Getting your fix of culture can be challenging during lockdown. That's why our British Counil Ireland team have decided to share some of the ways they've been engaging with, and experiencing, culture during lockdown.
Mags Walsh - Country Director
Much as I love finding new things online for my culture fix, this past week or two, I’ve been retreating into re-watchings and rereads as the energy has been a bit low. I read travel writer Dervla Murphy as a teenager and I jumped back in with Full Tilt recently.
It recounts the her journey by bike from Dunkirk to Delhi and its vivid and eloquent. Particularly amusing for me now as an adult is how she sent her bike spare parts ahead of her to British Council offices along her route. Cultural relations through bike parts!
In a similar comforting vein, Ruth Medjber’s portraits of people, taken through the window of their homes at twilight have been an Instagram highlight for me. Recent news that they’ll be made into a book soon is really welcome.
I wonder how I’ll feel in 12 months time looking back at photographs taken during lockdown.
Liz McBain - Senior Programme Manager
This virtual world has fast become our normal and despite how artificial and exhausting it can sometimes feel, I am constantly inspired by the energy and imagination of others. Speaking of which, you’ve just got to watch ‘At Home With Camille’, an hour of total escapism with the mesmerising Irish musician, Camille O’Sullivan. It was part of Cork Midsummer Festival’s ‘Midsummer Moments’ and you can still catch it here.
My second shout out is for the Festival of Curiosity’s 2020 programme, ‘From Playful Days to Curious Nights’ which will take place across 4 days and 4 nights from 16-19 July. The team has been working hard to transform the festival to a brand new digital format for people of all ages to explore and discover science, arts, design and technology in curious new ways. UK highlights include ‘The Incredible Tale of Robot Boy’ and ‘Build a Brain Workshop’ presented by Theatre Rites.
Aysylu Mutigullina - Programme and Partnerships Manager
My regular “Culture fix” this month was going through University of Exeter’s course “Empire: the Controversies of British Imperialism” on Future Learn – home of many excellent MOOCs. The course looks at the British Empire from the perspectives of money, race, religion, sexuality and gender, propaganda and power, and offers lots of space for comments and discussions by fellow-learners. While the course itself is not perfect, it stimulates a lot of thinking about “inherent vices” of any empire and the consequences of it we still have to deal with today.
On a much lighter note, here’s Adobe Create’s Creative Type test – a beautifully designed, funny quiz (“Are you a fortune cookie or a birthday cake?”) which assesses how you act and think and suggests which creative personality you are. No wrong answers, no negativity – just 15 short questions to make you feel good and learn about yourself.
Aoife Ward - Office and Project Administration
I’ll be honest, I sat over the weekend and really tried to think of what I did this month to get my fix of culture. That’s not to say I’ve done nothing, because between Hamilton being released on Disney+ and my discovery that some of my favourite films from the 1940’s are on Amazon Prime it’s been a good month for me getting a hearty dose of culture.
However when I really think about how I spent the last month it has, for once, not been watching movies. The past month I really have spent the majority of my time playing video games – one in particular in fact. For anyone out there that’s already a fan of The Last of Us it will probably be no surprise that the game’s sequel, The Last of Us Part 2 has dominated most of what myself and my housemate have done and spoken about for the past few weeks. For anyone not so into video games I think it’s still worth noting the artistry that went into bringing this game to life, everything from the graphics to the plot, to the forethought that went into the science and the world building behind the game itself.
Speaking of science the one other thing I’ve done this month so far is read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. What struck me most about the book is the balance it strikes between the science of the Immortal HeLa cell line – cells that originated from Lacks – and the ethical issues of race and class present in scientific research and how those issues continued to effect Lack’s family after her death.