BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival showcases Exeter academics

Two Humanities academics from the University of Exeter will be recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at the Sage, Gateshead. The festival runs from 31 October to 2 November bringing together high-profile figures from the worlds of arts, science, politics and literature to discuss and challenge current thinking.

Medical historian Dr Alun Withey and English Literature lecturer Dr Daisy Hay are part of the BBC Radio 3 and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) New Generation Thinkers.  The 2014 New Generation Thinkers will be delivering a series of essays as part of the festival.

On Thursday 6 November at 10:45pm BBC Radio 3 will broadcast Dr Hay’s essay which explores the way in which Benjamin Disraeli invented the modern politician as a person of feeling. The essay ‘Disraeli the Romantic’ asks whether the image he projected as an emotionally in-touch everyman stemmed from fact or fiction?  And it will explore what lessons his story may have for politicians today.

Dr Withey’s topic sheds light on pogonotomy or the art of shaving and will cover a whole range of things from the current fashion of growing a beard to medicine and the military. The essay entitled ‘Whiskers and the History of Pogonotomy’ will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Friday 7 November at 10.45pm. Both essays will be available for 30 days afterwards on BBC iPlayer.

Now in its ninth year, BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival is a weekend of provocative debate, new ideas, live music and performance. In addition to the live broadcasts from the 31 October to 2 November and in the three weeks following the festival, all the debates and lectures will be available as free downloads.

A call for the New Generation Thinkers of 2015 will open on 10 November 2014. Visit AHRC for more information.


Date: 29 October 2014

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