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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: Page 5
Jun 11, 2018

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.

May 28, 2018

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.

May 14, 2018

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.

http://surgery.queensu.ca/home/attending_staff/dr_richard_reznick

 

Apr 30, 2018

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. 

http://www.brigidedwards.co.uk

Apr 16, 2018

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.

http://www.janesmithhats.co.uk

Apr 2, 2018

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.

Mar 19, 2018

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’

Mar 5, 2018

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.

Feb 19, 2018

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.

Feb 5, 2018

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. 

Jan 22, 2018

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. 

Jan 8, 2018

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.

Dec 26, 2017

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.

Dec 11, 2017

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. 

Nov 26, 2017

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. 

Nov 13, 2017

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.

Oct 30, 2017

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.

Oct 16, 2017

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.

Oct 1, 2017

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.

Sep 18, 2017

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.

Sep 4, 2017

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.

Aug 21, 2017

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.

Aug 6, 2017

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.

Jul 24, 2017

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.

Jul 10, 2017

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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