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The Mind in the Media
If you ask the author, Nathan Filer, when he first came into contact with mental illness, he'll tell you it was in 1999 when he first became a psychiatric nurse. But, like many of us, he'd actually met it much earlier : through film, drama and the news. Like many of us, his understanding had been shaped by how the media chose to portray it. But he quickly realised how very different real life was to fiction and the reports. Now he asks what does that difference do to us - both as a society and to us as individuals, when many of us have experienced mental health disorders in our every day lives, either personally or to close family and friends. How does story-telling in the 21st century influence public understanding and our sympathy or condemnation for those experiencing mental health disorders? Times are changing. As Alastair Campbell says, in the 80s, if you'd suggested to the newsroom a piece on depression, it just wasn't on the agenda. But although mental health is becoming more common as a storyline or story, many myths still prevail about violence, treatment, diagnosis, recovery. Looking back through archive, Nathan Filer tells the story of the way we've framed mental health and illness across all media over the last few decades, and he talks to those with knowledge to explore its effect. Featuring Alastair Campbell; Professor Graham Thornicroft of Kings College London; Jenni Regan, senior editorial advisor at Mind; Dr Sarah Carr; Erica Crompton; and author Ramsey Campbell, among others. The producer is Polly Weston. For information and support on the subjects discussed in this programme visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NGvFrTqWChr03LrYlw2Hkk/information-and-support-mental-health.
The Sound of Bombs
Fatima Al Qadiri explores how the sounds of war run through modern music. In 1990, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait. They left only after 7 months of occupation and the first Gulf War. Fatima Al Qadiri was 9 years old at the time. Now an acclaimed musician, she explores what happens when warfare and music collide. War is a permanent feature on our TV's, radios and computer screens - when it's not in the news, it's in Hollywood movies and video games. And the sounds that come with it have bled into modern music in an unmistakeable way. Some composers and producers must bring war to life in the scores for games and films, while others work to use the sounds of war to try and put the horror of war on record. In the age of the portable mp3 player, music has become indispensable for soldiers and civilians caught up in warzones - an escape route that is used by soldiers regardless of background and mission, from US Soldiers to fighters for the so-called Islamic State. Sound also has a more sinister role. The sound of drones is a key part of the terror they create, and music has been used to torture prisoners of war and suspected terrorists. As she explores the world of music and war, Fatima also investigates why the sounds of warfare have become an essential part of her music, and how music can be used to better understand the violence that inspired it. Producer: Robert Nicholson. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.
Moving to the Red Planet
As we dream of sending humans to Mars, the psychological problems of a mission loom large. As part of Radio 4's Mars season. Claudia Hammond investigates the mind-set behind the desire of those of us who want to colonise the red planet. What does it take to survive the confines of a 9 month journey and the enclosed pod-like environments that mission leaders envisage will be the housing needed to occupy this inhospitable planet? Claudia meets the wannabe Martian explorers who've been sampling similar long term simulations here on earth and the psychologists who've overseen the design, selection and planning for future communities in space. Producer Adrian Washbourne.
1917: Eyewitness in Petrograd
Emily Dicks visits St Petersburg to trace her grandfather's teenage memories of the excitement and fear of the 1917 Revolutions - as preserved on a never-previously-revealed tape. This extraordinary recording - kept in family archives - describes the lives of ordinary people caught up in the political turmoil between the two Russian Revolutions of 1917. Henry Dicks was the son of an Estonian-based Englishman, sent to school in Petrograd during the First World War. He recorded his memories in an interview with his son in 1967. The tape covers the period immediately after Rasputin's death and the fall of the Tsar, all the way through to the Bolshevik attack on the Provisional Government's Winter Palace in October 1917, which Henry saw first-hand. Henry remembers the joy after the Tsar's fall when "the whole population seemed to be in the streets", servants became "much cheekier" and his schoolmasters shed their uniforms. But then the Bolsheviks strengthened their power and Henry describes the unnerving feeling in metropolitan Petrograd that they were "getting away with it". One October morning when, as he remembers, "the air was thick with foreboding", Henry watched the attack of the Winter Palace. Once the Bolsheviks had seized power, Henry describes "a kind of terror beginning" and he eventually fled via Finland, where he was marooned in a hotel amid a civil war... With: Helen Rappaport, Stephen Lovell Producer: Phil Tinline.
Writing a New Caribbean: Under the Surface
A picture of the Caribbean, as seen by a new generation of writers and poets. Elisha Efua Bartels talks to Trinidadian writers Sharon Millar, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, and Andre Bagoo about the sense of place in their work. For Sharon Millar, author of the short story collection 'The Whale House', the landscape and colour of Trinidad is always the anchor, and she often explores the cultural interaction and foot traffic between the island and Venezuela, only 7 miles away. Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw delves under the surface of Trinidadian society in her novel 'Mrs B', set during the 1990 coup in Port of Spain and inspired by Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary'. In Andre Bagoo's poetry, locations in the city become symbolic of the state of the nation, both in their beauty and disgrace. Elisha looks at the ways in which these writers capture Trinidadian landscapes and cityscapes in their work, and how they address what lies beneath. Featuring readings from: Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw - 'Mrs B', Peepal Tree Press Sharon Millar - 'The Whale House', Peepal Tree Press Andre Bagoo - 'Burn', Shearsman Books Elisha Efua Bartels - 'Woman is Boss' from 'Trinidad Noir' - Akashic Books Sonia Farmer - 'The Best Estimation in the World'.