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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...


Art breaking barriers

The Cultural Frontline celebrates artists, writers and directors using art to bridge divides and provide a platform for everyone to tell their stories. Many theatres around the world now include some accessible versions of their shows for people with disabilities, such as captioned performances for Deaf audiences. But how accessible is theatre for performers with disabilities and do disabled audiences feel represented by the content being performed? We hear from two champions of...


A passion for dance

As part of the BBC’s Dance Passion season The Cultural Frontline celebrates great dancers from across the world and talks to performers and choreographers about their passion for dance. Can dance put marginalised people centre stage? We head to the Small Theatre in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital to meet Vahan Badalyan, the theatre director working to provide an artistic platform to the city’s disabled citizens. Have you ever heard of Pantsula? The acclaimed choreographer Gregory Maqoma tells the...


How to find the funny side of Brexit

Can you find the funny side of Brexit? The British comedian Andrew Doyle tells Tina how he believes British comedy and culture have been changed since the EU referendum. From Victor Hugo to Emile Zola, France has a long legacy of writers who seek to speak for the disenfranchised. But which writer represents the disaffected and the socially marginalised in the age of the anti-government yellow vest protests? The writer and journalist Anne Elisabeth Moutet traces the legacy of French social...


Hong Kong's Foo Tak Building

The Foo Tak building is a hidden artists’ hub in the centre of Hong Kong island. Fourteen storeys high, it stands inconspicuous amongst the futuristic malls and towering skyscrapers that have been crammed into this small, densely populated area. We explore the building studio by studio, meeting an intriguing mix of experimental musicians, illustrators, conceptual artists, painters, community radio producers, academics and journalists. Lack of space is huge problem for Hong Kong artists -...


Restitution and Art: What Does it Mean to Return?

Last November a ground-breaking report commissioned by the French President Emmanuel Macron sent shock waves through the art world. It recommended the return or restitution of artefacts from France back to Africa. But what would this mean for museums and cultural institutions? We take the view of leading figures from two cultural institutions in the two continents – Dr Bongani Ndhlovu from the Iziko Museums of South Africa and Professor Nicholas Thomas, Director of the Museum of Archaeology...


Meet Dimash, Central Asia’s Biggest Pop Star

Sell out tours, millions of social media followers and adoring fans across the globe. Welcome to the world of Dimash, Central Asia’s biggest pop star. We find out how he went from a child singer to a pioneer of pop music and why he is trying to change the world’s perception of his home country, Kazakhstan. Has a song, a book, a work of art ever changed the way you see the world? Zandra Rhodes, one of British fashion’s leading trend setters, reveals why the work of the artist Duggie Fields...


House of Kenzo, Art Collective

House of Kenzo are the underground dance collective revolutionising Texan nightlife. We join Breezy, Roxy, Flo, Gemel and Toni over a weekend, as they perform at the opening of a queer film festival in Austin and in their hometown of San Antonio. Each performance is a conceptual piece of artwork with built in messages of radical self-expression, body positivity, ecology and community. Constructing a DIY stage on the dancefloor, House of Kenzo blend jaw-dropping dance moves - voguing,...