Latest

Anarchist Emma Goldman picked as Paul Kennedy's favourite IDEAS subject

For almost as long as he's been reading, biography has been Paul Kennedy's favourite narrative form. In this episode, Paul discusses a four-part 1983 series about Emma Goldman — the anarchist autobiographer. His guests are 2019 Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong, and historian Margaret Macmillan.

Can trees save the world? Exploring the eighth continent with Canopy Meg

As a primary school student, trees were Meg Lowman's closest companions. She eventually became a pioneer of canopy science, and created a system of forest walkways that now extends around the world. Paul Kennedy visited 'Canopy Meg' to ask whether trees can save the world.

Memory breakdown: How technology is taking hold of our ability to remember

We rely on our handy smartphones to remember everything from phone numbers to our friend’s birthdays. Those sleek devices serve as a type of 'external hard drive' for our memory. Contributor Jess Shane explores what happens when the art of memorization is lost.
CBC Massey Lectures

CBC Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong argues gender equality is crucial to a thriving future

This year's lecturer is the celebrated journalist and author Sally Armstrong, and “Power Shift: The Longest Revolution” is the title of her lectures ⁠— the story of women’s place in the world today, how we got here, and what we can expect from the future.

Wilde Women in a Man's World

Irish-born Oscar Wilde was Britain's most famous playwright in the late 19th century. He was also famous, or infamous, for being gay. But the people who arguably had the most important influence on him and his work were women. From the Stratford Festival, a discussion featuring a writer, a literary scholar and theatre director.
CBC Massey Lectures

The 2018 CBC Massey Lectures: All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward

Prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of Seven Fallen Feathers) explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples — in Canada and elsewhere — in her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures, All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward.
Ideas Afternoon

When Hong Kong felt like the middle of the world: Paul Kennedy

In the decade before he became host — between 1990 and 1999 — Paul Kennedy spent a lot of time in Hong Kong. With special guest Lady Lavender Patten, wife of Hong Kong's final British governor, Paul revisits several of the documentaries that he prepared for IDEAS during that time.

Ideas for August 2019

Highlights include: the power of Gwich'in storytelling (Aug. 8); a look back on Paul Kennedy's 1983 biographical series on Emma Goldman (Aug. 16) and lessons learned from the environmental success story of Sudbury (Aug. 28).

'We're an oral culture': Saving an endangered language through Gwich'in storytelling

The Gwich'in language — like too many Indigenous languages in Canada — is seriously endangered. Paul Kennedy recently spent some time in Whitehorse, co-hosting a series of radio plays with several people from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, in Old Crow in an attempt preserve the language.

The Nerve, Pt 6: How music provokes emotions

Music has been described as the language of our emotions, and in many ways it is. It can express joy or sorrow, and music can also arouse those feelings inside us. Even when we no longer have language, we still have music. The last episode of The Nerve focuses on the emotional nature of music.
Audio

Rare interview with Toni Morrison on the importance of reading and writing

In this rare, personal interview from 2002, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison talks candidly about her life as an African-American writer with IDEAS producer Marilyn Powell.
Ideas Afternoon

Meet Ken Lyotier — An unforgettable encounter for IDEAS host Paul Kennedy

When Paul Kennedy first met Ken Lyotier he simply called himself a ”dumpster diver.” Lyotier organized street people, who were collecting refuse on the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, to obtain bottle deposits. Those people eventually owned, and operated a storefront recycling business called "United We Can." They ultimately changed environmental legislation in B.C. and in other jurisdictions throughout North America.

Pierre-Esprit Radisson: 'A wilderness hero for our time'

At a time when most Europeans died within a day's journey from where they were born, Pierre-Esprit Radisson criss-crossed the Atlantic 10 times, was adopted into an Iroquois family, and was kidnapped by pirates. Historian Mark Bourrie documents the explorer’s adventure-filled life and counters stereotypes about the entire colonial epoch — especially Iroquois society — in his book, Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson.

Part 5 of The Nerve reveals you've got the music in you

This episode of The Nerve focuses on the relationship between music and personal identity. From tribal tastes among teenagers, to the nostalgic playlists of older people, the music we listen to says a great deal about our individual identities. The music we like — and dislike — defines us, never more so than in today’s world of a million genres and personal playlists.

Five Freedoms: Freedom from Lies

Freedom of the press is a Holy Grail in Western societies, supposedly giving us the facts about what's happening in the world. But in an era of fake news, post-truth and a 24-hour news cycle, what are journalists to hang onto? A discussion with journalists Susan Ormiston and Desmond Cole, and writer Linda McQuaig.

Our planet's future: Are we doomed or is there hope?

In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looked back at his four decades with the program. This episode was inspired by the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, an event Paul has moderated since 2010. He invited three guests to join him onstage at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto to answer two basic questions about our collective future: are we doomed? And what inspires hope?

The Recurring Case of 'Recursion': a pattern for making sense of the world

Some call it "self-similarity." Others define it vaguely as "wheels within wheels" or refer to the image of nesting Russian dolls. For such a fundamental concept, recursion is strangely less famous and more often overlooked than it deserves to be. With help from a cognitive scientist, a language expert, and a physicist, Paul Kennedy tries to remedy this state of affairs, without getting himself tied up in knots within knots within knots…

The Nerve, Pt 4: How the 'congregational power' of music keeps us connected

From Gregorian or Tibetan chants, to the trance of Moroccan Gnawa musicians or Avicii and other 21st-century dance floor heroes — music enchants us and entrances us like no other art form or human activity. Music and spirituality is the focus of episode four of The Nerve — a documentary series about why music exists and how it affects us.

Five Freedoms: Freedom from Want

Poverty has always been a defining issue in the quest to build a better world. How do we go about making things more equitable, making sure that wealth is distributed to those in need and creating opportunity for the weak to become strong? Journalist Sally Armstrong, healthcare activist James Orbinski and former diplomat Paul Heinbecker discuss a thorny issue.

Ross King on the art of history and architecture

Ross King is one of the most popular historians Canada has ever produced. Yet originally, he wanted to be a novelist. And after researching his doctoral thesis on T. S. Eliot, he published his first book, which fictionalized the story of a castrato singer in 18th century London, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring painter. King says he discovered that it was more fun to write when you didn't need to "make up the facts."

2018 Killam Prize winners: Meet Canadian thinkers setting the standard for their fields

Each year, up to five Killam Prizes of $100,000 are awarded to Canadian scholars who have made "substantial and significant" contribution to their field of studies in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences or engineering. Meet the 2018 winners, all are brilliant Canadian thinkers who are setting the standard for their fields both in Canada and internationally.

How the Killam family 'invented' Canadian culture

Once upon a time, Izaak Walton Killam was the richest man in Canada. He died in 1955. His wife Dorothy was even more keen, in the decade after her husband's death, to expand the family wealth. In the end, the Killams basically bankrolled the Canada Council, and created the Killam Trusts. To this day, very few people know much about them.

The Nerve, Pt 3: How music is used as a weapon in war

Music and war is the focus of this episode of The Nerve — a documentary series about why music exists and how it affects us. “The Pipe, the Drum and the Thunder Run” first aired on CBC Music in 2008 — during the Iraq War, and when Canada had troops in Afghanistan. 

Five Freedoms: Freedom from Oppression

Oppression takes many forms. It can be political or cultural, or even social. There’s the weight of inherited oppression, and there’s the question of how oppression shapes who we are — both individually and collectively. This episode features a discussion with Bhutila Karpoche an Ontario politician of Tibetan heritage, Eloge Butera  a government lawyer and a refugee from Rwanda, and Christina Gray a Dene-Metis lawyer. 

Yuval Harari: Hacking Humanity

Global intellectual Yuval Harari is worried our brains are getting hacked. Artificial intelligence, biotechnology and ever-sophisticated algorithms are tapping into our values, habits, tastes, desires and the very thought patterns that define us — all to control how we shop, what we read, and whom we vote for. The notion of free will is defunct. But Harari explains why he remains cautiously optimistic about humanity's future.

Our planet's future: Are we doomed or is there hope?

In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looked back at his four decades with the program. This episode was inspired by the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, an event Paul has moderated since 2010. He invited three guests to join him onstage at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto to answer two basic questions about our collective future: are we doomed? And what inspires hope?

'We're an oral culture': Saving an endangered language through Gwich'in storytelling

The Gwich'in language — like too many Indigenous languages in Canada — is seriously endangered. Paul Kennedy recently spent some time in Whitehorse, co-hosting a series of radio plays with several people from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, in Old Crow in an attempt preserve the language.

Anarchist Emma Goldman picked as Paul Kennedy's favourite IDEAS subject

For almost as long as he's been reading, biography has been Paul Kennedy's favourite narrative form. In this episode, Paul discusses a four-part 1983 series about Emma Goldman — the anarchist autobiographer. His guests are 2019 Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong, and historian Margaret Macmillan.
Ideas Afternoon

When Hong Kong felt like the middle of the world: Paul Kennedy

In the decade before he became host — between 1990 and 1999 — Paul Kennedy spent a lot of time in Hong Kong. With special guest Lady Lavender Patten, wife of Hong Kong's final British governor, Paul revisits several of the documentaries that he prepared for IDEAS during that time.
Ideas Afternoon

Meet Ken Lyotier — An unforgettable encounter for IDEAS host Paul Kennedy

When Paul Kennedy first met Ken Lyotier he simply called himself a ”dumpster diver.” Lyotier organized street people, who were collecting refuse on the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, to obtain bottle deposits. Those people eventually owned, and operated a storefront recycling business called "United We Can." They ultimately changed environmental legislation in B.C. and in other jurisdictions throughout North America.

Our planet's future: Are we doomed or is there hope?

In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looked back at his four decades with the program. This episode was inspired by the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, an event Paul has moderated since 2010. He invited three guests to join him onstage at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto to answer two basic questions about our collective future: are we doomed? And what inspires hope?

Pierre-Esprit Radisson: 'A wilderness hero for our time'

At a time when most Europeans died within a day's journey from where they were born, Pierre-Esprit Radisson criss-crossed the Atlantic 10 times, was adopted into an Iroquois family, and was kidnapped by pirates. Historian Mark Bourrie documents the explorer’s adventure-filled life and counters stereotypes about the entire colonial epoch — especially Iroquois society — in his book, Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson.

'We're an oral culture': Saving an endangered language through Gwich'in storytelling

The Gwich'in language — like too many Indigenous languages in Canada — is seriously endangered. Paul Kennedy recently spent some time in Whitehorse, co-hosting a series of radio plays with several people from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, in Old Crow in an attempt preserve the language.

The Recurring Case of 'Recursion': a pattern for making sense of the world

Some call it "self-similarity." Others define it vaguely as "wheels within wheels" or refer to the image of nesting Russian dolls. For such a fundamental concept, recursion is strangely less famous and more often overlooked than it deserves to be. With help from a cognitive scientist, a language expert, and a physicist, Paul Kennedy tries to remedy this state of affairs, without getting himself tied up in knots within knots within knots…

Can trees save the world? Exploring the eighth continent with Canopy Meg

As a primary school student, trees were Meg Lowman's closest companions. She eventually became a pioneer of canopy science, and created a system of forest walkways that now extends around the world. Paul Kennedy visited 'Canopy Meg' to ask whether trees can save the world.

Pierre-Esprit Radisson: 'A wilderness hero for our time'

At a time when most Europeans died within a day's journey from where they were born, Pierre-Esprit Radisson criss-crossed the Atlantic 10 times, was adopted into an Iroquois family, and was kidnapped by pirates. Historian Mark Bourrie documents the explorer’s adventure-filled life and counters stereotypes about the entire colonial epoch — especially Iroquois society — in his book, Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson.

Can trees save the world? Exploring the eighth continent with Canopy Meg

As a primary school student, trees were Meg Lowman's closest companions. She eventually became a pioneer of canopy science, and created a system of forest walkways that now extends around the world. Paul Kennedy visited 'Canopy Meg' to ask whether trees can save the world.