Section: Arts/Humanities

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Walter Raleigh and Sherborne’s castles

Valery Collins

Sir Walter Raleigh was loved and hated by Queen Elizabeth I and despised by King James His own great passion, however, was for the Dorset town of Sherborne. He has left his mark on three of the town’s attractions: he lived in the two castles and he intervened in a dispute at the medieval St […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 3

Sadie Parker

Well that didn’t last long. Here we are, back on the ‘sorry-go-round’ – trapped in a repetitive cycle of depressing actions or events. There were glimmers of good news. Hope of a vaccine, and even of vaccines, plural. Lewis Hamilton became the most successful Formula-1 champion ever, raising the spirits of Britain’s sports fans. The […]

Calling young writers! Enter our competition!

Anthea Simmons

Are you based in Cornwall, Devon , Dorset or Somerset? Under 25? Want to write? We are a team of volunteer, citizen journalists and editors, passionate about the truth, democracy and good writing. We’ve been going since late August 2020 and have already had well over 300,000 readers and high levels of engagement on social […]

What’s next for Somerset Film?

Mick Fletcher

“It was fresh air that kept us sane” said Kathy, reflecting on growing up in the 1940s. Kathy was part of ‘Making Waves’, three days of FM community radio shows created by Bridgwater Senior Citizens’ Forum in 2012. Broadcasting from an empty High Street shop, the Forum’s sometimes provocative but always warm-hearted shows were well […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 1

Sadie Parker

Hello lockdown, my old friend; I’ve come to walk with you again. How are we all feeling? You may have awoken early in a state of uhtceare (pronounced uht-kay-ara; the ‘h’ is as in ‘loch’), an Anglo-Saxon expression for the ‘sorrow before dawn’ when you lie awake in the darkness and worry about the day […]

…and on another front of the culture war

Eric Gates

“The National Trust has been contacted by the charity regulator over claims that it has strayed from its ‘clear, simple purpose’ to preserve historic buildings and treasures. Regulators approached the charity this month after receiving complaints from the public about its review into links between its estate and slavery during the British empire.” Do people […]

Protected characteristics or political playthings?

Florence MacDonald

I am a teacher and over the past month I have become increasingly aware of shifts in what is deemed acceptable for people to say and do in certain rôles, through interference from the government and, now, from the BBC. Phase 1 It began in early October with news of new educational guidance ‘Legal threat […]

Culture wars, censorship and the ghost of William Blake

Virginia Button

Earlier this month, the first round of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund was announced by Arts Council England, with a welcome £257m allocated to 1,385 theatres, museums, orchestras, dance companies, music venues and other arts organisations impacted by Covid-19. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, […]

Art Matters : Ashburton Arts

Anthea Simmons

Whatever Rishi Sunak did or didn’t say or did or didn’t mean  in his interview with ITV, the debate over the value of the arts and of artists in our society and economy has been front and centre recently. And rightly so. The UK’s creative industries are estimated to contribute around £13 million to the […]

Extreme political stances

Mike Temple

The once autocratic King Lear, now stripped of power and exposed to the storm, ushers the poor Fool into the hovel, then kneels and prays:                                                                 Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,                                       That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,                                       How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,                                       Your looped and windowed […]

The power of art in times of crisis

Vicky Rosier

World Mental Health Day is on 10 October. This year, as we all try to navigate the emotional uncertainties of Covid-19, learning to manage our mental health is an essential skill. I hope this personal story helps to highlight the importance of finding and embracing some individual means of dealing with symptoms of poor mental […]

Poetry, nature and covid-19

Miles King

This year, of all years, people have become much more aware of their local surroundings; in particular, places they can visit to experience nature in their everyday lives – or at least those who were physically able to get out of their houses and weren’t stuck inside shielding. The Covid lockdown threw into sharp contrast […]

Do-gooders are in the majority, Patel. Get used to it.

Anthea Simmons

Here’s the thing, Priti Patel. You bang on about the activist lawyers and the do-gooders all you like, but you’re forgetting something. Most people are actually decent. Most people prefer being kind to being cruel. Most people do not want to live on a diet of hatred and fear. And most people, when faced with […]

The dark side of the prom: Cold War Steve beached

Sadie Parker
Cold War Steve's artwork on Bournemouth beach depicting the positive side of the UK and its valuese

When asked whether he would be producing any new episodes of his famous satirical show, ‘The Thick Of It’, Armando Iannucci replied that British politics was now so silly, it was beyond parody. One artist who has, nonetheless, successfully satirised not just British politics, but populist politics around the world over the past four years […]

Museums and galleries respond to the climate crisis

Virginia Button

The US west coast is on fire, the hurricane season is off to an early start and in the UK a year of unseasonal weather has resulted in the worst wheat harvest in decades – yet more reminders that climate change is a pressing and immediate global crisis. And, as leaves fall and mists rise […]

New photo competition (and an apology for last time!)

Anthea Simmons

Doh. It was a good idea, but we set an an impossible subject. You were all too kind (ironically, given the subject was ‘kindness’!) to point this out, but zero entries said it all. Sorry. Let’s try again. The theme this time is ‘sky’. After all, we need something to look up to right now, […]

Culture wars

Mike Temple

So what do populist leaders do when they’re in trouble? Answer: the same things they did to gain power. You don’t need the Cummings playbook to work out that it’s one of two things (or, better still, both): it’s play the blame game – blame the Jews, blame immigrants, play on people’s fears and prejudices; […]

Anyone for tea and class war?

Sadie Parker

Examgate finally laid bare the hollowness of the Tory “levelling up” mantra, which helped them win over voters in the so-called “Red Wall” seats in the 2019 election. Was this utter catastro-shambles merely an unfortunate accident, or was it a deliberate act —the Government’s boldest move yet in a covert class war? Looking back over […]

The Lizard’s vagabond girl

Jenny Steele Scolding

I lie in bed and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. I pull back the covers, cross the bedroom and settle into my rocking chair in front of the window that overlooks the sea. Down in the cove, the fishermen have pulled the boats up high; a storm is brewing. I always start […]

Ten unmissable picture books

Anthea Simmons

I love children’s picture books. Some of the most delicious artwork and the most delightful, moving and pitch-perfect writing is to be found within their enticing, large format covers. The best examples of the  genre work on many levels in pretty much the same way as classic films like Toy Story and ET. They appeal […]

Jane Austen and the slave trade

Mike Temple

Did Jane Austen have anything in common with the “Black Lives Matter” movement? Surely not! Our Jane is the nation’s favourite author – she’s on our ten-pound note and we are all, regardless of our political differences, “Janeites”. Some adore her for her love scenes, especially if spiced up with a little wet-shirt action; some […]

Museums and galleries in extraordinary times

Virginia Button

As Cornwall’s museums and galleries prepare to reopen, what should be their focus in a post-Covid world? After long months of closure, from 4 July museums and galleries in England have had permission to reopen their doors to visitors. It’s a gradual process, as organisations access their specific health and operational risks, and prepare us […]