Art Review – Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Dir. Paul Brotherston, Tron Theatre, 20th – 22nd April

Near the end of the experimental performance based on Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by the University of the West of Scotland, one of the actors blames the budget for not actually having a T-Rex on stage. To me this was an amusing comment, as the extraordinary number of props give the impression of a limitless budget. With ladders, globes, ice picks, deckchairs, measuring tape, bottles of gin, boxes of fish and even a shelf from a bookcase, no other set is needed to depict the world of 1863 Germany and Iceland.

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Arts Review: A Hebridean Journey with Madeleine Bunting – Aye Write 2017

The Mitchell Library, 19th March

Nations define themselves by the stories they tell, and often these are the stories of edges and border. The Cliffs of Dover, for example, are an iconic image of the United Kingdom, separating the country from the sea and mainland Europe beyond. Similarly, the North-West-coast of the UK consists of the Hebrides, the landscape of which has been an image of empire or utopia, idealised and romanticized throughout history.

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Arts Review: My Country – A Work In Progress

Dir. Rufus Norris, The Citizens, 28th March – 1st April

With the houselights still on, a woman in a formal attire starts setting up the stage. The ballot boxes at the back serving as a memory of the Brexit referendum, and for Scots perhaps as a precursor for the second independence referendum. “You’ve all turned up”, the lady says to the audience. “I’m grateful.” Tonight we are listeners, and witnesses to a meeting of the UK, with Northern Ireland, Mid-West of England, Caledonia and all the other parts summoned by Britney – short for Britannia. They have come together during every crucial moment in history, and so they do now.

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A-level Art History Saved After High-Profile Campaign

With support from Turner price winner Anish Kapoor, who called Art History “the study of what inspires and guides the poetic in us” to Charles Saumarez Smith, secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy, describing it as teaching “rigorous analytical skills” and requiring students “to engage not only with art but with history, literature, politics, languages and the sciences”, it seemed unbelievable that the subject would be dropped by AQA, the last exam board offering art history A-level in state schools. This is, however, what was decided in October last year, with the reasoning being that there were not enough examiners with experience and the curriculum was too wide to set grade boundaries.

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BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike)

While Germany is building a cycle highway connecting 10 cities that aims to remove 50,000 cars from the road, cycling in Glasgow still feels like a highly dangerous affair with seemingly very little being done to make getting around by bike easier, safer or more acceptable. Since the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games, there has been an increase in the interest in cycling, definitely partly due to government campaigns surrounding these events. That same government, however, seems to be lost on how to accommodate this growth of cyclists. The national vision of having 10% of everyday journeys be made by bike in 2020 still seems very far away. A lot has to change, considering that current rates are under 2 per cent across Scotland.

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Preview: Aye Write

From crime set in India, Scandinavia or the Scottish Islands, a book about 9 months in Tibet or one about a wander through twelve of Glasgow’s finest parks – Glasgow’s Book Festival ‘Aye Write’ takes you everywhere you want to go, and even further. This year sees an incredibly international, engaging program – looking beyond the sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, featuring two of Nigeria’s best writers or an investigation of how China became the powerful country that it is today.

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Facebook’s Fact-Checkers Fighting Fake News

Just days after the American election, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said “I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way — I think is a pretty crazy idea. Voters make decisions based on their lived experience.” Yet with the German parliamentary election happening in September this year, the social network is introducing new tools to counter the spread of fabricated news stories in Germany, which mostly blackens Angela Merkel. In a similar fashion, the Czech government has very recently set up “anti-fake news” units, scrutinising disinformation and attempting to counter it.

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