V&A brings Japanese craftsmanship back to life for gallery reopening

Of the 550 pieces going on display in the new gallery, more than 400 needed conservation work, a project that has taken years of work by specialists in paper, metal, ceramics, lacquer, leather and textiles, a complex project coordinated by Victor Borges, senior sculpture conservator at the V&A. The lacquer pieces needed particular care, which […]

Russia could ban same-sex emoji under ‘gay propaganda’ laws

Not content with making the country one of the most homophobic places on the planet, Russian authorities are now taking aim at “gay emojis”. According to Izvestia newspaper, the country’s media regulator could ban the characters from social media if an investigation finds they contravene laws intended to prevent gay “propaganda”. The investigation was started […]

I went to Speakers’ Corner in London, the spiritual home of Reddit

Contrary to Ohanian’s description, though, people at Speakers’ Corner can’t talk about absolutely anything they like. There are no special laws that apply to the area, and, as in the rest of the UK, inciting violence and any sort of hate speech is illegal. During my half-day there I see plenty of inflammatory arguments — […]

Russia could ban same-sex emoji under ‘gay propaganda’ laws

Not content with making the country one of the most homophobic places on the planet, Russian authorities are now taking aim at “gay emojis”. According to Izvestia newspaper, the country’s media regulator could ban the characters from social media if an investigation finds they contravene laws intended to prevent gay “propaganda”. The investigation was started […]

What happens to my late husband’s digital life now he’s gone?

And, these days, people die a digital death alongside their physical one, which creates a whole new world of admin that didn’t pass the radar of grieving widows 50 years ago. Those 20th-century widows would have had a box of love letters and a few hard copy photos; I have Facebook messages, professional videos on […]

Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world

The prevailing publishing wisdom of the time had it that SF readers liked their stories short. Dune (400 pages in its first hardcover edition, almost 900 in the paperback on my desk) was rejected by more than 20 houses before being accepted by Chilton, a Philadelphia operation known for trade and hobby magazines such as […]

Dundee: from black sheep of Scottish cities to ‘living cultural experiment’

Indeed, despite pockets of severe deprivation, Dundee’s story is that of a city increasingly defined by its culture and creativity. With a population of just 150,000, it was long seen as the black sheep of Scotland’s cities, languishing behind the architectural drama of Edinburgh and the wealth of Aberdeen, its post-industrial problems often overshadowed by […]

Dundee: from black sheep of Scottish cities to ‘living cultural experiment’

Indeed, despite pockets of severe deprivation, Dundee’s story is that of a city increasingly defined by its culture and creativity. With a population of just 150,000, it was long seen as the black sheep of Scotland’s cities, languishing behind the architectural drama of Edinburgh and the wealth of Aberdeen, its post-industrial problems often overshadowed by […]

Dundee: from black sheep of Scottish cities to ‘living cultural experiment’

Indeed, despite pockets of severe deprivation, Dundee’s story is that of a city increasingly defined by its culture and creativity. With a population of just 150,000, it was long seen as the black sheep of Scotland’s cities, languishing behind the architectural drama of Edinburgh and the wealth of Aberdeen, its post-industrial problems often overshadowed by […]

What makes a great museum?

Museums, competing with other places of cultural interest, are working hard to increase “footfall” – the numbers attending. Some employ outreach workers to attract visitors. “One thing museums need to do to survive and thrive is challenge the preconceptions of their audience,” William Cook wrote in The Spectator. This is particularly the case when so […]