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Sage Gateshead



The Way We Used to Feel


Part of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2019

Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis

Duration – 1.45pm - 2.45pm


Can we ever really know the feelings of byegone generations?

Author and TV historian Tracy Borman shares the clues we have to the emotional lives of Tudor royalty and archaeologist Penny Spikins explains what million year old human remains tell us about how prehistoric people felt. Paul Pickering explores what we know about the emotions of the Manchester Chartists and the way songs have carried political feelings. New Generation Thinker Elsa Richardson teaches a course on the history of emotions. BBC Radio 3’s Rana Mitter hosts.

Tracy Borman is an author and historian who often appreas on TV and radio. She is joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces, Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust, and a regular contributor to history magazines. Her books include Henry VIII and the Men Who Made HimThe Private Life of the TudorsThomas Cromwell: The Hidden Story Of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant.

Penny Spikins is Senior Lecturer in the Archaeology of Human Origins at the University of York. Her books include How Compassion Made Us Human about how and why our uniquely human emotions emerged in our distant past. She is particularly interested in the archaeological evidence for the earliest examples of healthcare, and in evidence for Neanderthal social lives.

Paul Pickering is a Professor and Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University. He is the author of several books on subjects ranging from nineteenth-century radical politics in the British world, monuments and public memory, re-enactment history and his most recent book, Sounds of Liberty, is about music and politics. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Durham University working in a team studying the question: ‘Who are the People?’

Elsa Richardson became a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker in 2018. She teaches on the history of the emotions and is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and has published a book on Second Sight in the nineteenth century.

Rana Mitter is Professor of History at the University of Oxford where he is director of the China CentreA Fellow of the British Academy, he has written books including China’s War with Japan 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival. He is a regular presenter of radio documentaries, among them BBC Radio 4’s Chinese Characters and BBCRadio 3’s Japan’s Never-Ending War, and Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme Free Thinking.

For your information…

  • Phase one tickets will be available from 12noon on Friday 15 February, with phase two tickets available from 12noon on Friday 1 March.
  • Tickets are strictly limited to four per person.
  • To guarantee your ticket book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.
  • Please take your seats 10 minutes prior to the event start time otherwise you may lose your place.

Booking Information

To guarantee your ticket, book in advance. There will be some tickets available on the day on a first come, first served basis.

Venue: Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Tickets: Free, ticketed (Max 4 per person)