Conversations in culture

A portrait of Sol LeWiit
The Microsoft In Culture podcast artwork

A portrait of Daniel Humm

A portrait of Proenza and Schouler

A portrait of Proenza and Schouler

A portrait of Juliana Barwick

A portrait of Charles Gaines

Conversations in culture

The In Culture podcast brings listeners behind the scenes with artists, fashion designers, gamers, musicians, and visionaries in their fields to share a real-world look at how they’re shaping culture.

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Variations on a theme
"Variations on a theme" is a podcast series that explores the life and legacy of Sol LeWitt—the visionary artist who inspired an entire movement and redefined what modern art could be. Host Dessane Lopez Cassell explores key themes in LeWitt’s work and how his approach still influences some of the creative pioneers shaping the 21st century. This series is a companion to the Sol LeWitt App, a rich digital experience that uses Microsoft AI in close collaboration with the artist’s estate, and aims to celebrate and shed new light on a 20th-century icon.

Daniel Humm

“I think as you grow as a craftsman, as an artist, your gestures become stronger. Your conviction becomes stronger. You can actually get to a place where you can make an impact with a very minimal thing,” says Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York City. In this episode, the acclaimed chef talks about the intersection of minimalist art and fine dining. We also learn how Humm finds inspiration in Sol LeWitt’s systems and repetition—making the empty plate an opportunity to tell a unique story.

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Proenza Schouler

“We had to find what's that essential detail that really defines that garment as what it is and keep that, and all the other elements we were able to kind of strip away,” Jack McCollough says of the influence of Sol LeWitt’s approach to minimalism.  Here, the designer and his partner Lazaro Hernandez (of fashion brand Proenza Schouler) discuss how they distill each garment down to its essence—and discard the rest.

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Julianna Barwick

“So many things can influence how the songs will just shift a little bit in each place, and I found that really interesting when I read that about his philosophy behind his wall drawings,” Julianna Barwick says of the influence of Sol LeWitt’s artistic process. In this episode, the composer and performer shares how she creates a choir of one—“loop by loop by loop, and shape by shape by shape.” We also take a closer look at the relationship between conceptual art and experimental music.

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Charles Gaines

“A lot of people think that I was influenced to do conceptual art by looking at conceptual art, and that really wasn't the case. It was really a search for a certain sort of understanding of the self,” Charles Gaines says of his creative process. Here, the pioneering visual artist talks about his radical approach to using systems and formulas as a critical language. We also learn how Gaines builds on Sol LeWitt’s foundations to tackle social constructs like racism and segregation.

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Host Dessane Lopez Cassell

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a curator, writer, and editor based in New York. She first became interested in Sol LeWitt as an intern at Mass MoCA, where she led tours on his work. Cassell has since held curatorial positions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem, and organized projects for MoMA Film, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Flaherty NYC. These days, she’s the reviews editor at Hyperallergic and sits on the programming committee for BlackStar Film Festival.

Accessibility for all
In this series, the spotlight is on disability inclusion. Accessibility is no longer an option—it’s our responsibility. In this uncertain time of quarantine and isolation, it’s more imperative than ever before that we build a world with all people and all abilities in mind. Discover change-makers who are unlocking a more accessible future. This podcast is also available with ASL interpretation and in transcript form, so you can listen, read, or view.

Steve Gleason

“ALS is a disease that quarantines and isolates in its very nature. So in a way, for the past nine years, our family has been experiencing something similar to what the world is experiencing right now.”

Former NFL athlete Steve Gleason lives with ALS. But he hasn’t let his diagnosis stop him from fighting for policy changes and new innovations that transform lives by making crucial technology accessible to those living with the neurodegenerative disease. In this episode, he delves into the purpose and strength he’s found in fatherhood and shares insights about Team Gleason, his organization that’s turning disabilities into super abilities by developing innovative technological solutions.

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Casey Harris

“We're all individuals, but we are better and stronger when we are a community. When people care about each other more and pay attention to what life is like for other people, that's a really big takeaway.”

Casey Harris, keyboardist for the rock band X Ambassadors, hasn’t let living with low vision hold him back. He has strived to create a world without limits and has found that community and inclusion are more important than ever—especially during times of social isolation. Hear from the infectiously positive musician on ways we can uplift each other and create a future that’s more connected and inclusive than ever before.

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Kendall and Delaney Foster

“When you hear that someone has autism, you can't go in with specific stereotypes, you need to just start engaging with them one-on-one, learning about them, learning what their challenges are, what they enjoy doing, how they prefer to interact with someone. It's a very individualized disorder.”

Meet Kendall and Delaney Foster. They’re the sisters behind Unified Robotics, an inclusive after-school program for students with cognitive disabilities. Delaney started the program in 2015 to create a shared activity between her and her sister Kendall, who has autism spectrum disorder. In this episode, find out how the Foster sisters are raising disability awareness. They prove that when programs and technology include people with disabilities, everyone wins.

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A woman using an artificial leg runs toward the camera down a wide sidewalk.
A woman using an artificial leg stands with her arms crossed in the middle of a bright red running track.
Host Lacey Henderson

Lacey Henderson’s story is one of hardship—but also one of perseverance and overcoming adversity. After being diagnosed with the extremely rare synovial sarcoma at nine years old, Lacey had her right leg amputated above the knee.

In addition to using her athletic success to normalize disability in society, Lacey works with children with limb difference and is a passionate advocate for health, fitness, nutrition, child advocacy, and living one’s best life. Last year, she premiered the first season of her podcast, “Picked Last in Gym Class,” where she talks to people like photographer Michael Avon about how to overcome adversity before finding success.

But this didn’t stop her from earning a cheerleading scholarship to the University of Denver and becoming a six-time USA National Champion in the long jump and the world record holder in the pole vault. Lacey also participated in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and earned a silver medal at the 2019 PanAmerican Games in Peru.

How’d she do that?

In this series, trailblazing women talk with podcast host Taylor Trudon about how they made their wildest dreams reality.

Host Taylor Trudon

Host Taylor Trudon is a writer, content strategist and Gen Z whisperer. She’s worked at HuffPost, MTV News, and The New York Times where she’s grown young audiences through multi-platform storytelling and explored emerging trends. A graduate of University of Connecticut, Taylor was named one of the Most Influential Young Women of 2015 by Teen Vogue. She’s passionate about using her platform to build community in meaningful ways.

Microsoft In Culture Podcast host Taylor Trudon at microphone

Tech for a better world

In this series, hosts Becca DeGregorio and Todd Whitney go behind-the-scenes with change-makers who are harnessing technology—from mixed reality to the Internet of Things—to shape culture and the world around us.

A women sits on a chair holding a microphone and wearing a head set as she records a woman and man sitting on a couch engaged in conversation.

Hosts Becca DeGregorio and Todd Whitney

Becca DeGregorio got her start in radio working on WBUR Boston’s Open Source with Christopher Lydon. She’s since worked with Vice’s GARAGE Magazine, Project Worldwide, and Color of Change.

Since 2012, Todd Whitney’s produced stories for NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin and reported on waste, cultures, and change for KALW’s Crosscurrents. He’s also directed audio fiction and produced food travelogues for Audible Originals.