A Podcast of the Goethe-Institut London

Talking Culture

Ranging from topics such as Europe, populism, sustainability or feminism, our podcast Talking Culture reflects on worldwide perspectives on contemporary discourse in culture and society. Exclusive interviews with renowned cultural practitioners and artists provide a fascinating insight into their work and research. You can listen to the episodes on iTunes, Spotify or on your preferred podcast platform.

All episodes will be available in English.



Latest episodes

Talking Culture #3: "Why women may hold the keys to a sustainable future"

Iwona Blazwick © Christa Holka
Shipping works of art, frequent international travel or single-use exhibition materials makes sustainability a pressing issue in the art world. How are female leaders using their voice to drive a sustainable future both within and outside the sector? In the third episode, Iwona Blazwick talks about sustainability in the art and cultural world. The director of the Whitechapel Gallery has also been participating in the Goethe-Institut’s Women in Culture Network.

Iwona Blazwick has been Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London since 2001 and is a curator, critic and lecturer; formerly at Tate Modern and London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) as well as being an independent curator in Europe and Japan.

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 #2: "Why theatre matters right now"

Kris Nelson © Sharron Wallace
Covid-19 is only one of the most recent challenges for theatres and festivals worldwide. The rise of right-wing parties has created mistrust and misunderstanding towards the sector in many countries. Why does theatre matter right now? In the second episode, we are speaking to Kris Nelson. The Artistic Director and CEO at LIFT and the Goethe-Institut London invited a number of theatre and festival directors to the first workshop of Dramatic Episodes.

Kris Nelson is Artistic Director and CEO of LIFT, the London International Festival of Theatre. He was Festival Director of Dublin Fringe Festival from 2013 until 2017.

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.

Talking Culture #1: "Why the Germans do it Better"

John Kampfner Brady Lecture Foto: Goethe-Institut/ Pau Ros
The Germans do it better, claims author and broadcaster John Kampfner. According to him, Germany confronts the challenges of the contemporary world more effectively than others - unlike ‘Brexit Britain’ and Trump’s America. In the first episode, we are presenting a lecture by Kampfner who focused on his forthcoming book provocatively titled Why the Germans Do It Better. Lessons from a Grown Up Country. The event took place on 4 December 2019.

John Kampfner is an award winning author, broadcaster, commentator and force in the UK creative sector. He was Chief Political Correspondent at the Financial Times, political commentator for the BBC's Today programme, and editor of the New Statesman, regularly contributing to British and international media. He established the Creative Industries Federation in 2014 and was its CEO for five years. John Kampfner was also the founder Chair of Turner Contemporary, one of the UK's most successful art galleries.

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.