By Steve Brett
Undercurrents highlights a diversity of first-principle perspectives, and alternative ways of being and doing. In a globalised world, we recognise the necessity for an ecology of knowledge systems and inclusive moral frameworks, through which to make sense of, and reconstitute our world. We explore these perspectives with creative thinkers, visionaries and culture hackers from around the world.
UndercurrentsApr 07, 2022
Radical Experiments in Unlearning with Manish Jain
We interviewed Manish Jain at Shikshantar, The People's Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development in the ancient city of Udaipur in India. Although born and brought up in India, Manish worked in the US for Morgan Stanley, received a Master's at Harvard University, and worked for UNESCO. He returned to India twenty-five years ago to look after his illiterate grandmother, which began a deep process of Un-learning. In the interview we talk about his discovery of the gift culture in India, its abundance versus scarcity culture, forgiveness, how working with your hands is not extracurricular, and the significance of cow dung.
A Rare Perspective from the Gaza War - In Conversation with Yael Treidel
In the wake of the brutal attack by Hamas and the escalating violence in Gaza by Israeli forces, Mary Adams of 3rd-Space speaks with Yael Treidel from Hadera in Israel. Yael, an activist involved with Women Wage Peace since 2014, currently works for a medical charity, Road for Recovery, responsible for driving hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza for medical treatment in Israel on a daily basis. Working closely with Palestinian women, Yael and others in WWP, have long pushed for a just political settlement between the two nations.
This is Not America - Why Being Black and British Matters
In this episode, Steve Brett talks with the author Tomiwa Owolade, about his book This is Not America - Why Being Black and British Matters. Tom argues that racial identity is not an abstraction, but is contextual and based on different geographical and historical factors. He writes that many of the ideas we have about what it means to be black have been adopted from America, when in fact what it means to be black and British is different from what it means to be black and American.
At Work in The Ruins with Dougald Hine
Steve Brett interviews Dougald Hine on his new book, At Work in the Ruins - Finding Our Place in the Time of Science, Climate Change, Pandemics & All the Other Emergencies. They discuss his remarkable journey from his focus on the Climate Crisis, to why he's not talking about the Climate Crisis anymore. They go on to talk about the impact of the Dark Mountain Project, the work of Vanessa Machado de Oliveira, and how "the end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. The end of the world as we know it is also the end of a way of knowing the world.” For further references recommended by Dougald, please note, The Myth of Modernity by Michael Greer, and A Small Farm Future by Chris Smaje.
The Value of Eldership
Leadership Developer and social entrepreneur Dave Pendle, in conversation with Steve Brett about Eldership. They discuss the value of eldership, and if it is something that can be both restored and developed in modern culture.
The Language of Embodied Intelligence
In this episode, Mary Adams explores the embodied intelligence of Contact Dance Improvisation with the leading dance teacher/performer Kirstie Simson. Described as a “force of nature” by the New York Times, Simson shares her experience and insights into the relevance of our relationship to the body, and how this can transform the deep cultural attitudes of separation and dissociation which underlie the global meta crisis.
A Process of Learning and Unlearning: A Dialogue with Boaventura De Sousa Santos
Boaventura de Sousa Santos is a distinguished legal scholar and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. He is one of the founders of the World Social Forum. He has written and published widely on issues of global justice and its relationship to the necessity for an ecology of knowledge systems. As well as being a brilliant scholar he has worked for social justice in social movements around the world, including amongst the favelas of Brazil and with indigenous and peasant communities in different parts of the world.
Once Upon a Time in the East - with Xiaolu Guo
An interview with the British/Chinese writer, diarist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo. From her upbringing in a small fishing village on the East China Sea to becoming the celebrated writer and filmmaker she is living in Britain today, we explore the extraordinary life and work of an east/west cultural pioneer.
On the Verge of the Verb - with Gabriel Meyer Halevy
Gabriel Meyer Halevy is a musician and storyteller from Argentina. His book, “On the Verge of the Verb” is shortly to be published in the US. Gabriel is a cross-cultural bridge builder—even across enemy lines—through music, humour and story. We met up with Gabriel at Brave Earth earlier this year, a community founded by Alnoor Ladha in the jungle of Costa Rica. In this podcast Gabriel talks about his travels and meetings with extraordinary people, his celebration of the prophetic nature of his spiritual lineage, and his love of the human spirit.
The Climate Emergency and Transitioning to a Post-Anthropocentric World
In this episode recorded at Alnoor Ladha's home in the jungle of Costa Rica, Steve Brett talks with Alnoor about how we should be responding to the Climate Emergency and the possibility that we might be one of the last generations of human life on earth. For Alnoor, it’s not just about social and political action. We need to understand and dis-identify from the dominant culture, and make an ontological shift that is in deep relationality to the living planet.
"Africa is Key"- Solutions to the Global Crisis with Esther Stanford-Xosei
In this episode of Undercurrents, Mary Adams speaks with Esther Stanford-Xosei about her work with inter-generational movements to repair the damage of colonial legacies and create a new holistic paradigm.
Freedom, Infinity, Utopia - talking art with Patrick Bryson
In this episode, Steve Brett talks with Irish artist Patrick Bryson about art, meditation and freedom. The conversation follows Patrick's own journey as an artist - a journey he says, that never ends.
Living on Purpose - Jamie Bristow and the Mindfulness Initiative
Jamie Bristow is the director of the Mindfulness Initiative, a think tank which has been instrumental in bringing Mindfulness into the political mainstream and affecting public policy. Last year the Mindfulness Initiative took the step of examining the evidence for the positive effects of mindfulness beyond its familiar Wellness application, by producing a paper called, “Mindfulness: Developing Agency in Urgent Times” which looks at qualities that can be cultivated through mindfulness, that might be foundational toward creating social and societal change. In this podcast I'll be speaking with Jamie about his new paper, and how our understanding of Mindfulness is developing.
The Entangled Activist, talking with Anthea Lawson
In this episode of Undercurrents, Steve Brett discusses awareness, journalism, and activism with Anthea Lawson.