BBC World Service: Outlook

“True life stories from around the world

The factory worker who became Chile’s first blind senator

In 2019, Fabiola Campillai was working in a factory where her husband Marco worked as a lorry driver. They were leading a quiet life in Santiago raising their children when a tear gas cannister changed the course of Fabiola’s life. The cannister, fired by a police officer, left her permanently blinded with multiple life-changing injuries. After spending months in hospital, Fabiola came out fighting. She had no political background, but helped by Marco, she decided to stand for election as a Senator, and won.

Aired on Tuesday 11 Jan 2022. Produced by Gaia Caramazza, presented by Emily Webb.

Running an underground newspaper during the Syrian uprising

[Click here to listen]

After pro-democracy protests broke out in 2011, Kholoud Helmi was determined to cover the human rights violations carried out by the Syrian government, as a reporter on the ground. So with the help of her friends and brother, she founded Enab Baladi, one of the only surviving independent media outlets founded in Syria. The paper had to be printed in secret – the team did their best to avoid the military checkpoints scattered throughout the city, but they couldn’t stay out of trouble forever. Kholoud’s brother was arrested, and subsequently disappeared. 10 years later, Kholoud and her family still don’t know whether he’s dead or alive. After losing her home, brother, and friends to the civil war that has torn the country apart for over a decade, she continues to carry a dream of a free Syria with her.

Aired on Tuesday 17 March 2022. Produced by Gaia Caramazza, presented by Jo Fidgen.

The choir breaking the binary between gender and sound

Ila and Coda are co-founders of the UK’s first professional trans choir. They are challenging perceptions of traditional gender roles in choirs and creating safe spaces for singers outside the gender binary. They spoke to Outlook’s Gaia Caramazza.

Aired on Tuesday 29 September 2022. Produced and presented by Gaia Caramazza.

The drag queen who ran for president of the United States

[Click here to listen]

In the 1990s Terence Smith launched his campaign to run for United States president in drag, shocking voters and the media. His mission was not to win, but instead, to raise awareness about the Aids crisis which was killing his community. Critical of the government’s slow response to the epidemic, Terence armed himself with a blonde wig, platform shoes, and the persona of Joan Jett Blakk and decided to run against future president Bill Clinton. Jo Fidgen speaks to Terence from his home in San Francisco, USA.

Aired on 2 April 2022. Produced by Gaia Caramazza, presented by Jo Fidgen.

BBC World Service: The Compass

“Surprising stories from unusual places. With ideas too big for a single episode, The Compass presents mini-series about the environment and politics, culture and society.

My Arab Spring: Freedom – Hurriya

Aired on 08 Dec 2021. Produced by Gaia Caramazza and Sasha Edye-Lindner, presented by Ella and Abu al Shamahi.

Across the region in 2011, protesters in their hundreds and thousands were all asking for the same thing – their freedom. Journalist Abubakr al-Shamahi and presenter Ella al-Shamahi examine how far human rights have progressed in the countries of the Arab Spring, turning first to the country so often held up as the success story of the Spring – Tunisia. Women were central to the mobilisation of protests here; Abubakr and Ella speak to activists and lawmakers to find out whether women are better off now than under Ben Ali’s dictatorship, which crumbled in 2011.

Then to Egypt, where quickly after the euphoria that erupted with the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians witnessed a military coup that plummeted the country into an even tougher political climate. How do Egyptians keep hope alive now?

My Arab Spring: Bread – Khubz

Aired on 08 Dec 2021. Produced by Gaia Caramazza and Sasha Edye-Lindner, presented by Ella and Abu al Shamahi.

Freedom is important – but what is the use of freedom if you can’t put food on the table? Ella al-Shamahi and Abubakr al-Shamahi look at the importance of the economy in starting the protest movement itself, and how the citizens of these regions view their economic standing a decade on. They speak with young Tunisians who are bearing the brunt of a devastated economy, and investigate how power is still tied up within economic opportunities under the rule of President Al Sisi. And they hear from one of the few monarchies in the region to experience protests – Jordan.

The New Arab Voice

Established, scripted, produced, and co-hosted by Gaia Caramazza.

The New Arab Voice podcast brings you compelling audio journalism from the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and beyond. The format combines narrative story telling, news round-ups and exclusive interviews to unpack complex issues focusing on conflict, socio-economics and human interest stories. If you want to know more about producing TNAV from home, find my interview with Journo Resources here.

The Arab Spring, Ten Years On (Part 1: Tunisia and Libya) (DECEMBER 18, 2020)
The Arab Spring, Ten Years On (Part 2: Egypt, Yemen and Syria) (DECEMBER 18, 2020)
Bahrain joins UAE-Israeli normalisation deal, Europe’s largest refugee camp ravaged by fire (SEPTEMBER 25, 2020)
Biden woos Muslim Americans, China’s forcible sterilisation of Uighur women, and Egypt’s #MeToo moment (AUGUST 07, 2020)
Queerness under Quarantine: How the LGBT+ community is coping with the Coronavirus (APRIL 16, 2020)
Trump’s ‘Steal of the Century’ in Palestine, Putin’s bloodbath in Idlib, and Lebanon’s new ‘ feminist’ cabinet (FEBRUARY 11, 2020)
From Cox’s Bazar to Calais: Covid-19 bears down hard on refugees and migrants (MAY 15, 2020)

Shubbak Festival 2021 Podcast

Executive Producer: Gaia Caramazza, Presenter: DJ Nooriyah

In this four-part series, DJ Nooriyah will speak to the brilliant artists featured in the 2021 festival line-up, about how their art tackles some of the most pressing topics of our time. Join her for a deep dive into digital activism, the history of Arab Hip Hop, love and all its facets and the significance of the emotional relationship between audiences and artists in music – also known as ‘tarab’. The show features an eclectic mix of exclusive interviews, sounds from the artists’ performances, and the voices of the audience attending this year’s festival.


In the first episode of the Shubbak Festival podcast we explore art, politics, identity, and social media. With the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic we all looked for ways to cope. For many, artistic expression was pivotal in passing the long hours spent indoors with no escape. For artists, this was no different; creativity battled boredom, frustration, and loneliness. Without access to public spaces, some of the artists showcasing their work at Shubbak Festival utilised all they could at their disposal. The most important tool of them all? An internet connection. DJ Nooriyah speaks to AbdulismsToufik Douib and Balqis Al Rashed to understand just how important the digital sphere is in their art and activism.


In the second episode of the Shubbak Festival podcast DJ Nooriyah takes a deep dive into Arab Hip Hop. Arab Hip Hop is taking over South West Asia and North Africa. From the UAE to Morocco, the genre has inspired a new generation of artists. Spurred on by social media and online streaming sites that have provided artists with a platform, Arab Hip Hop is being hailed internationally for its attitude and cutting-edge sonics. It’s the stage on which the consciousness, identity and art of a generation is being expressed. This year’s Shubbak Festival hosted some of the hottest new wave Hip Hop artists, including The SynaptikFelukahBint7alal and Philip Rachid aka Soultrotter. For this episode, DJ Nooriyah sits down with them to hear their stories and what music really means to them.


In the third episode of the Shubbak Festival podcast love, lust and identity take centre stage. DJ Nooriyah speaks to Selma Dabbagh editor of We Wrote in Symbols, a celebration of the erotic writing of women of Arab heritage who write about love and lust with artistry and skill. It features a wide-range of stories: a wedding night that takes an unexpected turn, a woman on the run meeting her match at Dubai Airport, and a carnal awakening occurring in a Palestinian refugee camp. DJ Nooriyah also chats to lisa luxx, a queer writer, performer, essayist and activist of British Syrian heritage whose one-woman verse play, Eating the Copper Apple, explores themes of love, identity, family and heritage.

Ep 4: THE ECSTASY OF MUSIC (August 2021)

In the fourth episode of the Shubbak Festival podcast DJ Nooriyah explores tarab. Tarab has no exact equivalent in the English language, so the most common words used to capture its meaning are “ecstasy,” or “transcendence.” Widely encountered in medieval texts on music and musicians, it is still current today and refers to  certain styles of music, particularly an aesthetic associated with the 20th Century that is rooted in Egypt and the East-Mediterranean Arab world. But tarab isn’t just a form of music. It also refers to a state of being and since medieval times it has been renowned for the ecstasy-inducing power it has on its audience, be it through lyrics of joy or sorrow. In this episode of Shubbak Festival’s podcast, DJ Nooriyah will dive into the power of tarab as a way of experiencing music and fully surrendering to the moment. Her guests include the leader of the London Syrian Ensemble, Louai Alhenawi and the world-renowned, oud musician and composer Adnan Joubran.