Discover a world of New Thinking


One of the many joys of podcasts is that you can listen to them at your leisure. They provide intellectual stimulation while still enabling you to cook, clean or pop to the shops, and at a time when most of us are restricted indoors, there’s never been a better time to indulge in new forms of entertainment.

So, if you’re looking to learn about a fascinating area of new research, all from the comfort of your own home, look no further than the New Thinking podcast, created by the BBC in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

It’s been nearly a year since we launched the series, so we thought we’d look back and share some of our most popular podcasts with you.

In this blog post, you’ll go on a journey from the world of George Eliot to an episode exploring techno music in post-war Germany. So put your feet up, pop those headphones in and enjoy…

Fashion, AI and Sustainability

Dr Jade Halbert, Lecturer in Fashion Business and Cultural Studies, University of Huddersfield

In this podcast, Shahidha Bari asks: should we be renting our clothes instead of buying new? This episode explores this topical issue along with how robots are influencing the colour of our fashions. Dr Mark Sumner and Professor Stephen Westland both teach in the School of Design at the University of Leeds and are involved in the AHRC-funded Future Fashion Factory aiming to boost sustainability in fashion by using technology in new ways.  This episode hears from them along with New Generation Thinker Dr Jade Halbert from the University of Huddersfield who describes her trip to a clothes recycling facility in Yorkshire.

Available to listen to here.

New Thinking: Rubble culture to techno in post-war Germany

East and West Germans celebrate the lifting of travel restrictions on East Germans on a graffiti covered section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg gate, November 1989. Copyright: © IWM

New Generation Thinker Dr Tom Charlton weaves together new research on different aspects of post-war and post-wall Germany, rummaging through the rubble for stories. What were schoolteachers in Berlin pre-occupied with when the checkpoints were overrun? What would happen to the dogs of British forces families if the Cold War kicked off? Why was the poet Stephen Spender tasked with the ‘de-Nazification’ of German universities? And how does any of this relate to a 90s techno club in an air raid shelter?

Professor Lara Feigel, Dr Grace Huxford and Dr Tom Smith grapple with these questions in this episode which is available to listen to here.

Places of Poetry and The Colonial Countryside Project

Places of Poetry
Places of Poetry digital map

This episode is about a 15,000-line epic, Poly-Olbion, which inspired Professor Andrew McRae from the University of Exeter and the Places of Poetry project, which asked people to pin newly written poems to a map of England and Wales. 

Dr Hetta Howes finds out more about this project and talks to writers Pete Kalu and Will Harris, alongside Dr Corinne Fowler from the University of Leicester, about the Colonial Countryside Project. This has involved 100 children, ten National Trust properties and ten writers who have helped put the spotlight on stories such as that of a former plantation owner who lived in Speke Hall in Liverpool.

Listen to this episode here.

George Eliot

George Eliot © Samuel Laurence / Public domain

Shahidha Bari takes us into the world of this Victorian literary giant, discussing the state of scholarship on George Eliot at her bicentenary with Professor Ruth Livesey and Dr Helen O’Neill, both at Royal Holloway, University of London, together with Professor Gail Marshall at the University of Reading.

Available to listen to here.

AHRC Research in Film Awards 2019

‘Life on the Move’ – winners of ‘Best Social Media Short’ at the 2019 Research in Film Awards

Are you a budding filmmaker? In this podcast Dr Hetta Howes was joined by filmmakers on the red carpet at the British Film Institute for the AHRC Research in Film Awards.

The film awards are the only awards dedicated to showcasing arts and humanities research through film and in this episode, you can hear from some of the filmmakers and researchers behind the best shortlisted films. Immerse yourself in some thought-provoking reflections on our time that include drama, documentary and animation.

Listen to this episode here.  The Research in Film Awards are also now open for submissions, find out more about these prestigious awards including how to enter now.

This blog is part of an ongoing ‘Digital Discovery’ series where we’ll be sharing fascinating arts and humanities research you can explore digitally – all from the comfort of your own home!

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