The Culture Shot

Welcome to the Culture Shot, your regular shot of what’s new and noteworthy in the world of culture.

Hosted by Ben Monro-Davies, and brought to you by Midas – the leading communications agency for culture – each episode is a shot of culture, from books to theatre, film to dance, music to art.

Joined by a different guest each time, including writers, artists, creators and more, we get to the bottom of the most pressing issues in the culture sector today, while learning how our guests got to where they are today.


Episode 1

In this week’s episode we hear from Lola Shoneyin, Founder & Director of Aké Festival, about why the world needs a festival devoted to African and African Diaspora voices now more than ever, and how the pandemic has enabled this year’s event to become global, digital and free for all.

Episode 2

In this week’s episode we’re joined by investigative journalist Geoff White. Having covered technology for BBC News, Channel 4 News, Forbes and many others, Geoff White specialises in examining the impact of tech on our daily lives, from AI to the Dark Web. Discussing his new book Crime Dot Com, we go on a deep-dive into the world cybercrime, predicted to be one of the great themes of the twenty-first century.

Episode 3

This week we’re joined by judge turned resilience coach and author, Emma J Bell, discussing her inspirational audiobook, 9 Secrets to Thriving. Taking us on a 35,000 mile journey, Bell draws on insights from 50 inspiring people who have suffered trauma but are nonetheless thriving, identifying the nine secrets any of us can apply to our daily lives to thrive. 

Episode 4

As we mark Remembrance Day this week, we’re joined by Sunday Times #1 bestselling author, Damien Lewis, to discuss his epic new book, SAS Band of Brothers. For twenty years Damien worked as a war and conflict reporter for the world’s major broadcasters, winning numerous awards. Band of Brothers continues Damien’s iconic WWII elite forces series, revealing previously untold facets of one of the war’s most daring SAS missions, exploring its wider ramifications for the war as a whole, and its long-lived and extraordinary aftermath.

Episode 5

This week we’re joined by international sports presenter, Alison Bender, as we learn about her 20-year career as a football reporter covering European Championships, World Cups and Champions League games. As a woman in a male-dominated world, Alison Bender shares how she broke into this hugely competitive industry, and discusses her experiences of sexism in sport.

Episode 6

This week we’re joined by one of Britain’s most treasured horticulturalists, Monty Don, discussing his latest book American Gardens. Monty takes us on a fascinating journey through gardening culture across the Atlantic that shines a light on the relationship between culture, society and the garden.

Episode 7

For our first episode of the year, we’re joined by Özlem Cekic, Denmark’s first Muslim MP (2007-2015) and creator of #dialoguecoffee, discussing her inspiring new book, Overcoming Hate Through Dialogue. Tune in for a unique perspective on prejudice, where Cekic shares what it was like being a young Turkish Muslim immigrant growing up in Denmark, getting inundated with hate mail on election and how she coped and confronted the haters. 

Episode 8

In this week’s episode we hear from Thomas Levenson, author and Professor of Science Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), about his most recent book Money for Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern Capitalism, a Financial Times Economics Best Book of 2020. Levenson explains how the “world’s first great stock market boom, fraud and bust” is not just the story of a huge scam but is also the story of the birth of modern financial capitalism: the idea that you can invest in future prosperity and that governments can borrow money to make things happen.

Episode 9

Today we’re joined by David Abulafia, winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2020, to discuss why history matters today, his prize-winning book The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans and what it means to win the UK’s most prestigious history writing prize.

The Wolfson History Prize is a key date in the literary calendar, it recognises outstanding works of historical non-fiction from the past year and is awarded annually to a work of historical writing that combines excellence in historical research with readability for a general audience. Shining a light on the relevance of history and history writing to society today, the Wolfson History Prize is the most valuable non-fiction writing prize in the UK; £40,000 is awarded to the winner, with each shortlisted author receiving £4,000.

The 2021 shortlist of six historical non-fiction books set to be revealed on Wednesday 21 April, and the winner announced on Wednesday 9 June.

To learn more about the Wolfson History Prize please visit https://www.wolfsonhistoryprize.org.uk/ or connect on Twitter via @WolfsonHistory / #WolfsonHistoryPrize.

Episode 10

In this week’s episode we hear from Janie Brown, author of Radical Acts of Love: How we Find Hope at the End of Life and founder of the Callanish Society, a charity in Canada which helps people with cancer to face death with courage. Brown, who has worked over 30 years as an oncology nurse and counsellor, tells us about an encounter early in her career that changed her life forever, making sense of the end of life and much more. 

Episode 11

As Bookshop.org hits £1m generated in profit for independent bookshops in just four months, we sit down with UK MD Nicole Vanderbilt to learn about the story so far, and how the ethical ecommerce platform is changing the game for indie bookshops.

Episode 12

To tie in with World Poetry Day, this week we’re hearing from Katherine Lockton, an Anglo-Bolivian poet and author of Paper Doll, published by flipped eye. Katherine is also one of the judges of the new competition Poetry for Good and the editor of South Bank Poetry. This is a must-listen for poetry fans!