BBC Radio 3: Free Thinking

Anxiety with Sofie Hagan, Isabel Hardman, the Science Gallery and Héctor Abad


Comedian Sofie Hagen, Colombian novelist Héctor Abad, political journalist Isabel Hardman, artistic director John O’Shea & psychologist Dr Colette Hirsch, who are behind a new exhibition about anxiety, join Shahidha Bari.

On Edge: Living in an Age of Anxiety is a new exhibition at Science Gallery London until 19th January 2020 which combines art, design, psychology and neuroscience drawing on research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London.

Comedian Sofie Hagen has explored her experience of anxiety in many of her shows notably Shimmer Shatter which described with brutal honesty what she calls her outsider status and why she’s been known to hide public toilets so she doesn’t have to deal with other people. Her new show The Bumswing runs until June 14th 2020. Tour details and her podcast Made of Human Podcast on

Political journalist Isabel Hardman has written about going through a severe bout of anxiety 2 years ago which forced her to take a lengthy break from her job at the Spectator. As she puts it herself, “my mind was full of words flying angrily around like startled gulls.” She argues that Government policy should do much more to tackle the issue of mental health care. Her latest book is called Why We Get the Wrong Politicians.

Born and brought up in Colombia, journalist and novelist Héctor Abad has written a memoir called Oblivion about his late father who was killed by right wing paramilitaries in 1987.

In the Free Thinking archives – Anxiety and the Teenage Brain hears a student, university counsellor and psychologist Stephen Briers from TV’s Teen Angels give their take on anxiety

Producer: Paula McGinley

Free Thinking Anxiety