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The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews with artists, scientists and public figures, vociferous debates, and reviews of the latest cultural events. Free Thinking is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Tues – Thurs 10pm

The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews with artists, scientists and public figures, vociferous debates, and reviews of the latest cultural events. Free Thinking is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Tues – Thurs 10pm
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The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews with artists, scientists and public figures, vociferous debates, and reviews of the latest cultural events. Free Thinking is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Tues – Thurs 10pm




Reflecting Rural Life

Film maker Clio Barnard and novelist Amanda Craig on rural life. Matthew Sweet presents.


Free Thinking: Mark Dion; Colour, Insects, Virginia Woolf

American artist, Mark Dion has a new exhibition on in London: Theatre of the Natural World . Dion is exhilarated by the natural world but tells Anne McElvoy why his art is about how we classify it and what that says about us. Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings opens at Tate St Ives so Anne McElvoy finds out how questions about colour perception and insect behaviour in turn inspired the writer. Literary scholars Claudia Tobin and Rachel Murray discuss. Evolutionary...


How Big Should the State Be?

David Willetts, Polly Toynbee, Baroness Simone Finn, Julia Black and Adrian Wooldridge join Anne McElvoy for a debate recorded with an audience at the LSE Festival Beveridge 2.0


Michael Ignatieff and Central Europe

Philip Dodd talks to Michael Ignatieff about the political landscape of central Europe.


Tariq Ali

1968 was one of the most seismic years in recent history -- Vietnam, the Prague spring, Black Power at the Olympics and protests on the streets of Paris and London so this evening's programme -- Rana Mitter's extended interview with Tariq Ali -- is part commemoration, part reassessment. What remains of that turbulent time and where can we discern its features in our political landscape today? Rana takes Tariq back to his life as a boy in Lahore - a city where his radical parents regularly...


Podcast: Celebrating Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta explored child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education in over 20 books. Born in 1944 in an Ibusa village, she lost her father aged eight, travelled to London and made a career as a writer whilst bringing up five children on her own, working by day and studying at night for a degree. Shahidha Bari talks to her son Sylvester Onwordi, to New Generation Thinker Louisa Egbunike, to publisher Margaret Busby and magazine editor Kadija George. We also...


Trade, Davos, Ocean travel and Mermaids

Anne McElvoy looks at trade past and present as she discusses a book questioning economists' reliance on GDP with its author, David Pilling, and reports on debates from the world economic forum annual meeting at Davos with American reporter Rob Cox. She also looks at a new novel depicting a "mermaid" displayed as a visitor attraction by an 18th century London-based merchant, and is shown around an exhibition exploring the design and impact of ocean liners with one of its curators,...


The Working Class in Culture

Writer Bea Campbell, artist Scottee, historian Emma Griffin, journalist Simon Jenkins & economist Guy Standing join Philip Dodd to consider the working class in culture. The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing is available now Scottee's Working Class Dinner Party is at Camden People's Theatre on 28 April as part of the Common People Festival from 17 to 28 April and his show Bravado continues to tour in April End of Equality by Beatrix Campbell is available now Emma Griffin's...


Landmark: Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries

Matthew Sweet discusses Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries with the writer Colm Toibin, the film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh and the Swedish Cultural Attaché Ellen Wettmark. Released in 1957 and inspired by Bergman's own memories of childhood holidays in a summerhouse in the north of Sweden, Wild Strawberries tells the story of elderly professor Isak Borg, who travels from his home in Stockholm to receive an honorary doctorate. On the way, he's visited by childhood memories. The film stars...


Burns the Radical; Exploration

From Ecuador to the Scottish borders: Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough meets Maren Meinhardt and Graham Robb who explore the land on their doorsteps and also follow in the footsteps of others from Humboldt the naturalist and explorer to the forgotten territory of the Debatable Land. They'll be joined by novelist Natasha Pulley whose fascination with Victorian exploration and empire building is reflected in her latest novel The Bedlam Stacks which took her to Peru. Another Burns night and...


Royalty, art and patronage.

Craig Brown, Afua Hirsch, Robert Jobson, A. N. Wilson and New Generation Thinker Joe Moshenska discuss the monarchy as the Royal Academy and the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace stage exhibitions exploring the painting collections of Charles I and II. How has patronage changed and, in this year of another Royal Wedding, what impact are depictions in TV dramas such as The Crown and biographies including Craig Brown's Ma'am Darling having on our view of royalty? Philip Dodd presents....


Oscar Contenders, Movie Moguls and Silent Film Stars

Matthew Sweet is joined by critics Ryan Gilbey and Ellen E Jones to look at the films nominated for this year's Academy Awards and the tradition of films with a campaigning message. Film historian Vanda Krefft charts the complicated life of William Fox, the man who founded the Fox Film Corporation. Comedian Lucy Porter and author Steve Massa celebrate the women of the silent era who starred alongside the likes of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. The Man Who Made the Movies: The Meteoric...


Frankenstein and AI now.

Fiona Sampson, Daisy Hay, Christopher Frayling and David H. Guston join Matthew Sweet to discuss Mary Shelley's story in film, fiction and the view of AI scientists now. In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by the poet and writer Fiona Sampson is out now. Christopher Frayling has published Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years Dr Daisy Hay is Senior Lecturer, English Literature and Archival Studies at the University of Exeter and a BBC Radio 3 and AHRC New...


French writing and politics

Leïla Slimani, President Macron's champion of French culture and language, is interviewed by presenter Shahidha Bari about her new role and her novel Lullaby which won the 2016 Prix Goncourt Plus Emile Chabal from the University of Edinburgh discusses Savages: The Wedding by Sabri Louatah - a novel imagining the first Arab candidate for President is shot. The TV rights for the quartet of books have been sold and the first book is winning prizes and comparisons with the Neopolitan novels of...


Australian novelist Peter Carey.

A car race around Australia is fictionalised in Peter Carey's latest novel. He talks to Rana Mitter about depicting race and racing. Josephine Quinn questions whether the Phoenicians existed as she looks at the way ancient texts and artworks helped construct an identity for the ancient civilization on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, stretching through what is now Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. Classicist and novelist Natalie Haynes discusses Ovid's tales and Rana Mitter speaks to...


Counterculture and Protest

Matthew Sweet discusses protests like the 1968 uprising at Columbia University, 1985's Battle of the Beanfield and the acid house movement with guests Paul Hartnoll of Orbital, novelist Tony White, editor Paul Cronin and writer Tessa DeCarlo. The Fountain in the Forest by Tony White is available now A Time To Stir: Columbia '68 edited by Paul Cronin is out now Producer: Debbie Kilbride


The In Between

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explores the uncanny possibilities of the In Between with the neuroscientist Dean Burnett, award-winning poet Vahni Capildeo, artist Alexandra Carr, writer and walker of London and other wastelands, Iain Sinclair, and the philosopher, Emily Thomas. How do our brains and bodies react in the In Between spaces of the airport lounge or the station platform where we're waiting to move on but temporarily in stasis and why have so many artists, writers and poets used...


Landmark: The Odyssey

Amit Chaudhuri, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Daniel Mendelsohn and Emily Wilson join Philip Dodd to explore translating, rewriting and using Homer's epic work to frame a memoir. Emily Wilson has published a new translation of The Odyssey Daniel Mendelsohn has written An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and An Epic Karen McCarthy Woolf wrote Nightshift as part of a BBC Radio 4's Odyssey Project which commissioned ten writers to create a contemporary response. Her most recent collection is called Seasonal...


Diving Deep

Diving from Tudor times through the Brooklyn Naval Yard in the Second World War to present day deep water sculpture parks and swimming with whales. Rana Mitter talks to prize-winning writer Jennifer Egan about the Sea as metaphor and how the research for her latest novel, Manhattan Beach, was the inspiration for its time-shifting, punky, award-laden predecessor, The Goon Squad. He hears from historian Miranda Kaufmann about the existence of a black population of skilled workers in Tudor...


The Invention of the Circus Ring

When Philip Astley and his trick riders performed in 1768 in a circle not a straight line in a field behind where Waterloo station is now, the idea of the circus ring was born. Matthew Sweet looks at the career of the impresario, his 42 foot diameter ring which is still the big top template and 250 years of circus with historian Vanessa Toulmin, performer Andrew Van Buren whose family have worked for 35 years to bring Astley's name to greater public attention, writer Naomi Frisby whose...


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