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Living Gratefully

Author: The University of Edinburgh

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In a time like no other we have known before; a time when we are living closely with some, distantly from most others, this podcast series examines human relationships, how we form them and what they mean to us, against a background of what it means to feel gratitude.Our host, scholar and broadcaster Mona Siddiqui, asks the probing questions, and her guests – musician Ricky Ross, author Val McDermid, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams among others – open their hearts and minds. Living Gratefully examines how gratitude shapes our relationships with others, and how cultural relationships shape public discourse.
20 Episodes
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Mona Siddiqui speaks to Lindsay Paterson, who is Professor of Educational Policy in the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. His main academic interests are in education, civic engagement and political attitudes. Here he speaks of his passion for education, why education should be seen as a moral good and the issues of fairness and expectation in higher education. 
Mona Siddiqui speaks to Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the US.  Born in Chicago, he is the first African American to serve as presiding bishop in the Episcopal Church and has been a very vocal campaigner for all kind of human rights and social justice causes. Here he speaks of his experience of loss and love at an early age, the call of the ministry, the humbling experience of his powerful sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and why in the end, love is the only way.
Mona Siddiqui speaks to Farah Jasmine Griffin, who is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University. Griffin studied at both Harvard and Yale and her major interests are in American and African American literature, music and history. She has published widely on race and gender, jazz and cultural politics. Here she speaks of the power of education to instil hope, how the call for healing can compromise the call for justice and the generosity and creativity of young people. 
Mona Siddiqui speaks to Alastair Bruce, Governor of Edinburgh Castle and a reservist in the Army. Alastair has a deep interest in royal and constitutional matters and works as a historian and commentator for Sky News,  as well as being a historical adviser on many drama productions such  as Downton Abbey and The King’s Speech. Here he speaks of gratitude for his privileged background, his service in the army, the UK’s relationship to the monarchy and the reasons why promoting diversity and inclusion in the Army matter so much to him. 
Mona Siddiqui speaks to Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, and founder of the Institute for Advanced Usuli Studies. Professor El Fadl is one of the world’s leading scholars of Islamic law and ethics and in 2020, was the recipient of the American Academy of Religion, Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. Here, he speaks of a home full of books, the influence of his mother’s strong faith and sense of ethics and his personal quest for beauty in the Islamic faith. 
Mona Siddiqui speaks to her colleague Professor Linda Bauld. Linda holds the Bruce and John Usher Chair in Public Health in the Usher Institute, College of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.  Linda is a behavioural scientist, who also serves as Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention champion and is currently one of the most widely respected voices in the media speaking on the Covid crisis. Here, she speaks of growing up in Canada, her work on  prevention of disease, gratitude for the support of her colleagues, and the small vase of flowers which has become the backdrop to her online appearances. 
Mona Siddiqui speaks to Peter Geoghegan, the well-known Irish writer, broadcaster and investigations editor at the award-winning news website openDemocracy. Born and raised in Ireland, now living in Glasgow, Peter looks back on his childhood in Ireland, his education and travels to the US, rebuilding family relationships, and the continued appeal of journalism. His focus on a troubled democracy led to his latest book, Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics, which became a Sunday Times' best-seller."
Mona Siddiqui speaks to her colleague and friend Dr Joshua Ralston at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Divinity. Born and raised in California, Joshua is a Christian theologian and Reader in Christian-Muslim relations. Here, he speaks of being an American in Scotland, a theologian interested in Islam and why trust and hope in God still sustain his life and work. 
The conversation podcast series Living Gratefully returns for a second season. In the first episode of the new series, Mona Siddiqui speaks to the multi award winning Scottish comedian, actor and writer Janey Godley. Raised in the east end of Glasgow, Janey knew early on she was funny and could tell a story. She began her stand up career in 1994 in a male-dominated environment. Here she speaks of growing up in poverty, her comedy and politics and her advice to struggling artists today, to go online and simply get out there. 
In the final episode of this series of podcasts exploring the topic of gratitude, Mona Siddiqui speaks to John Crichton, Consultant forensic psychiatrist, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and Vice President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK.  John speaks about his happy childhood despite his dyslexia, his interest in psychiatry from an early age, and the importance of looking after all aspects of our mental health. For John, it is a privilege that his patients open up to him, and with the stresses of Covid-19, conversation is all we have left. 
In this podcast Mona Siddiqui speaks to Magnus Llewellin, editor of The Times in Scotland. Born in Shropshire, Magnus has held various senior roles in Scottish journalism and regards Scotland as his home. He is passionate about journalism and views the profession as ultimately one that holds people in public life accountable. For Magnus, most journalists are ethical and trying to do the best they can to publish news in a social media market driven by personal opinions and conspiracy theories.  
In this podcast, Mona Siddiqui speaks to Humza Yousaf MSP, who is cabinet secretary for justice in the Scottish government. Having held several ministerial roles from a very young age, Humza speaks about the pull of politics, finding a home in the SNP, the tensions of living a Pakistani Islam and to what extent his faith guides his politics.  For Humza, social justice must remain a priority in Scotland, a country which is his home but for all its achievements still has a long way to go on issues of race and equality. 
In this podcast, Mona Siddiqui speaks to James Williams, the managing director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Having grown up with music in a happy home, James speaks about his mother’s strong influence, his love for brass instruments and the associated sense of community, and the reasons why he had to give up on his aspiration of playing the tuba professionally. An advocate of the creative arts and youth justice, James sees his role as managing director of the RPO as keeping orchestral music relevant to a society’s needs, sharing his passion more widely, especially in the challenging times of Covid-19.  For James, music heals both physically and mentally. 
In this podcast Mona Siddiqui speaks to the internationally-renowned art historian, Neil MacGregor. Born in Glasgow, Neil studied languages at Oxford but was drawn to art history. His glittering career includes directorships of both the National Gallery and the British Museum as well as presenter of several award-winning radio and television programmes including Living with the Gods. Here he speaks about how speaking a different language opens up new worlds, the special place of museums and art galleries in a nation’s life, how the UK has rewritten its history and the importance of humility. 
In this podcast, Mona Siddiqui speaks to the celebrity Bradford based GP Dr Amir Khan. A highly successful and motivated GP, Amir has become a familiar face on national TV, especially after his appearance in the hugely popular Channel 5 series, GPs Behind Closed Doors. Here he talks about growing up in Bradford, gratitude for his grammar school education, the challenges of fitting in, and his love for the NHS.  While Amir enjoys working as a doctor, and his growing media career, he has attracted a big social media following because of his wonderful nature posts and the amusing anecdotes he shares about his relationship with his mother, #MamaKhan. 
In this podcast Mona Siddiqui speaks to the world renowned American philosopher and public intellectual, Professor Cornel West. Born in Oklahoma, Professor West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. With over 20 books and countless media appearances to his name, he is one of the most eloquent commentators on race and American culture today. Here he speaks of his loving upbringing, the philosophical influences on his life, racism and oppression in America, and why he feels that as a Christian, despair can never be the last word.  
In this podcast, Mona Siddiqui speak to the award-winning Croatian theologian Professor Miroslav Volf. Director of the Yale Centre for Faith and Culture, Professor Volf has spent much of his professional life exploring how the Christian faith bears on human and societal flourishing. Here he speaks about growing up in Croatia, finding joy in his work and friendships, exploring the complex meaning of home and what keeps him a Christian. 
In this podcast, Mona Siddiqui speaks to the internationally-acclaimed, Edinburgh-based, Scottish crime writer Val McDermid. Author of 34 books, Val speaks about her Scottish roots, being exotic at the University of Oxford, the allure of crime novels, and finding personal happiness. Despite her international travel, and time spent in England, Val speaks with humour and honesty about why Scotland will always be home. 
In this podcast on the theme of gratitude, Mona Siddiqui speaks to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. A true intellectual force and one of the most respected and celebrated Christian theologians of his generation, Dr Williams talks about his Welsh roots, his love for Russian thought and literature, the joys of life at Cambridge and the gratitude he feels on returning to his native Wales.
In the first of a series of interviews, Mona Siddiqui explores the place of gratitude in our lives with the acclaimed Scottish singer, songwriter and broadcaster Ricky Ross. Listen to Ricky speak about growing up in Dundee, his songwriting career with Deacon Blue, learning gratitude from his mother and how he still doesn’t think of himself as a singer…
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