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Archive for November, 2014

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Racisms: From the Crusades to the Twentieth Century, By Francisco Bethencourt: Book Review

The Independent, Friday 17 January 2014

A survey of racism from across the centuries reveals a phenomenon that repeats itself

Bulgarian benefit tourists, Romanian criminal gangs, the alleged abduction of a blonde, blue-eyed child by Roma: anti-immigrant hostility is more pronounced in Britain than any time in a generation. With it have come a raft of questions about race and national identity that were once confined to the fringes of public debate. Is Britain full? Is our way of life at breaking point? Is it racist to raise such points? And come to that, what exactly does racism mean in a modern, multicultural nation like Britain anyway?

Answers, especially to the last question, often prove elusive. That’s because racism is often treated as a subject too charged, too sensitive to address head-on. It’s easier to see it instead as an ugly but inescapable fact of life, a failing common to all nations when different groups decide they can’t get along. But history also offers examples of societies where intolerance, unchecked, has triggered horrifying consequences.

Ways of Curating by Hans Ulrich Obrist: Why curating is vital part of the arts today: Book Review

The Independent – Friday 14th March 2014
What does it mean to be a curator? Talk of “curating” is everywhere right now, but over-use has left it largely worthless as a term: restaurant guide Zagat “curates” its listings; actress Blake Lively is starting a lifestyle company to help people “curate” their lives; the American Personal & Private Chef Association would like you to know that “chefs are among the most important cultural curators of our time”.
The task of curating used to belong exclusively to the arts. It described the work of the keeper of a cultural heritage; someone responsible for archiving and displaying works in a museum or gallery collection. But as our lives have got denser with information, curating has become a synonym for almost any act of selection. DJs curate music festivals. Social media strategists curate content. Fashion stores sell curated collections of clothes.

Moscow’s New Art Centres

FT Magazine, 15 March 2013

A tour of the hotspots of a creative renaissance that could lift Moscow’s profile as a cutting-edge destination

Despite its weighty historical reputation and the sheer fact of its scale as the second-largest city in Europe, Moscow does a poor job of wooing visitors.

It is expensive, traffic-choked, and can be pitilessly cold, but Russia’s capital is also in the midst of a creative renaissance. In the two decades since the end of communist rule, runaway commerce has been the city’s galvanising force. Now its contemporary art, design and architecture are starting to make the running too, with new arts centres and creative hubs helping to raise the city’s ambitions.

Around 4.5m foreign tourists travel to the Russian capital annually. That’s about the same as Prague, but is a long way behind London’s 15m international visitors or Paris’s 8.5m. Moscow’s city authorities are determined to change that situation and have set a goal of 10m annual visitors by the end of this decade. Reaching that target would catapult Moscow into tourism’s premier league and establish the city as one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world.

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