Four Thought



Series of thought-provoking talks in which the speakers air their thinking on the trends, ideas, interests and passions that affect culture and society


  • From Care to Cambridge

    12/10/2022 Duração: 21min

    Kasmira Kincaid opens up about the challenges of her childhood and her experiences of the care system. Despite her many personal challenges Kasmira found solace in learning and successfully graduated from Corpus Christi College. She now argues that a good education should be a basic right for everyone, no matter of age, background, or educational attainment, and that the current exam system is arbitrary. “Like most winners I never really questioned the rules of the game I was playing. But exams are some of the most artificial activities human beings can engage in. They are, after all, a closed system: the exam board sets the marking criteria, which most schools then teach to, and their students are judged by how well they fulfilled the marking criteria the exam board set.”

  • Baldness, Beauty and Me

    05/10/2022 Duração: 19min

    After an incident at school which shattered Lizi Jackson-Barrett’s confidence in her appearance, she spent much of her life chasing what society thinks of as beautiful. Only when she suffered from Alopecia at the age of forty, did she find confidence in herself and her beauty. She urges society to question engrained ideas of what beauty is. “I can’t remember ever crying as much as I did in those first months of being bald. I felt a grief that was deeper than any I’d known before. Everything I’d ever done felt so pointless: I’d spent my entire life trying to make myself look “right” and now I was further from that goal than ever.” Image Credit: The Woman And The Wolf

  • From Bradford with Love

    28/09/2022 Duração: 20min

    Crime writer Amit Dhand shares his experiences of growing up in Bradford in the 1980s. His family actively integrated with the local community. “We simply had to integrate; to talk to the locals, to create friendships. Sharing language and food was a key part of this process. It wasn’t optional – it was vital and it is how Bradford succeeded in creating a new future.” But Amit argues some of that willingness to mix has now been lost. In recent times an abandoned redevelopment project known locally as the “hole in the ground" dominated Bradford city centre for years and he says it set life in the city back. Different communities no longer had a space to congregate. Integration is, he argues, an "active process" and in this talk Amit offers solutions from sports, arts and health to get it back on track.

  • What I learnt from Reality TV

    21/09/2022 Duração: 19min

    Former Love Island contestant Malin Andersson reflects on how reality TV changed her outlook on life and her relationship with social media. In an honest and open talk, Malin shares what led her to go on reality TV, her experience of eating disorders, how grief forced her to examine her relationship with social media, and what she learnt from being on reality TV. “Once you’re in the limelight your whole life is out there for people to see and comment on and it isn’t easy. You feel like you are constantly comparing yourself to others, you have to do more – and if you aren’t booking work or TV you feel like a failure.” Image Credit: Kimmie Hoo

  • A Friendship

    26/08/2022 Duração: 19min

    Novelist Richard Owain Roberts shares a story about a friendship. Producer: Giles Edwards

  • Who Tells the Story?

    17/08/2022 Duração: 20min

    Chloe Juliette welcomes the movement for those with 'lived experience' of public services to share their stories, but says more stories are needed. In this extraordinary talk Chloe, a social researcher who has experienced the care system and been invited many times to share those experiences with professionals, takes us inside one of those talks. She tells us the stories she shares with professionals, and explains why she feels now is the time for more voices to join the conversation. Producer: Giles Edwards.

  • Meeting Up

    03/08/2022 Duração: 19min

    Laura Simpson argues that online meetings have good for individuals and companies, and that we should be wary of returning to the status quo. The meeting, says Laura, is the fundamental unit of white collar working life. And in the last couple of years it's undergone a revolution - out have gone the suits, glass tables and rigid hierarchy; in have come moments of vulnerability, the hand raise function, and unannounced visits from children. It's happened in plain sight, but its consequences have been little discussed. Laura is a Global Director at advertising and marketing company, McCann Worldgroup. As she shares stories from some of the meetings she has been in, she explains why she believes this change has created a re-imagining of what meetings could be, and a rebalancing of power within them - with more people, and in particular more junior people and those who previously felt marginalised, empowered to contribute. Producer: Giles Edwards

  • Somewhere, not Nowhere

    03/08/2022 Duração: 19min

    Jonathan Evershed argues that we should re-imagine how we think of the Irish Sea. Jonathan is a political anthropologist who has been studying the relationship between Ireland and his native Wales since Brexit. And he believes it's time to start thinking of the Irish Sea not just as a space between the two, but as an important place itself - a place with its own history and natural history. In this talk, Jonathan invites us to join him on cliffs, in ports and on ferries, looking at the Irish Sea, as he asks us to think differently about it. Producer: Giles Edwards

  • Asking the right questions about crime

    27/07/2022 Duração: 17min

    Criminologist Dr Laura Bui wants us to ask the right questions when it comes to crime. The popular genre of ‘true crime’ may be popular but is it helping us better understand the origins of crime? We turn to crime novels, film and documentaries to compare ourselves to both victims and perpetrators. How different are we? This genre loves to tell us the ‘origin stories’ of infamous criminals to tell us of their childhoods and often past traumas - as if to explain their future actions. But this can have the effect of erasing the victims, diminishing their memory in some way. But is the habit of asking ‘why’ a criminal committed a crime and not ‘how’ they got to the point of becoming a criminal flawed? We take one criminal out of the public only to have them replaced by another - Laura argues asking ‘how’ helps to finally break this cycle. Presenter - Olly Mann Producer- Jordan Dunbar Editor - Tara McDermott SM- Rod Farquhar

  • Cities made for our mental health

    20/07/2022 Duração: 22min

    Dr Layla McCay asks us to think again about how our buildings and towns can both benefit and harm our mental health. As a trained psychiatrist and head of the Centre for Urban Design she has brought together the research around this topic for the first time. Looking at how plants and water can reduce the risk of psychosis and ‘bumping’ places, where people can casually meet to form connections and potentially ease depression. Layla’s work as the Director of the NHS Confederation has convinced her of the importance of design and physical health but also how little attention has been paid to it’s impact on the mind. She says the concept of ‘restorative cities’ - those that help heal or calm the mind are what we should be aiming for. Designing places that help counter loneliness, improve connections and keep depression at bay. Post Pandemic can we redesign our surroundings to support a happier and healthier life? Presenter Olly Mann Producer- Jordan Dunbar Editor- Tara McDermott

  • Making Time

    13/07/2022 Duração: 24min

    Watchmaker Rebecca Struthers shares her passion for the art and science of horology. She warns that this traditional skill and its allied trades to make and restore watches, are endangered in Britain unless we make it easier for the next generation to be trained in them. "When well-made objects are cared for, it's a cycle of relationships that can span centuries. The oldest family watch I've worked on was five generations and 250 years old. When working on an object that symbolises the passing of time itself, I'm acutely aware of the fact that I've become a moment in the history of this watch, a moment in time for an object that was made centuries before my birth and will live on centuries after I'm gone." Presenter: Olly Mann Producer: Sheila Cook Production Coordinator: Janet Staples Editor: Penny Murphy

  • Grief: A Practical Guide

    06/07/2022 Duração: 21min

    James Helm gives a practical guide to dealing with grief and sudden single parenthood. Following the early death of his wife Charlotte, he found himself without the love of his life and single-handedly bringing up their three sons. He shares what he has learnt from personal experience - "what helps and what hurts". "People may think bereavement is in the past when in fact it is very much in the present. And it's really not a weakness to signal when things are tough, or when sadness or loneliness gather like clouds. In my view, it's a sign of real strength." Presenter: Olly Mann Producer: Sheila Cook Production Coordinator: Janet Staples Editor: Penny Murphy

  • Valuing Care

    28/12/2021 Duração: 19min

    Ai-jen Poo argues that we should all value caring, and carers. Ai-jen, a MacArthur Fellow, is Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, an advocacy organisation in the United States representing domestic workers, many of them carers. In this powerful, intimate talk, she tells the story of how two of her grandparents' very different experiences when they needed carer emphasised the importance of valuing caring. Producer: Giles Edwards

  • Brain Matters

    21/12/2021 Duração: 20min

    Beth Stevens talks about the brain cells most people have never heard of, and suggests what they might have to teach us. Beth is a neuroscientist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, who in 2015 was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship - the so-called 'genius grant' - for her work on microglial cells. In this talk she describes the connections between her research and her own family history, and explains why these cells - for so long overlooked in favour of neurons - may be the key to understanding much about the brain we don't yet know. Producer: Giles Edwards

  • Painting a different history

    14/12/2021 Duração: 22min

    Tara Munroe reveals what she learned when she rescued some badly damaged paintings which were due to be thrown out. Tara is an arts curator and researcher. Ten years ago she found a pile of paintings marked with the words 'for disposal'. She was immediately intrigued, and as she began to research them, she became more and more drawn into their story, and how it connected with her own history. Now, a decade on, she is hoping to return them to the gallery walls, where they belong. Producer: Patrick Cowling.

  • Prison Sentence

    07/12/2021 Duração: 24min

    Philippa Greer discusses the imprisonment of people convicted of genocide. Philippa is a human rights lawyer who has worked around the world. In this powerful talk she tells the story of a visit to West Africa to prepare for the funeral of a man who had recently died in prison. This man had been convicted of genocide, but Philippa reveals that many such prisoners will eventually be released, and what that suggests to her about the use of prison as a response to the most serious crimes against humanity. Producer: Patrick Cowling.

  • The Power of Doubt

    06/10/2021 Duração: 21min

    Nicola Reindorp, who once doubted her own abilities to be a CEO, says we should rehabilitate doubt as a strength rather than a weakness in leaders. "I'd seen my own doubts as negative, disqualifying me from leadership. I had seen others believe the same. But, I asked myself, aren't the best leaders not the ones that say they have all the answers, but those who know they don't? Not those who say they see it all, but those who ask whose perspective is missing? Rather than a deficiency to be hidden, maybe doubt should be seen as a power to be harnessed?" Nicola Reindorp is CEO of Crisis Action Presenter: Olly Mann Producer: Sheila Cook

  • Leaving Your Homeland

    29/09/2021 Duração: 20min

    Eva Hnizdo reflects on the impulses which drive people to emigrate - or not, drawing on her Czech Jewish family's experience of the Holocaust and her own as a political asylum seeker. "Whenever members of my family thought about emigrating but didn't actually leave, they made a mistake, sometimes paying for it with their lives. In my case, some might say I made a mistake not to stay. Was it worth the struggle?" Presenter: Olly Mann Producer: Sheila Cook Eva Hnizdo is a former GP and author of "Why Didn't They Leave?"

  • Freedom Is a Must

    22/09/2021 Duração: 19min

    Robyn Travis believes that labelling children as criminals is counterproductive in the fight against violence. He says they need to be freed from the mentality that keeps them as "prisoners to the streets". "It deeply saddens me that the media, film makers and rappers alike see a beneficial gain in telling stories which further criminalise the youth of today and yesterday without losing sleep. I don't see gang members, I see prisoners to the streets." He believes in prevention rather than intervention, calling for primary school children to be taught how to avoid conflict, and for parents to stop saying, "if someone hits you, hit them back". Robyn Travis is the author of Prisoner to the Streets, Mama Can't Raise No Man and Freedom from the Streets Presenter: Olly Mann Producer: Sheila Cook

  • And They Said We'd Be Glowing

    15/09/2021 Duração: 22min

    Laura Dockrill describes her frightening experience of post partum psychosis after giving birth to her son. She calls for a wider conversation about risks to parental mental health and for help to be open to everyone. "This almost invisible illness was an assassin. An apparition that nobody else could see." "Silence only inflames the symptoms, the stigma and creates an ideal culture for a mental illness to thrive. Shame, judgment and fear follow fast in the wake and it's a perfect storm, one that can unfortunately end in tragedy. But it doesn't have to. Post-Partum Psychosis is treatable." Laura Dockrill is an award winning author, illustrator and performance poet. "What Have I Done?" is her memoir on motherhood and mental health. Presenter: Olly Mann Producer: Sheila Cook

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