Conversations on Character Podcast

Conversations on Character, hosted by Professor Tom Harrison, engages leading figures from across politics, education and research, asking them to reflect on their personal understanding of character development and to answer questions about how a focus on character has advanced the sector in which they work.

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2022 Commonwealth Games Specials – In collaboration with the Sport Legacy Foundation
The Jubilee Centres’ Conversations on Character Podcast third series celebrates the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, for which the University of Birmingham is a headline sponsor, and the role character development can play in it’s legacy.
Presented in collaboration with the Sport Legacy Foundation, this series is focused on the relationship between sport and character.
The Sport Legacy Foundation empowers young people in challenged communities to change their lives through education and sport by providing them with the skills and opportunities to play cricket, football and tennis. Via their coaching programme, Sport for Life International, and thier Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 project United By, they help young people in Birmingham and the Caribbean to discover what they are amazing at by funding extra-curricular sport and physical activities to build character. 

To learn more to visit www.sportforlifeinternational.org

Commonwealth Games Special: Bonus Episode – Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent MBE

Presented once again in partnership with the Sport Legacy Foundation in this special bonus episode, the final edition of Conversations on Character for 2022, Professor Tom Harrison welcomes World Cup Winning Cricketer, Director of Surrey County Cricket Club, Trustee of Chance to Shine and Founder of The ACE Programme Charity, Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent MBE.

In this conversation Ebony reflects on how she developed positive virtues as young black woman playing cricket, what ‘being better’ means for her, how responsive coaching, positive facilitation, and adaptive engagement has been key in redefining role-modelling so that it more effectively supports a more diverse pool of grassroots talent in sport, and who for her personifies courae.

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Six – Moeen Ali OBE

In the final episode of the Centre’s miniseries on the character developing potential of sport and in celebration of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games Conversations on Character welcome’s local cricketing hero Moeen Ali OBE.

Worcestershire, CSK, Warwickshire, and Phoenix All-rounder, the England short form Vice Captain Moeen talks to Professor Tom Harrison about his early days on the cricket pitch and the resilience required to become a success, the sense of humility his family help forge in him and how that has shaped how his gives back to his community, his place as a role model for young people and what legacy would mean to him.

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Five – Jordanne Whiley MBE

In the latest Conversations on Character: Commonwealth Games Special we welcome GB&NI Paralympian Medallist, 2015 US Open Singles champion, and 12 times Grand Slam winning Doubles Wheelchair tennis player (including a calendar grand slam in 2014 and 5 Wimbledon titles) Jordanne Whiley MBE.

Part of the special mini series looking at the character developing potential of sport, Jordanne shares the particular importance of determination and resilience throughout her career, the unique role her parents played as role models in her life, the place of the positive virtues traits that allowed her to not just return but thrive on the court after having her son, and who for her is a leading exemplar of courage

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Four – Heather Knight OBE

In the fourth of our Commonwealth Games Special’s, Conversations on Character welcomes England Cricket Captain and Allrounder Heather Knight OBE. 

England’s World Cup Winning Cricket Captain and one of Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 2017, in this episode Heather reflects on her role as a mentor, the virtue traits required to make a successful captain and leader, and why is it important that children and young people, especially young girls, are positively supported and encouraged to play and stick with sport early on in thier lives.

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Three – Waverley Education Foundation Trust

In episode three of this special miniseries celebrating the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Professor Tom Harrison speaks to three sixth Form Students from Waverley School part of the Waverley Education Foundation Trust, a partner of the Sport Legacy Foundation (SLF), and recipients of the coaching programmes coordinated by Sport for Life International (an initiative ran by the SLF). 

Imad, Isah, and Zoyah share how they make a difference in their communities, who their role models are and the virtues of their sporting heroes, and how they believe the Games could inspire a generation and bring a city together.

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Two – Wasim Khan MBE

The second guest of this Commonwealth Games special mini-series is the ICC General Manager of Cricket, Wasim Khan MBE.

A former double winning Country Championship cricket player with Warwickshire, Managing Director of the Pakistan Cricket Board, and CEO of the Chance to Shine campaign and Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Wasim talks with Professor Tom Harrison about those character traits that have been integral to his career since breaking though in the 90’s, his work at Chance to Shine, and his hopes for how the Women’s T20 Cricket, making its debut at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, could inspire both a generation and a city.

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode One – John Crabtree OBE

Conversations on Character returns for a third series, celebrating the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, for which the University of Birmingham is a headline sponsor, and the role that character development through sport can play in it’s legacy

The first guest of these special episodes is John Crabtree OBE. Among many prestigious roles held throughout his career, John is the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands and the Chair of both the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee and the ‘United By 2022’ Board of Trustee’s. In this episode John reflects on his own understanding of service to one’s community, the unique challenge of and character strengths required when leading a global sporting event as well as founding a legacy that will last, and who for him best exemplifies the virtue of courage.

Series Two: Episode Ten – Dr. Karen E. Bohlin

In the final episode of Conversations on Character’s second series, we welcome leading American educator, teacher, school leader, and character scholar Dr. Karen E. Bohlin.

The former head of Montrose school, MA, USA, Karen reflects on her 18 years at the helm, why she was inspired to found the LifeCompass Institute during that time and its impact in the first five years, how research and a love of literature has informed her practice and why she has now been drawn back to academia and what is to come working with the Abigail Adams Institute and Boston University’s Centre for Character & Social Responsibility.

Series Two: Episode Nine – Dr. Eugene Ohu

In Episode Nine of Conversations on Character we welcome Dr. Eugene Ohu, Senior lecturer in the Department of Organisational Behaviour/Human Resource Management at Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria. 

With host Dr. Tom Harrison, Eugene shares with the lasts updates from his work as the principal investigator at the Virtual Human Computer Interaction (VHCI) Lab, what defines a uniquely African approach to character and how his ongoing partnership with the Templeton World Charity Foundation has allowed him to take a global approach to his research.

Series Two: Episode Eight – Tina Russell

Turning our attention to the development of good character through a virtue led approach to professional practice, Conversations on Character welcomes Tina Russell, Professional Conduct and Ethics Lead for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Tina reflects on how the people profession has evolved over the last 15 years, how the people profession will need to respond as people return to more conventional working practices post pandemic, her contributions to the Centre publication, Bringing Character to Life: Virtues in Business and Finance, how peer to peer support has been central to addressing ethical dilemmas and whom for her is a leading exemplar of service.

Series Two: Episode Seven – Brett Wigdortz OBE

With pupils and teachers heading back to their classrooms for the 2021/2022 academic year Jubilee Centre podcast Conversations on Character welcomes a major figure in teaching over the last 20 years, Founder of TeachFirst, Chair of the NCS trust, and now CEO of tiney an organisation focused on support and training for early years educators, Brett Wigdortz OBE

With host Dr. Tom Harrison, Brett shares his experience of what it is that motivates teachers and how this has developed, how to recognise good leadership in schools and why his focus has turned to early years education in recent years.

Series Two: Episode Six – Dame Sally Coates

As schools across the country prepare for the new academic year, Conversations on Character welcomes Director of Academies at United Learning, Patron of the NCS and Chair of the 2016 Coates review of prison education, Dame Sally Coates.

A school leader for over twenty years, Dame Sally reflects on how teachers have responded to the pressures of the pandemic, how she has transformed behaviour standards in her schools through a focus on role modelling and the place of character in the rehabilitation of prisoners five years on from the review which she led.

Series Two: Episode Five – Rt. Hon Lord David Blunkett

Episode five of Conversations on Character‘s second series welcomes former Home Secretary and Secretary of State for both the Departments of Work and Pensions and Education, the Rt. Hon Lord David Blunkett of Brightside and Hillsborough.

Still one of the UK most prominent parliamentarians, Lord Blunkett is now a Life Peer, President of the Association for Citizenship Teaching, and a Patron of National Citizens Service (NCS) among many other roles. With host Dr. Tom Harrison, he discusses his time in politics over the last four decades, the meaning of character in public life, his reflections on how to inspire young people into social action and who for him best personifies the virtue of courage.

Series Two: Episode Four – Dr. Scott Parsons

In this next episode Conversations on Character welcomes Dr. Scott Parsons, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Ethics and Character Development Integrator for the Military Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

A retired US Army Military Intelligence Officer, who was deployed on three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and rose the rank of Major, Scott has recently completed his PhD with the Jubilee Centre looking at Aristotelian virtues as a basis for improving character in the United States Army. In this episode he discusses this research, the application moral reasoning during his 21 years of service, his own journey to understanding character education and how he consolidates this understating in to the education of the next generation of military cadets.

Series Two: Episode Three – Rt. Hon Lord Iain McNicol

In this episode Conversations on Character welcomes Life Peer, Co-Chair of the All Parliamentary Party Group on Political Literacy and former General Secretary of the UK Labour Party, Lord Iain McNicol of West Kilbride.

With host Dr Tom Harrison, he discusses the ongoing work of this new parliamentary group, the changing landscape of community, who for him best exemplifies courage as well as how he believes we can best support and prepare pupils to make sense of the world around them as they develop into engaged young citizens.

Series Two: Episode Two – Professor Dame Alison Peacock

In the second episode of series two, Conversations on Character welcomes Professor Dame Allison Peacock. 

Former Executive Head Teacher and now CEO of The Chartered College of Teaching, Dame Allison reflects on the unique role of a teacher in a child’s development, how the profession is changing and the importance of compassion in leadership.

Series Two: Episode One – Charlotte Hill OBE

The first episode of Series Two welcomes Charlotte Hill OBE, Youth Social Action campaigner and the former Chief Executive of Step Up to Serve, founders of the #iwill campaign.

Reflecting on her time with the campaign as well as its legacy, Charlotte discusses the integral role listening to the voices of young people plays in a flourishing society as well as who it is that for her best exemplifies compassion.

Series One: Episode Ten – Professor Christian Miller

Episode ten, the final episode of Conversations on Character’s first series, welcomes Christian Miller, A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA.

Philosopher, Author of The Character Gap, and Director of The Honesty Project, Christian shares his perspective on the changing value of morality in society today, his experience of engaging the public with philosophy and who he believes best represents compassion.

Series One: Episode Nine – Imani Clough

Mentor, Coach and Graduate of the Jubilee Centre led MA Character Education, in episode nine of Conversations on Character we meet Imani Clough.

In this episode she reflects on her approach blending character education with her role as a mentor, how setting up her own social enterprise, Imani Academy, allowed her to realise her vision of supporting young people to develop positive strengths & virtues as well as her own journey to and through completing her Masters in Character Education.

Series One: Episode Eight – Rt. Hon Lord James O’Shaughnessy

In this first episode of 2021, Conversations on Character welcomes Lord James O’Shaughnessy.

Director of Policy to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Life Peer since 2015 and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care between 2016 – 2018, Lord O’Shaughnessy shares his reflections on the development of character related policy and positive education over the last decade, how he believes we can best balance character and attainment in schools, and his hopes for his time in the House of Lords.

Series One: Episode Seven – Rebecca Tigue

In the last episode of 2020 we welcome Head of School at the exemplary University of Birmingham School Rebecca (Bec) Tigue, the Centre’s first recipient of its Character Ambassador Award.

In this conversation Bec reflects on the highlights of her time at the UoB School, the practical lessons she has learned bringing character to life since it opened in 2015, and on the importance of creating a positive holistic culture which encourages all to become role models for young people.

Series One: Episode Six – Sir Anthony Seldon

Episode six of Conversations on Character welcomes one of Britain’s leading educators, contemporary authors and political historians as well as thr former Master of Wellington College and Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.

As he walks the Kentish cliff’s around the village of Deal, Sir Anthony Seldon (and the seagulls that accompany him!), reflect on the importance of treating each other with kindness, the expectations we place on and support we provide young people as they enter higher education and his optimism for the next generation.

(This episode contains some language and discussion of themes that may be unsuitable for very young listeners)

Series One: Episode Five – Rt. Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes

For episode five of Conversations on Character we welcome Rt. Hon Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes former Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities from 2014 to 2016 and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 2019 to 2020.

In this insightful discussion Nicky shares her reflections on her time in office and how a focus on character shaped her thinking and actions across both ministerial posts, how a national character conversation could help us build back more effectively from the pressures of the pandemic, her ambitions for life in the House of Lords and who it is that for her offers the most compelling exemplars of compassion and courage.

Series One: Episode Four – Dr Sabena Jameel

In this next episode of Conversations on Character Dr Tom Harrison talks with Dr Sabena Jameel; GP, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Affiliate PhD candidate at the Jubilee Centre.

Dr Jameel shares her insights in to how we can most effectively train the next generation of Doctors, on the unique challenges of 2020 for health professionals, how we can embed an understanding of character and practical wisdom (phronesis) in the professions (the topic of her PhD), and who it is for her best exemplifies the virtue of compassion.

Series One: Episode Three – Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE

In an illustrious career spanning numerous prestigious roles in the public, private and third sectors, Dame Julia Celverdon is rightly considered one of the country’s most formidable and effective campaigners and leading advocate for young people.

As Co-founder of Step up to Serve, Dame Julia has been at the heart #IWill campaign and in this episode shares how she has seen the conversation around youth social action develop throughout the last decade, outlines the importance of recognising the double benefit of service and shares why she believes placing young people at the heart of decision making is essential for a flourishing society.

Series One: Episode Two – Gary Lewis

In episode two of Conversations on Character, Dr Tom Harrison talks to Gary Lewis, Chair of the Association of Character Education, Executive Head Teacher of Kings Langley School and adviser to government on education policy with particular reference to the development of character in schools.

In this discussion, Gary shares his insights in to the challenges and opportunities for education and educators in the face of a national crisis and through the recovery, the need for compassion and the value mistakes can provide in furthering a person’s understanding of their sense of self, as well as the importance of wisdom in public life.

Series One: Episode One – Rt. Hon Damian Hinds MP

In this first episode, our guest is former UK Secretary of State for Education (January 2018 – July 2019) and Member of Parliament for East Hampshire, the Rt. Hon Damian Hinds MP.

Damian shares his insights into the opportunities for education in the face of crisis, how he believes we can best prepare and support young people to help them flourish and who it is that inspires him as well as the virtues they exhibit.

Commonwealth Games Special: Bonus Episode – Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent MB

In this conversation Ebony reflects on how she developed positive virtues as young black woman playing cricket, what ‘being better’ means for her, how responsive coaching, positive facilitation, and adaptive engagement has been key in redefining role-modelling so that it more effectively supports a more diverse pool of grassroots talent in sport, and who for her personifies courae.

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Six – Moeen Ali OBE

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Four – Heather Knight OBE

Commonwealth Games Special: Episode Three – Waverley Education Foundation Trust