Ideas

IDEAS schedule for February

Highlights include: BBC correspondent Larry Madowo shares his experience as a Black Kenyan-born man reporting on a contentious U.S. election (Feb 2); Roman Mars of 99% Invisible on the hidden stories behind architecture and design (Feb 9); a two-part series looking at the history of policing and the use of surveillance on citizens (Feb 8 & 26); and former Bank of Canada Mark Carney on how we have come to elevate financial value over human value (Feb 22-24).
In her book, Everyday Transgressions, Adelle Blackett tells the story behind the fight to create international standards that protect domestic workers labouring in homes around the world. (Lysanne Larose )


* Please note this schedule is subject to change
 

Monday, February 1

IN DEFENCE OF DOMESTIC WORKERS
They comfort crying children and care for the elderly. They are also some of the world's most vulnerable workers. McGill University professor Adelle Blackett is the chief legal architect behind the International Labour Organization's first comprehensive standards offering protections and rights to more than 60 million domestic workers. In her public lecture at Cornell University, the Canada Research Chair in Transnational Law delves into why we urgently need to bring equality to the household workplace.


Tuesday, February 2

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND: 4TH ANNUAL PETER STURSBERG FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS LECTURE
Covering the chaos of the last national election in his native Kenya gave Larry Madowo solid experience as a journalist reporting on an outcome that not everyone agrees on. He is now a North American correspondent for the BBC. In his talk and subsequent interview with host Nahlah Ayed, he takes us inside his experience as a Black man reporting on the U.S. election in a deeply divided and sometimes frightening country.


Wednesday, February 3

REMBRANDT IN AMSTERDAM, PART ONE
His early art work in the Dutch city of Leiden wasn't all that great, but soon after he arrived in Amsterdam in 1631, Rembrandt had become the most highly sought-after artist around. But both the public art — and his more private drawings and etchings — makes us rethink what it means to be an artist, and a consumer of art. All of Rembrandt's great art looks back at us and demands: who do you think you are, looking at this?


Thursday, February 4

LOVE TUNNELS
Weddings — and the industry — have been vilified and romanticized, elevated and denigrated. Contributors David Zane Mairowitz and Malgorzata Zerwe recount their odyssey throughout the southwest United States, as they ponder wedding services that range from mere kitsch to the truly bizarre. Their journey culminates, naturally, in Las Vegas, where they tie the knot at a drive-through chapel in a minutes-long ritual, having declined the $350 "Elvis package" elsewhere. "Love Tunnels": their documentary where cheap commercialism comes together with lifelong commitment.

'I hold out my hands and they handcuffed me. I will never see the world again,' writes Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan in his memoir. He wrote from his shared cell in Silivri Prison on bits of paper that his lawyer smuggled out. (Other Press )

Friday, February 5

I WILL NEVER SEE THE WORLD AGAIN
Lawyers and supporters of celebrated Turkish novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan are calling for his immediate release from prison, where he remains on false charges. The call is made more urgent, they say, as COVID-19 sweeps through the facility. *This episode originally aired on June 18, 2020.
 


Monday, February 8 

THE HISTORY OF POLICING: PART ONE
In part one of a two-part documentary series on policing, contributor Kyle G. Brown traces its history, from the watchmen of the pre-modern era, to colonial forces — to the increasingly militarized police of today. 
 

The book, The 99% Invisible City, by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, is a guide to noticing the essential — yet often hidden — design elements of our cities. (hotdocs.ca)


Tuesday, February 9

99% INVISIBLE CITY
In his podcast 99% Invisible, Roman Mars explores the hidden stories behind architecture and design. His new book, The 99% Invisible City, is a guide to decoding the language of cities. Nahlah Ayed speaks to Roman Mars for the Hot Docs Podcast Festival about how war and disease shape the built environment, how cities evolve over time, and the interplay between people who design cities and people who live in them. 


Wednesday, February 10 

REMBRANDT IN AMSTERDAM, PART TWO
His early art work in the Dutch city of Leiden wasn't all that great, but soon after he arrived in Amsterdam in 1631, Rembrandt had become the most highly sought-after artist around. But both the public art — and his more private drawings and etchings — makes us rethink what it means to be an artist, and a consumer of art. All of Rembrandt's great art looks back at us and demands: who do you think you are, looking at this?


Thursday, February 11

THE TRAVELS OF MIRZA SALEH SHIRAZI 
In the 18th and 19th centuries, a series of Persian travellers from Iran and India visited cities all over the world. They wrote popular travelogues describing the cultures and ideas they encountered and asked the questions fundamental to all of us: Who am I? What is our relationship to each other, and to the world? *This episode was originally published on March 9, 2020.

Through her phrasings and vocal techniques, Aretha Franklin gave voice to "the infinite ways that we can turn over the meaning of love," says Prof. Daphne Brooks. 


Friday, February 12

"I LOVE YOU"
I love you: those three magic words are the most powerful and misunderstood words in the English language, according to writer and contributor Marianne Apostolides. She draws from Shakespeare, Freud, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton and other greats to parse how "I love you" can be enriching, manipulative and even empty. *This episode originally aired on February 12, 2020.



Monday, February 15 and Tuesday, February 16

LONG ARM OF AYN RAND, PARTS ONE AND TWO

The intelligentsia mocked her writings and lampooned her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. But Ayn Rand's books, especially her two major works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell millions of copies. There are Ayn Rand think tanks, academies, even dating sites. And her influence on politics and popular culture is stronger than ever. Contributor Sandy Bourque outlines Rand's improbable rise to fame and influence, and the surprising Canadian connection, which helped secure her place in the history of ideas. *These episodes originally aired on November 1, 2018 and November 2, 2018.
 

Wednesday, February 17

BEHIND THE LINES, PART 1
What kinds of responsibility does a Black writer have? Is it enough to just write whatever inspires you, or is there an obligation to take on the big questions of culture, class, colour? And who influences you as a writer — whose work lays the ground for who you are now as an artist, and what you write about? As an artist, you're shaping society, but to what extent is society shaping you?  A series of conversations with Black Canadian writers about the politics of everyday life and art.
 

Thursday, February 18 

THE FOREVER PROTEST 
Some protests hit with lightning speed and bring quick change in dramatic ways. But often the push for change takes much longer — decades, even generations. The change comes not from dramatic events but from a slow transformation of people, of culture, and society itself. IDEAS contributor Guy Dixon looks at the perpetual protest.
 

A portrait by artist Joseph Karl Stieler capturing Ludwig van Beethoven composing the Missa Solemnis. Born in Bonn, Germany, 250 years ago, Beethoven is considered to be the most famous European composer of all time. (Joseph Karl Stieler/Wikimedia Commons)


Friday, February 19

BEETHOVEN'S SCOWL
Ludwig Van Beethoven turned 250 in 2020. The German composer is known for his beautiful music, tortured soul, and grumpy face. In this documentary, Matthew Lazin-Ryder looks at the enduring image of Beethoven, and how his stern looks reveal the way we think about creativity, perseverance, and the nature of art. *This episode originally aired on September 21, 2020.



Monday, February 22

BBC REITH LECTURES: MARK CARNEY, PART ONE
After heading both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, Mark Carney still wonders — what is "value?" In his BBC 2020 Reith Lectures, Carney explores how we've come to value financial growth over human wellbeing. Using Adam Smith and Oscar Wilde, Carney tracks our fuzzy and contradictory notions of value, and how they affect the world today.


Tuesday, February 23

BBC REITH LECTURES: MARK CARNEY, PART TWO
Can a human life be given an economic value? In the second part of BBC's 2020 Reith Lectures, former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney explains how the COVID pandemic reveals conflicts in what we value. At the start of the pandemic, it seemed governments were willing to sacrifice economic wellbeing for human lives. That may be changing — and Carney says there's a lesson there for the future of the world.

In his BBC 2020 Reith Lectures, former head of the Bank of Canada and Bank of England, Mark Carney charts how we have come to elevate financial value over human value. (Peter Summers/The Associated Press)

Wednesday, February 24

BBC REITH LECTURES: MARK CARNEY, PART THREE

Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney argues that the world's ability to deal with crises is hampered by a fundamental shift in our relationship to finance and economics. He says the question of what is valuable has been twisted by our sense of what is profitable. In our final episode of Carney's 2020 BBC Reith Lectures, the economist focuses on how the ultimate test of a more fair economy will be how it addresses the growing climate crisis.


Thursday, February 25 

BEHIND THE LINES, PART 2
What kinds of responsibility does a Black writer have? Is it enough to just write whatever inspires you, or is there an obligation to take on the big questions of culture, class, colour? And who influences you as a writer — whose work lays the ground for who you are now as an artist, and what you write about? As an artist, you're shaping society, but to what extent is society shaping you?  A series of conversations with Black Canadian writers about the politics of everyday life and art.
 

Friday, February 26

CONFRONTING THE POLICING CRISIS, PART TWO
Seeking solutions to our policing crisis from current and ex-cops, to criminologists, historians and activists. IDEAS contributor Kyle G. Brown examines the use of police surveillance on citizens and how the "thin blue line" is thought to protect us from chaos. We'll also hear about some of the quiet triumphs of community policing, and whether they can salvage the institution. 

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