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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sheridan’s album '2068' will be released on 16 October 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.