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The Woolf Institute
Encounter is a discussion podcast produced by the Woolf Institute and presented by its Founder Director Dr Ed Kessler, exploring the relationship between religion and society.
Mar 22, 2019
We need to talk about Israel/Palestine
On dialogue. In a special podcast by the Woolf Institute, recorded live at our 'We need to talk about Israel/Palestine' event, Baroness Warsi and Jonathan Freedland attempt to do just that. How can British Muslims and Jews talk about the conflict? Why have past discussions led to so many tensions? And what can we learn from an open and honest dialogue? Featuring Jonathan Freedland, Sayeeda Warsi and Ed Kessler.
1 hr 3 min
Dec 17, 2018
On food. With Ed away, producer David Perry sits down in the kitchen of best-selling food writer Claudia Roden to talk cooking, cuisine and culture. How essential is food to our understanding of ourselves? Where do our cooking traditions come from? And can we map religious and cultural change through the dishes we enjoy today? Featuring Claudia Roden and David Perry.
Dec 2, 2018
An Interview with Daniel Zeichner
On Politics. With increasing polarisation in our nation we talk Antisemitism, Islamophobia and, of course, Brexit with MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner. Is our society becoming less tolerant? How do we break down stalemates between opposing views? And should we have a second Brexit referendum? Featuring Ed Kessler and Daniel Zeichner.
Nov 18, 2018
On strictly observant religion. In this episode Ed sits down with the Woolf Institute's own Tobias Müller, and professor Kim Knott, from Lancaster university and the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats to try and add nuance to the way we talk about fundamentalism. How do fundamentalist ideas and behaviour function? Is fundamentalism always a threat? And how do we distinguish between fundamentalism, extremism, radicalism and orthodoxy? Featuring Ed Kessler, Tobias Müller, Kim Knott and David Perry.
Nov 4, 2018
On prisons. How does religion play a role in our prison system and can faith stop prisoners reoffending? We speak to Dr Ruth Armstrong from the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge to assess these questions before a hands on discussion with Imam Farooq Mulla and Bob Wilson, both of whom have spent years bringing their faith to the UK's incarceration system. What are the challenges of this job? In what ways can prisoners be redeemed? And does our prison system need urgent help?
Oct 21, 2018
On prejudice (II). How prevalent is Islamophobia in Britain? In what ways does it permeate our society? And what can we do to tackle it? First, the Woolf Institute’s Julian Hargreaves talks definitions and common misconceptions. Then Ed chats to Samayya Afzal, from the Muslim Council of Britain about the nature and scale of the problem for Muslim communities as well as her own ideas about how to forge a better future. Featuring Ed Kessler, Julian Hargreaves, Samayya Afzal and David Perry.
Oct 7, 2018
On prejudice. Daniel Staetsky from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research joins Ed to examine antisemitism based on hard evidence. How antisemitic is our society? Are antisemitism and criticism of Israel linked? And what might the future hold for Britain’s Jewish community? We move beyond public rhetoric to Daniel’s key research into the phenomenon of antisemtism and its diffusion in contemporary society… featuring Ed Kessler, Daniel Staetsky and David Perry.
Sep 23, 2018
Between Texts, Beyond Difference
On Interfaith. We eavesdrop on a Muslim/Jewish dialogue between Rick Sopher and Shaykh Mogra as they negotiate the parallels between their two religious texts. What are the similarities? How do we manage the differences? And how can understanding each other strengthen our faith? Featuring Ed Kessler, Rick Sopher and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra.
Sep 9, 2018
The Future with Martin Rees
On the future. Astronomer Royal Martin Rees describes himself as a 'Cultural Anglican' rather than a believer. A recipient of the Templeton Prize, he's spent a lifetime examining the evolution of the Universe, including negotiating between religious dogma and scientific revelation. How do we reconcile faith into our scientific understanding of the future? What problems face humanity? And could religion ease the bumpy ride ahead? Featuring Ed Kessler, Martin Rees and David Perry.
Aug 26, 2018
On disability. Pam Mungroo presents Sunday Breakfast on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire - the god slot. Yet despite choosing to be baptised at an early age, she struggles to reconcile her faith with her disability. In this episode of Encounter we move beyond issues of accessibility to look at the fundamental conflicts between religions and the disabled. God and suffering, and the existential question of belonging... featuring Pam Mungroo, Ed Kessler, Florence Oulds, and David Perry.
Aug 15, 2018
God in the Machine
On artificial intelligence. Beth Singler is a self-confessed geek. As a kid, she loved Star Trek and other science fiction; today she spends all her time researching our attitudes to technology - especially artificial intelligence. In this episode, Beth talks sentient AI. What questions do these machines raise? And can religion answer them? Photo © AHRC / TIMSTUBBINGS.COM
Jul 30, 2018
Q&A with Ed Kessler
On the Woolf Institute. In this episode, producer David Perry sits down one-to-one with Woolf Institute founder Ed Kessler. How did the Institute go from Ed's dream to a leading voice in interfaith relations? In a world of quick reactions and questionable facts, can courteous dialogue and research really help?
Jul 16, 2018
On refugees. The world is in the midst of a refugee crisis. Over six million refugees have escaped Syria alone since the conflict began there - but only around 11,500 have resettled in the UK. In this episode of Encounter we hear from Bayan about his own difficult journey from Syria to the UK. We ask how this crisis compares to those the world has seen before, and how someone copes when their host country has a different majority religion to their own. Featuring Ed Kessler, Bayan Almasri, Julian Huppert, and Esther-Miriam Wagner.
Jul 2, 2018
Pilot: Should we send our children to faith schools?
On education. Join Ed Kessler and guests Julian Huppert, Azadeh Moaveni and Austin Tiffany as they discuss and debate religion and education in the UK. Are faith schools good for society as a whole or do they breed division? Should faith schools receive taxpayers’ money? What part do faith schools play in the lives of the non-religious?
Jul 2, 2018
Music and Changing the World
On music. If music be the food of love... from Christian and Muslim contributions to Andalucian flamenco, to the secularism of modern jazz, religion and music are deeply intertwined. Is there really such a thing as Jewish, Muslim, or Christian music? Are songs the great uniter, or is context more important? Will Ed ever overcome his childhood trombone-based traumas? Featuring Matthew Machin-Autenrieth, Dunya Habash, and David Perry.
Jun 25, 2018
God on the Pitch
On football. On the momentous occasion of the World Cup, we at the Woolf sat down to discuss how religion plays a role on the pitch. Is football the new religious experience? Does it transcend our human differences or reinforce them? Most importantly, who will emerge victorious in Moscow on July 15th, and is God on their side? Featuring Ed Kessler, Esther-Miriam Wagner, Jessica Tearney-Pearce, and Rodrigo Garcia-Velasco Bernal. Encounter is a discussion podcast produced by the Woolf Institute and presented by its Founder Director Dr Ed Kessler. Episodes will explore the relationship between religion and society. Join Ed and guests as they navigate their way through some of society's most debated topics.
Jun 25, 2018
On mental health. With the UK's Mental Health Awareness Week taking place in May, this week's Encounter delves into how religious belief affects the troubled mind. Can faith help to protect against mental illness? Does religious doctrine ever prevent open emotional discussion? What responsibilities do faith communities have to help each other? Featuring Ed Kessler, Ruth Adams, Mark Strivens, and Dunya Habash. Encounter is a discussion podcast produced by the Woolf Institute and presented by its Founder Director Dr Ed Kessler. Episodes will explore the relationship between religion and society. Join Ed and guests as they navigate their way through some of society's most debated topics.
Jun 25, 2018
Being Offended, Being Offensive
On offending. In the first episode of Encounter, join Ed Kessler and guests Hira Amin, Dunya Habash, and Julian Hargreaves as they discuss and debate being offended and being offensive. When does freedom of expression become offensiveness? How do we deal with violence in our religious texts? Are we as a culture too easily offended? Encounter is a discussion podcast produced by the Woolf Institute and presented by its Founder Director Dr Ed Kessler. Episodes will explore the relationship between religion and society. Join Ed and guests as they navigate their way through some of society's most debated topics.