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Broadcasting the Brightest Minds
Tom Charlton, Daisy Hay, Jonathan Healey, Christopher Kissane, Corin Throsby and Shahidha Bari

  • Tuesday 6 June 2017, 6.30PM to 8.50pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • RCH/037, Ron Cooke Hub, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible

Event details

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BBC Radio 3

Meet five New Generation Thinkers and hear their ideas on topics including the history of breastfeeding and how we deal with tyrants.

New Generation Thinkers is a nationwide scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to find the brightest minds at the start of their careers with the potential to share their cutting-edge research through broadcasting.

Accessible to all, our Festival launch night will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s The Essay in early July. It features five inspiring speakers, choral music by The 24 and a drinks reception. The 24 is conducted by Robert Hollingworth, founder and director of I Fagiolini, one of the UK’s top professional vocal groups. I Fagiolini’s new CD, Monteverdi – The Other Vespers, which features The 24, went to number 1 in the Specialist Classical Charts in early May 2017.

Join in the discussion as we explore the history of fasting, the pivotal role played by publisher Joseph Johnson in the early history of English Romanticism, tyranny and resistance, and breastfeeding past and present.

The format of our Festival Launch event will be three speakers, followed by a drinks reception and music by The 24, then another two speakers and an opportunity for discussion. The Hub café is also open before the event for drinks and light snacks.

Our speakers are Tom Charlton, Daisy Hay, Jonathan Healey, Christopher Kissane and Corin Throsby:

  • Daisy Hay of the University of Exeter introduces the circle of writers who gathered each week for dinner in the heart of the City at the table of the publisher Joseph Johnson. Daisy traces Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Wordsworth, Paine and many others in and out of Johnson’s dining room in order to explore the pivotal role played in early history of English Romanticism by a maker of books who was also a maker of dreams, and to uncover the lost stories he created.
  • Jonathan Healey of the University of Oxford looks at tyranny and resistance.  He argues that the way people resisted unpopular governments changed dramatically from the 16th to the 20th centuries. As states grew in power, flight was no longer an option, so discontented people were forced to imagine revolution. Today, escape is once again possible, to safe online spaces which act like medieval forests, places which the government can't control. The nature of resistance is reverting to its Tudor state: socially conservative, constant, and small in scale.  
  • Christopher Kissane of the London School of Economics explores the history of fasting. Eating and avoiding hunger are our most basic goals, yet for thousands of years people have deliberately denied themselves food as an act of faith or conscience. What is the history of fasting, and why do billions still fast today?
  • Corin Throsby of the University of Cambridge discusses breastfeeding past and present. From Romantic notions of the natural nursing mother to Victorian fears of vampirism to Modernist associations between breastfeeding and the working class, Corin tracks the political and social implications of how we have chosen to feed our babies over the past 200 years.
  • Thomas Charlton brings us high society scandal and a juicy assassination from the reign of Charles II. While the seventeenth century was a hotly contested crucible of religious, political and scientific thought, there was also gossip, scandal and intrigue aplenty to distract diligent scholars of early modern England – and very telling it can be. 

The event is hosted by New Generation Thinker Shahidha Bari of Queen Mary University of London and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s The Essay from 3 to 7 July.

About the speakers

Dr Daisy Hay is a Senior Lecturer in Archives and Material Culture at the University of Exeter and author of Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron, and Other Tangled Lives, and Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance.

Dr Jonathan Healey is Fellow of Kellogg College and University Lecturer in English Local and Social History at the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. He studies early-modern British social and economic history.

Dr Corin Throsby is a Researcher at the University of Cambridge and has previously presented radio programmes about Australian art and Lord Byron.

Dr Christopher Kissane is Visiting Fellow in Economic History at the London School of Economics. His first book, Food, Religion, & Communities in Early Modern Europe (due to be published in 2017 by Bloomsbury) explores the relationship between food and three major issues of early modern European history: Inquisition, Reformation, and Witchcraft.

Dr Shahidha Bari is a Senior Lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary University of London. You can hear her regularly on Radio 4’s Front Row, Saturday Review, and Radio 3’s Free Thinking. She writes and presents documentaries for Radio 4 and the World Service. 

The 24

With a reputation forged under Professor William Brooks, The 24 is now conducted by Robert Hollingworth, founder/director of I Fagiolini, one of the UK’s top professional vocal groups. I Fagiolini’s CD, Monteverdi - The Other Vespers, which features The 24, went to number 1 in the Specialist Classical Charts in early May 2017. Please see or to find out more.  For more information about I Fagiolini’s new CD, Monteverdi – The Other Vespers, which features The 24, please see

Catering generously provided by University of York Commercial Services


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