“To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to inquire and answer inquiries, is the business of the scholar” (Samuel Johnson, 1759)

“Soweit es tunlich ist, wird man die Resultate der Wissenschaft von ihrer scholastischen Form zu befreien und in einer reizenden, wenigstens einfachen, Hülle dem Gemeinsinn verständlich zu machen suchen.”
(Friedrich Schiller, 1794: “Insofar as it is possible, we shall seek to free the results of academic thought from all their scholastic form, and to make them comprehensible to common sense in an appealing, or at least a simple way.”)


I am a BBC New Generation Thinker (2016, about the scheme), and there is an interview with me by the AHRC here.

I often appear on local, national and international radio, in English and German, and on TV.

I am usually happy to talk about: travel – today and in the past, especially with respect to Germany, Switzerland, and the long eighteenth century (until the end of Romanticism); print culture; and the history of the hairdresser, among other cultural topics.

A personal interview with me and on my academic career was broadcast on Radio Sheffield in October 2019 (here, 1 hour 35 minutes in). Beyond research, I do some continuity announcements for BBC Radio 3, e.g. here and here.



Heir Hunters, interview on the history of the hairdresser, 7 March 2017, 11am, here. From 27 minutes in.

Cancer Coiffures, BBC Arts, here.



Tune in! Presenter: Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3, 1 March (World Book Day), 10 pm. On Philip Hensher’s latest novel, Laurence Sterne and travel writing, and wind walks.


German Intellectual, Musical, Literary and Cultural History

“The Sunday Feature” (second half, from 22 mins in): presenter and author of half a Radio 3 feature: on German song, literature and everyday life in the 18th century, here.

My essay and interview on Nietzsche and higher education for BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking is available here.

BBC Proms Extra discussion on “Sentimentality” in eighteenth-century Germany and Britain (and comparison with “Generation Snowflake”), from 42 minutes in with the accompanying music, or as a podcast.

BBC Proms Plus 2018 discussion on the cultural context of Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy”. As a podcast.


History of the Hairdresser

An essay for Radio 3, recorded live at the Southbank Centre, “The Rise and Fall of the Hairdresser”, 15 minutes and available here.

An interview on the World Service’s morning show Newsday on #coiffeurgate and President Hollande’s hairdresser, here.

An interview about concentration camp barbers, hair and the Holocaust on Radio 3’s Free Thinking, here.

A brief music introduction on Radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests, here, from the Free Thinking festival at Sage Gateshead.

Further music requests and longer interview for a 30-minute slot on Resonance FM (listen here).

A Radio 3 broadcast from the Hay Festival, where I talk about my hairdresser project broadly, with other New Generation Thinkers, is here.

An interview with BBC Radio Shropshire about the history of the hairdresser and hairstyles through the ages, here.

Another interview with BBC Radio Shropshire, this time about baldness cures through the ages, here.

An interview about my visual history of the hairdresser exhibition with BBC Radio Sheffield, here.

Another interview with BBC Radio’s daytime chat show, here.

An interview in German for the Swiss national radio station about Swiss aspects of the cultural history of hairdressing: SRF2, here (from 12’15”).


YouTube Videos





Post: Germanic Studies, School of Languages and Cultures
Jessop West, 1 Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield S3 7RA, UK