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Podcast Seriously...

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  • Casting a Wider Net
    Emily Kempson grew up in Hastings, home to the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in the U.K. Her friends came from fishing families and for a long time she wanted to become a fisherman. But she never saw any women working down on the boats. She heard mutterings that it was unlucky for a woman to step aboard a boat - the industry is steeped in superstition. Drawing on its rich history and myths she sets out to find the women who have made it into the catching sector. Out of the 12,000 people going out to sea to fish for their living, just 18 are women. The industry is at a critical point with fuel prices rocketing and people selling up and leaving. It desperately needs to recruit. Emily meets the UK’s youngest-ever apprentice skipper, Isla Gale from the Isle of Man, and follows her as she prepares for a trip north to fish for scallops. She also meets Ashley Mullenger, from Wells-next-the-sea in Norfolk, as she’s nominated for a prestigious fishing news award, and she steps on board Verity Winser’s boat as she describes how sexism and superstition have impacted her life at sea. Finding and retaining crew generally is a challenge. In the past, entrance into the industry was generational, with opportunities and knowledge passed down from father to son. As fish stock declined in the 90s and wages fell, a career in fishing began to seem less desirable. The average age of a fisherman in England is now 50. The UK must encourage a new generation of entrants. Will those women who are keen to join the sector be welcomed in the years to come? Produced by Sarah Cuddon A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio Four
  • Boarding Schools: The System That Rules Britain
    Is there still a future for boarding schools? Writer Nels Abbey examines the public school boarding system, in a global context. He looks at how this model was driven by the building of Empire and the legacy of educational colonialism in former colonies, and asks why, in the present day, parents continue to choose to let their children live away from them. In the 1990s, Nels attended boarding schools in a former British colony. He looks at the effects of this personal experience and the continuing impact on him, good and bad. He also examines the psychological effects of the closed world of boarding school. He hears about the camaraderie, the independence, the sense of community - and the arguments that this closed world can put children at risk of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Nels listens to a range of personal experiences - from Kenya where, after years of student protest, teachers are trying to abolish boarding; from a school promising the "humane alternative" to traditional boarding; and from a mother in Nigeria fighting for justice after her daughter was sexually assaulted. Presenter: Nels Abbey Producer: Jill Achineku Commissioned as part of the Multitrack Audio Producers Fellowship A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
  • When Reality Breaks: Demystifying Paranoid Schizophrenia
    Growing up in Canada, her father's delusions and paranoia gave Julia Shaw a front-row seat into an alternate reality Believing "they” were out to get him – including everyone from aliens to the Bin Laden family – he would later email her, warning that she too was targeted by those monitoring him. He believed that doctors too were part of the conspiracy - so has never had a diagnosis from a psychiatrist. Witnessing her father experiencing a parallel "reality" inspired Julia to look into the mind and she had a "lightbulb moment" at university studying psychology when she first heard a description of paranoid schizophrenia. We hear from Julia and her mum as they meet up, driving through Canada. The well-known "positive" signs of a psychotic episode like hallucinations, paranoia and deluded thoughts can feel frightening to witness but Julia learns how the some families find it hardest to live with the "negative" symptoms like a Iack of motivation and difficulty in concentrating. Julia talks to families who understand the demands of living with someone who has serious delusions – to hear what helped them to look after themselves as well as their loved one. We hear from Philippa whose son had his first episode of psychosis when he was at university. Although he now has the right medication to control his symptoms he struggles to motivate himself and a troubling side effect is weight gain which puts him at risk of physical health problems. Kate was only 11 when her cool, older brother Sean first showed the signs of schizophrenia. After numerous spells in hospital she remembers how he struggled to look after himself back in the community and became homeless, sometimes going missing Both women found support from Rethink Mental Illness, a charity which helps people severely affected by mental illness to improve their lives. Kirsty was 8 years old when she started going to workshops with her dad at the Our Time charity, which supports any child with a parent affected by mental illness. She says that role play and talking openly with others about mental health helped to prepare her for when her dad had a psychotic episode on her 13th birthday: although it was frightening she recognised the signs and knew that they wouldn't last. Another concern for Julia was the increased risk for family members who might inherit a disorder like paranoid schizophrenia. Dr Rick Adams explains how the risk is higher - at around 10%, it does mean there's a much higher likelihood that she hasn't inherited it. One voice Julia feels is missing is that of the person who hears voices and believes them: she hasn't been able to reach her father. Instead she talks to Ashley who's 25 and is living with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Ashley explains how her voices were always male and it it's not a good idea for loved ones to tell a person having hallucinations that they're not real: they have to find this out for themselves. She says that educating herself about mental illness and her faith have helped her to keep calm, along with support from her family. Like the other families she's spoken to Julia feels guilt about her father and wonders if she could have done more to help him - but hearing about support from charities makes her hopeful. And despite all the difficulties, she also recognises how he has passed onto her a love of learning and to stand up for herself. Presenter: Julia Shaw Producer: Paula McGrath
  • Hendrix: Everything but the Guitar
    When you think of Jimi Hendrix, you think of the guitar. Since the 1960s he’s consistently topped polls of the greatest guitarist of all time. But there are so many other remarkable layers to this man and musician. On what would have been his 80th birthday, fans from music, literature and academia weigh up all of the other things that should be celebrated about Jimi, but so often aren’t: Leon Hendrix remembers his big brother as a spiritual force. Professor Paul Gilroy analyses Jimi’s commitment to peace. Kronos Quartet violinist David Harrington discusses Jimi the composer. The Happy Mondays vocalist Rowetta appreciates Jimi the singer. Poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib unpicks Jimi’s approach to wordplay. And author and academic Sarita Cannon evaluates Jimi as a mixed heritage icon. Meanwhile, 1960s archive interviews from Hendrix give us a fresh perspective on the man himself. Narrator: Cerys Matthews Producer: Redzi Bernard Executive Producer: Jack Howson Sound Mix: Olga Reed A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4
  • House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate, Pitcher, Fruit-Tree, Window
    Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, written between 1912 and 1922, are often considered to be one of the cornerstones of European literature in the 20th Century. Produced in a time of collapse and change, amidst political turmoil and spiritual flux, the poems grapple with what it means to be human, charting the soul’s journey through existential despair and fear and separation (“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the orders of Angels?”) to moments of revelation and ecstasy (“Praise this world, not the untold world, to the Angel.”) Rilke is a poet concerned with the task of inhabiting the world - despite its transience and the fact of our mortality - and in the presence of everyday objects, buildings, Things (“Dingen”) he finds his way into a kind of being that exalts in our fleetingness. In the Ninth Elegy he arrives at the phrase, “Perhaps we are here in order to say: house, bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window [...]” (In German: “Haus, Brücke, Brunnen, Tor, Krug, Obstbaum, Fenster.”) A century on from the completion of Rilke’s landmark cycle of poems, this radio hymn takes up the poet’s call to dwell in “the time of the sayable”, with contributions from post-humanist thinker Bayo Akomolafe, archeologist Bettina Bader, German scholar Karen Leeder, and author and storyteller Martin Shaw. Readings by Ella Russell Original music by Phil Smith Produced by Phil Smith A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

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