This Saturday Morning: Kim talks to the man who used to advise on science and technology to President Barack Obama, Dr Vaughan Turekian, and how 'science diplomacy'  is a new weapon in the quest to bring countries together peacefully; German novelist and playwright Jenny Erpenbeck on the asylum seeker experience in Germany; Yemeni-British paleoanthropologist and stand-up comic Ella Al-Shamahi on the latest scientific findings about Neanderthals; Australian author Maria Tumarkin on the complicated process of overcoming trauma; skateboarding writer Max Olijynk, and the life and works of one of the country's most high profile painters, Gretchen Albrecht, and the man who has chronicled her career, Luke Smythe.   



8.09 Dr Vaughan Turekian - Soothing international disputes with the salve with science diplomacy  

Dr Vaughan Turekian

Dr Vaughan Turekian Photo: supplied / University of Auckland

Dr Vaughan C. Turekian is the Executive Director of the Policy and Global Affairs Division (PGA) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He also serves as an honorary professor at University College London and a fellow and adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Prior to joining the Academies, he served as the fifth Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. In this capacity, he advised the Secretary of State and other senior State Department officials on international environment, science, emerging technology, and health matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States. Vaughan Turekian was in Auckland to attend a Liggins Institute symposium celebrating the life's work of his friend Sir Peter Gluckman. He was also the first guest at Sir Peter's new think-tank, the Centre for Science in Policy, Diplomacy and Society (SciPoDS), part of the University of Auckland's Public Policy Institute.



9.04 Jenny Erpenbeck - Go, Went, Gone - the asylum seeker experience in Germany 

A refugee holds a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the arrival of refugees at the main train station in Munich, southern Germany, September 05, 2015.

An refugee just arrived in Munich holds a picture of Angela Merkel. Photo: AFP

Jenny Erpenbeck

Jenny Erpenbeck Photo: supplied / AWF

Novelist, playwright and opera director, Jenny Erpenbeck is one of Europe's major literary voices. Born in East Berlin in 1967, she is the author of seven works of fiction, including The Book of Words and Visitation. Her 2017 published work Go, Went, Gone vividly illustrates the plight of African asylum seekers in Europe. The work was long-listed for the Man Booker in 2018. She was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2017.  Jenny Erpenbeck will appear at the Auckland Writers Festival, details here






9.30 Ella Al-Shamahi - Neanderthals 

 Ella Al-Shamahi (presenter) & Andy Serkis (on-screen consultant)

Ella Al-Shamahi (presenter) & Andy Serkis (on-screen consultant) Photo: Copyright VIXPIX Films Ltd

Ella Al-Shamahi is an archaeologist, palaeoanthropologist and Neanderthal specialist, and also a stand-up comic. She almost exclusively works "in places hard to get insurance" including Iraq and Yemen, where she's been trying to find Paleolithic caves in to test a theory that early humans may have migrated out of Africa via land bridges between East Africa and Yemen. Al-Shamahi has been performing science stand-up for four years in the UK and the States, from the Bloomsbury Theatre to the National Geographic main-stage in DC. She has also taken three shows to the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2018 she presented BBC Two's science series, Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors, as well as Horizon: Body Clock - What Makes Your Body Tick. Neanderthals will air in New Zealand on Wednesdays from 24 April, 8.30pm, BBC Earth, SKY Channel 74. Also available on SKY Go and SKY On Demand. 


10.04 Maria Tumarkin - How are we to live after trauma?

Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin Photo: supplied / AWF

Maria Tumarkin is an Australian author, cultural historian and professor of writing at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of four critically-acclaimed books of ideas including Otherland and the essay collection Axiomatic, which won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing award. Maria Tumarkin will be appearing at the Auckland Writers Festival, details here.




10.40 Max Olijynk - Skateboarding

Max Olijnyk, backside tailslide, Northcote skatepark, Melbourne.

Max Olijnyk, backside tailslide, Northcote skatepark, Melbourne. Photo: Tristan Strong

Max Olijynk is a writer, editor, publisher, photographer and self-described "ageing" skateboarder. Growing up in small town South Australia, Olijynk began skating at age 12 and eagerly embraced all of the culture including the music and fashion, but now describes himself as a "grey haired dad with a bad knee"  with a four year old son he's teaching to skate. His work has appeared in The Age, The Blackmail, Broadsheet, The Guardian, Smith Journal and Vice, and his first book, Some Stories, was released in 2016. Max Olijynk is appearing at Featherston Booktown in early May, details here



11.04  Gretchen Albrecht and Luke Smythe:  Between gesture and geometry

Gretchen Albrecht

Gretchen Albrecht Photo: Massey University Press

Luke Smythe

Luke Smythe Photo: Massey University Press

Gretchen Albrecht is one of New Zealand's most prominent painters. A forerunner of the women's art movement, Albrecht's work of the 1960s and 70s anticipated key aspects of feminist art practice. Art historian Luke Smythe, who teaches art history at Monash University in Melbourne, has had a long association with Albrecht and has celebrated and analysed her work in a new book called Gretchen Albrecht: Between gesture and geometry. A Gretchen Albrecht exhibition by the same name has just opened at the Two Rooms art gallery in Central Auckland.  Gretchen Albrecht will also speak at the Auckland Writers Festival upcoming, details here.



Gretchen Albrecht: Between gesture and geometry




Books mentioned in this episode:


Go, Went, Gone

By Jenny Erpenbeck

ISBN: 9780811225946

New Directions



By Maria Tumarkin

ISBN: 9781925704051

Brow Books



Some Stories

By Max Olijynk

Freddo Books



Gretchen Albrecht: Between gesture and geometry

By Luke Smythe

ISBN: 978-0-9951095-1-3

Massey University Press


Music played in this show

Artist: Cat power
Song: Woman
Album: Wanderer
Played at: 10:39