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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.