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The Glass Bead Game: University of Sussex Launches Unique Podcast Series Featuring David Attenborough



Yesterday, The School of Global Studies at the University Of Sussex, is proud to announce the launch of an exciting new audio narrative podcast series, THE GLASS BEAD GAME with the first episode in the series featuring David Attenborough and Naomi Klein.  Oriented towards those that are curious of mind, this twelve part series aims to creatively engage listeners on complex geopolitical issues in a monthly podcast. Unlike many of the static, debate based UK podcasts, this entertaining audio experience is more dynamic in its format, with an approach more similar to those currently being produced in the US.

In the initial two-part episode, THE MEANING OF CLIMATE CHANGE, broadcaster David Attenborough and author and social activist Naomi Klein, along with numerous notable professors, discuss the ethical, cultural and economic impact of climate change and what it means to those most affected. The series is directed and presented by award winning filmmaker Will Hood, a research associate at the University of Sussex, and the series is produced by Rob Alexanderof perfectmotion.


The podcast series creates a unique platform by which academic research can engage with an audience through people led narrative. Collecting the academic testimony of different disciplines from the international network of higher education, THE GLASS BEAD GAME aspires to appeal to a wide audience, challenge mainstream narratives and represent previously unheard voices.

The series title the ‘glass bead game’ is a nod to the classic book of the same name (Hesse 1943) in which the ‘game’ itself is played by creating new and subtle inferences between different academic disciplines.  By weaving together multiple conversations from academics and popular authorities the GBG podcast attempts to reconcile the disparate narratives that are inevitably produced by difficult subjects.

‘Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.’

(Herman Hesse – The Glass Bead Game, 1943)


‘The huge difference between humanity and the natural world is that we have a way of externalising knowledge … that simply makes an enormous difference … humanity is able to store knowledge across time and across space and that gives us huge power – we haven’t yet got the wisdom to handle it properly but that’s what makes us different from the rest of the world’

(David Attenborough)




PART ONE: INDIGENOUS OIL (Featuring David Attenborough)

In the first episode of THE GLASS BEAD GAME, presenter Will Hood explores the relationship between energy, ecology and economics, combining academic research with the anecdotal experience of indigenous groups on the front line of Canada’s environmental conflict.

  • Chief Billy Joe Laboucan Massimo – Chief of the Lubicon Cree Band, Little Buffalo, Alberta, Canada
  • David Attenborough – Broadcaster
  • Ernie Gambler – Indigenous Musician from Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada
  • Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez – Indigenous Scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada
  • J.B. Williams, Tsawout First Nation – Flood Story Narration (with music from Elder May Sam)
  • Makere Stewart-Harawira – Indigenous Scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada
  • Peter Newell – Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex


PART TWO: DIRECT ACTION (Featuring David Attenborough & Naomi Klein)

With live coverage of the Cop21 climate summit (Paris Dec 2015) this episode explores the ethics of direct action as a way to make sense of climate change. An issue that divides the public and excites the media to what extents can it achieve meaningful political and social change?

  • Rex Weyler – founding member of Greenpeace
  • David Attenborough – Broadcaster
  • Naomi Klein – Author (No logo, This Changes Everything)
  • Peter Newell – Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex
  • Richard Tol – Climate Economist at the University of Sussex
  • Mike Hudema – Climate and energy activist with Green peace Canada
  • Peter Newell – Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex.


THE GLASS BEAD GAME’s first two episodes: ‘THE MEANING OF CLIMATE CHANGE’ are available now to stream, download or share