2013 Festival

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
Free Thinking2013111220140902

In a bid to reach new audiences, theatre is increasingly moving off the stage and the visual arts are coming out of the gallery, but is this a welcome trend? Matthew Sweet chairs the Free Thinking panel: BALTIC Curator Godfrey Worsdale, critic Sarah Kent, artist Wolfgang Weileder and Helen Marriage, director of Artichoke, the arts company responsible for a puppet elephant parading through London and Durham's Lumiere street light festival.

Producer: Fiona McLean

Image Credit: 'The Sultan's Elephant' by Royal de Luxe, produced in London in 2006 by Artichoke. Photo copyright Sophie Laslett.

Free Thinking2013111320140822

What is the place of food and body image in contemporary culture? Lionel Shriver is the author of novels including We Need To Talk About Kevin and Big Brother, which depicts the impact of food obsession on family relationships. Dr Val Curtis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is the author of Don't Look, Don't Touch: The Science Behind Revulsion. Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival brought them together for a discussion chaired by Samira Ahmed.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

First broadcast in November 2013.

01Free Thinking2013102820140825

When Lindisfarne monastery was attacked in 793AD the monk Alcuin described the church of St Cuthbert, "splattered with the blood of the priests." New Generation Thinker Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, from Durham University, takes this moment as the starting point for an exploration of the power battles between Vikings and Anglo Saxons which led to the symbolic battles of 1066.

New Generation Thinkers are the winners of a talent scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find the brightest academic minds with the potential to turn their ideas into radio broadcasts.

Producer: Philippa Ritchie

First broadcast in October 2013.

02Free Thinking2013102920140829

A 15th-century English monarch was appointed by God and had absolute supremacy but how was that belief shaken when medieval kings were unfit to rule or the throne was contested? New Generation Thinker Sarah Peverley, from Liverpool University, looks at the way the people viewed their rulers during the Wars of the Roses.

Producer: Fiona McLean

First broadcast in October 2013.

03Free Thinking2013103020140826

Annie Besant promoted contraceptive advice to the Victorian working classes. In 1877 she was prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act. New Generation Thinker Fern Riddell, from King's Collge London, outlines Besant's arguments and explores the ensuing debates about respectability and sexual behaviour in 19th-century England.

Producer: Philippa Ritchie

First broadcast in October 2013.

04Free Thinking2013103120140827

Defenders of traditional English language and grammar often present themselves as purists but New Generation Thinker John Gallagher, from Cambridge University, argues that we have always borrowed words and adapted phrases. His essay outlines the impact C16th and C17th global exploration and trade had on our native tongue.

Producer: Neil Trevithick

First broadcast in October 2013.

05Free Thinking2013110120140828

The audience at a rock concert adoring the star; a Pentecostalist congregation praising God; an athlete reaching the pitch of performance known as "the zone" - these can all be described as feelings of "ecstasy". Jules Evans, from Queen Mary, University of London, examines rationalist arguments about elation being a form of madness and asks whether it is beneficial or dangerous to feel ecstatic.

Producer: Zahid Warley

First broadcast in November 2013.

06Free Thinking2013110420140828

From HG Wells and Margaret Atwood to Battlestar Galactica, science fiction texts and tv series have long used birth control as a metaphor for the limits on individual freedom. Sarah Dillon, from the University of St Andrews, looks at the roles for women which science fiction has imagined and asks is sci-fi sexist?

Producer: Luke Mulhall

First broadcast in November 2013.

09Free Thinking2013110720140827

What do recent debates among medical ethicists and lawyers over male infant circumcision reveal about the different ways we view male and female bodies? Rebecca Steinfeld, from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, looks at changing attitudes to religious traditions involving genital cutting.

Producer: Zahid Warley

First broadcast in November 2013.