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Countercurrent: conversations 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. Many of the people in Countercurrent feature in my new book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery (Penguin Viking, 2020) https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/313248/expert/9780241392034.html
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Countercurrent: conversations with Professor Roger Kneebone
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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 25, 2019

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

Dec 16, 2019

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. 

Dec 2, 2019

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.

www.voces8.foundation

 

Nov 18, 2019

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.

https://www.lewismacleod.co.uk

Nov 11, 2019

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. 

http://alisonjoseph.com

Oct 28, 2019

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.

Oct 21, 2019

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.

 

Oct 14, 2019

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.

Oct 5, 2019

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. 

http://www.keyboardconservation.co.uk/Home.html

Sep 30, 2019

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.

Sep 23, 2019

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.

Sep 15, 2019

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. 

Sep 2, 2019

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. 

Aug 19, 2019

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. 

Aug 5, 2019

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.

https://www.peteatkin.com

Jul 22, 2019

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.

www.drsamcooper.com

 

Jul 8, 2019

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.

Jun 24, 2019

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.

Jun 10, 2019

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.

May 26, 2019

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. 

https://www.mcgill.ca/ssom/staff/schlich

 

May 17, 2019

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.

May 6, 2019

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. 

Apr 29, 2019

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.

bridgetbailey.co.uk

Apr 15, 2019

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.

http://www.medart.co.uk

 

Apr 8, 2019

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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