Culture


The World Transformed: democratising the culture sector post lockdown

4 September 2020 Julie Saumagne and Sam Swann explore the links between worker exploitation and institutional elitism in the culture industry

Ntando Yam: theatre as protest

28 August 2020 Phoebe Kisubi reflects on using participatory theatre as a tool for social and political activism among sex workers in Cape Town, South Africa

Talking back to Shakespeare: theatre in women’s prisons

26 August 2020 Shakespeare’s women can alert us to alternative stories – if we listen to them. In ‘talking back’ to the Bard we can change our own stories, says Charlotte Scott

From dole to gold

24 August 2020 Today’s welfare system is notoriously punitive, but in the 1980s it provided the basis of future Olympic success, argues Peter Goulding

Edinburgh street artists perform in Edinburgh on the last weekend of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009. This year saw a record number of acts perform representing the best dance, theatre and comedy.

Who’s laughing now?

22 August 2020 As venues tentatively reopen post-lockdown, Siobhán McGuirk surveys the impact of the pandemic on comedy, theatre and the cultural sector

A little more action: theatre, disability, and Elvis

20 August 2020 Elizabeth McGuirk interviews Claire Cunningham, the internationally acclaimed disabled artist, about taking risks, engaging audiences beyond our own bubble, and the enduring power of The King

Shake it up: class, theatre and politics

16 August 2020 Political theatre should ask questions – and prompt us to challenge the status quo. Evie Manning explains the Common Wealth approach

Immigrants stand up

15 August 2020 With casual xenophobia a comedy circuit blight, No Direction Home is a welcome tonic. Here, five troupe members explain the uses and power of laughter – and tell us some jokes

Lower league football needs democratic ownership, not a salary cap

12 August 2020 It is only through fundamental reform of how clubs are owned, bought, and sold that we can begin to return football to the fans argues Jonty Leibowitz

The rise of comedian politicians

6 August 2020 As more and more comedians find success in the political arena, Rhian Jones lists some of the most prominent examples of satirists turned statesmen

Bedding down in the shadows of Belfast’s bonfires

4 August 2020 The bonfires of Belfast have a raw relevance. Pádraig Ó Meiscill reflects on an annual controversy.

Woke jokes

1 August 2020 There’s nothing radical – or funny – about right-wing comedy, says Jake Laverde

Boris Johnson on Have I Got News for You (BBC via The Guardian)

How Corbyn unmasked comedy

31 July 2020 Juliet Jacques argues that the way comedians treated Jeremy Corbyn demolished their anti-establishment credentials

Review – Steal as Much as You Can by Nathalie Olah

4 July 2020 Anna Clayton reviews Natalie Olah's book, which explores how upper middle-class pop culture has affected British politics

Lockdown live: ‘Race Today’

24 June 2020 Join Red Pepper editor K Biswas and guests Paul Gilroy, Lola Olufemi, Ciaran Thapar and Joy White to discuss marginality, inequality, creativity and belonging in Britain

Review – Abolish Silicon Valley by Wendy Liu

22 June 2020 Suchandrika Chakrabarti reviews Wendy Liu's proposals to reclaim technology's potential for the public good

Review – One Man’s Terrorist: A Political History of the IRA by Daniel Finn

17 June 2020 Connor Beaton reviews Daniel Finn's account of the politics and personalities which drove the IRA

How to make comedy in the time of Corona

16 June 2020 Comedian Elf Lyons discusses creative innovation and rebellion in a dystopian age

'The Murder of Count Helfenstein' during the German Peasants' Revolt (Credit: WikiCommons)

It’s after the end of the world: inequality and doomsday

9 June 2020 As apocalypse rhetoric spreads during Covid-19, James Hendrix Elsey explores what 'the end of the world' really means under racialised capitalism – and what comes next

Gender, class and cliché in Normal People

26 May 2020 The BBC hit drama shows the complexities of class mobility, but can’t avoid class and gender stereotypes, says Frances Hatherley

Review – Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined by J J Bola

14 May 2020 Mask Off offers a toolbox of explanations and arguments to question and challenge toxic masculinity, writes Huw Lemmey

Hidden labours: how capitalism shapes gaming culture

29 April 2020 Paolo Ruffino looks beyond the myths of the video game industry to its contemporary neoliberal realities

Lockdown live: ‘Can video games change the world?’

28 April 2020 Globally, 2.5 billion people play video games. Is the left in danger of overlooking their immense power and influence? Join the debate live on April 30, 6pm

The spoils of playing war

28 April 2020 Video games play a key role in sustaining the global military-industrial complex, writes Marzena Zukowska

Making gaming great again

27 April 2020 With pop culture increasingly a political battlefield, Marzena Zukowska asks Carolyn Petit of Feminist Frequency how the left can leverage the momentum of video gaming

All to play for: video games are for everyone

26 April 2020 Don't believe the stereotypes, says Sher Jamal Stone. Video games are for everyone

Political plays: the radical potential of video games

26 April 2020 Siobhán McGuirk introduces our series on the politics of video games ahead of our April 30 live debate: 'Can Video Games Change the World?'

Routes to working-class solidarity

19 April 2020 In this second of a two-part series, D Hunter and John-Baptiste Oduor discuss socialism, conservatism and pathways to solidarity within and between working-class communities

Who are ‘the working class’?

17 April 2020 In this first of a two-part series, D Hunter and John-Baptiste Oduor discuss the presence and representation of working-class voices in British culture and politics

Solidarity with publishers: reading alone, together

31 March 2020 Radical publishing houses are under existential threat - just as people look for ways to fill their time. Siobhan McGuirk and K Biswas select lockdown reads from our favourite booksellers

Review – The Far Right Today by Cas Mudde

30 March 2020 The far right thrives on 'economic anxiety and cultural backlash' argues Dawn Foster in a review of Cas Mudde's latest book

Spring culture preview

25 February 2020 Siobhan McGuirk picks out culture highlights for February - May 2020

Review essay – ‘Clear Bright Future’ and ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism’

17 December 2019 Two well-known voices on the British left, Paul Mason and Aaron Bastani, have outlined what they see as the revolutionary potential of technology. K. Biswas reviews their visions

Football’s Race Stain

9 December 2019 Racism marred the Manchester derby this weekend. This blemish on the game is an echo of our Prime Minister’s words, says Remi Joseph-Salisbury.

Review – This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook

2 December 2019 Suki Ferguson reviews the XR guide to climate activism

Review – Decolonial Communism, Democracy and the Commons

22 November 2019 A collection of essays which could be a key resource for those seeking to create economic alternatives, edited by Catherine Samary and Fred Leplat. Reviewed by Derek Wall

Review – We Need New Stories: Challenging the Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent

21 November 2019 A book that systematically unpicks the myths that are spread in order to preserve the status quo, written by Nesrine Malik. Reviewed by Leah Cowan

Rebel ramblers: The politics of walking

20 November 2019 From protest marches to mass trespass, walking has always been an important part of struggles for change, says Des Garrahan

Review – Letters of Solidarity and Friendship: Czechoslovakia 1968-71

18 November 2019 Letters between Leslie Parker and Paul Zalud, edited by David Parker. Reviewed by Mary Kaldor

Image by Jade87 from Pixabay

Streaming across borders

4 October 2019 Siobhán McGuirk considers the role of companies like Netflix in widening access to the TV we consume

Still from the BBC series Fleabag.

How television informs our ideas about class

3 October 2019 From Jeremy Kyle to Fleabag, popular television profoundly shapes our ideas about class. It’s time for alternative visions, both behind and on our screens, argues Beth Johnson.

The structural imbalances of an impartially racist broadcaster

2 October 2019 The Naga Munchetty affair has prompted debate over how the BBC applies its balance and impartiality guidelines. Liam Shrivastava describes an institution that is unable or unwilling to understand its role in elite racism

BBC Norwich building. Photo: Elliott Brown.

BBC: the case for reform

1 October 2019 Perceptions of bias at the BBC are on the rise. Natalie Fenton, chair of the Media Reform Coalition, puts forward the case for reform.

A still from the film Bait

Film review: Bait and switch

12 September 2019 Alex McDonald reviews new British film Bait, a socially engaged drama that uses lyricism to devastating effect.

Lowkey: Soundtrack to the struggle

10 August 2019 Ashish Ghadiali interviews British-Iraqi rapper Kareem Dennis, aka Lowkey, about viral videos, power in the community, the Grenfell fire and writing lyrics at the cutting edge of political debate

Whose history? Why the People’s History Museum is vital

5 July 2019 In recent months, high-profile figures have claimed museums should be ‘neutral’ spaces. Thank goodness, then, for the People’s History Museum, writes Danielle Child

Building a ‘Museum of Dissent’

5 July 2019 Lisa Kennedy and Donata Miller suggest five ways museums can be sites for dissent

Rewriting history: museums and ‘neutrality’

5 July 2019 Museums are socially vital precisely because of their political nature, says Siobhan McGuirk

Review – Finding a Voice: Asian women in Britain

8 June 2019 Finding a Voice: Asian women in Britain, by Amrit Wilson, reviewed by Maya Goodfellow

We need to decolonise museums

23 May 2019 Decolonising the museum is a pathway to decolonising society. We must start by providing more honest accounts of our past, says Subhadra Das



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