaches literature at Durham University. You can hear her exploring aphorisms in this Sunday Feature https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rtxb and debating Dada in this Free Thinking discussion https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000k9ws
She is a New Generation Thinker on the scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who turn their research into radio.

Noreen Masud finds inspiration in fenlands, polished tables and Kazuo Ishiguro's novels.

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