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Country & Town House’s culture editor, Ed Vaizey, and associate editor, Charlotte Metcalf discuss the week’s cultural offerings with a brilliant edit of what you should be watching, reading, listening to, booking and visiting each week. Their roster of high profile guests adds illuminating insight to the current cultural landscape.
 
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Aspire

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Aspire

Aaron Smith & Patrick Benn

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The Aspire podcast is all about sharing the stories of those who have journeyed into vocational Christian ministry. The podcast features a diverse range of men and women, young and old, who have aspired, or who are aspiring towards, different types of ministry. It aims to encourage, excite and equip you in your own journey into considering vocational Christian ministry.
 
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show series
 
What is the purpose of art in times of crisis and conflict? How can art bring healing amidst pain and suffering? What role does art play in a politically polarized culture? We discussed these questions and more with Dr. Dr. Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin who has written and spoken extensively on the intersection of art, theology, and crisis. We hope yo…
 
This summer marks the 90th season of this beautiful theatre in the heart of the park’s Inner Circle. Regents Park is the oldest, professional, permanent outdoor theatre in Britain, and we celebrate by talking to Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Timothy Sheader, about the theatre’s history and its delightfully varied 2022 summer programme, inc…
 
With the RCA’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Paul Thompson and Chair of the Governing Body Sir Peter Bazalgette This week we’re talking about the RCA’s brand new £135 million Battersea campus. In a fascinating conversation with Dr. Paul Thompson and Sir Peter Bazalgette, they tell us how the new facilities can give future creative leaders the tools to learn …
 
Why is music predominant in our worship services and what is it meant for? How might music even teach us about doctrinal statements such as the trinity? And why is lament an important aspect within music for the formation of the whole person. We talked with Dr. Chelle Stearns about these questions. Dr. Stearns has written and lectured on music, the…
 
This week we talk to John Morton, the writer famous for classic TV hits like WIA, Twenty Twelve and People Like Us. He’s been brave enough to take on our favourite show, the much-loved French series Call My Agent and create and direct the British version, Ten Per Cent. He talks to us about why agents are so fascinating and the complicated business …
 
What is Biblical wisdom literature? How does Proverbs fit into the wisdom literature and how does one apply it? What does the fear of the Lord mean and how can one cultivate a healthy fear of the Lord? We discussed these questions and more with Dr. Tremper Longman who has done extensive work in the Old Testament, specifically in wisdom literature. …
 
This week we’re talking about the Chalke Valley History Festival, the biggest festival in the world devoted entirely to history, which runs from 20th to the 26th of June at its beautiful Wiltshire home near Salisbury. On the podcast with us is the festival director, Jane Pleydell-Bouverie and two historians who’ll be talking there, Christopher de B…
 
How are we to understand metaphors in the Bible? What is conceptual metaphor theory and how does this fit into Biblical metaphor? How can pastors and church leaders engage with the culture using Biblical metaphor's and contemporary metaphors? We had a conversation around these questions and more with Dr. Beth Stovell. We hope you enjoy our conversa…
 
This week we recorded our panel discussion at Hay Festival with three outstanding writers for this podcast. Unfortunately, the Hay Festival Technical Team had a problem with our recording and could not retrieve it for us to broadcast. On the panel were Karen Armstrong, former Catholic nun and now prolific writer andcommentator on religion, Jessie G…
 
What does the church and scripture have to say in regards to politics and governmental structures? What is Liberalism and how does it fit into the relationship between church and state? Should pastors and church leaders talk about politics, take political stances, indorse political leaders, or should they avoid politics all together? We discussed t…
 
Today we’re talking about the 27th prestigious 2022 Prize for Women in Fiction, which honours outstanding ambitious original fiction written in English by women from all over the world. The entries are judged by a panel comprising Lorraine Candy, Anita Sethi, Dorothy Koomson and Pandora Sykes. The Chair of the Judges is Mary Ann Sieghart, prolific …
 
For ancient Israel, land held significance as it was seen as a divine promise. But what exactly did this mean and how did Israel understand it? Were there actual borders promised, if so what were they? And who was considered to be Israel, or a part of God’s chosen people? Dr. Yahanna Katancho unpacks these questions and more, as they are a lived ex…
 
Just a month away from the summer solstice, we explore the mysteries that still surround Stonehenge. Our guest is Dr. Neil Wilkin, the extraordinarily knowledgeable curator of the British Museum’s exhibition ‘The World of Stonehenge’, which you still have time to catch as it runs till mid-July. It’s not to be missed as it’s the first major exhibiti…
 
How do the Johannine epistles inform our modern understanding of love? Why is the power of the gospel most visible among those on the margins? We had a conversation with Dr. Dennis Edwards about how the power of the gospel is present and visible among those in the marginalized community. We also discussed how prophets, anger, and love fit into spea…
 
This week we’re going back to the eighties, a time of momentous change, as chronicled by John Walsh in his new book Circus of Dreams. John, renowned literary editor, journalist, author and popular panellist on Radio Four’s The Write Stuff, persuades us that the eighties were probably the most exciting time to work in the literary world. The decade …
 
How is Christian hospitality connected to justice? What does it look like to emulate Christ's hospitality and justice? Are followers of Jesus supposed to have a balanced life? Did Christ have a balanced life? We had a conversation with Dr. Krish Kandiah around these questions and more. Krish is the founder and director of Home for Good, an organiza…
 
On this week’s episode we hear from Guy Salter about London Craft Week, the capital-wide festival celebrating talented makers from all over Britain and around the globe, opening on Monday 9th May. We also chat to Rosalind McKever about the extraordinary craft down the ages that’s gone into menswear. Fashioning Masculinities, in partnership with Guc…
 
We had a conversation with Mike Baird who was the 44th Premier of New South Wales in Australia, a former investment banker, a Regent alum, and currently works in the palliative care sector. Mike shared with us his experience working in investment banking, politics, and now palliative care and how his faith intersects in all these. We hope you enjoy…
 
On this week’s episode we’re honoured that our guest is Sir David Hare, not just one of Britain’s leading playwrights, but also a screenwriter and theatre and film director. He’s written over 40 full length plays, 19 staged at the National, including Plenty (which went on to be a star-studded movie), Skylight and many more. He talks to us about his…
 
The relationship of friendship is often malleable, free, and unconstrained compared to familial or marriage relationships, but is this how it is supposed to be? We had a conversation with Dr. Wesley Hill who wrote a book on this topic called "Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian." Through Dr. Hill's insight w…
 
This week we’re celebrating Shakespeare’s 458th birthday with Robert McCrum, author of Shakespearean, and Editor-in-Chief at Faber and Faber for nearly 20 years, as well as literary and associate editor of The Observer. Robert’s enthusiasm is infectious as he guides us through the best of this summer’s stage productions from Gregory Doran’s product…
 
What is Latin Protestant Christology? What is Liberation Theology and why are some apprehensive towards it. Dr. Jules Martinez-Olivieri has written and taught extensively on these questions. He brings both historical and anthropological insight to them. Dr. Martinez-Olivieri also shares with us the historical and theological understanding for holis…
 
How does our imagination impact our ability to empathize? Storytelling, art, film, music, and books all have the ability to shape our imaginations and can move us into greater levels of empathy for others. Dr. Mary McCampbell recently wrote a book called "Imagining Our Neighbors as Ourselves: How Art Shapes Empathy". In this conversation we discuss…
 
How should leaders measure success? Why do leaders often suffer from burnout and how can they avoid it? And how does empowering and raising up female leaders help to combat slavery and oppression throughout the globe. We had a conversation around these questions and more with Melissa Russell, who is IJM's (International Justice Mission) Regional Pr…
 
This week the author Clover Stroud, known for writing ‘about the way life feels’, talks to us about her new book The Red of my Blood. In it she recounts the year she spent mourning her sister Nell Gifford’s death, who died tragically of cancer aged just 46. The book is described as a Story of Death and Life, and on the podcast Clover describes her …
 
Often we think of a leader having all the answers and the one setting vision for people. While it is true that leaders must answer questions and set vision they must also have an even greater ability to ask good questions. We had a conversation with Dr. Peter Shaw who has spent years writing books and coaching others on leadership and asking really…
 
This week we’re going on a whirlwind tour of the movies with BAFTA committee member Anna Higgs. She tells us about the BAFTA winning movies, starting with Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and moving on to Jeymes Samuel’s contemporary Western The Harder they Fall. We discuss some of the …
 
Leaders can become stars, celebrities, and potential saviours to many people they lead and even themselves. Often this can lead to burnout or fallout and a misconstrued view of what leadership is. We had a conversation with Dr. Ruth Padilla DeBorst on how one needs to lead in community where trusted friends and colleagues can speak truth into a lea…
 
This week we celebrate the start of spring by giving you the lowdown on the best of Britain’s wonderful sculpture parks from Chatsworth, Farleys House and the Barbara Hepworth Garden to Forestry England’s woodland sculpture trails and On Form, Europe’s biggest exhibition of stone sculpture opening in Asthall, Oxfordshire in June. No round-up of scu…
 
We are continuing our series on Wise Leadership. This week we had a conversation with Linda Chonco who is enrolled in Regent's MALTS program and works for The Zanokhanyo Network in Cape Town, South Africa. Linda brought wonderful insight into leading amidst adversity, becoming leaders who see well those they lead, and leading people holistically in…
 
This week we chat to one of Britain’s best-known artists, the indomitable Tracey Emin. Having wrestled with a particularly brutal and aggressive cancer, she is now setting up a foundation to help artists. In an extraordinarily generous philanthropic gesture, she has bought an Edwardian bath house in Margate and is transforming it into artists’ stud…
 
What is wise Biblical leadership and how does this play out practically? Servant leadership is common language today, but what does this really look like? And can poetry teach us anything about leading well? We discuss these questions and more with Dr. Uli Chi who is one of the instructions of the MALTS program here at Regent. This is the first epi…
 
This week we focus on jazz for the first time and talk to the singer, songwriter, bandleader and sax player who’s been taking his fun, upbeat, distinctive style of swing, jazz and R&B to concerts, clubs and festivals all over the world since 1988. Ray Gelato and his band The Giants have had a long-established residency at London’s famous Ronnie Sco…
 
How are we to understand the doctrine of providence? Can we discern God's divine purposes in the world? How does intercessory prayer work in the midst of God's providence? How should followers of Jesus respond to suffering in light of God's providence? How are we to respond to the prosperity Gospel? We sat down with Dr. David Robinson and had a won…
 
If anyone’s seen it all in theatre it’s Nick Allott, who spent 40 years with Cameron Mackintosh, running it for 20. This week we chat to Nick about theatre’s glory days, from Cats and Phantom to Les Misérables and Hamilton. But he also sheds sobering light on how devastating the pandemic has been for the industry as theatres went dark for the longe…
 
Often we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but don't actually understand its meaning for humanity and all of creation. Even more we focus on the Atonement of Christ without realizing that the Resurrection is significantly connected to it. We sat down with Dr. Ross Hastings and had a conversation about his new book, "The Resurrection of J…
 
Did you know Jewish Book Week is London’s longest running literary festival? Claudia Rubenstein, Director of Jewish Book Week, tells us about its extraordinary history and what to look forward to amongst the host of fun events that begin on Saturday 26th February. Those taking part include Elif Shafak, Michael Ignatieff, Julia Neuberger, Claudia Ro…
 
Oppression, pain, slavery, and trauma are all a part of Israel’s story. In the midst of this pain God responds. We sat down with Dr. Isabelle Hamley and discussed how we can learn from Israel’s story and the Old Testament scriptures in regards to mental health. She answered questions around what the “good life” is, how the biblical text speaks to p…
 
Ed and Charlotte take a whirlwind tour through British culture with the man who’s been there, done that and seen it all – Dylan Jones. The irrepressible and legendary Dylan, who was at the helm of GQ for over two decades, is busier than ever with a new book and TV series on the '90s, another on Paul Weller, an exhibition of Dave Benett’s photograph…
 
What does it mean to read the scripture confessionally? How do we interpret the difficult verses of scripture that seem to endorse genocide and other difficult texts? Can we learn how to read scripture from other faith backgrounds? Today we discuss these questions and more with Dr. Ellen F. Davis. We hope you enjoy this wonderful conversation as we…
 
This week we chat to James Birch, gallery owner and author of Bacon in Moscow, about his life-long friendship with Francis Bacon, one of Britain’s most popular and controversial artists. Having known him since childhood and been a regular Soho drinking companion, James gives us a fascinating often funny and moving insight Bacon’s life. He tells us …
 
Have you ever wondered what the difference between a Biblical Scholar and Systematic Theologian is? What is the role of tradition when it comes to interpreting scripture? Is it necessary to have a platonic framework to understand scripture? To continue our Biblical Hermeneutics series, we had a conversation with Dr. Hans Boersma around these questi…
 
On this week’s podcast, we’re talking to Royal Ballet’s principal dancer Marcelino Sambé about the challenges and joys of following in Rudolf Nureyev’s footsteps – and many more - playing Romeo in Kevin MacMillan’s much-loved ballet. Juliet will be played by Anna Rose O'Sullivan. Since Romeo and Juliet was first performed to Prokofiev’s score in 19…
 
Have you ever wondered what biblical scholars want theologians to know when interpreting scripture? Continuing in our Biblical Hermeneutics series, we had the opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Scott McKnight. He has recently written a book called “Five Things Biblical Scholars Wish Theologians Knew." We hope you enjoy our conversation. To…
 
On this week’s podcast, we were honoured to talk to Bernardine Evaristo about the project she’s spearheading with Penguin to bring back forgotten black writers into circulation and help reconfigure black British literary history. She tells us about five reprinted works of non-fiction, which she’s chosen and written the introductions for, and why it…
 
How should we think about scripture in our post-modern contexts? What are we to do with historical and scientific discoveries that supposedly contradict scripture? Does inherency and infallibility still play a part in our modern Biblical understanding? We sat down and had a conversation with Dr. Iain Provan discussing these questions and more. We h…
 
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