Countercurrent Podcast

About the Podcast: Countercurrent with Professor Roger Kneebone

A podcast for people who like the unexpected. Join the surgeon and academic Professor Roger Kneebone in conversation with unorthodox people whose careers defy traditional boundaries and who swim against the tide.

With grateful thanks to Justin Margovan for his expert production support for Countercurrent since the start.

Many of the people in Countercurrent feature in my book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery (Penguin Viking, 2020).

Available to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Libsyn.

LATEST EPISODE

Siobhan Davies in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dame Siobhan (Sue) Davies has had a long career in contemporary dance. Initially at the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Sue established Siobhan Davies Dance Company in 1988. Her studio - Siobhan Davies Studios - was designed by Sarah Wigglesworth within the shell of a Victorian school building in Southwark. Now Sue makes films, including ‘All This Can Happen’ (2012).

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2024

01/04/2024

Siobhan Davies in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dame Siobhan (Sue) Davies has had a long career in contemporary dance. Initially at the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Sue established Siobhan Davies Dance Company in 1988. Her studio - Siobhan Davies Studios - was designed by Sarah Wigglesworth within the shell of a Victorian school building in Southwark. Now Siobhan makes films, including ‘All This Can Happen’ (2012).

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18/03/2024

David Spiegelhalter in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter was Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge until his recent retirement. A gifted broadcaster and communicator, David became familiar to many through his media discussions around statistics and risk during the Covid-19 pandemic. https://www.statslab.cam.ac.uk/~david/

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04/03/2024

Lilli Cooper in conversation with Roger Kneebone

After completing her training in plastic surgery and as a professional coach, Lilli Cooper has expanded her interests to address issues around performance, anxiety and wellness through coaching and specialised support. In this conversation we explore how she focuses on helping surgeons optimise their performance. www.lillicooper.co.uk

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19/02/2024

Richard Horton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Richard Horton is the Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet. In this conversation he describes the challenges and excitement of being at the helm of one of the world’s leading medical journals and his approach to controversy and political involvement. We also discuss his personal experience of advanced cancer and its impact on his thinking and approach.

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05/02/2024

Aristeidis Anagnostou in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Aris has been fascinated by the human body for as long as he can remember. Early on he discovered a special aptitude for treating ill and injured people through touch, broadening his skills during his degree studies as a sports therapist. In this conversation we discuss our different experiences of gaining and applying anatomical knowledge, and our approaches to working with patients and clients. https://www.aristherapy.co.uk/

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220/01/2024

Helen Anahita Wilson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Helen Anahita Wilson trained as a pianist and spent years performing contemporary compositions in the UK. She then became immersed in the complex rhythmical structures of Indian music. In 2019 she was about to travel to India at the start of her PhD when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy during the Covid pandemic. She used these experiences to develop new musical forms, drawing on sonic expressions of biological processes in humans and plants. Her latest work linea naturalis is based on plants in the Chelsea Physic Garden. https://www.helenanahitawilson.com

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08/01/2024

Robert Lindsey in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Robert Lindsey studied English Literature at Oxford University, where he completed PhD in Shakespeare studies and co-edited the Penguin edition of Christopher Marlowe’s plays. He then changed direction and trained as a barrister. Since then he has practised in the criminal courts. In this conversation we discuss Bob’s unconventional career path and explore some of the pressures facing the UK legal system.

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2023

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25/12/2023

Gareth Mitchell in conversation witih Roger Kneebone

Gareth Mitchell lectures in science communication at Imperial College London. For many years he presented the weekly technology programme Digital Planet on the BBC World Service. He also presents occasionally on BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science. We explore parallels between Gareth’s work as a presenter and podcaster and my own experience as a clinician.

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11/12/2023

Lord Robert Salisbury in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, has had a long career as a Conservative politician. He represented South Dorset in the House of Commons from 1979-1987. He was a junior defence minister for two years before being appointed to the House of Lords as Lord Cranborne after the 1992 general election. In the 1990s he was Leader of the House of Lords, from which he retired in 2017. His home is Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. This conversation was recorded in early November 2023, before David Cameron was appointed Foreign Secretary by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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27/11/2023

Andrew Grundon in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Andrew Grundon is an artist who draws, paints and sculpts. He designs and paints traditional pub signs, makes marionettes and is writing and illustrating a novel. In this podcast we discuss the remarkable range of skills which he has gained over many decades and explore how he continues to defy conventional categories and push the boundaries of his work. In November 2023 Andrew became Maker of the Year in the 2023 Heritage Crafts Awards. https://signaturesignsuk.com

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13/11/2-23

Jonathon Tomlinson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Jonathon Tomlinson has been a full-time GP in East London since 2001. He is fascinated by the challenges subtleties of the clinical consultation. He writes about patient clinical advocacy and the social determinants of health and has an MA in Human Values and Contemporary Global Ethics. In this conversation we discuss the nature of general practice, including ideas around kindness and shame.

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30/10/2023

Abigail Bainbridge in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Abigail Bainbridge is a book conservator and Director of Bainbridge Conservation. She teaches on many degree programmes, including at West Dean College, Camberwell College of Art and City & Guilds of London Art School. She sits on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Heritage Science Expert Working Group and is the editor of Conservation of Books, which was published in 2023. https://www.bainbridgeconservation.com/aboutus

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16/10/2023

Allan Hamilton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Allan Hamilton holds four professorships at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - in neurosurgery, radiation oncology, psychology and electrical engineering & computing. His book The Scalpel and the Soul, based on over two decades as a neurosurgeon, explores clinical practice from unconventional perspectives. He is an expert horse whisperer and senior medical consultant on the television show Grey’s Anatomy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Hamilton

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02/10/2023

Ishminder Mangat in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Ishminder Mangat is a junior doctor based in Bristol. She is fascinated by exploring how clinical medicine and the arts can enrich and enlighten one another. Her own podcasts explore a range of topics, including the power of narrative in breast cancer, death and dying, and motherhood anxiety. Ishminder is the lead organiser and creator of Bodies, medical humanities which was launched in Bristol in June 2023

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18/09/2023

Desiree Botana Machado in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Desiree Botana Machado is a skilled prosector, preparing dissections of human cadavers for teaching medical students and surgeons. We discuss how her work combines extraordinary levels of craftsmanship and skill with deep anatomical knowledge and the ability to engage with learners across a wide range of knowledge and experience.

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04/09/2023

James Eastaway in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr James Eastaway trained as a doctor while developing his career as a leading Baroque oboeist and working in experimental theatre. As a musician he plays in some of the UK and Europe’s leading ensembles, while as a doctor he is a GP in a South London training practice. We discuss the excitements and challenges of keeping these multiple strands in play at the same time.

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21/08/2023

Joz Norris in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Joz Norris is an award-winning writer, actor and comedian. We explore Joz’s approach to his work in the world of comedy, and discuss how his absurdist approach has opened new directions. We examine parallels between our professional lives and discuss the transitions we have both experienced in our careers. https://www.joznorris.co.uk

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07/08/2023

Anna Detari in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The Hungarian musician Dr Anna Detari studied the flute at the Liszt Institute in Budapest and developed a passion for performing contemporary compositions before her career was disrupted by Musician’s Focal Dystonia - a mysterious condition which she went on to research and which formed the basis of her doctorate. Although Anna has recovered her ability to perform, her interests in musicians’ wellbeing and the impact of neurodiversity on professional careers form the basis of her current work at the Royal College of Music.

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24/07/2023

Angeliki McAllister in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Miss Angeliki McAllister trained as a breast surgeon, initially focusing on procedures to remove cancers and refashion patients’ breasts. Now she is developing a non-operative clinical role, bringing together the many kinds of expertise which women experiencing breast cancer need. We discuss her ideas around widening her professional focus, comparing her career path with my own experience in surgery, general practice and academia.

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14/7/2023

Simon Friend in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Simon Friend retired from PwC in 2017 after 35 years with the company. His background in accountancy, auditing and business leadership has led to a range of other roles, including being Non-Executive Director at the Royal Academy of Arts. We discuss Simon's role as critical friend and explore how his experience in thinking about risk can inform an organisation’s decision-making.

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19/06/2023

Maiko Tsutsumi in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Maiko Tsutsumi studied furniture making and Japanese lacquer work as an apprentice in her native Japan in the 1990s. After moving to London and studying furniture design at the Royal College Art, she worked for a design studio in London. Having completed a PhD (entitled The Poetics of Everyday Objects) she took up a teaching role at Camberwell College of Arts. Now working independently, Maiko’s interests cross many boundaries. https://www.maikotsutsumi.com

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05/06/2023

Tim Boon in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Tim Boon is a historian of the public culture of science. In his long career at the Science Museum he has explored many aspects of public history relating to health. In this conversation he traces his career’s evolution and we discuss his current large-scale project The Congruence Engine, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

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22/05/2023

Callum Thorpe in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Callum Thorpe initially trained as a scientist, gaining a PhD in immunology from Imperial College London. He then trained as an opera singer and is now an internationally renowned soloist. In this conversation we explore the nature of performance in science and the performing arts. https://www.callumthorpe.com

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08/05/2023

AJ West in conversation with Roger Kneebone

AJ West’s career has been varied and at times controversial, and his interests are diverse. In addition to fifteen years as a television journalist and news presenter, he has participated in Big Brother and become a writer. His first novel The Spirit Engineer was published in 2021 and won the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown Award.

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24/04/2023

Ann Martin-Davis in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ann Martin-Davis is an award-winning pianist who performs as a soloist and chamber musician all over the world. In addition to her performing and recording career she is passionate about teaching. We explore parallels between our experiences of teaching, coaching and other dimensions of our professional careers.

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10/04/2023

Robert Peake in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Robert Peake is Senior Associate at Next Action Associates. He studied at UC Berkeley in California, where he gained a degree in English Literature and taught programming languages. His interests and talents cross many boundaries, and during the Covid pandemic he made a ukelele. https://www.next-action.co.uk/team/robert-peake/

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27/03/2023

Robert Kirby in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Robert Kirby trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College. With support from The Prince’s Trust he established People People, a company which brings techniques from the theatre into other areas of professional practice. We discuss our experiences of changing career direction and discover unexpected parallels.

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13/03/2023

Paul Haidet in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Paul Haidet’s work crosses multiple boundaries. As Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Public Health Sciences and Humanities at Penn State University, he is fascinated by crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries. His lifelong passion for jazz has a profound influence on his clinical practice. In this conversation we explore unexpected parallels and similarities between our own professional experiences.

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27/02/2023

Sam Guglani in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Sam Guglani and I explore how his work as an oncologist is interwoven with his lifelong fascination with writing and the arts. Sam describes how he established Medicine Unboxed more than a decade ago, how it has developed in surprising directions and how it will take place again in May 2023. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/medicine-unboxed-matter-tickets-511287904887

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13/02/2023

Ana Silvera in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ana Silvera’s work defies orthodox categories, spanning folk, jazz, pop, classical and many other traditions. In addition to her recordings she works in ballet and theatre and collaborates widely. She is also an interpreter of Ladino song.

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30/01/2023

Ash Ranpura in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ash Ranpura’s career has moved between experimental neuroscience, internal medicine, clinical neurology and hospital redesign. In this conversation we compare our experiences of moving between fields and across interdisciplinary boundaries and explore how our experience of clinical practice has shaped our beliefs.

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16/01/2023

Miranda Lowe in conversation with Roger Kneebone

As Principal Curator of Crustacea and Cnideria at the Natural History Museum, Miranda Lowe is responsible for the museum’s vast collection of marine invertebrates, dating back over two hundred years. In addition to her own research she is passionate about inspiring and mentoring young people and increasing diversity. She has also written about the museum’s collection of 182 glass sea creatures made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the late nineteenth century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_Lowe

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02/01/2023

Ian Skelly in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ian Skelly is a well-known music presenter on BBC Radio 3. A familiar voice at the BBC Proms, Ian has a wide range of interests including photography, film making and writing. In this conversation we discuss his approach to radio broadcasting and explore how the art of telling stories lies at the heart of his work. Along the way we examine how his ideas around improvisation and performing resonate with my experience in the world of clinical medicine. https://www.ianskelly.co.uk

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2022

24/10/2022

Monica Lalanda in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Monica Lalanda spent much of her career as an emergency doctor. She has always had a passion for drawing and developed a parallel career as a graphic artist, developing the concept of ‘graphic pathographies’ to help patients and their carers express their responses to illness. She has explored graphic medicine in a number of areas, including medical ethics and graphic recording of conference presentations. In this conversation we explore how our different experiences of medicine and healthcare intersect.

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19/12/2022

Harry Collins in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Harry Collins is Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University. For over forty years he has been writing on the sociology of gravitational wave physics. A prolific author, his ideas around interactional expertise have been both influential and controversial. In this conversation we explore some of the implications of his work.

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Medicine

05/12/2022

Ananth Viswanathan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Viswanathan (Vis) specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, an eye disease where pressure on the optic nerve leads to impaired sight. As a surgeon he performs operations of the utmost delicacy and precision; as a teacher he passes on his wisdom to less experienced surgeons; as a statistical geneticist he researches the scientific basis of eye disease. In this conversation we explore the interplay of these many perspectives across his career.

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21/11/2022

Peter Randall-Page in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Peter Randall-Page is internationally known for his carvings in stone, often at massive scale and in public places. He is fascinated by connections between ideas, metaphors and the natural world. Much of his work is inspired by nature and underpinned by mathematics. https://www.peterrandall-page.com His current exhibition at the Pangolin Gallery in London runs from 16 November 2022 until 14 January 2023 https://www.pangolinlondon.com/exhibitions/115-peter-randall-page/works/

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Medicine

07/11/2022

Simon Blackburn in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Simon Blackburn is consultant neonatal and paediatric surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital. His clinical work varies from operating on premature babies with congenital abnormalities to treating adolescents with surgical problems. We discuss how he combines technical precision in the operating theatre, communication with children, their parents and others who provide care, and supporting clinical colleagues in his educational leadership roles.

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24/10/2022

Monica Lalanda in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Monica Lalanda spent much of her career as an emergency doctor. She has always had a passion for drawing and developed a parallel career as a graphic artist, developing the concept of ‘graphic pathographies’ to help patients and their carers express their responses to illness. She has explored graphic medicine in a number of areas, including medical ethics and graphic recording of conference presentations. In this conversation we explore how our different experiences of medicine and healthcare intersect. www.monicalalanda.com

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10/10/2022

Iain Burnside in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Iain Burnside studied at Oxford University, the Royal Academy of Music and the Chopin Academy in Warsaw. As a freelance pianist, he specialises in song repertoire and has collaborated in performances and recordings with many of the world’s leading singers. In his recently formed Trio Balthasar, he performs a wide range of repertoire with violinist Michael Foyle and cellist Timothy Hugh. Iain is also a writer and broadcaster, and for many years presented BBC Radio 3’s Voices, for which he won a Sony Radio Award. He is Artistic Director of the Ludlow English Song Weekend. http://finalnotemagazine.com/articles/iain-burnside/

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26/9/22

Hansjorg Schmidt in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Hansjorg Schmidt heads the MA Light in Performance programme at Rose Bruford College in London. In this conversation he explains how he uses light when designing theatrical productions, and we explore ideas about the role of light in professional settings.

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29/08/2022

James Taylor in conversation with Roger Kneebone

As a professional keynote speaker, James Taylor is a skilled performer who works with audiences across the world. His Supercreativity podcast features over 350 conversations with leaders the field. In this conversation we explore similarities and differences between podcast conversations, formal keynote presentations and clinical encounters. We both identify trustworthiness as a key aspect of our work. www.jamestaylor.me/the-new-supercreativity-podcast-show-291/

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15/08/2022

Tim Weekes in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Tim Weekes has wide experience in the world of pre-hospital care. Trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and solo responder, his degree course as a paramedic has led to his many roles as a care provider, teacher and coach.

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01/08/2022

Jeff Bezemer in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jeff Bezemer and I discuss our collaboration aimed at making sense of the operating theatre as a pedagogic space. Jeff’s background in applied linguistics and ethnomethodology gives him completely different perspectives from mine as a surgeon. In this podcast we explore points of intersection between our different ways of looking at professional contexts.

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18/07/2022

Onora O’Neill in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The moral philosopher Onora O’Neill (Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve) has a longstanding fascination with trustworthiness. She has explored these ideas extensively, through writing and broadcasting (including her 2002 BBC Reith Lectures). Her 2022 book A Philosopher Looks at Digital Communication examines the impact of contemporary forms of communication, including social media. In this conversation we examine issues around trustworthiness within the medical realm and beyond.

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SCIENCE

04/07/2022

Luke Delmas in conversation with Roger Kneebone

As a postdoctoral synthetic chemist, Luke Delmas is fascinated by the challenges of conducting experimental work and teaching students the skills of the laboratory. He is a core member of the Chemical Kitchen project at Imperial, where undergraduate students gain laboratory skills by mastering culinary tasks.

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20/06/2022

Sarah Whatley in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sarah Whatley trained as a dancer. She has a longstanding interest in how dance and choreography intersect with ways of thinking about movement in other professional areas. In this podcast we uncover unexpected similarities between our experiences in dance, medicine and education.

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SCIENCE

06/06/2022

Anna Batistatou in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Anna Batistatou specialises in the pathology of cancer and is interested in issues of perception, cognition and communication. In this podcast we explore different ways of seeing and making sense of what we observe.

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ART & DESIGN

23/05/2022

Johnny Messum in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Johnny Messum has a background in art history. In 2016 he established Messums Wiltshire, a multi-purpose gallery and arts centre in a converted 13th century tithe barn in Tisbury, near Salisbury. In this conversation we discuss the nature of craftsmanship and explore the triangular relationship between artist/maker, gallerist and buyer/collector, with underlying connections based on trust and care.

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SCIENCE

09/05/2022

Kishor Gulabivala in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Kishor Gulabivala specialises in endodontics and restorative dentistry. His work requires him to integrate different forms of perception and intervention in order to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the inner contours of his patients’ teeth. We discuss how he gained these skills himself and how he passes them on to those he teaches.

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SCIENCE

25/04/2022

Alex Auerbach in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alex Auerbach is sport psychologist and Director of Wellness and Development for the Toronto Raptors, an elite basketball team based in Canada. In this conversation we discuss the nature of coaching and psychological support for individuals and teams. We uncover intriguing parallels between our experiences in sports coaching and GP training.

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ART & DESIGN

11/04/2022

Rick Dove in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Rick and I collaborated on Experimental Words, a project bringing together the perspectives of artists and scientists through the medium of poetry. In this conversation we explore Rick’s approach to collaborative work, bringing together his background in psychology with his work as a poet and performance artist.

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BUSINESS

28/03/2022

Ben Thomas in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ben Thomas’s description of his role as an independent financial adviser resonates with my experience as a clinician, and especially as a general practitioner. For both of us, our roles involve developing relationships of trust and care against a background of professional knowledge and experience. In this podcast we explore the similarities and differences between our professional experiences.

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MUSIC

18/03/2022

Ben Griffiths in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ben Griffiths has been the Aurora Orchestra’s Principal double bass player since 2012. The orchestra is widely known for its electrifying performances of symphonies played entirely from memory. In this conversation we examine role of risk in professional performance, whether in music or medicine.

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ART & DESIGN

28/02/2022

Tilda Lewis in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Tilda Lewis has a longstanding fascination with historical costume design and creation, having studied at Wimbledon College of Arts. Especially passionate about eighteenth century women’s hats and bonnets, Tilda talks to me about the role of ‘trimming’ at that time, and the subtleties of hat-wearing then and now.

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ART & DESIGN

14/02/2022

Alan Powers in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alan Powers has been fascinated by twentieth century architecture throughout his career. Alongside his work as an architectural historian and teacher he is a well-known author, watercolour artist and print maker. In this conversation we explore similarities and differences between our ways of seeing and thinking.

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ART & DESIGN

31/01/2022

Edwina Ibbotson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Edwina Ibbotson is a couture milliner who studied in London, New York and Paris. She’s known for combining striking designs with meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. Based in London, she is a member of the British Hat Guild and the Art Workers’ Guild and has had work exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

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ART & DESIGN

17/01/2022

Peter Morris in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Peter Morris is managing director of the London-based architectural practice AAHM (Alford, Hall, Monaghan, Morris). He and his partners design buildings with a huge variety of scale and style. In this conversation we discuss similarities and differences between practising architecture and medicine and explore the role of the ‘expert generalist’.

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ACTING / THEATRE

03/01/2022

Geoffrey Durham in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Geoffrey Durham’s career as a stage magician has been through many stages, from his early days in variety and his persona as The Great Soprendo, his later years as a performer in his own name, and his current work mentoring and coaching other professional magicians. We discuss the techniques of stage magic and Geoffrey’s ability to transfix an audience of thousands with his personality and skill.

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2021

ACTING / THEATRE

20/12/2021

Logan Muray in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Logan Murray is well known in the world of stand up comedy. We explore how Logan helps people ‘bring their inner idiot out to play’, finding aspects of themselves they didn’t know were there. Alongside the obvious differences between medicine and comedy we discover unexpected parallels with aspects of clinical communication.

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WRITING

06/12/2021

Ian Shircore in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ian Shircore combines a career writing books under his own name with his work as a ghost writer for others. After discussing his recent book about the decades-long songwriting partnership of Clive James and Pete Atkin and another about Clive James’s poetry, we explore the world of ghost writing. Ian outlines how he uses his writing skills to capture the authentic voices of people who are not comfortable with the process of creating a book from scratch.

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MUSIC

22/11/2021

Simon Mulligan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Equally at home with jazz, classical repertoire and works by contemporary composers, Simon Mulligan is one of the world’s leading pianists. A gifted composer himself, Simon has worked with musicians from many traditions. In this conversation we explore ideas around improvisation, genres and technical skill - and talk about responding to unexpected disasters.

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SCIENCE

08/11/2021

Sally Frampton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Sally Frampton is a medical historian who focuses on developments in surgery. Her 2018 book Belly Rippers traces the development of abdominal surgery in the nineteenth century. We discuss our different perspectives on the world of surgery and talk about our work documenting the development of keyhole surgery in the 1980s through simulation-based re-enactment.

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WRITING

25/10/2021

Paul Craddock in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Paul Craddock’s 2021 book Spare Parts: A Surprising History of Transplants brings together his interests in cultural history, writing and engagement. In this podcast we discuss how he came to write the book and talk about the ideas within it. We look back at our collaborations over many years and explore how our ideas have shaped one another’s thinking.

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SCIENCE

11/10/2021

Bill Beswick in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Bill Beswick has decades of experience as a top-level sports coach and pioneering sports psychologist. In this podcast we explore his approach to working with diverse teams, asking how the question ‘if a coach supports the players, who supports the coach?’ resonates with clinical practice.

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WRITING

27/09/2021

Simon Akam in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Simon Akam is a British writer and journalist who studied journalism in New York before working all over West Africa as a freelance correspondent. He writes for the Economist’s 1843 magazine and other publications. His 2021 book The Changing of the Guard, telling the inside story of the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, has proved highly controversial. In this conversation we explore what it means to be a journalist and a non-fiction writer.

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SCIENCE

13/09/2021

Sarah Itam in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Miss Sarah Itam is a consultant urological surgeon with a special interest in male and female reconstructive urology. She is passionate about communication, education and engagement, inspiring young people from all backgrounds. She gained a Distinction in the Masters in Education in Surgical Education which I lead at Imperial College London. She is also a gifted pianist, while her web series Health in HD explores health and wellbeing from different perspectives.

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ART & DESIGN

30/08/2021

Emily Kneebone in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The classicist Dr Emily Kneebone talks to me about her recent book Oppian’s Halieutica: Charting a Didactic Epic (published by Cambridge University Press in September 2020). We discuss how Oppian's overlooked 3,500-line poem from the second century AD provides insights into relationships between people, fish and nature in the ancient world - issues that continue to confront us all today.

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TECHNOLOGY

16/08/2021

Alexandru Bolboaca in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alexandru Bolboaca has developed the idea of software design and engineering as an instance of craftsmanship. In this conversation he describes the nature of his work, and we explore its similarities with words, musical notation and other forms of expression through symbols. Alex's podcast Think. Design. Work Smart explores issues around adapting to a changing world.

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ART & DESIGN

02/08/2021

Jeff Mills in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jeff Mills served a four-year apprenticeship in the 1980s, learning every aspect of his trade through constant repetition. As he became more experienced he began to lead teams of painters, working on large construction projects. Now he focuses more on small-scale work where he can attend to every aspect of a job himself. In this conversation we exchange ideas about what it means to become expert.

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SCIENCE

19/07/2021

Ronan Kavanagh in conversation with Roger Kneebone

In addition to his career as a rheumatologist, Ronan is the medical director of dotMD, which he describes as ‘a two day festival of curiosity for doctors and healthcare practitioners looking for more from medicine’. This brings together his interests in medicine, music and the arts. Our conversation ranges across looking after patients with chronic disease, improvisation in medicine, the role of undertakers in clinical care, and insights from comics and zombie culture.

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MUSIC

05/07/2021

Teresa Cahill in conversation with Roger Kneebone

From her early days as a Principal at the Royal Opera House, Teresa Cahill has sung all over the world and worked with leading opera companies and conductors. She has a wide and eclectic repertoire and a longstanding fascination with bel canto. In addition to performing she is a professor in the vocal department of Trinity Laban, London. In this conversation we explore parallels between our interests and professional worlds.

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MUSIC

21/06/2021

David Hockings in conversation with Roger Kneebone

David Hockings is Head of Percussion at the Royal College of Music and Principal Percussionist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He’s much in demand as a performer and a teacher and has worked with all the major London symphony orchestras. As Principal Percussionist with the London Sinfonietta he plays highly demanding contemporary music involving a wide range of instruments. He’s passionate about education and has worked with communities and disadvantaged people all over the world. In the podcast we explore points of connection between our worlds of music and medicine and discuss what it means to lead and inspire.

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MEDIA

07/06/2021

Marnie Chesterton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Marnie Chesterton is radio producer and presenter who works with scientists to explore listeners’ questions about science. She is also passionate about stand-up comedy. In this podcast we develop ideas around performance and presentation, exploring explore parallels between Marnie’s experience in broadcasting and mine in medicine.

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MUSIC

31/05/2021

Martin Taylor in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Martin is a solo jazz and finger style guitarist who has won countless awards and performed all over the world. He started his career at the age of three. A self-taught guitarist, he has played with some of the world’s leading musicians, including Stephane Grappelli, George Harrison, Bill Wyman and Chet Atkins. He is an inspirational teacher and established the Martin Taylor Guitar Academy in 2010.

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TECHNOLOGY

17/05/2021

Stuart Greengrass in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Stuart Greengrass is fascinated by the interplay between technology and professional practice. He worked across professional boundaries throughout his career and played a pivotal role in the pioneering days of keyhole surgery in the 1980s, working as part of a collaborative team led by the late Mr John Wickham.

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MUSIC

03/05/2021

Robert Saxton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Robert Saxton is a distinguished composer and professor of composition who has worked with many of the world’s leading musicians. In this podcast we explore parallels between the worlds of music, medicine and writing.

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MEDIA

26/04/2021

Izzy Mant in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Izzy Mant, screenwriter and comedian, is a BAFTA-winning producer of scripted comedy for television. She has directed theatre, live comedy and radio, and she wrote and performed her hour-long stand-up debut POLITE CLUB for the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. We discuss how how the idea of performance plays out in our different worlds.

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ART & DESIGN

19/04/2021

Jonathan Burrows in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jonathan Burrows trained as a dancer with the Royal Ballet before forming his own group and developing his career as a choreographer. He collaborates widely and his longstanding work with the composer and performer Matteo Fargion has continued over decades. In this conversation we explore the idea of choreography within and beyond the world of dance.

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MUSIC

05/04/2021

David Dolan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

David Dolan is a concert pianist, teacher and researcher who has spent much of his career reintegrating classical improvisation into his performances. This is in the spirit of what was standard practice in musical performance up until the twentieth century. In this podcast we explore the idea of improvisation in classical music and in conversation.

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SCIENCE

22/03/2021

Sam Gallivan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sam Gallivan is a consultant-level hand surgeon who is fascinated by ideas of narrative and cross-disciplinary exploration. In August 2020 she was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Four Thought, exploring the craft of surgery. In this conversation we discuss our experiences in the world of medicine and beyond.

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SCIENCE

08/03/2021

David Dobson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

As an academic, David Dobson performs high-pressure experiments on deep Earth rocks and minerals. He’s also a passionate climber, mountaineer and expedition leader. In addition he’s a talented self-taught artist and a member of the Society of Wood Engravers. In this podcast we explore how these strands come together in his work and unpick similarities with the worlds of music and medicine.

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SCIENCE

22/02/2021

Susan Standring in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alongside her many research and academic commitments, Susan Standring has been the editor-in-chief of Gray’s Anatomy for twenty years and will be stepping down from her role once the 42nd edition is published. For Susan, anatomy is about looking and making sense of what you see - whether at a gross, microscopic or molecular level. In this podcast we discuss ideas about the human body and exchange perspectives from our worlds of anatomy and surgery.

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ART & DESIGN

08/02/2021

Jeanie Finlay in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jeanie Finlay is an artist and documentary film maker. Her 8 films include Seahorse, Orion: The Man Who Would Be King, and Game of Thrones: The Last Watch. In this podcast she describes her approach to film making and we explore parallels with other kinds of expert performance - including medicine.

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ART & DESIGN

25/01/2021

Michele Clapton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Michele Clapton has a stellar career as a costume designer, winning many awards for her creative work in film and television. Her designs for Game of Thrones and The Crown are widely acclaimed. In this conversation we explore how she inspires and brings together teams of craftspeople as she develops her vision for each production.

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SCIENCE

11/01/2021

Mark Wilson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Mark Wilson specialises in treating patients with brain injuries and is an expert in pre-hospital care. He’s worked in extreme environments all over the world and has been part of a NASA team monitoring intracranial pressure in astronauts. He was awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours, recognising his pioneering work developing the GoodSAM community platform for roadside assistance. In this podcast we explore the many directions his career has taken and discuss similarities and differences between our experiences in and beyond the world of medicine.

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ART & DESIGN

01/01/2021

Antony Gormley in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sir Antony Gormley RA is a well-known British sculptor who tries to ‘identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise’. In this conversation we explore how our perspectives from art and medicine intersect and sometimes overlap.

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2020

WRITING

25/12/2020

Dave Gibbons in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dave Gibbons is best known for the iconic Watchmen, which he wrote with Alan Moore and John Higgins. His recent book How Comics Work, written with Tim Pilcher, explains the complex processes of design and development, with many examples of his own work. In this extended conversation we explore the world of comics and graphic novels and discuss points of connection between our interests and experience.

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ART & DESIGN

14/12/2020

Eleanor Crook in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Eleanor Crook trained in sculpture at Central Saint Martin’s and the Royal Academy Schools. She is widely known for her wax sculptures inspired by human anatomy and for the emotional intensity of her work. In this podcast we explore the regions where sculpture, anatomy and medicine intersect.

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TECHNOLOGY

30/11/2020

Justin Margovan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Justin Margovan has been providing his technical expertise for my Countercurrent podcasts since the series started in August 2014. In this podcast we discuss his varied career and explore how his experience as a DJ and his expertise in becoming a ‘curator of music’ has fed into his current role at the Wellcome Trust.

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SCIENCE

16/11/2020

Dan Saleh in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Mr Dan Saleh, a consultant in Newcastle, is an expert in reconstruction after complex cancer surgery. In this conversation we start by discussing the unique characteristics of this branch of surgery and the skills of moving living tissue from one part of a patient’s body to another. We then explore issues around face transplantation, an area which raises profound issues around identity and personhood. As a surgeon in a research group with a special interest in face transplantation - a procedure not yet performed in the UK - Dan talks about the ethical and scientific issues he and his colleagues have to address.

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MUSIC

02/11/2020

Hannah Peel in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Hannah Peel has a distinguished career as a musician. As a composer and performer she works with a wide variety of styles and approaches. Her latest soundtrack album is for The Deceived (Channel 5). In this podcast we discover unexpected parallels between our worlds of music and medicine and agree on the importance of close listening.

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TECHNOLOGY

19/10/2020

Chau-Jean Lin in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Chau-Jean Lin’s company Marulin is all about tea. Chau-Jean’s family has been growing oolong tea in Taiwan for five generations. She herself trained as a materials scientist and engineer, living and working in France, the Netherlands and the UK before establishing her own company. Working with a co-operative of tea farmers, including family and friends, she focuses on sustainability and raising awareness of tea across the world.

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MUSIC

05/10/2020

Sheridan Tongue in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sheridan Tongue is a composer, performer and songwriter, well known for composing music for programmes including Silent Witness and the recent BBC Northern Ireland series Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History. In this podcast we explore points of connection between his career and mine, especially around the need for attentiveness, team-working and and close listening in our work.

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ART & DESIGN

21/09/2020

Brian Lobel in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Brian Lobel is Professor of Theatre and Performance at Rose Bruford College. His personal experience of cancer when he was 20 has shaped his career as a performer and a passionate advocate for patients’ voices. Brian and I got to know one another when we were both Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellows, and we share an interest in crossing conventional disciplinary boundaries.

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MUSIC

07/09/2020

Ollie Howell in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ollie Howell is a jazz performer and composer whose career crosses many disciplinary boundaries. As a music student specialising in jazz drumming, Ollie needed neurosurgery for an Arnold-Chiari malformation of the brain. While recovering he composed his first album Sutures and Stitches. Since then he was awarded a prestigious Sky Academy Arts Scholarship, which gave him the freedom to develop his career in new directions. Now his focus is on composing music for film and television. In this podcast we discuss the excitements and challenges of crossing disciplinary boundaries.

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WRITING

24/08/2020

Luke Blair in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Luke Blair began his career as a newspaper journalist for the Reading Chronicle. He then became a lobby journalist and political correspondent before moving into communications for many public and private sector organisations. In his current role at Imperial College London he bridges the worlds of education, research and external relationships. In this conversation we explore how we understand the term ‘communication’ in our different professional worlds.

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WRITING

17/08/2020

Andy McKillop in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Andy McKillop was an editor and publisher for many years, becoming Publishing Director at Random House and reading up to 40 books every week. In 2003 he suffered a stroke which radically affected his speech and language. Unable to continue in his former role, he underwent a long period of speech therapy during his recovery. He then changed direction, retrained as a gardener and developed a new career. Since then he has changed direction again, focusing on drawing and painting. In this conversation we explore his experience of moving from a world dominated by words to a life built on different ways of seeing, thinking and doing.

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SCIENCE

10/08/2020

Roger Neighbour in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Roger Neighbour is well known to GPs as the author of The Inner Consultation and The Inner Apprentice, two books which had a powerful influence over Roger Kneebone when he was a GP. In this conversation we discuss how Neighbour combined his interests in medicine, psychology, Zen Buddhism and clinical medicine to write books which have shaped what it means to be a general practitioner.

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MUSIC

27/07/2020

Howard Williams in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Howard Williams is a distinguished musician who has conducted many leading orchestras in the UK and across the world, including the English National Opera and Royal Ballet. He is professor of conducting at the Royal College of Music and has a particular interest in teaching conductors. In this conversation we explore parallels between our experiences, discussing similarities and differences between music and medicine. Finally we discuss Howard’s experience of teaching conducting in silence.

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SCIENCE

13/07/2020

Will Liddell in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Will Liddell studied zoology at university before working on cotton pests in South America. He then changed direction, studied medicine, and eventually became a general practitioner. In this conversation we discuss how his many interests, including Neuro-Linguistic Programming, have fed into his clinical work over the years. Will also owns a farm and has an enduring commitment to environmental science and sustainability. We explore the idea of healing as something that applies both to people and the natural world.

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ART & DESIGN

28/06/2020

Erma Hermens in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Erma Hermans combines academic knowledge with practical skill. Trained as a painting conservator and holding a doctorate in art history, Erma is also an art teacher and has a wide knowledge of fine and decorative arts. In this conversation we discuss what it means to become an ‘expert generalist’, exploring parallels between her world and my experience as a clinician. Erma is fascinated by the ‘material biography’ of each object she works with, interpreting its construction and history in the context of our contemporary lives.

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SCIENCE

15/06/2020

David Roach in conversation with Roger Kneebone

David Roach started his career by training to become a professional footballer. Injuries compelled him to change direction and he became a personal trainer and sports coach, working with clients at every level of fitness. David’s passion is climbing, which he sees as a kind of three dimensional chess - combining strength, agility, problem-solving and a meditative focus on the moment.

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MUSIC

01/06/2020

Tabitha Tuckett in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Tabitha Tuckett’s career has moved across poetry, Classics and Renaissance literature. She has been an editor at the Oxford English Dictionary. As a musician she specialises in baroque cello and has performed and taught extensively. In this podcast we explore what it means to cross disciplinary boundaries and discuss ideas around identity and change.

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BUSINESS

18/05/2020

Darren McHugh in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Darren McHugh started his career as an actor and playwright before changing direction and joining the world of fine dining. He has been at The Ledbury for seven years, where his responsibilities extend from front of house dining to the financial and organisational sides of the restaurant. He sees developing his team as central to his role and he believes that ‘authentic interestedness’ is a key quality of expert service.

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SCIENCE

04/05/2020

Averil Mansfield in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Averil Mansfield’s career was in vascular surgery. A consultant surgeon at St Mary’s Hospital in London, in 1993 she became the first female professor of surgery in the United Kingdom. In addition to her clinical practice, teaching and research, she has been a role model for women in surgery, establishing Women in Surgical Training (WIST). An accomplished pianist, in her retirement she has also taken up the cello. In this podcast we explore the challenges and satisfactions of her career.

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MUSIC

20/04/2020

George Waddell in conversation with Roger Kneebone

A pianist by training, George Waddell’s many interests include the evaluation of performance and the role of technologies in music education. Brought up in rural Manitoba (where his parents are both vets), he studied piano in Brandon before moving to London for his PhD in performance science at the Royal College of Music. He researches and teaches performance across domains of expert practice.

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SCIENCE

06/04/2020

Sara Rankin in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Sara Rankin is a leading scientist in the field of stem cell and leukocyte research. Throughout her career she has crossed disciplinary boundaries, working with experts across medicine, science and the arts. She only recognised her own dyslexia and dyspraxia in mid-career. In our conversation we explore the drawbacks and benefits of neurodiversity alongside our shared interest in public engagement and story-telling.

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ART & DESIGN

23/03/2020

Merlin Strangeway in conversation with Roger Kneebone

In this podcast we discuss Merlin’s work as an medical illustrator, exploring her fascination with narrative and the need to make sense of people’s stories. Merlin’s unorthodox career has moved from studying English and History at university to developing a widening array of skills around illustration, including drawing, painting, wax modelling and using digital technology.

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SCIENCE

09/03/2020

Terry Clark in conversation with Roger Kneebone

After training as a professional flautist in Canada, Terry Clark changed direction and entered the field of performance science. His doctorate exploring the role of mental skills in addressing issues around musical and sports performance laid the foundations for his current research in the evolving field of performance science.

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WRITING

23/02/2020

Nicholas Cooper in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Nicholas Cooper is well known for his books The Opulent eye: Late Victorian and Edwardian Taste in Interior Design and Houses of the Gentry 1480-1680 and for his extensive practical and theoretical knowledge of architecture and history. In this conversation we explore unexpected parallels between architectural history and medicine.

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ART & DESIGN

09/02/2020

Joshua Byrne in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Joshua Byrne designs and creates men’s jackets and suits. Starting from scratch with each garment he makes Joshua begins by identifying the needs of his customer. Each garment takes shape through a series of fittings, each depending on knowledge, skill and the Joshua’s ability to improvise. This has illuminating parallels with the world of medicine. In this podcast we explore how Joshua’s experience and mine shine light on one another’s practices.

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TECHNOLOGY

27/01/2020

Stephen Birkill in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Stephen Birkill’s career began as an engineer in the BBC transmissions section. In the following decades he made numerous technical advances in his field. He discovered a talent for solving practical problems in unorthodox ways and was instrumental in the development of tuning systems for satellite television, set-top boxes and digital radio. In parallel with his engineering career he has a longstanding fascination with the songs of Pete Atkin and Clive James and was responsible for the revival of Atkin’s music in the 1990s.

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ART & DESIGN

13/01/2020

Anthony Luvera in conversation with Roger Kneebone

In this podcast we discuss Anthony’s work as a socially engaged artist who works extensively with people who have experienced homelessness. Through his work with assisted self-portraits he creates shared experiences with people in diverse communities. In this conversation we explore similarities and differences between our professional experiences.

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2019

MUSIC

25/12/2019

Emma Kirkby in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Emma Kirkby is a distinguished soprano, well known for her pioneering performances and recordings of Renaissance and Baroque music. In this conversation we explore perspectives around music and silence, and how early music performances are a conversation between voices, instruments, audiences and space.

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LAW

16/12/2019

Fulceri Bruni Roccia in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Fulceri Bruni Roccia’s career and interests cross many disciplinary boundaries. From his long experience in the world of banking he became Visiting Professor on Global Political Economy at the University of Bologna. In this podcast we discuss the the opportunities and challenges of changing direction and becoming an expert generalist connector.

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MUSIC

02/12/2019

Paul Smith in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Paul Smith has been singing since he was a child. In 2005 he co-founded VOCES8, now one of the worlds leading vocal ensembles, with his brother Barnaby. He is passionate about music education and the importance of music at all stages of life. We explore how VOCES8 combine vocal precision with intensive listening and discuss parallels with the world of medicine.

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ACTING / THEATRE

18/11/2019

Lewis Macleod in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Lewis Macleod is one the UK’s leading voice actors. Well known for his wide-ranging roles, from Start Wars to Postman Pat, Lewis is a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Dead Ringers, where his Donald Trump is a particular favourite. In this conversation we explore the range and diversity of Lewis’s interests and discuss how his use of voice and silence in satire and film resonates with the world of medicine.

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WRITING

11/11/2019

Alison Joseph in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alison Joseph is the author of the Sister Agnes series of crime novels featuring a detective nun. In this podcast we discuss how Alison’s background as a philosopher, a documentary film maker and a writer of radio plays has shaped her career as a successful novelist. We explore her fascination with particle physics and discuss how conversations with experts from diverse fields can bring unexpected insights.

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MUSIC

28/10/2019

Simon Callaghan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Simon Callaghan is an international concert pianist who performs and records all over the world. In this conversation we discuss the nature of performance, the role of memorisation and the ability to improvise in response to different contexts.

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ACTING / THEATRE

21/10/2019

Theresa Hickey in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Theresa Hickey is a leading theatrical agent with a large stable of actors. In this podcast we discuss the relationship of care between agent and actor, exploring similarities with the clinical context before turning to the stresses and pressures of working in a rapidly changing world.

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BUSINESS

14/10/2019

Dimitri Bellos in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dimitri Bellos has been Restaurant Manager at The Fat Duck for over five years. In this podcast he describes his philosophy of service in this 3 Michelin starred restaurant where waiters are ‘storytellers’ in a culinary narrative based on Heston Blumenthal’s childhood experiences. We discuss parallels between fine dining and clinical care, exploring Dimitri’s ideas around attentiveness and presence as the foundations of an outstanding experience for diners.

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MUSIC

05/10/2019

Ben Marks in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ben Marks trained as a conservator and restorer of historical pianos, working with Lucy Coad in the West Country. Now he is responsible for seventeen early keyboard instrument, the oldest of which is over 450 years old. We discuss Ben’s relationship of care with fragile and irreplaceable instruments which nevertheless need to be played and explore how his experience resonates with mine in the world of medicine.

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BUSINESS

30/09/2019

John Acland in conversation with Roger Kneebone

When John Acland retired he was managing director of Williamson’s Diamond Mine Ltd in Tanzania, having turned it from being a failed mine into a highly profitable organisation. After cutting his teeth as a miner in northern Canada he trained at the Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall before a career that took him from South Africa and Botswana to Angola, Namibia and Tanzania before changing direction and becoming an olive farmer in South Africa’s Western Cape.

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MUSIC

23/09/2019

Petur Jonasson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Petur is Head of Classical Guitar at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. He studied classical guitar in Mexico and Spain. He is a performer of contemporary music as well as more traditional repertoire. He has an interest in music technology, plays in a rock band and is currently studying for a PhD at the Royal College of Music. He divides his time between London and Reykjavik.

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ART & DESIGN

15/09/2019

Sir Nicholas Serota in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Nicholas Serota’s studies moved from economics to art history before he became Director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London. He was appointed Director of the Tate in 1988 and was responsible for the conversion of Bankside Power Station into Tate Modern, one of the world’s most successful art gallery spaces. Since 2017 he has been Chair of Arts Council England. In this conversation we explore the challenges and opportunities we have both experienced in our careers.

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SCIENCE

02/09/2019

Dr Tony Saner in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Tony Saner’s first degree was from South Africa’s only veterinary school. He practised as a vet, then took up a Rhodes Scholarship to study cardiac physiology at the University of Oxford before returning to South Africa to study medicine. His long career as a general practitioner was profoundly shaped by his time as a GP trainee in Norfolk. Five years ago he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma but despite all predictions remains alive and well. In this conversation we explore the implications of changing career paths, discuss the nature of general practice and hospital medicine and talk about the impact of serious illness in our own lives.

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ACTING / THEATRE

19/08/2019

Johan Esterhuizen in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Johan Esterhuizen studied drama in South Africa before spending time in the United Kingdom. After returning to Cape Town he was involved in experimental and political theatre at a time of huge upheaval and change. A longstanding commitment to applied theatre took him to the townships and schools of South Africa, working with a wide variety of communities. Later in his career he turned to lecturing at Stellenbosch University, while continuing to develop his career as an actor and director. In this conversation we discuss how our careers have changed directions and how early experiences have shaped our later professional direction.

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MUSIC

05/08/2019

Pete Atkin in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Pete Atkin’s collaboration with Clive James led to six ground-breaking LPs in the 1970s, starting with Beware of the Beautiful Stranger. Narrowly avoiding stardom, Pete’s career then took a different direction and he became a radio producer for the BBC. He is perhaps best known for his series This Sceptr’d Isle on BBC Radio 4, which ran to 396 fifteen minute episodes and covered British history from 55 BC to the present.

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WRITING

22/07/2019

Sam Cooper in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sam Cooper writes speeches for leading figures in the Corporation of London and other institutions. Building on his understanding of language and metaphor and his PhD in English, he crafts speeches that recreate the rhythms and nuances of a speaker so they sound entirely natural - a form of bespoke. We discuss the challenges of writing when there are ‘many hands on the pen’ and the need to combine creativity, diplomacy and technical mastery in a under-recognised area of expertise.

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SCIENCE

08/07/2019

Professor Ruth Morgan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Ruth Morgan began her academic career studying geography. After a doctorate in forensic geoscience she became fascinated by forensic science more widely. Now she is Director of the University College London Centre for the Forensic Sciences. In this conversation we discuss the challenges of interpreting evidence within a criminal context and the intersection between laboratory science and human interaction in this complex and rapidly evolving field.

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SCIENCE

24/06/2019

Flora Smyth-Zahra in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Flora Smyth-Zahra trained as a dentist and has a special interest in periodontology. In this podcast we explore the nature of clinical care, whether in dentistry and medicine, sharing our perspectives and experiences of surgery in different domains. Alongside her clinical practice, Flora has expertise in education, literature and the arts and has pioneered dental humanities as an emerging part of the dental curriculum. In our conversation we discuss how cross-disciplinary exploration can enrich clinical practice.

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LAW

10/06/2019

David Owen in conversation with Roger Kneebone

David Owen QC has developed parallel careers as a barrister (now specialising in mediation and arbitration for complex business disputes) and a magician and member of the Magic Circle. In this podcast we explore similarities and differences between our worlds of medicine and the law, and explore performative aspects of our work and interests.

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SCIENCE

26/05/2019

Professor Thomas Schlich in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Thomas Schlich’s career spans clinical medicine and the history of medicine. In this conversation we explore similarities and differences between these two approaches, including how the idea of ‘taking a history’ plays out in different contexts. We discuss how the perspectives of clinical practice and historical scholarship complement one another before talking about Thomas’s seminal work documenting the Swiss ‘osteosynthesis’ movement (fixing broken bones with screws and plates) in the mid twentieth century.

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ART & DESIGN

17/05/2019

Fabrice Ringuet in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Fabrice Ringuet has been a hair stylist for 35 years. Initially trained in France, he has made his career in the UK, first as a stylist and then as a teacher and hair styling coach. In this podcast we explore unexpected parallels between hair styling and medicine, where technical expertise must be matched by sensitivity, performance and interpersonal skill.

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ACTING / THEATRE

06/05/2019

Richard Jones in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Richard Jones is one of the UK’s most well-known directors of theatre and opera. His productions have been staged all over the world and he has a reputation for challenging expectations and disrupting traditional boundaries. In this conversation we compare the dramatic theatre and the operating theatre, discuss where theatre and opera intersect and explore our experiences of success and failure.

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ART & DESIGN

29/04/2019

Bridget Bailey in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Bridget Bailey is a leading textile artist and designer who co-founded the Bailey Tomlin brand, creating and producing millinery for major labels. In this conversation we explore ideas around inspiration, precision and perfectionism. Over the years Bridget has moved from creating ‘trim’ for hats to more abstracted work which has echoes of the natural world.

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ART & DESIGN

15/04/2019

Phil Wilson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

In this conversation the distinguished medical artist Phil Wilson and I explore how expertise in illustration allows medical artists to convey the essence of a clinical procedure or anatomical idea. We dissect the notion of visual narrative and discuss how Phil’s perspectives as an artist and my perspectives as a clinician intersect and overlap. Phil describes how the shift from pen and watercolour to working in the digital arena entails radical new techniques, but how the essentials of close observation remain unchanged.

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ART & DESIGN

08/04/2019

Jeremy Herbert in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jeremy Herbert’s career has taken many unexpected swerves. He is fascinated by the aesthetics and the practicalities of design, both in theatre and outside. An expert maker with a strong sense of the mechanical, he creates imaginative landscapes for a wide range of productions. In this conversation we discuss how our different perspectives on practicality overlap and intersect.

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ART & DESIGN

01/04/2019

Jane Dorner in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jane Dorner’s first career was in publishing. From art editor for Longman’s and then as fiction reader for Penguin. After thirty years she fell in love with glass-making and developed a parallel career designing and making art works in glass. In this conversation we discuss the similarities and differences between our worlds of medicine, publishing and the arts.

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SCIENCE

25/03/2019

Chris Peters in conversation with Roger Kneebone

In this conversation Chris Peters and I discuss the fast-moving world of robot-assisted surgery and explore new developments that are changing how surgeons operate. We talk about the shifting balance between vision and touch as surgery has evolved from ‘open’ procedures to keyhole surgery and now to robot-assisted operating supported by augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

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EDUCATION

18/03/2019

Professor Roberto di Napoli in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Roberto di Napoli graduated in modern languages and linguistics in Italy before developing a career in education which has taken him to many institutions. A gifted teacher, he is passionate about making complex educational concepts accessible to people with expertise in a wide range of domains. In this conversation we explore the roles of performance and human interaction in teaching and learning.

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SCIENCE

11/03/2019

Heather Mayfield in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Heather Mayfield joined the London Science Museum in 1979 as a museum assistant. By the time she left in 2014 she was its Deputy Director. In this podcast she describes her excitement in being part of the team unpacking and cataloguing Sir Henry Wellcome’s extraordinary collection for the first time since his death. She maps her career within the world of museums and her passion for engaging with people around the ideas and controversies of science. Now CEO of Nottingham Castle Trust, Heather is back in the city where she grew up.

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SCIENCE

04/03/2019

Professor David Nott in conversation with Roger Kneebone

David Nott trained as a trauma surgeon and has worked in war-torn areas all over the world. At the same time he trained as an airline pilot, gaining his airline transport pilot's licence and flying corporate jets in parallel with his surgical career. In this podcast we discuss the challenges, excitements and downsides of living and working in some of the most extreme environments on the globe.

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SCIENCE

25/02/2019

Phil Bayman in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Phil Bayman is a combat pilot and instructor with over 4,500 flying hours experience. Alongside an active career flying combat missions in Hawks and Tornadoes, Phil is passionate about education. Six of the 2018 intake of Red Arrows pilots are his former students. In this podcast Phil describes the extraordinary world of combat flying, where pilots steer along the edge of what is physiologically possible. We explore similarities and differences between our experiences in aviation and medicine and ask what these worlds might learn from one another.

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ART & DESIGN

11/02/2019

James Peto in conversation with Roger Kneebone

James Peto’s interests range from art history and contemporary design to the creation of ground-breaking exhibitions at the Wellcome Trust. Our discussion explores how these interests have helped to form the Wellcome Collection’s identity as an intersection between medicine, science and the arts.

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ART & DESIGN

28/01/2019

Angela Barrett in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Angela Barrett is one of the UK’s leading illustrators of children’s books. Her much-loved works include Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Diary of Anne Frank. Her illustrations combine an inspired imagination with detail and humour, resulting in imaginary worlds of extraordinary power. In this conversation we explore the relationship between words and images and draw parallels between our very different worlds.

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SCIENCE

14/01/2019

Alan Spivey in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Alan Spivey designs and creates biologically important molecules. In this conversation we discuss the differences between ‘following a recipe’ in chemistry and ‘designing an experiment’, exploring our perspectives from science and medicine. We discuss the concept of ‘performance’ in a science laboratory and how this resonates with other areas of expert practice.

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SCIENCE

01/01/2019

Derek Frampton in conversation with Roger Kneebone

A taxidermist for over 45 years, Derek Frampton is one of the leading experts in his field. His work is in many museums and scientific collections, and he has worked in film and television too. In this podcast he describes how his work stands at the intersection of science, craftsmanship and art. From voles to giraffes, from crocodiles to dinosaurs, Derek’s range is extraordinarily diverse. Each day brings a different challenge, and ‘everything is a prototype’.

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2018

ART & DESIGN

24/12/2018

Rebecca Salter in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The artist Rebecca Salter RA was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy in 2017. In this podcast we discuss her fascination with drawing, her time as a Leverhulme Scholar in Japan, the differences between Eastern and Western artistic cultures and her role at the Royal Academy of Arts

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SCIENCE

24/12/2018

Sir Terence English in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sir Terence English carried out the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979 and established the transplant programme at Papworth Hospital which revolutionised clinical care. In this podcast we discuss the events of that extraordinary time, looking back to the world’s first heart transplant in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard and forward to new horizons for cardiac transplantation today.

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ACTING / THEATRE

05/12/2018

Will Houstoun in conversation with Roger Kneebone

One of the UK’s leading close-up magicians, with a international reputation as performer and teacher, Will Houstoun was Magic Circle Magician of the Year in 2015. Will is renowned for his extraordinary skill in manipulating coins and cards. Alongside his career in magic, Will studied mechanical engineering before completing a PhD in Victorian conjuring. In this podcast we discuss parallels and differences between our approaches to practical skill, scholarship and performance.

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SCIENCE

26/11/2018

Roger Highfield in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Roger Highfield is Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group. A physical chemist by training, he honed his journalistic skills while a postdoctoral researcher before becoming Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph for the next 20 years. After a spell as Editor of the New Scientist he joined the Science Museum, where he works at an intersection between scientists, historians, curators and multiple publics. In this extended conversation we explore tensions between depth and breadth, ask whether medicine is a science or a practice and talk about the craftsmanship that underpins the performance of laboratory science.

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MUSIC

12/11/2018

Sarah Angliss in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Sarah Angliss defies conventional definition. A multitalented creator of musical scores and an expert performer, she describes herself as a composer. With degrees in electroacoustics and robotics and a fascination with musical automata, Sarah’s interests cut across orthodox categories.

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WRITING

29/10/2018

Malcolm Love in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Malcolm Love’s career has included being a Baptist minister in London’s Battersea, a freelance journalist in Nicaragua and El Salvador, a producer and presenter for the BBC, a leading science communicator and a mentor and coach in the changing landscape of public engagement. In this conversation we explore how our varied paths intersect, and discuss our shared fascination with making connections.

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SCIENCE

15/10/2018

Professor Andrea Sella in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Andrea Sella is well known as a chemist, a teacher, a science communicator and broadcaster. In this podcast we discuss the nature of contemporary chemistry, talk about its development over the last couple of decades and explore issues of uncertainty and risk.

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SCIENCE

01/10/2018

Aaron Williamon in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Aaron Williamon started his career as a trumpeter before changing direction and studying psychology. As one of the world’s leading conservatoires, the Royal College of Music (RCM) attracts performers with extraordinary skill but who also work under extraordinary pressure. In this podcast we discuss our shared interests in expert performance, whether in music, medicine or the arts, and talk about the RCM-Imperial Centre for Performance Science which we jointly lead.

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SCIENCE

17/09/2018

Ian Blatchford in conversation with Roger Kneebone

After a law degree at Oxford and an MA in Renaissance Studies at Birkbeck, Ian Blatchford trained as an accountant and worked at the Bank of England, the Arts Council and the Royal Academy of Arts. After a spell as Finance Director at the Victoria & Albert Museum he became its Deputy Driector. In 2010 he moved across the road the Science Museum as its Director. In this conversation we discuss Ian’s fascination with science and scientists and how the various strands of his career have intertwined.

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SCIENCE

03/09/2018

Saagar Patel in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Saagar Patel and I discuss the technical, aesthetic and human challenges of dentistry and medicine. We explore how dentists carry out delicate work in a confined space using mirrors; how they combine dexterity, craftsmanship and a sensitivity to the subtleties of materials; and how they meet the challenges of ensuring that each patient has the best possible experience.

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ART & DESIGN

20/08/2018

Susie Hopkins in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The distinguished couture hattist Susie Hopkins describes how she became entranced by hats while an art student in Vienna. After becoming a Master in Austria she moved to a Paris fashion house as their creative designer. Her subsequent career in London has included teaching at the London College of Fashion. Susie is not only a gifted designer and maker but an expert in creating bespoke hats for weddings and special occasions. This requires high levels of interpersonal skill, and her expertise has interesting parallels with my own experience as a clinician working with the complex family relationships and tensions of my patients. In this podcast we explore similarities and differences between our perspectives.

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ART & DESIGN

06/08/2018

Andrew Garlick in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Andrew Garlick is one of the UK’s leading harpsichord makers and has been creating instruments for 45 years. In this conversation we explore what drew him to this specialised field, and how his skills as a craftsman, an artist and a creator of sound worlds have come together to create over 250 instruments.

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ART & DESIGN

23/07/2018

Vicki Ambery-Smith in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Vicki Ambery-Smith is one of the country’s leading silversmiths, with work in major collections around the world. She specialises in creating tiny, exquisitely beautiful sculptures of buildings that can be worn as jewellery. We discuss how she designs and creates these tiny works of art and explore how her skills in the workshop are an expression of the human relationships she develops with those who commission her work. In the process we uncover unexpected similarities with the world of medicine.

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ART & DESIGN

09/07/2018

Dr Simon Chaplin in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Simon Chaplin’s varied career has included studying history and philosophy of science, directing the Museum and Special Collections at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, heading the Wellcome Library and becoming Director of Culture and Society at Wellcome Trust and Director of the Wellcome Collection. We explore our different perspectives on anatomical museums and their contents, drawing on Simon’s engagement with the physicality of anatomical specimens and my experience of dissection and prosection. The conversation ranges from the disciplines of close observation to the skills of maintaining old tractor engines before exploring what has prompted us both to take unexpected directions in our careers.

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ART & DESIGN

25/06/2018

Katherine Coleman in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Katharine Coleman is one of the country’s leading glass engravers. She moved from being a hispanophone historian of sixteenth century Spanish American history to a fascination with the ancient craftsmanship of glass and a painstaking mastery of her craft. In our conversation we explore how a deep knowledge of this extraordinary material allows Katharine to exploit its instabilities as she creates her exquisite work.

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LAW

11/06/2018

Jeremy Rosenblatt in conversation with Roger Kneebone

In this podcast, Jeremy and I explore how his ability to manage judges and clients is as important as his knowledge of the law. Jeremy describes his unusual upbringing and the many influences that have shaped his interests and career. We discuss parallels between law and medicine, and how each has important elements of performance.

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SCIENCE

28/05/2018

Professor Kathrin Altwegg in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Kathrin Altwegg’s career has moved from solid state physics to physical chemistry and then to space science. For 20 years she has worked with the Rosetta mission as principal investigator of the Rosina project, gathering spectroscopic data from Comet P67 at a distance of 600 million kilometres. Kathrin is fascinated not only by the ‘how?’ of space research but also by the ‘why?’, and her research group in Bern, Switzerland brings together scientists and technicians with philosophers, theologians and scholars of science fiction literature.

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SCIENCE

14/05/2018

Professor Richard Reznick in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Richard Reznick is well known internationally for his groundbreaking ideas in medical education and his work on assessment of surgical skills. Now Dean of the Faculty of Healthcare Sciences at Queen’s University in Ontario, Richard is testing a revolutionary approach to clinical education based on competency rather than time which will be adopted throughout Canada. Richard and I are both fascinated by the intersection between surgery and education. In this conversation we discuss how our personal histories have enabled us to develop new ideas.

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ART & DESIGN

30/04/2018

Brigid Edwards in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Brigid Edwards works at a nexus where science, art and craftsmanship are inextricably linked. We explore how her images of the natural world capture an essence of the plants and animals she works with, and how her awareness of colour and texture infuses her work.

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ART & DESIGN

16/04/2018

Jane Smith in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Jane Smith has been making hats for over forty years, working with some of the country’s leading actors, directors and designers in film and theatre. In this podcast we explore how theatrical hat-making demands detailed knowledge, three-dimensional thinking, craftsmanship and the ability to improvise under pressure - characteristics of clinical practice too.

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ACTING / THEATRE

02/04/2018

Caroline Kilpatrick in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Actor and voice coach Caroline Kilpatrick and I explore how good actors ‘don’t know what they are going to say’ until they say it, even though they have learned the words they will speak. In the conversation we exchange our perspectives on the voice in the consulting room and on the stage, discussing the roles of emotion and empathy in drama and clinical practice.

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BUSINESS

19/03/2018

John, Earl of Selborne in conversation with Roger Kneebone

John Selborne has many roles, including apple farmer, Fellow of the Royal Society, past chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee and current chairman of the Foundation for Science and Technology. In this conversation we discuss what it is to lead discussions with disparate groups of experts and the value of asking the ‘idiot question’.

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SCIENCE

05/03/2018

Valerie Jamieson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Valerie Jamieson initially trained as a particle physicist. As a postdoctoral scientist she became fascinated by the challenges of explaining science to those outside her field. Her career moved into science journalism, and for the past fifteen years she has been at New Scientist. She now leads New Scientist Live, a major annual event in London which brings together scientists from every field with members of the public to explore the excitement and curiosity of discovery. In this podcast we discuss similarities and differences between our approaches to communication and engagement.

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ART & DESIGN

19/02/2018

Isabella Kocum in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Isabella Kokum studied gilding and frame conservation in Switzerland before going to America to train in classical ballet and modern dance. A gifted artist whose work defies orthodox disciplinary distinctions, Isabella’s expertise in wood-carving, ceramics and frame-making underpins her work at the National Gallery and beyond.

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ART & DESIGN

05/02/2018

Phil Abel in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Phil Abel studied biology at university. After reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he underwent a radical change in direction, becoming one of the country’s leading letterpress printers and establishing Hand & Eye Letterpress. More recently he has been Master of the Art Workers Guild. In this conversation we discuss similarities and differences between our experiences and explore issues of craftsmanship and embodied knowing.

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SCIENCE

22/01/2018

Dr Anna Harris in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Anna Harris became a medical anthropologist after an initial career as a clinical doctor. She brings multiple perspectives to bear on her ethnographic studies of medical practice and her current focus on the role of materials and the senses in the learning of clinical skills. In this conversation we discuss what it means to ‘become’ a clinician or an anthropologist, and how an interest in embodied knowing and the senses can shed light on learning and expert practice.

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SCIENCE

08/01/2018

James Kinross in conversation with Roger Kneebone

James Kinross combines his career as a consultant surgeon in a London teaching hospital with groundbreaking biological research at Imperial College London. In this conversation we explore how working across such different areas of expert practice requires fluency in the ‘languages’ of science, medicine and patient care.

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2017

SCIENCE

26/12/2017

Tamzin Cuming in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Tamzin Cuming’s career has moved between medicine and literature. As a consultant surgeon specialising in anal disease, her work takes place at a point of intersection between fields of expertise. Her clinical experience has been shaped by a longstanding fascination with literature and the humanities.

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SCIENCE

11/12/2017

Dr John Launer in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr John Launer has many strands to his career. A general practitioner, a specialist in family therapy and a prolific author, John approaches conversation from multiple perspectives. His model of interactional skills - ‘Conversations Inviting Change’ - draws on his lifelong experience as a clinician. In this podcast we compare notes from our own experiences of medicine and writing.

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SCIENCE

26/11/2017

Micky Astor in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Micky Astor has many strings to his bow. He trained as an engineer, joining an arctic expedition sailing the North West Passage in an umiak before switching to parallel careers in financial services and farming. A gifted jazz musician and a keen sportsman, Micky is fascinated by intersections between different kinds of performance. In this podcast we compare notes from our different perspectives, exploring similarities and differences between surgery, jazz and aviation.

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MUSIC

13/11/2017

Hans Johannsson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Hans Johannsson is one of Iceland’s most distinguished luthiers. He has been making violins, cellos and double basses for over 40 years. This conversation, recorded in Reykjavik at the 2017 International Symposium on Performance Science, explores the embodied ways of knowing on which violin-making and medicine both depend. In it we uncover unexpected intersections between science, art and craftsmanship.

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BUSINESS

30/10/2017

Chris Nichols in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Chris Nichols’ career has included extended periods in the civil service, investment banking, an academic position at Ashridge Business School, individual and organisation coaching and now the independent company GameShift. He has played a ‘trickster’ role throughout, defying classification as he switches roles. In this conversation we explore areas of similarity between our apparently different perspectives, including simulation, careers that change direction and the respective roles of insider and outsider.

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ART & DESIGN

16/10/2017

Professor David Cotterrell in conversation with Roger Kneebone

David Cotterrell is an installation artist whose work crosses many boundaries. Working all over the world, from Shanghai’s burgeoning cityscape to a military trauma unit at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, David defies traditional classification. He challenges himself and his ideas through a continual drive towards artistic discomfort. In this extended conversation recorded on David’s converted coal barge on the River Thames we explore how medicine and art can intersect in surprising ways.

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SCIENCE

01/10/2017

Brian Morgan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The retired plastic and reconstructive surgeon Brian Morgan has combined a long clinical career with a lifelong fascination with sculpture, painting and playing the jazz trombone. In this conversation we discuss some challenges of steering a course between medicine and the arts, and explore the three dimensional thinking that plastic surgery demands.

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SCIENCE

18/09/2017

Professor Misha Persouansky in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Misha Perouansky has developed parallel careers as an anaesthetist and an experimental neuroscientist. Multilingual in every sense of the word, his experience ranges widely across cultures and traditions. A passionate desire to interrogate his work deeply led led him into the history and philosophy of science. He is currently exploring responses to brain trauma through genetic research with fruit flies at his university of Madison, Wisconsin. In this conversation we explore our experiences of intersection between science and clinical practice.

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ART & DESIGN

04/09/2017

Harrison Pearce in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Harrison Pearce is an artist and philosopher whose work brings together many interests and influences. Much of his artistic work is shaped and inspired by his fascination with analytical philosophy. In this discussion we explore how art, philosophy and medicine intersect in unexpected ways, and how conversation provides a framework for enquiry.

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SCIENCE

21/08/2017

Roberto Trotta in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Roberto Trotta is Reader in Astrophysics at Imperial College London and also directs Imperial’s Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication. His recent book The Edge of the Sky sets out to explain cosmology using only the most common thousand words in English - which do not include ‘universe’, ‘scientist’ or ‘telescope’. He is also exploring how we might use different senses to think about cosmology and describes his collaboration with leading chefs at Kitchen Theory around gastronomy for communicating complex ideas. In this podcast we discuss our ideas about communication and translation in science, medicine and the arts.

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ACTING / THEATRE

06/08/2017

Alan Alda in conversation with Roger Kneebone

One of America’s most distinguished actors, Alan Alda is widely known for his roles as Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the American TV series M*A*S*H, as Arnold Vinick in The West Wing and for many films throughout his career. He has a longstanding fascination with science and for 14 years hosted the television show Scientific American Frontiers. Alan brings these interests together to help scientists communicate about their work, drawing on techniques and insights from improvisational theatre. In this conversation, he and Roger discover unexpected parallels between their worlds and explore how communication underpins science, medicine and theatre. Recorded in New York before the publication of Alan’s latest book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?, the podcast explores the inseparable nature of art, science and communication.

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SCIENCE

24/07/2017

Dr Steve Rowlands in conversation with Roger Kneebone

My friend and colleague Dr Steve Rowlands recently retired after spending much of his career as a general practitioner in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Diagnosed a few years ago with a rare cancer in an even rarer form - mycosis fungoides, a cutaneous T-cell lymphoma - Steve’s condition remained quiescent for years but has suddenly flared up. Now affecting most of his skin, it is exceptionally painful and distressing. Steve is currently having experimental chemotherapy at Guy’s Hospital. Drawing on our personal experience of serious illness, we discuss how being a doctor can help and hinder coping with disease. Since recording this podcast, Steve’s funding for the next stage of his treatment has been confirmed. Steve died at home on 17 November 2017.

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SCIENCE

10/07/2017

Monica Carbone in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Monica Carbone’s first language is Italian. Equally at home in English and French, Monica is a leading simultaneous and consecutive interpreter who works across multiple domains of expert practice and has a special interest in medical simulation. Based on Roger’s recent experience of leading a three day workshop in Sardinia at the invitation of the Sardinian Ministry of Health and interpreted by Monica, this conversation explores resonances between conference interpretation and the clinical consultation.

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SCIENCE

26/06/2017

Adam Rutherford in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, science writer and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science. An editor at the science journal Nature for many years, Adam crosses boundaries between science, journalism and the media.

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SCIENCE

11/06/2017

Clare Matterson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Clare Matterson played a leading role at the Wellcome Trust for 18 years, most recently as Director of Strategy. She was responsible for some of Wellcome’s most spectacular innovations around engagement - founding the Wellcome Collection, transforming the Wellcome Library, establishing the National STEM Learning Centre in York and leading the Our Planet, Our Health programme.

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BUSINESS

29/05/2017

Ed Lamont in conversation with Roger Kneebone

At various points in his career Ed has been a commodities broker, a professional street juggler and an executive coach with a special interest in leadership, motivation and productivity. He is Co-founder and Senior Partner of Next Action Associates. An accomplished linguist, he is at home in multiple cultures. The conversation ranges widely across our shared interests.

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ACTING / THEATRE

15/05/2017

Rachel Warr in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Rachel Warr is a dancer, dramaturg, theatre director, puppeteer and puppet maker who uses puppetry in innovative ways. In this podcast we discuss puppetry and surgery as instances of performance where participants have to read and respond to one another’s bodies as they perform.

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SCIENCE

01/05/2017

Magdalene Bak-Maier in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Magdalena Bak-Maier is a neuroscientist, educator, writer and coach. In our conversation we explore the idea of coaching and discuss its parallels with the clinical consultation and other forms of encounter.

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MUSIC

17/04/2017

Liam Noble in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The jazz pianist Liam Noble and I explore how improvisation and creativity are as important in the operating theatre and the medical consulting room as on the stage of a jazz venue.

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MEDIA

03/04/2017

Piers Plowright in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Piers Plowright was a highly respected BBC radio producer between 1968 and 1997. A pioneer of radio drama and documentary, Piers has won numerous plaudits and awards. In this podcast we explore the idea of conversation.

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SCIENCE

19/03/2017

Daniel Glaser in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Daniel Glaser is a neuroscientist and the Director of Science Gallery London. Before moving to King’s College he was Director of Engaging Science at the Wellcome Trust. He writes widely, has a regular column in The Guardian and was one of the judges for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

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MUSIC

06/03/2017

Sophie Yates in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The distinguished harpsichordist Sophie Yates is well known for her interpretations of early keyboard music, through live performances, radio and recordings. Sophie combines an explorer’s fascination for finding new repertoire with a passion for teaching and for performance. In this conversation we find unexpected similarities between music and medicine.

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ART & DESIGN

19/02/2017

Alex Julyan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alex Julyan is a visual artist and creative producer, responsible amongst many things for the official opening event of the Crick Institute. She’s also a Welcome Trust Engagement Fellow. I first encountered her work through Lost in Translation, a collaboration with a musician in Zurich which explored how two people in different places negotiated issues of drawing and description.

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MUSIC

06/02/2017

Bill Badley in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Plucked string instruments run through Bill Badley’s career. As a lutenist he founded and toured with the Dufay Collective, a mediaeval ensemble. Fascinated by the music and cultures of the Arab world - especially the oud, forerunner of the European lute - he travelled extensively in the countries of the Middle East. Bill has worked in theatre, film and television as a documentary maker and producer. In a further career switch, he is now teaching children and young people.

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ART & DESIGN

23/01/2017

Fleur Oakes in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Fleur Oakes is one of the UK’s leading needle lace makers. We discuss her path from art school to fashion design, and from being a bespoke corset-maker to becoming entranced by the beauty and precision of lace. Fleur’s work is inspired by natural forms, and now she is lace-maker in residence in the vascular surgery unit at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

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MUSIC

11/01/2017

Ian Lush in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Ian Lush trained as a musician, spending several years as a professional viola player before moving to arts management. After being marketing director at the Barbican he managed the London Mozart Players before taking up his present role as Chief Executive of Imperial College Healthcare Charity. In our conversation we explore similarities and differences between our careers and the changes in direction we have both experienced.

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2016

SCIENCE

26/12/2016

Barry Smith in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Barry Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of London's School of Advanced Study and Leadership Fellow at the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Barry is a philosopher of language and mind who now works mainly on the multi sensory perception of flavour. A wine connoisseur himself, he is also a wine columnist and has been a ‘super taster’ on BBC 1’s Masterchef.

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SCIENCE

12/12/2016

Kevin Buzzard in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Kevin Buzzard has been obsessed by pure mathematics since he was a child, winning the International Mathematical Olympiad with a perfect score at the age of 19. Now Professor of Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London, Kevin is fascinated by modular forms. In this conversation we discuss the challenges of communicating with non-mathematicians about this unique conceptual world.

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SCIENCE

28/11/2016

Timandra Harkness in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Timandra Harkness is well known as a radio presenter, comedian and science journalist. She is fascinated by mathematics and statistics and has recently published Big Data: Does Size Matter? Her career has taken many swerves, from her early days in clowning, physical theatre and the flying trapeze to stand-up comedy and broadcasting. Our conversation uncovers unexpected parallels between her experience and mine.

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SCIENCE

14/11/2016

Dr Dougal Goodman in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Dr Dougal Goodman has combined a lifelong passion for polar exploration with careers as a laboratory scientist, a member of the BP group, an expert on marine insurance and a Deputy Director of the British Antarctic Survey. He is Chief Executive of the Foundation for Science and Technology. In this conversation we explore ideas of exploration,risk and change.

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ART & DESIGN

31/10/2016

Nick Fox Weber in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The art historian and philanthropist Nicholas Fox Weber runs the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and leads a non-profit organisation to improve medical care in Senegal. A prolific writer, he is the author of fourteen books, on topics ranging from the Albers to the Bauhaus and the art of Babar the Elephant.

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ACTING / THEATRE

17/10/2016

Richard McDougall in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Richard McDougall is one of the UK’s leading close-up magicians and a Gold Star member of the Inner Magic Circle. In this conversation we explore unexpected parallels between magic and medicine, framing the clinical consultation as a ‘close-up live performance with a very small audience’ and discussing the relationship between dexterity, body language and touch.

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SCIENCE

03/10/2016

Professor Ken Arnold in conversation with Roger Kneebone

As Head of Public Programmes at the Wellcome Collection, Ken Arnold established an international reputation for creating ground-breaking exhibitions which bridge medicine and art. Now the Creative Director of Copenhagen’s Medical Museion, Ken’s ideas continue to challenge, provoke and inspire.

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ART & DESIGN

19/09/2016

Prue Cooper in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The potter Prue Cooper trained initially as a visual artist and came to making slipware after a varied career in other directions. We discuss how changes in direction can bring interesting perspectives, and explore how visual imagination, attentive observation and a willingness to take risks are characteristics of medicine and bioscience as well as of pottery.

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BUSINESS

05/09/2016

Aifric Campbell in conversation with Roger Kneebone

With the writer Aifric Campbell I explore how language is shaped by its context. Aifric’s career has ranged from linguistics to investment banking, and now she teaches creative writing at Imperial College London. In this podcast we compare the language of the operating theatre, the clinical consulting room and the trading floor and explore how our personal perspectives intersect.

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ART & DESIGN

22/08/2016

Andrew Davidson in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The illustrator and wood engraver Andrew Davidson combines artistry and craftsmanship in a career spanning decades. In this podcast he explains how imagination, draughtsmanship, dexterity and judgement come together to create unique works of art, and we discuss how surgery and medicine have similar characteristics.

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SCIENCE

08/08/2016

Dr Erica McAlister in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Erica McAlister is in charge of the diptera (two-winged insects) collections at London’s Natural History Museum. An entomologist with a lifelong passion for flies and their peculiar behaviours, Erica shares her ideas about science, craftsmanship and involving the public in her work.

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MUSIC

25/07/2016

Jeremy Jackman in conversation with Roger Kneebone

The choral conductor Jeremy Jackman and I explore parallels between our experiences in the operating theatre and the ’scratch orchestra’, where experts who have never met come together for high-stakes performance. Jeremy describes how his early years in the King’s Singers evolved into his current work bringing orchestras, soloists and choirs together.

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ART & DESIGN

11/07/2016

Beth McKillop in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Beth McKillop’s career has ranged from studying Chinese language and literature, becoming an authority on Chinese and Korean works of art and finally being appointed Deputy Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Our conversation explores points of connection and divergence between our two careers.

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TECHNOLOGY

27/06/2016

Dr Nina Baker in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Even as a child, Nina Baker was unorthodox. In her first career, she became the first female navigating officer in the British Merchant Navy. After several years on BP tankers she went to university to study engineering, then completed a PhD in concrete studies at Liverpool University. Later she became a research administrator at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities and developed her interest in the history of women in engineering.

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SCIENCE

04/06/2016

Professor Brian Rotman in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Professor Brian Rotman is impossible to pigeonhole. His career has ranged from pure mathematics, essay writing and theatre directing to an academic career as Professor of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. In this podcast we discuss similarities and differences between our own career paths.

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2024

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