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Andrew Marr and Tim Harford, Andrew Adonis, Eli Pariser and Priyamvada Gopal. Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to Tim Harford about success, Andrew Adonis about training Ministers, Priyamvada Gopal on university education and Eli Pariser on internet personalisation. b011zm16 b011zm16 Andrew Marr talks to Tim Harford about the key to success. The 'undercover economist' argues that the fear of failure paradoxically leads to greater and more dangerous failures - from oil disasters to world conflict. Success in parliament is often mercurial, but the new Director of the Institute for Government and former Labour Minister, Andrew Adonis believes the pool of talent for the top jobs is too small, and that Ministers should be better prepared for their role. Priyamvada Gopal argues that university education is becoming one of the country's biggest failures. She believes the humanities have been denigrated, as consecutive governments have emphasised the value of work, over knowledge. And Eli Pariser explores the world of internet personalisation in which your every move is tracked and individual choices assessed: he warns that it's the end of objective news and the free exchange of ideas. Producer: Katy Hickman.
ELI PARISER Start the Week None b011zm16_ELI PARISER b011zm16 In December 2009, Google began personalising searches, a practice which is now common on the internet. Every choice you make and site you visit is recorded, so that search engines now predict what you’re looking for and what will appeal to you most. It can make searching more efficient, but in his new book, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, Eli Pariser argues that it’s fundamentally altering the way we access ideas and information. Users don’t opt into customised searching and it ultimately narrows the world the internet was supposed to open up. “Democracy”, Pariser writes, “requires a reliance on shared facts; instead we’re being offered parallel but separate universes”. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You is published by Viking.
TIM HARFORD Start the Week None b011zm16_TIM HARFORD b011zm16 Successful inventions, new treatments and decisive victories are justly lauded, but in his new book Tim Harford argues that we mustn’t underestimate the importance of failure. In Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, Harford looks at some of the biggest challenges facing the modern world – from armed conflict to climate change, aid programmes to financial crashes. He shows that the fear of failure paradoxically leads to greater and more dangerous failures. And the key to success is an ability to adapt, improvise and accept mistakes. Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure is published by Little, Brown.
ANDREW ADONIS Start the Week None b011zm16_ANDREW ADONIS b011zm16 “On 2 May 1997, I walked into Downing Street as PM for the first time. I had never held office, not even as the most junior of junior ministers.” “I do not recall ever being given any indication of what was expected of me on being appointed to any political job.” The thoughts of Tony Blair and Michael Heseltine on their political careers. But a new study on the effectiveness of Ministers shows that more would have been successful in their jobs if they’d been better prepared. Andrew Adonis, the Director of the Institute for Government, questions the assumption that political skill and the ability to lead a department is somehow unique and only learned on the job. He argues that the pool of talent for the top posts in Parliament is too small, and the number of Special Advisors should be expanded, a move which he believes would help the Liberal Democrats be more effective in the Coalition. Andrew Adonis has written the foreword for a report about The Challenge of Being a Minister: Defining and developing ministerial effectiveness, published by the Institute for Government.
PRIYAMVADA GOPAL Start the Week None b011zm16_PRIYAMVADA GOPAL b011zm16 What’s the point of literature? It’s a question being asked by the Royal Society of Literature, at a time when the numbers applying to read English at university have risen, but the financial support for the humanities has fallen. Dr Priyamvada Gopal argues that the benefits of studying literature – imagination, reflection and critical thinking – are being denigrated as successive governments prize subjects like science, IT and business. While a new university for the humanities set up by AC Grayling is one response to changes in higher education funding, Gopal believes it adds to the growing fear that studying the arts will become the preserve of the rich. Priyamvada Gopal is taking part in a discussion at the Royal Society of Literature on Monday 20 June entitled “What’s the Use of Literature?”
Andrew Marr and John Hegarty, Kate O'Regan, Iain Sinclair and Richard Sennett. Start the Week Andrew Marr and the advertising guru John Hegarty, judge Kate O'Regan, the writer Iain Sinclair and the sociologist Richard Sennett. b011tz8f b011tz8f Andrew Marr talks to Richard Sennett about increasing urbanisation. With half the world's population living in major cities, Sennett asks why the art of designing cities has declined so drastically in the last century. Iain Sinclair turns a critical eye on the grand plans for London's 2012 Olympics, and asks what will happen when the last race is run. Kate O'Regan was appointed as a judge in the Constitutional Court in South Africa by Nelson Mandela when he became President in 1994. She reflects on the role of the judiciary in building a modern democracy. And the advertising guru, John Hegarty reveals how you sell someone something they didn't even know they wanted. Over the last four decades he has transformed brands, famously linking Vorsprung durch Technik to Audi, and in a stroke, changing the perception of a staid car. Producer: Katy Hickman.
JOHN HEGARTY Start the Week None b011tz8f_JOHN HEGARTY b011tz8f He was the man who had a model strip down to his boxers in a launderette to promote 501s, and rejuvenated Audi with the simple phrase 'Vorsprung Durch Technik'. John Hegarty has been in the advertising industry for the last 45 years. He believes the key to his success has been irreverence, and being able to capture the emotional appeal of different products. As new technology challenges the way companies advertise, Hegarty warns that global marketing is in danger of becoming bland, and that true creativity isn’t predictable or formulaic. Hegarty on Advertising: Turning Intelligence into Magic is published by Thames & Hudson.
IAIN SINCLAIR Start the Week None b011tz8f_IAIN SINCLAIR b011tz8f There’s just over a year to go before London hosts the 2012 Olympics, but one writer who won’t be cheering on the athletes is Iain Sinclair. He has witnessed the destruction of the area in east London, now fenced off as the Olympic Park, and questions whether these kinds of Grand Projects ever offer true regeneration. As a seasoned chronicler of the evolution of the city, he uses memoir, political journalism and story-telling to describe the creation of a modern-day folly on a grand scale. Ghost Milk: Calling Time on the Grand Project is published by Hamish Hamilton.
RICHARD SENNETT Start the Week None b011tz8f_RICHARD SENNETT b011tz8f Half of the world’s population live in cities and yet occupy less than 2% of the Earth’s surface. As that urban population is expected to grow to 75% by 2050, city planners will have to cope with increasing overcrowding and congestion. But Richard Sennett questions whether the art of re-designing cities has declined dramatically in the course of the 20th century. New research by the Urban Age Project finds that cities are becoming more fragmented, more socially divisive and environmentally destructive. In his essay Boundaries and Borders, he argues that the emphasis by planners on the centres of cities and communities ignores the importance of the fringes; the edges of communities where integration is a real possibility. Living in the Endless City, which contains Richard's essays Boundaries and Borders and The Hinge City, is edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic and published by Phaidon.
KATE O'REGAN Start the Week None b011tz8f_KATE O'REGAN b011tz8f When Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994, he oversaw dramatic changes in the course of South African history. At the forefront of that change was a new Constitution and an independent judiciary. Kate O’Regan was one of only two women in South Africa’s newly formed Constitutional Court. For 15 years she adjudicated on a series of sensitive cases, including the death penalty, prisoners’ right to vote and gay marriage. She explains how, with a country still reeling from the effects of the apartheid regime, the Constitution is one of the only in the world to grant socio-economic rights to its citizens. Kate O’Regan is giving a talk at the London School of Economics on Tuesday 14 June entitled “Political Questions, the Social Question and other Quandaries”.
Andrew Marr with Jane Shaw, Ross Perlin, Ziauddin Sardar and Jonathan Kent. Start the Week Andrew Marr with historian Jane Shaw, theatre director Jonathan Kent, and writers Ziauddin Sardar and Ross Perlin. b011p723 b011p723 Andrew Marr talks to the historian Jane Shaw about the story of Mabel Barltrop: she was renamed Octavia by her followers who believed she was the daughter of God. The theatre director, Jonathan Kent, brings the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire to the stage, in the little known Ibsen play, Emperor and Galilean. Ziauddin Sardar gives his take on the Qur'an, drawing contemporary lessons from this Sacred Text on everything from power and politics, to sex and evolution. And Ross Perlin exposes the world of unpaid work, in his investigation into the deals done in the name of internships. Producer: Katy Hickman.
JANE SHAW Start the Week None b011p723_JANE SHAW b011p723 On Valentine’s Day in 1919, a vicar’s widow was proclaimed the daughter of God, and her followers set out to build the New Jerusalem in Bedford. Mabel Barltrop, who became known as Octavia, was a charismatic and autocratic leader. Her community, made up mostly of women, believed that as Eve had brought sin into the world, it was women who were central to the ultimate redemption, and would achieve immortality on this earth, rather than in heaven. The historian Jane Shaw talked to the last remaining members of the Panacea Society. With access to their archive, she marks the progress of this remarkable group of women who, in the period between the wars, found a solution to the world’s grief, and a way to organise and better their lives. Octavia, Daughter of God: The Story of a Female Messiah and Her Followers is published by Jonathan Cape.
ZIAUDDIN SARDAR Start the Week None b011p723_ZIAUDDIN SARDAR b011p723 The Qur’an, the sacred text of Islam, is one of the most influential books ever published. Today its teachings are followed by more than 1.5 billion Muslims, who regard it as the Word of God, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. For the last 1400 years it has shaped the law, politics and morality of Muslim societies around the world. In his new book, Reading the Qur’an, writer Ziauddin Sardar urges Muslims and non-Muslims to ignore their preconceptions about the text and read it again with fresh eyes. He says that all Muslims have the authority to interpret the text if they make the effort to understand it, not just an elite group of religious scholars. Emphasising that the Qur’an is not a static text, he argues that it needs to be interpreted anew by each generation. It should be understood both in the context in which it was revealed and in the context of our own times, taking into account how morality has evolved in the modern world. Reading the Qur’an is published by Hurst Books.
JONATHAN KENT Start the Week None b011p723_JONATHAN KENT b011p723 Although rarely performed, Ibsen has described his play Emperor and Galilean as his “most important work”. A play on an epic scale, it tells the story of the Emperor Julian (331-363) who tried to turn the Roman Empire away from Christianity back to the cult of the ancient Greek gods. Now the National Theatre is about to stage the play for the first time in Britain. Set in various locations in Greece and the Middle East, the play explores conflict between faiths, the relationship between religion and the state, and the extent to which individuals can or cannot change the course of history. “All I wanted was to return mankind to an age of joy,” argues Emperor Julian as he becomes a tyrant. The director Jonathan Kent discusses the challenge of adapting Ibsen’s original work, and its relevance to the modern world. Emperor and Galilean is on at the National Theatre from 9 June to 31 July.
ROSS PERLIN Start the Week None b011p723_ROSS PERLIN b011p723 In February, a Conservative Party fundraiser auctioned off internships at City firms and media companies. With an increasing number of young people struggling to find work, it was the perfect way of both raising thousands of pounds for the Tory Party, and helping wealthy members secure opportunities for their children. Internships have become a contentious political issue, and in his new book, Intern Nation, Ross Perlin condemns their explosion in both the US and Britain over the last 30 years. He argues that it is socially unjust for companies to expect people to work for free, and that poorer students are at a distinct disadvantage. But with so many young people fighting for the same jobs, internships are often a requisite part of applying for work. Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy is published by Verso.
Andrew Marr and Paul Theroux, Salil Shetty, Catherine Mayer and Charles Jencks. Start the Week Andrew Marr with travel writer Paul Theroux, head of Amnesty International Salil Shetty, journalist Catherine Mayer and landscape artist Charles Jencks. b011j458 b011j458 Andrew Marr wanders the globe with Paul Theroux, as he celebrates the pleasures and pains of travel, and discovers what makes the best travel writing. The General Secretary of Amnesty International Salil Shetty looks back at 50 years of the organisation, and argues that Amnesty has had to change from a small letter-writing charity aimed at freeing dissidents, to a global multi-national focused on poverty and gender issues. At 50 you're generally considered middle-aged and heading towards retirement, but the journalist Catherine Mayer rejects the traditional patterns of aging, arguing that more and more people are starting to live agelessly. And the landscape artist Charles Jencks explains how science and the patterns inherent in nature have influenced his designs. Producer: Katy Hickman.
CHARLES JENCKS Start the Week None b011j458_CHARLES JENCKS b011j458 “To see a World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower” – these words by William Blake encapsulate the work of landform artist Charles Jencks and he quotes them in his new book, The Universe in the Landscape – Landforms. Inspired by the prehistoric earthworks of Britain, his land art typically uses vast swirling curves of earth to turn scientific discoveries and the patterns of nature into landscape. In his work he has played with the ideas of black holes, the extraordinary way cells divide and unite, and the universal aspects of DNA. While his work is sometimes on a grand scale – his piece Scot Loch is possibly the heaviest work of art in the world – he is also interested in the connections between the large and small, and says the interrelationships between things are as important as the things themselves. The Universe in the Landscape – Landforms is published by Frances Lincoln.
PAUL THEROUX Start the Week None b011j458_PAUL THEROUX b011j458 “Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac, On The Road. The travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux celebrates life on the road in his new book, The Tao of Travel. He explains how travel writing is the oldest form of narrative in the world, and despite there being few unexplored places, it’s a form that will never be in decline. In this personal collection of his favourite and most memorable examples of the art of travel writing, Theroux shows how it’s not always essential to visit a place to write about it, and his penchant for those tales of terror, death, cannibalism and bravery. The Tao of Travel is published by Hamish Hamilton.
SALIL SHETTY Start the Week None b011j458_SALIL SHETTY b011j458 It started with an article criticising the imprisoning of two Portuguese students who had raised a toast for freedom, and has became one of the most influential campaigning organisations. Fifty years ago, Amnesty International began as a letter-writing campaign which brought to light the false imprisonment of hundreds of people all over the world. Since then it has campaigned against political killings, disappearances and child soldiers. The Secretary General, Salil Shetty, explains why it’s vital to broaden the remit of Amnesty International, to make it relevant for the next fifty years, by concentrating on wider campaigns around poverty and gender/sexual issues. Amnesty! When They Are All Free will be broadcast on Tuesday 31 May at 9.00pm on BBC Four.
CATHERINE MAYER Start the Week None b011j458_CATHERINE MAYER b011j458 When Shakespeare wrote about the seven ages of man, life expectancy was just 40 years. Now with three decades more to play with, instead of using the extra time to fit in a few additional stages of life, Catherine Mayer argues that the barriers are becoming blurred. She’s coined the term 'amortality' to describe the increasing number of people choosing to live agelessly. ‘Amortals’ continue to chase aspirations, marry, have children, work, start new businesses and assume all options are open, throughout their life. Life choices and expectations have little to do with the idea of what’s age appropriate. In her new book, Amortality: The Pleasures and Perils of Living Agelessly, Mayer analyses why this phenomenon is happening and what the consequences are for careers, families, health and society. Amortality: The Pleasures and Perils of Living Agelessly is published by Vermilion.
Sherard Cowper-Coles, Richard Norton-Taylor, Angie Hobbs and David Pryce-Jones. Start the Week Andrew Marr with former British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sherard Cowper-Coles, journalist Richard Norton-Taylor, philosopher Angie Hobbs and writer David Pryce-Jones. b0118cxv b0118cxv Andrew Marr talks to the former British ambassador, Sherard Cowper-Coles, about the failures of Western policy in Afghanistan, and how diplomacy would have been a better option than the gun. In 2003 Baha Mousa was arrested by the British Army in Basra, in Iraq. Two days later he was dead. Richard Norton-Taylor sifts through all the evidence to bring the public inquiry into his death to the stage. David Pryce-Jones asks what motivates those who take up foreign causes, to the detriment of their own country, in Treason of the Heart. And the philosopher Angie Hobbs turns to the Greek Gods to untangle modern ideas of heroism and bravery. Producer: Katy Hickman.
SHERARD COWPER-COLES Start the Week None b0118cxv_SHERARD COWPER-COLES b0118cxv For three years, from 2007 until 2010, Sherard Cowper-Coles was on the diplomatic front line in Kabul, as the crisis in Afghanistan deepened. First as the British Ambassador and later as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative, he witnessed at first hand the struggle to contain the Taliban in Helmand, which cost the lives of hundreds of British soldiers, and the political negotiations at the highest level of government. In Cables From Kabul he offers a stinging rebuke both to the military and political leaders for the failure to create a coherent strategy in Afghanistan. He accuses the British army of submitting misleadingly optimistic reports on the war, and argues that the American and British governments should have recognised that the only way forward was to involve the Taliban in direct talks. Cables From Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign is published by Harper Press.
DAVID PRYCE-JONES Start the Week None b0118cxv_DAVID PRYCE-JONES b0118cxv In the last 300 years, a number of British people have taken up foreign causes, not for money but because they believed in what they were fighting for. In his new book, Treason of the Heart, David Pryce-Jones gives an account of these activists’ lives, exploring their motivations and the effects of their actions. He argues that the British have a particular tendency to take up foreign causes because of this country’s long political stability. He accuses these individuals of "wishful thinking and ignorance of the true state of things" and for a combination of “self-hatred, narcissism, guilt, hunger for power, fanaticism and nihilism”. Treason of the Heart: From Thomas Paine to Kim Philby is published by Encounter Books.
ANGIE HOBBS Start the Week None b0118cxv_ANGIE HOBBS b0118cxv The philosopher Angie Hobbs explores the notion of heroism. She describes a hero as someone who does something which is perceived to be of outstanding benefit to their community, but not necessarily someone who is virtuous and good. Looking back to Ancient Greece, heroes like Achilles were egotistical, bloodthirsty and often lacked judgement. Hobbs believes we can learn a huge amount about different groups by understanding who their heroes are, and mustn’t ignore the fact that figures like Osama bin Laden and Gaddafi are considered heroes by others. She argues that there is a modern tendency to confuse heroes with mere celebrities, but the reason some people manage to gain fame so quickly is precisely because we have a deep psychological need for the heroic. Angie Hobbs is taking part in How The Light Gets In, the philosophy and music festival at Hay-on-Wye which runs from 26 May to 5 June.
RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR Start the Week None b0118cxv_RICHARD NORTON-TAYLOR b0118cxv In 2003, Baha Mousa and nine other Iraqi civilians were arrested by the British army in Basra as suspected insurgents. Two days later Baha Mousa was dead. He had received more than 93 injuries whilst in the army’s custody. The British government set up a public inquiry and the journalist Richard Norton-Taylor has now edited the transcript of that inquiry to create a new play, Tactical Questioning. His work examines the events surrounding Mousa’s death and the British army’s policies towards the treatment of Iraqi detainees. Richard Norton-Taylor talks about the differences between reporting what's happened in a newspaper and presenting it on stage, and he argues that this kind of ‘tribunal theatre’ has an important role in highlighting miscarriages of justice. Tactical Questioning: Scenes from the Baha Mousa Inquiry is on at the Tricycle Theatre, London, from 2 June until 2 July.
Andrew Marr and Anatol Lieven, Francis Fukuyama, Mohsin Hamid and Tahmima Anam. Start the Week Andrew Marr and Anatol Lieven, Francis Fukuyama, Mohsin Hamid and Tahmima Anam. b01132kh b01132kh Andrew Marr talks to Francis Fukuyama about the development of political institutions from the early tribal societies to the growth of the modern state. Pakistan has often been referred to as a 'failed state', but Anatol Lieven argues that despite its reputation it has the makings of a modern, viable and coherent country. The author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid, explores what it means to be middle class in Pakistan, and Tahmima Anam looks back to Bangladesh's fight for Independence, and the relationship between religion and politics in the country of her birth. Producer: Katy Hickman.
ANATOL LIEVEN Start the Week None b01132kh_ANATOL LIEVEN b01132kh The killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces has thrown Pakistan into the spotlight again with renewed intensity. For a long time, many commentators have depicted Pakistan as a failing state. However, in his new book, Pakistan: A Hard Country, Anatol Lieven asserts that Pakistan is actually a tough and resilient country, and more stable than it appears. With a nuclear weapons programme, the threat of terrorism by groups based in the country, and its strategic position between Iran, Afghanistan and India, the future of Pakistan is of great significance to the UK and the rest of the world. But Lieven argues that the West’s current policy in the region is misconceived, and if Pakistan does eventually collapse, it will be caused not by Islamist extremism but by an American invasion or the impact of climate change. Pakistan: A Hard Country is published by Allen Lane.
MOHSIN HAMID Start the Week None b01132kh_MOHSIN HAMID b01132kh Mohsin Hamid’s book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, evoked brilliantly the fear and suspicion that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and explored the troubled relationship between Pakistan and the United States. Mohsin looks at how that relationship has changed since the discovery and subsequent killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month. He also discusses the tensions within Pakistan and the themes of his first novel, Moth Smoke, which deals with sex, drugs and class conflict. Moth Smoke, first published in 2000, is being re-issued by Penguin.
TAHMIMA ANAM Start the Week None b01132kh_TAHMIMA ANAM b01132kh It’s forty years since Bangladesh fought for its independence from Pakistan, and was dismissed by Henry Kissinger as a “basket case”. The writer Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka and argues that the country of her birth has shown remarkable resilience and has at least thrown off that moniker. Despite the poverty and the very real danger of flooding, the economy of Bangladesh is improving, and it boasts a vibrant women’s movement, regular elections and a secular constitution. The war of independence provides the backdrop for Anam’s latest novel, The Good Muslim, which explores the effects of faith and conflict on family life. The Good Muslim is published by Canongate.
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA Start the Week None b01132kh_FRANCIS FUKUYAMA b01132kh According to Professor Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University, there are three important categories of political institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountable government. In his new book, The Origins of Political Order, Francis Fukuyama looks at many different societies and historical periods to explore the development of political institutions, the forces that moulded them and the reasons why they decay. He examines how political institutions have been shaped by humans’ shared biological nature and how, when political institutions decline, the practices of tribally-based societies readily re-emerge. The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution is published by Profile Books. Francis is also speaking at the Southbank Centre on Monday 16 May at 7.45pm.
Andrew Marr and Denis MacShane, Ruth Lea, Kutlug Ataman and Michael Craig-Martin. Start the Week Andrew Marr and the MP Denis MacShane, the economist Ruth Lea, and the artists, Kutlug Ataman and Michael Craig-Martin. b010y34w b010y34w Andrew Marr talks to the MP Denis MacShane about the political situation in France. It's 30 years since the election of the country's first socialist president, Francois Mitterrand. The People's Pledge is campaigning for a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, and its founder Ruth Lea argues that it's time to disregard the wishes of Brussels. The Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman explores the spirit of Mesopotamia in his latest works, where his films of water defy national boundaries. And the so-called 'godfather' of the Young British Artists, Michael Craig-Martin, showcases the art of drawing, from his original sketches using tape forty years ago, to the computer-generated drawings of today. Producer: Katy Hickman.
DENIS MACSHANE Start the Week None b010y34w_DENIS MACSHANE b010y34w It’s 30 years since France elected its first Socialist President. The MP Denis MacShane was in Paris on the night Francois Mitterrand entered the Elysee. The former Minister for Europe in Tony Blair’s government argues that despite the country’s proximity, the British have failed to understand the French. With Presidents who seem to have more in common with monarchs, and a long history of strikes and street demonstrations, MacShane looks to explore the unique political system and culture of one of our nearest European neighbours.
RUTH LEA Start the Week None b010y34w_RUTH LEA b010y34w The economist Ruth Lea is one of the founders of the People’s Pledge. Launched in March this year, the People’s Pledge is campaigning for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Ruth Lea says Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe needs to change and argues that British politicians should be accountable to the British electorate without having to consider the wishes of Brussels.
KUTLUG ATAMAN Start the Week None b010y34w_KUTLUG ATAMAN b010y34w Kutlug Ataman has been described as "the golden boy of Turkish contemporary art". Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2004, he started as a filmmaker but is now widely acclaimed for his contemporary art creations and complex video installations. Previously his work has explored the concept of identity and the analysis of character, but his current work looks at the artificial construction of history and geography. The pieces being shown at the Brighton Festival this month feature water, both at the Iguazu Falls in Argentina and the Bosphorus, which marks the boundary between East and West. The Brighton Festival runs until 29 May.
MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN Start the Week None b010y34w_MICHAEL CRAIG-MARTIN b010y34w The conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin has always challenged convention and is widely acknowledged as the ‘godfather’ of two generations of young British artists, including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Julian Opie. In the year he celebrates his 70th birthday, the first ever exhibition of his drawings is being held in London. Spanning four decades of his career, the 60 works on display include his celebrated depictions of everyday objects, his use of fine tape made of crepe, and his studies for large public commissions. Although Craig-Martin draws nearly every day, he dismisses the idea that to be an artist you have to be able to draw. In recent years he has found that using a computer to draw has given him more freedom to experiment. Michael Craig-Martin: Drawings 1967–2002 is on until 4 June at the Alan Cristea Gallery, London.
Andrew Marr and Simon Baron-Cohen, Gwen Adshead, Julian Baggini and Val McDermid. Start the Week In a special programme looking at empathy and cruelty, Andrew Marr talks to Simon Baron-Cohen, Gwen Adshead, Julian Baggini and Val McDermid. b010t3p0 b010t3p0 Andrew Marr explores how far empathy, or the lack of it, can explain cruelty. Simon Baron-Cohen proposes turning the focus away from evil or specific personality disorders, and to understand human behaviour by studying the 'empathy circuit' in the brain. Gwen Adshead, a forensic psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital and the crime writer Val McDermid question whether this would help in their line of work, and the philosopher Julian Baggini tries to pin down what we mean when we talk about the self. Producer: Katy Hickman.
SIMON BARON-COHEN Start the Week None b010t3p0_SIMON BARON-COHEN b010t3p0 Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor at Cambridge University in the fields of psychology and psychiatry. He is also the Director of Cambridge’s internationally-renowned Autism Research Centre. His latest book is Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty (published by Allen Lane).
GWEN ADSHEAD Start the Week None b010t3p0_GWEN ADSHEAD b010t3p0 Gwen Adshead is a consultant forensic psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire. She is presently writing a book about evil.
JULIAN BAGGINI Start the Week None b010t3p0_JULIAN BAGGINI b010t3p0 Julian Baggini is editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Philosophers’ Magazine. His latest book is The Ego Trick: What Does It Mean To Be You? (published by Granta).
VAL McDERMID Start the Week None b010t3p0_VAL McDERMID b010t3p0 Val McDermid is a bestselling crime writer. Her latest book in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series will be published in September.
Andrew Marr with Greg Doran, Neil Astley, Claire Armitstead and Nicola Shulman. Start the Week Andrew Marr with theatre director Greg Doran, poetry editor Neil Astley, historian Nicola Shulman and literary editor Claire Armitstead. b010m19r b010m19r Andrew Marr talks to the theatre director Greg Doran about the literary detective work involved in his production of Cardenio - a play he's described as Shakespeare's Lost Play re-imagined. Nicola Shulman turns to the court of Henry VIII to explore the influence of Thomas Wyatt's poetry. While Neil Astley brings together contemporary poets from around the world in an anthology dedicated to 'Being Human'. And as the Guardian launches a new website for book reviews by readers, its literary Editor, Claire Armitstead says there will always be a place in newspapers for the professional critics. Producer: Victoria Brignell.
GREG DORAN Start the Week None b010m19r_GREG DORAN b010m19r As part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 50th birthday season, their Chief Associate Director Greg Doran has carried out a piece of literary archaeology, reconstructing the story of Cardenio. It was believed to have been written by Shakespeare and Fletcher and first performed in 1612, but the manuscript was never found. Now Doran has gone back to the original story in Cervantes’ Don Quixote and played detective to recreate this tale of desire, deceit and disguise. Cardenio - Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Play’ Re-imagined is on at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon until 6 October.
CLAIRE ARMITSTEAD Start the Week None b010m19r_CLAIRE ARMITSTEAD b010m19r “I never read a book before reviewing it - it prejudices a man so,” remarked the celebrated reviewer Sydney Smith in the early nineteenth century. And although the uneasy relationship between author and critic has been debated for centuries, now the place of the professional review is also under scrutiny. With newspapers increasingly opening up their book review pages to readers, and publishers looking to offer more than just words on a page, the Books Editor Claire Armitstead offers her views on the future of literary criticism and the ‘book’ of the 21st century.
NEIL ASTLEY Start the Week None b010m19r_NEIL ASTLEY b010m19r “Protect what is around you, hold who is there beside you. All creatures in their own way are funny – and fragile”. So writes the Estonian poet Doris Kareva in a new poetry anthology, Being Human, edited by Neil Astley. Being Human is the final volume in a poetry trilogy designed to appeal to a wider audience. The Poetry Trust may have recently lost all of its Arts Council grant, but the founder of Bloodaxe Books insists that poetry has great relevance for our daily lives. Neil Astley argues that readers need to be given a greater choice of verse from a more diverse range of cultures and languages. Being Human, edited by Neil Astley, is published by Bloodaxe Books.
NICOLA SHULMAN Start the Week None b010m19r_NICOLA SHULMAN b010m19r CS Lewis dismissed him as “hardly one of the irresistible poets”, but in the court of Henry VIII, Thomas Wyatt’s poems influenced the very seat of power. His love poetry began as entertainment for the court, but was used by Anne Boleyn to seduce the King and by courtiers to gain influence. Later, as Henry cracked down on dissent, his poetry was a means to express political protest in disguise. Nicola Shulman’s biography of Wyatt, Graven With Diamonds, is also an act of homage to the power of verse, and a reflection on how in times of repression, poetry provides a “safe conduct for secret thoughts”. Graven With Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy is published by Short Books.
Andrew Marr is joined by Sam Harris, Masha Gessen, Rev Lucy Winkett and Adam Rutherford. Start the Week Andrew Marr's guests include neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, Russian writer Masha Gessen, geneticist and journalist Adam Rutherford and the Rev Lucy Winkett. b010dhcp b010dhcp Andrew Marr's guests include the neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, who argues that science ought to influence human morality rather than religion; the writer Masha Gessen who describes the extraordinary story of the Russian maths genius Grigori Perelman who solved a mathematical problem that had remained inscrutable for a century but refused to take the credit - or the million dollar prize; Adam Rutherford, geneticist and journalist on decoding the genome and being human and the Revd Lucy Winkett of St James's Piccadilly, London on how the religious sensibility can contribute to the 'good society'. Producer: Elaine Lester.
SAM HARRIS Start the Week None b010dhcp_SAM HARRIS b010dhcp Science can tell us how people ought to behave and address moral questions, according to the neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris. In his book The Moral Landscape, he argues that “Just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, we will see that that there is no such thing as Christian or Muslim morality. Indeed, I will argue that morality should be considered an undeveloped branch of science.” The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values is published by Bantam Press.
LUCY WINKETT Start the Week None b010dhcp_LUCY WINKETT b010dhcp The quality of our relationships with each other is what determines the ‘good society’, according to the Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Piccadilly in London’s West End. In an increasingly urbanised environment, she argues that human well-being relies upon reclaiming empathy and compassion. Lucy Winkett is taking part in debates concerning the role of the religious sensibility in creating the ‘good society’.
ADAM RUTHERFORD Start the Week None b010dhcp_ADAM RUTHERFORD b010dhcp In 2001 scientists involved with the Human Genome Project published the first results of reading our entire human genetic code. Ten years on, how much does decoding our genome tell us about being human? The scientist Adam Rutherford is presenting The Gene Code, a two-part documentary series on BBC 4 on Monday 18 and Monday 25 April at 9.00pm.
MASHA GESSEN Start the Week None b010dhcp_MASHA GESSEN b010dhcp The writer Masha Gessen tells how one of mathematics’ greatest problems was solved by a reclusive Russian who refused a million dollars as his prize. She explores the remarkable story of Grigori Perelman in her book Perfect Rigour, despite Perelman’s refusal to give interviews. Perfect Rigour: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century is published by Icon Books.
Tom Sutcliffe and Anne Dudley, Elif Batuman, Martin Sixsmith and David Runciman. Start the Week Tom Sutcliffe and guests set the cultural agenda for the week. With Anne Dudley, Elif Batuman, Martin Sixsmith and David Runciman. b0105vth b0105vth Tom Sutcliffe talks to Anne Dudley about the new opera, The Doctor's Tale, which with a Monty Python-esque absurdity tells the story of a devoted doctor, who just happens to be a dog. The writer Elif Batuman follows the footsteps of her Russian literary heroes, to see whether their lives and work can influence her own. While the BBC's former Moscow correspondent, Martin Sixsmith takes in a thousand years of Russian history. And David Runciman asks 'Can Democracy Cope?' with what is happening around the world, and looks back to the works of Tocqueville and Nietzsche to help make sense of the state of democracy today. Producer: Katy Hickman.
DAVID RUNCIMAN Start the Week None b0105vth_DAVID RUNCIMAN b0105vth The popular uprisings in the Middle East and the bloodshed following elections in Ivory Coast have thrust democracy once again into the spotlight. But while the optimists point to its inexorable spread, the pessimists fear that democracy has shown itself unsuited to dealing with the major challenges facing the world today. David Runciman turns to the intellectual history of democracy to make sense of what’s happening. From Nietzsche’s dismissal of democracy's short-term inherent weaknesses to Tocqueville’s view that its very success is part of the problem, he seeks an answer to ‘Can Democracy Cope?’ David Runciman is giving the inaugural Princeton in Europe Lecture, ‘Can Democracy Cope?’, on Wednesday 13 April at Goodenough College in London.
MARTIN SIXSMITH Start the Week None b0105vth_MARTIN SIXSMITH b0105vth Winston Churchill once described Russia as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. In his new Radio 4 series, Russia: The Wild East, the former BBC Moscow correspondent Martin Sixsmith traces how Russia’s complex identity has been formed over the last thousand years. From the earliest rulers, Rurik and Oleg, to Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great, it’s been argued that Russia was too large and disparate to be suited to devolved power, and only the iron fist of centralised government could hold the empire together and maintain order. Sixsmith looks at how Russia has at times turned towards the West and liberal democracy, only to revert back to autocratic rule. Russia: The Wild East, a 50-part history of the country, starts on Monday 18 April at 3.45pm on Radio 4 and is accompanied by a book, Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East, published by BBC Books.
ELIF BATUMAN Start the Week None b0105vth_ELIF BATUMAN b0105vth “From Cervantes onward, the method of the novel has typically been imitation: the characters try to resemble the characters in the books they find meaningful. But what if you tried something different – what if you tried study instead of imitation, and metonymy instead of metaphor?” And so the writer Elif Batuman throws herself into the lives of her great Russian heroes. In her book, The Possessed, she retells her adventures as she investigates a possible murder at Tolstoy’s ancestral estate, finds links between King Kong and Isaac Babel, and ponders why there are a hundred words for crying in Old Uzbek. As she comically sends-up the world of scholarly learning, she also reveals what you can learn about life from literary theory, and the study of the Russian classics. The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them is published by Granta.
ANNE DUDLEY Start the Week None b0105vth_ANNE DUDLEY b0105vth Opera is no stranger to animal passion, but canine medics might be a first. A new opera at the Royal Opera House tells the story of a devoted doctor who just happens to be a dog. Anne Dudley – founder member of the pop group The Art of Noise who won an Oscar for her film scores – had the challenge of writing the music. She’s created a trio for three dogs howling as they’re waiting to be put down, but concludes with lyrical harmony as love conquers all. The Doctor’s Tale is on at the Royal Opera House until Saturday 16 April.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, David Eagleman, Lisa Appignanesi and Michael Collins. Start the Week Andrew Marr with Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols, neuroscientist David Eagleman, and writers Lisa Appignanesi and Michael Collins. b00zzqy9 b00zzqy9 Andrew Marr talks to the Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols about how far his faith's social teachings chime with the Big Society, but also what impact the government's cuts might have on the work of Catholic charities. The writer Michael Collins charts the rise and fall of the council estate, and what role social housing will have in the future. Lisa Appignanesi gets to grips with the most untidy of emotions: love. And the neuroscientist, David Eagleman exposes the workings of the non-conscious brain, and questions whether scientists should wade into the debate over what is fair punishment. Producer: Katy Hickman.
ARCHBISHOP VINCENT NICHOLS Start the Week None b00zzqy9_ARCHBISHOP VINCENT NICHOLS b00zzqy9 The Prime Minister’s view of The Big Society is one that finds many echoes in Catholic Social Teaching. At a forthcoming conference on Building A New Culture of Social Responsibility, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, will outline the Church’s ongoing responsibility, and the opportunity to be what David Cameron calls "the great architects of that new culture". But he also recognises the dangers of becoming too allied to a political philosophy, at a time of deepening cuts to services across the country. Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be giving a talk at a conference, Building A New Culture of Social Responsibility, on Wednesday 6 April.
DAVID EAGLEMAN Start the Week None b00zzqy9_DAVID EAGLEMAN b00zzqy9 Research in neuroscience shows that our actions are only partly controlled by our conscious brain. David Eagleman is interested in what the unconscious part is up to, and what influences the way our brains are wired. At his Laboratory for Perception and Action he’s pioneering a form of ‘neurolaw’, which examines how neuroscience can and should impact on justice, rehabilitation and the creation of laws. Working with gang members, Eagleman is looking at whether it's possible to have punishments that fit the brain, not the crime. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain is published by Canongate.
LISA APPIGNANESI Start the Week None b00zzqy9_LISA APPIGNANESI b00zzqy9 “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love”, so wrote Sophocles in the 5th century. But how to define love: the Ancient Greeks split it into Eros and Agape, desire and affection, while others have broken it down into further parts, including familial and social bonds; charity and, of course, erotic passion. In her meditation on this most unruly of emotions, Lisa Appignanesi draws on mythology and pop culture, psychology and personal experience to explore the nature of love in the present day. She asks what happens to love in a world where sex is apparently free and easy, and where cyberspace has opened up the opportunities for virtual love and friendship? All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion is published by Virago.
MICHAEL COLLINS Start the Week None b00zzqy9_MICHAEL COLLINS b00zzqy9 At the peak of council housing in the 1970s, local authorities provided homes for more than a third of the British population. But by this time the image of council estates contrasted starkly with the utopian vision of the late 19th century pioneers. In a new BBC documentary, The Great Estate: The Rise and Fall of the Council House, the writer Michael Collins argues that council housing has been as important as universal health care and education. Although Thatcher’s government dealt a lethal blow by bringing in the “right to buy” policy, Michael Collins claims that Labour’s changes to allocation systems also contributed to its decline. With new plans proposed by the coalition government, he looks at the future of the council estate. The Great Estate: The Rise and Fall of the Council House will be broadcast on Monday 11 April on BBC Four at 9.00pm.
Andrew Marr and Niall Ferguson, George Magnus, Madawi Al-Rasheed and Peter Whittle. Start the Week Andrew Marr with the historian Niall Ferguson, the economist George Magnus, the Professor of Religion, Madawi Al-Rasheed and the commentator Peter Whittle. b00zs806 b00zs806 Andrew Marr talks to Niall Ferguson about the history of civilisation, and how the West came to triumph over what appeared to be superior empires in the East, and whether that ascendancy is in permanent decline. While the economist George Magnus questions whether emerging markets, like China, really are about to dominate the world. The Queen will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee next year, and the commentator Peter Whittle presents a robust defence of the monarchy as one of Britain's leading institutions. And as revolution and change sweep across the Middle East, Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed looks at the impact on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Producer: Katy Hickman.
NIALL FERGUSON Start the Week None b00zs806_NIALL FERGUSON b00zs806 In the 15th century the most advanced civilizations were found in the Orient, such as Ming Beijing in China and the Ottomans in the Near East. In contrast, Europe suffered from disease, poor sanitation and near-constant war. Yet, before long, Western European society had overtaken the East and it went on to dominate the rest of the world for most of the next five hundred years. In his new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, the historian Niall Ferguson argues that there were six elements which enabled the West to outperform the East: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. However, Ferguson warns that the world is changing and we may be living through the end of Western ascendancy. Civilization: The West and the Rest is published by Allen Lane and the accompanying television series continues on Channel 4 on Sunday 3 April.
GEORGE MAGNUS Start the Week None b00zs806_GEORGE MAGNUS b00zs806 In recent years it’s become common to hear predictions that China will soon become the pre-eminent economy and will dominate the 21st century. But the economist George Magnus is sceptical of China’s inevitable supremacy. He argues that like other emerging markets, it suffers from political and institutional weaknesses. China’s lack of democracy and an independent judiciary will hamper its continued sustained economic growth. George Magnus is giving a talk on Tuesday 29 March at Asia House in London: “Can the Economies of Asia Flourish in the Post Crisis World?” and his book Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy? is published by Wiley.
MADAWI AL-RASHEED Start the Week None b00zs806_MADAWI AL-RASHEED b00zs806 While revolution has swept across the Middle East, a ‘Day of Rage’ organised in Saudi Arabia was firmly and quickly quashed by the government. But Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed, author of A History of Saudi Arabia, argues that despite the crackdown on protest, the country is ripe for change. High unemployment, especially among the increasing number of young people, has led to growing resentment at royal nepotism and corruption. As in Egypt, bloggers and users of social media have been at the forefront of dissent, but the Saudi government has proved adept at using the internet for its own purposes. A History of Saudi Arabia has been updated and is published by Cambridge University Press.
PETER WHITTLE Start the Week None b00zs806_PETER WHITTLE b00zs806 This year the Queen will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee with events all over the country. Tens of millions of British people have never known any other monarch and her approval ratings remain high. But what of the institution she heads? In Monarchy Matters, Peter Whittle mounts a robust defence of ‘The Firm’ as a force for good in the country. Despite damaging revelations about members of the royal family, Whittle argues that the public overwhelmingly supports the monarchy and, in contrast, the media is overly-cynical and disdainful. He believes that the monarchy is becoming more, not less, relevant in the 21st century, and it acts as a vital unifying force in an increasingly fragmented society. Monarchy Matters is published by the Social Affairs Unit.
Andrew Marr with John Makepeace, Victoria Pomery, Pamela Yates and Melanie McGrath. Start the Week Andrew Marr with designer John Makepeace and curator Victoria Pomery; film-maker Pamela Yates and writer Melanie McGrath. b00zlcp3 b00zlcp3 Andrew Marr talks to Pamela Yates about filming the mass killing of Guatemala's indigenous population during the 1980s, and how thirty years later her footage has become the evidence in a genocide case against a military dictator. And from the countryside of South America to the vast landscape of the Arctic: in Melanie McGrath's latest book, White Heat, nothing rots on the tundra, and all bones and memories are left exposed. The light and sea of Margate inspired Turner, and the Director of the Turner Contemporary gallery, Victoria Pomery, aims to put the Isle of Thanet on the artistic map. And a chest carved with wave forms is the centre piece of a show celebrating 50 years of design by the furniture maker, John Makepeace. Producer: Katy Hickman.
PAMELA YATES Start the Week None b00zlcp3_PAMELA YATES b00zlcp3 In 1982 the American film maker Pamela Yates made a documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, about the civil war in Guatemala. An estimated 200,000 indigenous Maya people are believed to have been killed as the military regime clamped down on insurgents during 36 years of fighting. Now Pamela Yates has made a sequel film, Granito - part political thriller, part memoir - which charts attempts by human rights campaigners to bring those responsible to justice. She also explores how the international courts are using her original footage as evidence of genocide. Granito and When the Mountains Tremble are playing at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London on 25 and 26 March.
MELANIE McGRATH Start the Week None b00zlcp3_MELANIE McGRATH b00zlcp3 “Nothing on the tundra rotted much...The whole history of human settlement lay exposed there, under that big northern sky. There was nowhere here for bones to hide.” The frozen wastes of Ellesmere Island in the Arctic is the backdrop for M.J. McGrath’s novel, White Heat. A place where nothing disappears and all clues are frozen on the surface provides an intriguing setting for a thriller. But this was also where, in the 1950s, Inuit families were forcibly relocated by the Canadian government, in an attempt to claim ownership of the island. Melanie McGrath has travelled extensively in this area, where temperatures rarely rise above freezing and regularly fall below -40C, and where the sun never rises for 4 months of the year. In both her fiction and non-fiction she is seeking to explore and understand a unique and precarious way of life. White Heat is published by Mantle.
VICTORIA POMERY Start the Week None b00zlcp3_VICTORIA POMERY b00zlcp3 Next month the new Turner Contemporary gallery opens in the seaside town of Margate. J.M.W. Turner first visited the Kent resort when he was 11 years old and often returned there to paint: he told the critic John Ruskin, “…the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”. This new arts centre will showcase his work alongside new pieces inspired by the artist’s legacy. Victoria Pomery, the Director of Turner Contemporary, discusses how the design of the gallery, perched on the seafront, seeks to exploit the light and reflect the influence of the sea. She also argues that the arts have an important role in regenerating an area and building community relations. The new Turner Contemporary gallery opens in Margate on 16 April.
JOHN MAKEPEACE Start the Week None b00zlcp3_JOHN MAKEPEACE b00zlcp3 “My objective is to achieve freer, lighter, stronger and more sculptural forms better suited to their function… My passion is to create masterpieces that enrich people's lives and the language of furniture." John Makepeace has been designing and making furniture for the last 50 years. Influenced at first by the simple forms of Bauhaus, and then by the natural world, his sculpted chairs and cabinets always showcase the beauty of the material in which he works – wood. Makepeace believes passionately that the potential of wood has been severely neglected in the history of design in the last century, because of the drive for newer, cheaper and more malleable materials. The exhibition John Makepeace – Enriching the Language of Furniture is on at Somerset House in London until 15 April and then goes to Farnham and Leeds later in the year.
Andrew Marr and Brian Greene, Brian Cox and Angela Saini. Start the Week Andrew Marr explores the universe with physicists Brian Greene and Brian Cox, and the science writer Angela Saini looks at India's success in producing doctors and scientists. b00zdbhz b00zdbhz Andrew Marr with the physicists Brian Greene and Brian Cox explores the universe in all its wonder. And he attempts to understand our relation to parallel universes, which can be separated from us by enormous stretches of time and space, or hover just millimetres away. The science writer, Angela Saini, looks at why India is so successful in producing the next generation of doctors and scientists, in her book, Geek Nation. Producer: Katy Hickman.
BRIAN COX Start the Week None b00zdbhz_BRIAN COX b00zdbhz "Gravity is the great architect of the universe", so explains the physicist Brian Cox in his new television series, Wonders of the Universe. At the beginning of time, gravity drew matter together to forge the stars and sculpt the planets. Across the universe, it creates shape and structure, guides orbits and steers vast, complex galaxies through space. But, as Cox points out, gravity is also the great destroyer because, when the largest stars collapse, it crushes all matter out of existence to form black holes. With forays into black holes, neutron stars and the beauty of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, Brian Cox explores the vastness and mystery of the universe. Wonders of the Universe continues on Sunday 20 March on BBC2.
BRIAN GREENE Start the Week None b00zdbhz_BRIAN GREENE b00zdbhz There was a time when ‘universe’ meant ‘all there is’, and the idea of more than one universe would have appeared a contradiction in terms. But many of the major developments in fundamental theoretical physics have led to the notion of a whole variety of parallel universes. The physicist Brian Greene in his latest book, The Hidden Reality, delves into the world of universes, from the quilted, to the bubble, to the holographic. In some, the parallel universes are separated from us by enormous stretches of time or space, in others, hovering just millimeters away. He argues that, although the subject is highly speculative, mathematics is central to these ideas and has the capacity to reveal surprising and hidden truths about the workings of the world. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos is published by Allen Lane.
ANGELA SAINI Start the Week None b00zdbhz_ANGELA SAINI b00zdbhz Around 1500 years ago India was one of the most advanced countries in science. Today the science journalist Angela Saini asks whether the country is undergoing a renaissance. From the Indian constitution which exhorts its citizens “to develop the scientific temper”, to the increasing investment in science education, India is on the verge of entering the scientific premier league. In her book, Geek Nation, Saini argues that the country possesses a strong culture of creativity and innovation, and both the government and the public are highly enthusiastic about science. In India the scientific and pseudo-scientific, the mainstream and the alternative, rub alongside each other, and Saini believes this gives scientists the freedom to explore the edges of what is believed to be possible. Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World is published by Hodder & Stoughton.
Andrew Marr and Tim Flannery, Phyllis Lee, Peter Harris and Richard Susskind. Start the Week Andrew Marr and the conservationist Tim Flannery, the behavioural psychologist, Phyllis Lee and the lawyers Peter Harris and Richard Susskind. b00z58b0 b00z58b0 Andrew Marr talks to the human rights lawyer, Peter Harris, who represented the ANC when apartheid in South Africa was at its height. He discusses how the law was always seen to be done, even when justice was denied. Richard Susskind wants to revolutionise the justice system: as the new President of the Society for Computers and Law he sees technology as the answer to today's problems. Australia has been the recent victim of natural disasters - floods, storms and wild fires - and the country's leading conservationist, Tim Flannery, puts forward his views on the future of the planet. And as the longest running study of elephants in the wild turns 40, Phyllis Lee, explains what they've learnt about, what John Donne called, "Nature's great masterpiece". Producer: Katy Hickman.
TIM FLANNERY Start the Week None b00z58b0_TIM FLANNERY b00z58b0 Cyclones, floods and bushfires – Australia has seen its fair share of natural disasters in the last year. But the Australian scientist Tim Flannery remains optimistic that the country, and the planet as a whole, has a successful, sustainable future. In his new book, Here on Earth: A New Beginning, he argues for a radical re-wilding of the planet, and suggests that humanity has now evolved into the first global super-organism, capable of imagining and managing its own evolution. In his new role as Australia’s first chief climate commissioner he also calls for new forms of international governance to review how we manage the atmosphere, oceans and the poles. Here on Earth: A New Beginning is published by Allen Lane.
PHYLLIS LEE Start the Week None b00z58b0_PHYLLIS LEE b00z58b0 The Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya is the longest running elephant study in the world. The animal behaviourist Phyllis Lee says the 40-year project has greatly increased our understanding of the complexity of elephants’ minds. They are not only able to distinguish between a close friend, an acquaintance and a complete stranger, but are able to recognise more than 1000 individual animals. Lee argues that such long-term studies are vital in challenging assumptions about animal behaviour, and provide vital information to ensure the survival of what John Donne called “nature’s great masterpiece”. The Amboseli Elephants: A Long-Term Perspective on a Long-Lived Mammal, edited by Cynthia J Moss, Harvey Croze and Phyllis C Lee, is published by The University of Chicago Press.
PETER HARRIS Start the Week None b00z58b0_PETER HARRIS b00z58b0 The human rights lawyer Peter Harris returns to the last years of the apartheid regime in South Africa. In the late 1980s he was involved in a ground-breaking treason trial, when four members of the ANC facing the death penalty rejected the authority of the court to argue they were soldiers fighting a ‘just war’. In his book, A Just Defiance, he shows how the apartheid government used the law to give itself credibility on the world stage, but also how, even while heavily politicised, the legal system could sometimes surprisingly err on the side of justice. A Just Defiance: The Bombmakers, the Insurgents and a Legendary Treason Trial is published by Portobello Books.
RICHARD SUSSKIND Start the Week None b00z58b0_RICHARD SUSSKIND b00z58b0 The new President of the Society for Computers and Law believes the legal profession has failed to keep up with technological advances. Richard Susskind believes that video conferencing, online legal services and dispute resolution should become integral to the way people access the law. Millions of people sort out disputes online every year, without going to court, and many more are resorting to the internet to arrange simple legal transactions. With the government looking to cut the legal aid bill by £350 million, Susskind argues that it’s time to review what lawyers do, and see whether new computer systems can revolutionise the way justice is delivered.
Andrew Marr with Helena Kennedy, Mark Malloch-Brown, David Gilmour and Daniel Kawczynski. Start the Week Andrew Marr with the former UN deputy secretary-general Mark Malloch-Brown, Baroness Helena Kennedy, the historian David Gilmour and Daniel Kawczynski MP. b00yy8xf b00yy8xf Andrew Marr with the former UN deputy secretary-general Mark Malloch-Brown, who argues that national governments are no longer equipped to address complex international issues. The Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski describes the "corrupt grandiosity" of the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, and explains what is meant by the government's 'principled engagement' with the country. The historian David Gilmour looks back a hundred and fifty years to the unification of Italy, and considers whether it has ever really become a coherent nation-state. And the human rights lawyer, Baroness Helena Kennedy, believes we need to be more judgemental if we are to live an ethical life. Producer: Katy Hickman.
DANIEL KAWCZYNSKI Start the Week None b00yy8xf_DANIEL KAWCZYNSKI b00yy8xf For the last 40 years Colonel Gaddafi has been the absolute ruler of Libya. As he clamps down on opposition protesters with increasing brutality, Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libya and author of Seeking Gaddafi, argues that sanctions are not enough and military steps should be considered to protect Libyan citizens who have risen up against Gaddafi. During his period in power, the eccentric and complex Gaddafi has presented a range of different personas to the world, but his chief aim has always been to maintain his grip on power. During his rule he has persecuted his people and killed tens of thousands to achieve this. According to Kawczynski, it was always going to be the case that Gaddafi would not stand down without bloodshed. Seeking Gaddafi is published by Dialogue.
MARK MALLOCH-BROWN Start the Week None b00yy8xf_MARK MALLOCH-BROWN b00yy8xf Mark Malloch-Brown is the former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Vice-President of External Affairs at the World Bank. In his first book, The Unfinished Global Revolution, he argues that national governments are no longer equipped to address complex international issues. In his view, as the world has become more integrated, we have also become less governed. If we are to tackle challenges such as poverty, international terrorism, climate change and the reform of the financial system, stronger global institutions are needed that revive, rather than replace, national governments. The Unfinished Global Revolution: The Limits of Nations and the Pursuit of a New Politics is published by Allen Lane.
DAVID GILMOUR Start the Week None b00yy8xf_DAVID GILMOUR b00yy8xf A hundred and fifty years ago Italy became a unified country. Often trumpeted as a triumph of liberalism and progress, the historian David Gilmour asks whether it was more “a sin against history and geography”. He argues that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities and cuisine. He questions whether the Risorgimento has succeeded in creating a coherent nation-state, or even a successful political system. The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples is published by Allen Lane.
HELENA KENNEDY Start the Week None b00yy8xf_HELENA KENNEDY b00yy8xf Baroness Helena Kennedy is one of Britain’s most well-known and distinguished lawyers. In the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, the journalists' phone-hacking controversy and concerns about nurses neglecting elderly patients, Baroness Kennedy argues that if we are to sustain high ethical standards, we need to bring back the concept of shame. In her forthcoming lecture, “Ethics in a Changing World”, she will say there is a yearning for stronger morality in society and one of the key factors which keep us behaving well is the opinion of people who matter to us. We need to be more judgemental, not less. Baroness Kennedy is giving the Annual School of Oriental and African Studies President's Lecture entitled “Ethics in a Changing World” on Thursday 3 March.
Andrew Marr talks to Simon Wessely, John Stubbs, Athene Donald and Simon Sebag Montefiore. Start the Week Andrew Marr talks to the psychiatrist Simon Wessely, historian John Stubbs, physicist Athene Donald and writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. b00yqg7v b00yqg7v Andrew Marr talks to Simon Wessely about the mental health of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and explores why British personnel appear to have fared so much better than their American counterparts. The historian John Stubbs revels in the antics of the Cavaliers - the 17th century dandies and political intriguers, loyal to the king. The experimental physicist Athene Donald argues that science is as creative as the arts, and describes how studying the texture of yoghurt could help the treatment of dementia. And Simon Sebag Montefiore studies the texture of a city - Jerusalem. His epic 3000 year history is a chronicle of faith and power, diversity and co-existence. Producer: Katy Hickman.
SIMON WESSELY Start the Week None b00yqg7v_SIMON WESSELY b00yqg7v What impact have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had on British troops' mental health? It is commonly believed that these conflicts are creating an epidemic in mental health problems amongst military personnel. But Professor Simon Wessely, Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, argues that the evidence shows otherwise and accuses the media of painting a distorted picture of the health and well-being of the UK armed forces. Although psychological problems among American troops remain high, there has not been a large increase in rates of mental illness among their British counterparts. Simon Wessely is giving a talk entitled “Time bombs or tidal waves: the impact of Iraq/Afghanistan on the health of the UK Armed Forces” at the Royal Institution on Friday 25 February.
JOHN STUBBS Start the Week None b00yqg7v_JOHN STUBBS b00yqg7v Better known for their elaborate dress than their success on the battlefield, the Cavaliers of the English Civil War have long been regarded as flamboyant libertines. The literary historian John Stubbs looks beyond the lace ruffles and velvet, at the makings of the royalist faction and explains how reading their largely forgotten writings shed new light on one of the most turbulent eras of the country. Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War is published by Viking.
SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE Start the Week None b00yqg7v_SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE b00yqg7v Jerusalem has often been regarded as the “centre of the world”, being the capital of two peoples, the focus of three faiths and the much sought-after prize of numerous conquerors. In his new book Jerusalem: The Biography, Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the epic 3000-year history of this city and charts how a relatively small, remote town became the “Holy City” and the battlefield of competing civilisations. He argues that Jerusalem’s history encapsulates the history of the world and that although it has been the scene of many conflicts and violent changes, for much of its existence it has also been a hybrid metropolis characterised by continuity, co-existence and interlinking cultures. If a peace deal is ever to be reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, they will have to resolve the future of Jerusalem. Jerusalem: The Biography is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
ATHENE DONALD Start the Week None b00yqg7v_ATHENE DONALD b00yqg7v Professor Dame Athene Donald is one of Britain’s leading physicists but her work focuses on the territory between physics and biology. She argues that science is a creative act, that scientists are just as creative as poets and that the nature of scientific research is widely misunderstood. In her view, science is not so much about testing hypotheses but about the wonder of exploring new paths and the evolution of ideas. Athene Donald will be giving a talk at the Institute of Physics on Wednesday 30 March entitled “Alzheimer's Disease and Yoghurt - a Physicist's Exploration of Proteins”.
Andrew Marr with David Attenborough, Sheila Hancock, David Shields and Andrew Motion. Start the Week Andrew Marr with David Attenborough, Sheila Hancock, David Shields and Andrew Motion. b00yhynw b00yhynw Andrew Marr talks to David Attenborough as he goes on the trail of the elephant bird. Fifty years ago he was given pieces of its egg on a visit to Madagascar, now he returns to find out what this giant ostrich-like creature can tell us about the balance between survival and extinction. A journey of a different kind for Sheila Hancock who goes in search of the often over-looked artist of the watercolour. The writer David Shields heralds the death of the realist novel, as he advocates blending fiction and non-fiction in a kind of 'lyric essay', but he does it by plagiarising other authors in a form of 'creative sampling'. And poet Andrew Motion meditates on crossing the borders between fact and fiction. Producer: Katy Hickman.
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH Start the Week None b00yhynw_DAVID ATTENBOROUGH b00yhynw In 1960, during a filming trip to Madagascar, David Attenborough was given fragments of egg shell. Pieced together, they formed the giant egg of the elephant bird, an extinct creature which was once common on the island. In Attenborough and the Giant Egg, he returns to Madagascar on a quest to discover why this extraordinary bird died out. What can its demise teach us about the relationship between humans and the natural world? And how can its disappearance help us to understand what is happening to Madagascar's wildlife today? Attenborough and the Giant Egg will be shown on BBC2 on Wednesday 2 March at 8.00pm.
DAVID SHIELDS Start the Week None b00yhynw_DAVID SHIELDS b00yhynw Are you suffering from fiction fatigue? In his new book, Reality Hunger, David Shields argues that novels are irrelevant and that non-fiction has taken over. Living in an artificial and mediated world, he thinks we’ve become obsessed with reality. But do the ‘real’ stories we tell have to be our own and do they have to be true? Where does plagiarism end and creativity begin? Does it matter if some of our facts are other people’s fictions? Storytellers have been reusing ideas and phrases for centuries; is it time to acknowledge that ‘borrowing nobly’ is the way forward? Reality Hunger: A Manifesto is published by Penguin.
ANDREW MOTION Start the Week None b00yhynw_ANDREW MOTION b00yhynw Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion talks to Andrew Marr about crossing the borders between poetry and prose and between private and public life. He explains how the Laureateship took its toll on his writing and why poetry, far from being irrelevant, is part of a deep human instinct. Andrew Motion will be in conversation with Rebecca Jones in a talk entitled 'Crossing Borders' at the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival in London on Saturday 19 February. His book of war poems, Laurels and Donkeys, is published by Clutag Press.
SHEILA HANCOCK Start the Week None b00yhynw_SHEILA HANCOCK b00yhynw Watercolours have long been the poor relation of oil paintings, but it is time, argues Sheila Hancock, to restore them to their proper place as a pioneering British art. From Turner’s shimmering Venice to the haunting First World War paintings of Paul Nash, watercolours were the photography of their day - immediate and versatile. As a new exhibition of 800 years of watercolours opens at Tate Britain, Sheila Hancock discusses why watercolours are the ideal medium for capturing the beauty of landscapes, the horrors of war and the full range of human emotions. Sheila Hancock Brushes Up: The Art of Watercolours will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 20 February.
Andrew Marr with Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Mike Figgis, Margaret Heffernan and Edward Higgs. Start the Week Marr with Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, director Mike Figgis, businesswoman Margaret Heffernan and Professor of History Edward Higgs. b00y5d57 b00y5d57 Andrew Marr talks to the British film-maker Mike Figgis about directing Donizetti's most psychologically profound opera, Lucrezia Borgia. Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell looks to the end of the world as the Mayans believed it, to discuss the communication of science. The businesswoman Margaret Heffernan asks how and why individuals and society as a whole choose to turn a blind eye to the uncomfortable truth. And society is also under the spotlight from the historian Edward Higgs, who champions the on-going importance of the census. Producer: Katy Hickman.
MIKE FIGGIS Start the Week None b00y5d57_MIKE FIGGIS b00y5d57 Lucrezia Borgia’s name has been a byword for evil for five hundred years; the femme fatale accused of murder and incest. But at the heart of Donizetti’s opera is the doomed relationship between Lucrezia and her illegitimate son, amidst the brutality of Machiavellian politics and the struggle for power. Making his opera debut at the ENO, the film director Mike Figgis is at pains to understand the psychological make-up of Lucrezia. In a series of short films he explores her back story and abusive family relationships, to explain how she can be at turns viciously ruthless and extraordinarily tender. Lucrezia Borgia is on at the ENO in London.
MARGARET HEFFERNAN Start the Week None b00y5d57_MARGARET HEFFERNAN b00y5d57 Why do we avoid seeing obvious threats and instead choose to keep ourselves in the dark? When we’re faced with an uncomfortable truth, how can we turn away? In her new book, Wilful Blindness, academic and writer Margaret Heffernan examines what it is about human nature that makes us dodge the unpalatable to avoid action and debate. She explores the dangers to people and organisations of ignoring what is right in front of us and suggests steps institutions and individuals can take to start combating wilful blindness. Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore The Obvious At Our Peril is published by Simon & Schuster.
JOCELYN BELL BURNELL Start the Week None b00y5d57_JOCELYN BELL BURNELL b00y5d57 Will the world end on 21 December 2012? The date marks the end of the Mayan calendar and, some believe, the end of everything. Astrophysicist Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Visiting Professor at Oxford University, talks about astronomical fact, prediction fictions and what apocalyptic scares can tell us about the communication of science. Jocelyn Bell Burnell will be giving the Faraday Lecture on “The end of the world in 2012? Science communication and science scares” at the Royal Society on Thursday 10 February.
EDWARD HIGGS Start the Week None b00y5d57_EDWARD HIGGS b00y5d57 Next month sees the 21st census of the British population. It began as a head count in 1801 following fears that population growth would outstrip food supply. But the records and data generated have become invaluable in understanding how society has changed. While the first census recorded just seven or eight questions, the curiosity of government in 2011 has become insatiable, and it’s expected to be 30 pages long. Professor of History Edward Higgs celebrates two centuries of the census, and as speculation grows that this year’s could be the last, argues for continuing relevance. Edward Higgs is one of the speakers at the British Library’s talk “Broken Down by Age, Sex and Religion: The History of the Census in Britain” on Monday 14 March.
Andrew Marr with guests Neville Brody, Prof Alex Danchev, Susan Hiller and EC Osondu. Start the Week Presented by Andrew Marr, with guests graphic designer Neville Brody, artist Susan Hiller, Prof Alex Danchev and Nigerian writer EC Osondu. b00y288b b00y288b Andrew Marr talks fonts with the graphic designer Neville Brody, whose Anti-Design manifesto criticised the fear and lack of risk inherent in the art world, and challenged fellow artists to come up with something truly dangerous. Objects, overlooked and rejected, lie at the heart of much of Susan Hiller's work, which has been described as "investigations into the 'unconscious' of our culture." Hiller has been inspired by Minimalism, Fluxus and Surrealism, and Alex Danchev celebrates the best and worst in artists' manifestos. And the Nigerian writer EC Osondu, who works and lives in the US, explores the frayed bonds between his adopted country and his homeland. Producer: Katy Hickman.
March 2014
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Run succeeded: - ran 10 times, most recently for 68 seconds (31 scraped pages, 30 records) 07:54, 17 March 2014


June 2011
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