Talking Culture #6: "Notes from a Grown Up Country"
In the summer of 2020, British author and broadcaster John Kampfner released a new book with a provocative title... Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country. In this episode, we share his 2019 Brady Lecture with the same title: Why the Germans Do it Better. And yes, the title made us a bit uncomfortable too. But don’t worry; this isn’t an episode about one nation being superior to any others; it’s about what democratic countries in the West can learn from a unified Germany that they helped to create.
His previous five books include the best-selling Blair’s Wars (2003) and Freedom For Sale (2009), which was short-listed for the Orwell Prize. Kampfner is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and adviser to the Frankfurt Book Fair. He presents the podcast series Pale, Male and Stale with the comedian Shazia Mirza which looks at politics and identity.
His forthcoming book is provocatively titled Why the Germans Do It Better. Lessons from a Grown Up Country (to be published in July 2020). When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, John Kampfner was working as the East Berlin correspondent of the Telegraph. Thirty years later, he finds a country transformed. Germany, for sure, faces problems: the social effects of the refugee influx, the rise of the AfD, a slowing economy, an ageing population, worsening infrastructure and a continued timidity in foreign affairs. Yet Kampfner juxtaposes contemporary Germany with the mayhem of 'Brexit Britain' and Trump's America and argues that its political maturity enables it to confront the challenges of the contemporary world better than others.
Talking Culture #5: „What Does it Mean to Be European?“
With Brexit in the rearview, the decades-long discussion and debate about the role and purpose of the European Union has taken on a new urgency. In this episode, we ask two young intellectuals–one from the UK and one from Germany–to reflect on what Europe means to them. Alice Boyd is a composer, theatre-maker and environmental campaigner from the UK. Simon Strauß is a German historian, writer and journalist. Both were born into the European Union and have used their work to think critically about what it means now and what it can mean.
Alice Boyd | Composer, sound designer, theatre maker, environmental campaigner
He studied antiquity and history at the university of Basel, the university of Poitiers and the university of Cambridge.
In 2017 he published his first book "Seven Nights" and in summer 2019 hist second one "Romain Days". 2020 he was responsible for the publication of the theater piece collection "Spielplan-Änderung".
He is a founding member and board director of the association "Arbeit an Europa e.V." and is also a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in the section Performing Arts.
Simon Strauß @ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Talking Culture #4: "Leading the Art World Towards Sustainability"
Art has the power to change the world by highlighting critical issues, but what responsibility does the art world have to make their own changes and take inventory of internal practices that are unsustainable or inequitable, to address the environmental cost of putting on exhibitions? In this episode, Iwona Blazwick, Director of the renowned Whitechapel Gallery in East London, grapples with these questions on the future of museums and galleries.
Recent curatorial projects include William Kentridge: Thick Time (2016), Thomas Ruff Photographs 1979-2017 (2017), Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World (2018) and Michael Rakowitz (2019) at the Whitechapel Gallery and Carlos Bunga: The Architecture of Life at MAAT, Lisbon (2019), The Palace at 4am, a group show at the Archaeological Museum Mykonos (2019) and Sight, a solo show with Antony Gormley and the Neon Foundation on the Island of Delos (2019).
Iwona Blazwick has written monographs and articles on many contemporary artists, published extensively on themes and movements in modern and contemporary art, exhibition histories and art institutions and is series editor of the Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Documents of Contemporary Art.
Talking Culture #3: "'Some Kind of Tomorrow': Honoring the Visions of Black Feminist Creative Authors "
The creative writing of Black feminist authors has revolutionary potential. It challenges dominant assumptions and expands the horizons of the current literary audience. In this episode, activist and author Sharon Dodua Otoo honours her literary ancestors and mentors, condemns the racist structures that deprived them of deserved praise during their lifetimes, and explores how Black feminist creative writing can move our society forward.
Talking Culture #2: "Why Artists are Working with Blockchain to Reinvent the Arts"
Now, as the world is facing a new economic crisis, how could the arts and civil society benefit from blockchain technologies? Hear from artists, curators, technologists and researchers who are using blockchain to revolutionise their way of working. This episode features Ruth Catlow, artistic director of Furtherfield, Ben Vickers, CTO at the Serpentine Galleries, and artist collectives from Berlin to Moscow who are part of the DAOWO Global Initiative.
Episode #1: "Why Theatre Matters More Than Ever"
One month into the first lockdown of 2020, we called Kris Nelson, Artistic Director and CEO at LIFT: the London International Festival of Theatre to find out how theatres and their people were surviving. In this episode, we’re returning to that conversation because it captures a unique moment in the pandemic upheaval, and we’re calling Kris once again – a year later – to find out what has changed and how his predictions for theatre have shifted.
Home in Canada, Kris Nelson founded the performing arts agency Antonym where he represented Theatre Replacement, Public Recordings and 2boys.tv. He was a producer and Encounters Curator for Magnetic North Festival and initiated and co-curated a variety of platforms devoted to artist touring such as PushOFF.