Anthropologist, Poet, Archaeologist and Angler reflect on what a river should be Read more
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
Simon Schama, Siri Hustvedt, Catherine Fletcher at Hay.
Rana Mitter discusses writing on art from Da Vinci and Rembrandt to Louise Bourgeois.
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 Thinking: Neolithic Revelations
A lack of Neolithic dental floss proves to be a boon for archaeologists,
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
Proms Plus: Music and Health
Naomi Paxton discusses the latest science and clinical practice
Proms Plus: 1969 The Sound of a Summer
Poets Rachael Allen & Jacob Polley join Preti Taneja to reflect on the summer of 1969.
Proms Plus: Nordic Summers Light and Dark
The legends and landscapes that inspire composers from Finland and Russia
Revisit Spike Lee in Conversation on Free Thinking
The film-maker talks to Matthew Sweet about BlacKkKlansman & his 2000 film Bamboozled
Proms Plus: Swans
Sacha Dench & Sarah Crompton discuss swans in the natural world & on the ballet stage.
Proms Plus: Tragedy
Tragedy ancient and modern with Clare Pollard and Jennifer Wallace
Proms Plus: Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe and the gothic
Proms Plus: 'Queering' Tchaikovsky
Shahidha Bari and Rolf Hind discuss Tchaikovsky’s letters, with readings from Tom Stuart
Proms Plus: Childhood, innocence and experience
Books for children and children in books from Romanticism via the Victorians to now.
Revisit Mike Leigh in Conversation about Peterloo, politics and his Salford upbringing.
The film-maker talks to Matthew Sweet about depicting history and politics on film.
Revisit Napoleon in Fact and Fiction
Anne McElvoy looks at Napoleon's biography, caricatures and professional impersonators.
Proms Plus: Literary Hoaxes
Shahidha Bari and Nick Groom on invented monks, fake Shakespeare and a "discovered" diary
Prom Plus: What Victorians Did For Fun
Historians Kathryn Hughes & Lee Jackson discuss 19th century entertainment.
Revisit Slavery Stories, William Melvyn Kelley & Esi Edugyan
Laurence Scott meets the family of a rediscovered African American writer & 3 historians
Proms Plus: Russian Folktales
Marina Warner & Sophie Anderson enter a world of walking huts and fish that grant wishes
Proms Plus: Kipling's Jungle Books
Anindya Raychaudhuri discusses Kipling's Jungle Books with Frances Hardinge and Sue Walsh
Proms Plus: Beethoven's 9th Symphony
Seán Williams explores Beethoven’s 9th and Schiller’s accompanying text, An Ode to Joy.
Proms Plus: Nina Simone's life and legacy
Nina Simone’s achievement with Kevin Legendre, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Zena Edwards
Proms Plus: Landscape
Horatio Clare and Testament discuss landscape’s power to inspire writers
Proms Plus: Sacrifice
Why the bible story of Jephtha caused more controversy than your average burnt offering.
Proms Plus: Letters
Ruth Ware and Shaun Usher discuss letter writing in the 21st century
Revisit Anxiety, Teenagers, University and Leaving Home
Psychologist Stephen Briers, student Ceyda Uzun and Durham Univeristy's Caroline Dower
Proms Plus: Witches & Witchcraft
Professor Suzannah Lipscomb and Dr Thomas Waters in discussion with Dr Fern Riddell
New Thinking: Fashion, AI and Sustainability
The Future Fashion Factory and changing our attitude to #fastfashion. Plus AI and colours
Tolerance, censorship and free speech.
Susan Neiman, Ursula Owen & Christopher Hampton join Anne McElvoy.
Landmark: Susan Sontag's Against Interpretation
Lauren Elkin, Lisa Appignanesi and Ben Moser on Susan Sontag's 1966 essay collection.
Back to the '80s
Alexei Sayle and Adam Mars Jones join Matthew Sweet to revisit '80s film, tv and music
Comedian Sofie Hagen, Colombian novelist Héctor Abad & Isabel Hardman join Shahidha Bari.
Surveillance, Conspiracy, and Secrets from the Archives
Matthew Sweet on surveillance capitalism, The Third Man, and Stieg Larsson's obsessions
From The Spains to LatinX
Rana Mitter talks to Jason Webster, Ed Morales, Iain Sinclair and Iwona Blazwick.
New Thinking: Places of Poetry & The Colonial Countryside Project
Incl a Welsh castle w/ more Mughal Art than India's National Museum - a new UK poem map
Rebecca Solnit, Truth, National Poetry Day.
Who holds the power? The US activist and author Rebecca Solnit talks to Shahidha Bari.
The Frieze Masters Free Thinking Conversation about Art
Michael Govan Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art talks art with Philip Dodd
Modern Dutch Writing
Laurence Scott looks at the way Dutch writers are addressing history & contemporary life
Myth making, satire and Caryl Churchill
Monsters and myths in the art of Gerald Scarfe and Kiki Smith + Caryl Churchill's plays.
East Meets West
Orientalism now with Fatima Bhutto, Ziauddin Sardar, Tom Holland, and artist Inci Eviner.
2019 Booker Prize, The Power of Ancient Artefacts
Prehistory with Mike Pitts & Renee So, plus Alex Clark & Tinuke Craig
The Woolly Episode
From Sean the Sheep & Damien Hirst, to a knitted bikini.
Matthew Sweet on Chaplin's 1941 film and rising populism today.
Frieze Free Thinking Museums Debate
Museum directors from Asia and France join Anne McElvoy and an audience at RIBA.
New Thinking: First Encounters
Why we need to rethink the stories we tell of Columbus, Pocahontas & the English in India
What to Believe
Rana Mitter and guests have a look at the history of faith, doubt, economics and art.
Landmark: The Yorkshire Feminist Winifred Holtby
Matthew Sweet is joined by Rachel Reeves MP, Jane Thomas and Katie Cooper in Hull.
The Way I See It: Steven Pinker and Picasso
Harvard professor Steven Pinker picks a work of art that inspires him from MOMA, New York
Writing Real Life from Brexit to Grenfell
Ali Smith, Jay Bernard and James Graham at the British Library with Matthew Sweet
Cars, Parking and Motorways
A discussion reflecting on automobiles, AI and the 60th anniversary of the M1 motorway.
Halloween. Ghost Stories
Haunting stories with Kirsty Logan, Jeremy Dyson & host Shahidha Bari
New Thinking: Rubble culture to techno in post-war Germany
Forgotten stories from cultural diplomats, British army bases and Berlin dancefloors
Matthew Sweet celebrates the classic TV sci-fi series with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
The 2019 Free Thinking Imperial War Museum Remembrance Debate
Who decides what’s worth saving and what is culturally significant to protect in wartime?
Weimar and the Subversion of Cabaret Culture
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome... Cabaret and club culture, recorded at the Barbican.
Slave songs, pit songs, songs in dark times
Four stories of the power of music in times of hardship.
The NYT and The FT
Meet the editors, Dean Baquet and Lionel Barber
Tobias Menzies plays Prince Philip; Six, a musical about the wives of Henry VIII; Rapman
Tobias Menzies plays Prince Philip in The Crown; Six, a musical about Henry VIII's wives
Sanchez Payne sits in for an arts, culture and musical round-up from West Yorkshire.
Damian Le Bas & Amy Liptrott
The Romany writer and broadcaster Damian Le Bas and author Amy Liptrot choose a good read