Time and the value of doing nothing
How we deal with unwanted sexual advances and changing depictions on stage are debated.
Art & Refugees from Nazi Germany.
Writing about the Holocaust + the shock of Modernism in 1930s Britain
Slavoj Zizek, Camille Paglia, Flemming Rose
Philip Dodd and guests explore the value of causing offence
Rana Mitter with Katie Paterson Julia Blackburn Charlotte Runcie and Cutty Sark
Street Culture, Protests, Food.
Philip Dodd talks to gilet jaune and novelist Edouard Louis about streets and culture.
Encylopedias and Knowledge: from Diderot to Wikipedia.
Jimmy Wales talks Diderot & collecting knowledge + Tariq Godard on Mark Fisher aka k-punk
Self Knowledge, Global Catastrophe and Simulated Worlds
Quassim Cassam & Simon Beard with Matthew Sweet + RW Fassbinder's '70s TV sci-fi series
The film-maker talks black power, blackface and Academy Awards with Matthew Sweet.
Africa Babel China
Histories of West Africa, 20th c China, art of translation
Andrew McMillan, Lavinia Greenlaw, Elanor Dymott, Laura Mucha- the science & art of love.
Scented gloves and gossip: civility and news in the Renaissance
Shahidha Bari discusses new research on the the ins and outs of Renaissance culture
The musicals star on politics, performing, #Me Too and her Italian-American roots.
The joy of sewing, poet Fatimah Asghar, Painting in miniature
Shahidha Bari talks poetry and the web series Brown Girls, plus the history of sewing.
Authority in the Era of Populism
Louise Casey, Mary Kaldor, Jamie Bartlett, Heather Rabbatts & Rupert Reid w/ Anne McElvoy
Images of Japan
Fumio Obata and Jocelyne Allen discuss graphic art and manga.
Jack the Ripper and women as victims
Rescuing the Ripper's victims from the shadows of history
Skeuomorphs, Design and Modern Craft
Laurence Scott & Will Self on redundant features in design + a visit to Collect Craft Show
The joy of sewing, poet Fatimah Asghar, Painting in miniature.
Shahidha Bari talks poetry and the web series Brown Girls, and the history of sewing.
David Bailey, Don McCullin
Philip Dodd goes to David Bailey's studio and talks to Don McCullin about his Tate show.
Is British Culture Getting Wierder?
Gazelle Twin, Julia Bardsley, Hannah Catherine Jones, Luke Turner & William Fowler.
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Lara Feigel, David Aaronovitch, Melissa Benn, Xiaolu Guo & Matthew Sweet on Doris Lessing.
Women, relationships and the law past and present
Novelists Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Layla AlAmmar & historians Jennifer Aston + Jessica Malay
The Council Estate in Culture
Why are estates so often portrayed as incubators of social deprivation and criminality?
Partition, colonial power and the voices of C16th women
Artist Hew Locke and historians Suzannah Lipscomb, Aanchal Malhotra & Anindya Raychaudhuri
George Szirtes, Valeria Luiselli, Jhumpa Lahiri
One poet and two writers in conversation about language, migrants and personhood
Authors Max Porter, Samantha Harvey & AK Benjamin discuss empathy with Chris Harding.
Childhood faces and fears
A history of orphans, fears about brainwashing and portraits on show at Compton Verney
Philip Dodd explores the idea of betrayal
Whatever happened to Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais?
Matthew Sweet meets the TV writers of The Likely Lads, Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
Feelings, and Feelings, and Feelings. The Free Thinking Festival Lecture
Historian of emotions Professor Thomas Dixon, Matthew Sweet & the Sage Gateshead audience
A city is not a park but should it be?
A short talk at the Free Thinking Festival from New Generation Thinker Des Fitzgerald.
Anxiety and the Teenage Brain
Stephen Briers, Caroline Dower and Ceyda Uzun join Anne McElvoy at Sage Gateshead.
The Essay: Cooking and Eating God in Medieval Drama
Daisy Black conjures up images of breaking bread and cannibalism in mystery plays
Crimes of Passion: Sophie Hannah, Michael Hughes and David Wilson
A crime writer, novelist from Northern Ireland and former prison governor compare notes.
How much emotion should a diplomat, a news reporter or a conciliation expert show?
Why Trespassing Is the Right Way To Go
Ben Anderson looks at fights over land rights, access to nature & care of the environment
Shopping Around the Baby Market
Gulzaar Barn asks questions about commercial surrogacy and the way we view our bodies.
'Calm Down Dear' - How Angry Should Politics Get?
Dr Fern Riddell, Kehinde Andrews, Will Davies & Jo Ann Nadler join Shahidha Bari
Healthy Eating Edwardian Style
Elsa Richardson on the diet guru who set up a Covent Garden café and sold health products.
Marble, Muscle and Manly Bodies in the 18th Century
Sarah Goldsmith explores the C18th aristocratic craze for pumping iron
The Emotion of Now
Which is the most pertinent emotion in 2019 UK?
Start the Week gets emotional at the Free Thinking Festival
Tom Sutcliffe with BBC Radio 4's conversation programme & an audience at Sage Gateshead
How They Manipulate Our Emotions
Ad execs, game designers and VR creatives are all toying with our feelings - is that OK?
Who Wrote Animal Farm?
Lisa Mullen looks at the contribution of Orwell's wife Eileen to his writing.
The Way We Used To Feel
From Neanderthals, via Tudor England to Chartists - 4 historians on emotion in the past
Should Salman Rushdie Live and Let Die ?
What the BBFC archives tell us about censorship debates & a film depicting Salman Rushdie
Some people, some times, just can’t say what they want to. But why not?
The Essay: The Ottoman Empire, Power and the Sea
New Generation Thinker Michael Talbot's Essay from the Free Thinking Festival
Where Do Human Rights Come From?
Dafydd Mills Daniel looks at links between the UN, Richard III and Disney's Jiminy Cricket
Should Doctors Cry?
Does emotion have any place in relationships with patients in a more open age?
The Spirit of a Place: A Free Thinking Royal Society of Literature Discussion
Alan Johnson, Pascale Petit, Hisham Matar & Peter Pomerantsev join Eleanor Barraclough
Why We Need Weepies
From Bambi and Titanic to EastEnders - Matthew Sweet asks what makes us cry and why?
The New Age of Sentimentality
Lisa Appignanesi,Rachel Hewitt & Irenosen Okojie w/ Rana Mitter at Free Thinking Festival
Does My Pet Love Me?
A Free Thinking Festival discussion with Nicky Clayton, Erica Fudge & Kim Bard
20 Words for Joy ... Feelings Around the World.
Aatish Taseer, Veronica Strang and Thomas Dixon at the Free Thinking Festival.
Introducing the 2019 New Generation Thinkers
From German techno music to the Glasgow ‘rag trade’, divisive dams and democracy's bug
Landmark: Audre Lorde
Jackie Kay & Selina Thompson discuss the influential US writer & civil rights activist
Learning about love from Kierkegaard & Socrates. The Wellcome Book Prize
A philosopher of love and a philosopher in love
Free Thinking: 1819-The American Model
Elaine Showalter, Michael Schmidt, Peter Riley and Katie McGettigan with Laurence Scott.
Wolfson History Prize Discussion.
Rana Mitter and the six shortlisted historians with an audience at the British Academy
Chaucer. Bernardine Evaristo.
Anne McElvoy reads a new biography of Chaucer and talks to novelist Bernardine Evaristo.
Sergio Leone, Kubrick, Magic & the Mind.
Matthew Sweet talks Spaghetti Westerns w/ Christopher Frayling + conjuring tricks & bias
Rivers and geopolitics
Global Dams, Ancient Rome & the Tiber: rivers, power and scarcity
Free Thinking:Homi Bhabha: On Memory and Migration
Shahidha Bari talks to Professor Bhabha about his influence on postcolonial studies.
Rivers, different cultures, different values
Anthropologist, Poet, Archaeologist and Angler reflect on what a river should be
Sebald. Anti-semitism. Carolyn Forché
The walking & photographs of WG Sebald. An exhibition of money and Jewish history.
Censorship and sex
With Naomi Wolf, Sarah Parker and Luis de Miranda.
Stanley Spencer, Domestic Servants, Surrogacy
Authors Nicola Upson and Joanne Ramos, and researchers Gulzaar Barn & Ella Parry-Davies.
Landmark: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
Rana Mitter hosts a debate at Hay Festival about the rise of the environmental movement
AI and creativity: what makes us human?
A discussion hosted by Matthew Sweet at the Barbican's exhibition AI More Than Human
Is the Law keeping up with our changing world?
A panel of researchers share insights into the law and warfare, gender and AI
Orwell's 1984. A Landmark of Culture.
Matthew Sweet explores what fed into Orwell's future vision & how our own is shaping up.
Breaking Down the Barriers
The cultural contribution of Muslim women and Rana Mitter talks to artist John Keane
Michael Rakowitz, Archaeology Now, Epic Journeys and Facial Disfigurement
Artist, archaeologists, a writer and a historian of the face make the invisible visible
Afropean Identities. Filming the Arab Spring.
Johny Pitts and Caryl Phillips discuss the idea of Afropean identity with Matthew Sweet.
The well-groomed Georgian
Alun Withey on what made 18th-century men shave off centuries of manly growth
Sword to Pen. Redcoat and the rise of the military memoir
Emma Butcher on the publishing phenomenon that was the traumatised 19th c Redcoat
Landmark: Finnegans Wake
Matthew Sweet and guests discuss James Joyce's experimental novel.
Comrades in Arms
Tom Smith on the East German Military's fascination with its soldiers' sexuality
Catch 22, Recycling fashion, Fred D'Aguiar, Wu Mali
Anne McElvoy watches George Clooney in Catch-22 on TV and looks at recycling fashion.
'Bedford, do you call this thing a coat?' The history of the three-piece suit
Sarah Goldsmith on an immortal trio jacket, waistcoat and trousers
Philip Dodd is in conversation with the American author James Ellroy
The Hard Man in the Call-Centre
Alistair Fraser on the fates and fortunes of Glaswegian tough guys
Jane Goodall, Elif Shafak
Two campaigning women talk to Matthew Sweet.
Cindy Sherman, Laura Cumming
The art of Cindy Sherman plus art critic Laura Cumming on the days her mother disappeared
Amitav Ghosh. Layla and Majnun. Islam Issa.
Amitav Ghosh on linking refugees, climate change, Venice & Bengali forests in his fiction
Free Thinking: Language and Belonging
Preti Taneja with Guy Gunaratne,Dina Nayeri, Michael Rosen, Momtaza Mehri & Deena Mohamed
Russia and Fear.
Rana Mitter considers fearing Russia past & present with Mark B Smith & Tamar Koplatadze.
Reinventing the 'Mistake on the Lake'.
Philip Dodd visits the US rust belt city of Cleveland.
Landmark: Iris Murdoch's The Sovereignty of Good
Matthew Sweet discusses Iris Murdoch's philosophical essay of 1970
Caine Prize. Ivo van Hove. Female Desire.
Shahidha Bari looks at staging Ayn Rand's ideas and meets the 2019 Caine Prize winner.
An insider's view of war
Ex-Marine & journalist Elliot Ackerman on Al Qaeda and the Iraq War. Rana Mitter presents
Camille Paglia in conversation with Philip Dodd about free speech and feminism
New Thinking: City Talk
Mapping the accents of Greater Manchester with a camper van and a laptop
New Thinking: Pregnancy Puzzles
What happens when one becomes two?
New Thinking: Shakespeare's Language
From Juliet's uncertainty, to finding a phrase for descending the stairs
New angles on post-war Germany and Austria
Anne McElvoy with Florian Huber, Sophie Hardach, Adam Scovell, Tom Smith
Book Parts and Difficulty
Matthew Sweet looks at frontispieces, titles and marginalia, and hard texts.
Proms Plus: Moon Landing
Richard Wiseman and Melanie Vandenbrouck discuss the impact of the first Moon landing
New Thinking: Neolithic Revelations
A lack of Neolithic dental floss proves to be a boon for archaeologists,
Philip Dodd is in conversation with American author James Ellroy.
Brown Girl Do it Too
Mobeen joins forces with the girls from Brown Girl Do It Too to bust taboos around sex.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner: Restoring early music
Classical conductor John Eliot Gardiner brings a 275 year old Handel work to a new stage
Sarah Brett with late night discussion on the issues and stories that matter to you.
John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Orchestra
Lloyd Coleman gets alongside legendary classical conductor John Eliot Gardiner