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Gavin Hood and Katharine Gun: How we made Official Secrets

From government whistle blower to Hollywood movie. The director Gavin Hood and the former British intelligence worker Katharine Gun speak to The Cultural Frontline about how her decision to leak the details of an alleged US plan to bug UN delegates before the Iraq war changed her life and became an acclaimed film starring Keira Knightley. How far would you go for a good story? Taking untrained child actors on a rehearsal boot camp or filming in the jungle with the help of local goldminers?...


Aida Muluneh: Can you change lives through art?

What comes to mind when you think about the world of art? Perhaps it’s million dollar auctions or celebrated galleries like the Louvre and New York’s Metropolitan. But what about issues such as land rights, the battle for democracy or access to safe drinking water? Three acclaimed artists, Aida Muluneh of Ethiopia, Cian Dayrit from the Philippines and Zimbabwe’s Kudzanai Chiurai speak to Brenda Emmanus about how their work takes on those issues and reflects upon some of the greatest social...


Corsak and the changing culture of China

On this week’s Cultural Frontline, seventy years after the birth of the People’s Republic, how does China’s culture reflect the life of its people? In the seventy years since Mao Zedong and the Communist Party declared the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, the nation has gone from amongst the poorest on earth to a modern day global superpower. The writer Karoline Kan charts the history of her nation through the personal stories of the women of her family. The Uyghur poet Abduweli...


How to fix the world of fashion

You are what you wear? We head to London Fashion Week and speak to a new generation of designers and fashionistas working to solve humanitarian and environmental challenges through ethical and sustainable fashion. High fashion but minimal pay. Tina speaks to the writer and fashion activist Giulia Mensitieri and the campaigning model Ekaterina Ozhiganova about challenging exploitative working practices for creatives and models in the global luxury fashion industry. Get your fashion fix while...


The Aboriginal Comedy All Stars and Mojo Juju

We head to southern Australia and the land of the Kulin Nations for the Blak & Bright Festival, a celebration of Australia’s First Nations writers, playwrights and poets. The writer and festival director Jane Harrison and the poet and educator Evelyn Araluen explain why the festival is essential for culture in today’s Australia. First we make them laugh then we make them think. Two of the brightest stars in Australian comedy, Steph Tisdell and Andy Saunders of the Aboriginal Comedy All Stars...


Kano: Finding truth through music

“My only obligation is to give inspiration.” The critically acclaimed musician Kano speaks to Tina about his new album Hoodies All Summer and reveals why it was urgent for his work to both inspire young people and to reflect life in an increasingly troubled British society. Meet the Argentine musicians aiming to take the opera to places it’s never been before. The BBC’s Valeria Perasso speaks to the team behind Opera Periférica about their journey to bring classic opera to the masses through...


Kit Kat: a provocative new drama about climate change

What would two seven-year-olds do to save the planet? That’s the question at the heart of a bold new play from the Traverse theatre in Edinburgh. Two young girls secretly take a wounded squirrel home to their treehouse in order to nurse it. But when it is discovered by one of their mothers, the girls decide to take drastic action against climate change and their peaceful home life spirals out of control… The Cultural Frontline presents the radio premiere of the play, Kit Kat, by Kolbrún...


Murad Subay: The walls remember

When war broke out in Yemen, Murad Subay began painting murals on the shelled and bullet-marked buildings of his home city of Sana’a. His colourful messages of protest and hope raised awareness of the conflict’s impact on Yemeni civilians. He encouraged passers by to join him as he worked, and together they filled ruined homes with images of peace. Journalist Sumaya Bakhsh traces Murad’s journey as he leaves Sana’a for Cairo. International travel is rarely simple for citizens of Yemen, and...


Zere, ZVUK and Central Asia’s bold new voices

Meet the ground breaking artists speaking up for Kyrgyz women through video. The film maker Elnura Osmonalieva and the musician Zere on how they’re taking on gender based violence in Kyrgyzstan through their work. It’s been described as an Uzbek Game of Thrones. The writer Hamid Ismailov shares the story behind his latest book The Devil’s Dance and reveals how one of its central characters was inspired by one of Uzbekistan’s most celebrated writers, the poet, Chulpon. Have you heard of ZVUK?...


Toni Morrison: Power in Prose and Poetry

A tribute to the life and work of Toni Morrison and an exploration of the work of contemporary poets from Puerto Rico and Ukraine. "As good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page" that is how President Obama remembered Toni Morrison, a titan of American literature, who died this week. We remember her life and reflect on the influence of the Nobel Prize-winning author. The Ukrainian poet Ilya Kaminsky tells us about his extraordinary new collection Deaf Republic about...


Art of the Hong Kong and Sudan protests

This week, the Cultural Frontline shares stories of artists creating work at a time of protest. As Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests enter their third month we speak to the theatre director and actor Billy Sy about how the world of arts and theatre are responding to a city in political turmoil. When protesters staged a momentous sit-in at Sudan’s Military Headquarters in Khartoum, an explosion of brightly coloured protest art appeared on the city’s walls and soon afterwards the nation’s...


From Burning Man to Nyege Nyege: How music festivals change culture

Is festival fever is taking over the African music scene? The Broadcaster and DJ Emily Dust speaks to the creators and musicians behind Africa Bass Culture in Burkina Faso, Uganda’s Nyege Nyege and Nigeria’s Palm Wine about the growing market for festivals and the challenges and the joy of staging them. Is the future of festivals female only? We speak to the creative forces behind two revolutionary festivals, Statement in Sweden which was for women, non-binary and transgender persons only...


Like, Subscribe, Share? Inside the world of YouTube

The Cultural Frontline speaks to YouTubers from around the world about the online video platform. Every minute over 500 hours of content is uploaded on YouTube and each day, over a billion hours of video is watched. Yet with so much content being uploaded and viewed how does YouTube ensure that everything on the platform is appropriate to be seen? The reporter Julia Alexander tells us how the platform decides what stays up and what must come down. What is it like being a world famous...


African writers now

The Cultural Frontline speaks to some of Africa’s leading writers about the transformative power of literature. Taking the African story to the world. We speak to the writers Cherrie Kandie and Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti about their latest work which has been nominated for the prestigious Caine Prize and ask what life is like as a contemporary African writer working in the United States. A generation after the Rwandan genocide, the writer Yolande Mukugasana tells the Cultural Frontline how her...


Comedy that changes minds

This week the Cultural Frontline speaks to leading comedians and satirists around the world who use humour to question and expose, sometimes at risk to themselves. Tina is joined by the American stand-up and sketch comedian Chris Redd, a cast member of the iconic Saturday Night Live TV show. Chris talks about his impersonation of Kanye West meeting President Trump which went viral online, what he thinks of President Trump’s reaction to the show, and how he uses rap to highlight social issues...


Food, glorious food

On this week’s Cultural Frontline we celebrate the writers, musicians and designers combining the creative arts with the culinary arts in innovative and imaginative ways. Tina takes a tour of the mouth-watering exhibition FOOD: Bigger than the Plate at London’s Victoria and Albert museum. The Mexican designer Fernando Laposse reveals how his brightly coloured corn-based textile helped a Mexican community facing unemployment. Can you find family in a bowl of Nigerian soup? The food writer...


Art to believe in

The Cultural Frontline speaks to artists about how their faith informs and inspires their work. When he was twelve years old, the artist Tsherhin Sherpa began studying traditional Tibetan thangka painting with his father; he is now a celebrated contemporary artist. He tells The Cultural Frontline about how his work combines the ancient traditions of his Buddhist heritage with his personal observations on the political and social issues of today’s modern globalised culture. The graffiti...


India through the eyes of its artists

Following India’s momentous elections, we hear from the writers, comedians, directors and artists who are shaping the nation’s cultural future. Bollywood stars, political biopics and patriotic saris. The writer Sandip Roy reviews the sights and sounds of the campaign trail and reveals how entertainment and politics have become ever closer this election. Seen any Salman Rushdie on a rickshaw or poetry on the side of a street food stand? Brightly coloured sticker quotes are appearing all over...


My art, my gender identity and me

The Cultural Frontline talks to artists, performers and cultural voices from around the world about their gender identity and the role it plays in the stories they tell and the art they create. Joining Tina are Caitlin Benedict and Amrou Al-Kadhi the creative forces behind the critically acclaimed BBC podcast NB – which stands for non-binary. They will be talking about their series and how it explores what being non-binary means and feels. The indigenous Zapotec community of Mexico...


Meet theatre’s bold change-makers

We meet the writers, playwrights and performers who are changing the face of theatre. He is the fearless playwright whose productions have been met with protests and even banned. Abhishek Majumdar tells The Cultural Frontline what drives him to explore some of the world’s most volatile political conflicts on stage. What do you want from your local theatre? How about productions that not only tell dramatic stories but also confront economic inequality, racism, and social injustice. We hear...