BBC Civilisations Festival

Welcome to the Civilisations Festival, an exciting partnership between museums, galleries, libraries and archives and the BBC to coincide with the broadcast of BBC Arts’ Civilisations series in Spring 2018.

The Festival – from Friday 2 March to Sunday 11 March – will be a showcase of ideas and events designed to engage a culturally curious audience.

I’m excited about the Civilisations partnership because it represents a rare opportunity for museums of all kinds and at all scales to engage with the BBC at the local and national level, and to reach greater audiences
Dr Nick Merriman, Director Manchester Museum & Interim Director The Whitworth

It is now nearly half a century since Kenneth Clark’s series Civilisation thrilled audiences with its authoritative interpretation of the glories of Western art. Inspired by that groundbreaking programme, the new series of Civilisations on BBC Two will introduce a new generation to the great masterworks of beauty, ingenuity and illumination created across the continents. The series will also be examining the questions of what makes a civilisation, and asking how different ideas of civilisations have reinforced different cultural ideas and values.

The new series of Civilisations on BBC Two will introduce a new generation to the great masterworks of beauty, ingenuity and illumination created across the continents. The series will also be examining the questions of what makes a civilisation, and asking how different ideas of civilisations have reinforced different cultural identities and values.

New Series: Civilisations will be presented by David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama 

The Civilisations Festival will run alongside the series in Spring 2018. The BBC are inviting museums, galleries and libraries to schedule events to spark debate, broaden understanding and share ideas about what is meant by the term civilisation.

We are proud to say that Hampshire Libraries are hosting several events as official partners of the festival! Here’s a selection…

Winchester Discovery Centre
A Remarkable Man‘: Exhibition by Hampshire Cultural Trust
20 January — 20 March / All day / see branch opening hours
Through the words of those who knew David Brown and his exceptional contribution to the arts, this is the intriguing story of a remarkable man, collector and curator.
Major artists from the 20th century are represented in this outstanding private collection of works, left as a bequest to Southampton City Art Gallery.
The eclectic selection features work by Roger Fry, Gilbert & George, Richard Long, Roger Hilton and Howard Hodgkin to name a few, and provides a thought-provoking glimpse into a rare vision and lasting legacy.
Image credit: Photo © Ian Macdonald
The Gallery opening times: Monday to Friday: 9am – 7pm, Saturday: 9am – 5pm, Sunday: 11am – 3pm. Suitable for: Any age

Winchester Discovery Centre
‘History of Migration’: Exhibition
1 – 31 March / All day / see branch opening hours
History of Migration Exhibition by the U.O.W Modern History Research Centre
In 2017 the MHRC began its new series on ‘Minority History’, which discusses, presents and celebrates diversity in modern history.
The second theme in our Minority History Annual Event will be ‘People On The Move’
(migration/immigration in modern history). This exhibition highlights current investigations taken by early-career researchers from different universities around the country.
The panels explore historical perspectives, experiences and events linked to migration and communities in modern history across different countries.
Suitable for: 14-15, 16-17, 18+

Winchester Discovery Centre
University of Winchester’s Modern History Research Centre presents:
Migration Talk: ‘The African Diaspora in Britain, Transnationalism, Pan-Africanism and Internationalism’
Thursday 8 March / 7:30-8:30pm / Free
Prof. Hakim Adi from the University of Chichester will be presenting his talk om ‘The African Diaspora in Britain, Transnationalism, Pan-Africanism and Internationalism’ as part of our Minority History Annual Event.
In 2017 the MHRC began its new series on ‘Minority History’, which discusses, presents and celebrates diversity in modern history. This year’s theme is ‘People On The Move’ (migration/immigration in modern history).
This talk is in conjunction with the ‘History of Migration’ exhibition on display in the Discovery Centre 1-31 March 2018. This exhibition highlights current investigations taken by early-career researchers from different universities around the country. The panels explore historical perspectives, experiences and events linked to migration and communities in modern history across different countries.
Suitable for: 16-17, 18+

Basingstoke Discovery Centre
‘Fiction For All Tastes’: a writing workshop
Saturday 3 March / 11am – 3pm / £15
Contribute to Civilisation’s’ next creations! Do you enjoy hearing about books and the writing process? Are you an aspiring writer hoping to publish your own stories or novel? This 4-hour writing workshop is led by 2 award winning authors, writing in very different genres, who will explore the ideas behind their books and share tips on the writing process, current developments, Social Media and getting published through a mixture of talk, discussion and writing exercises.

Alton Library
‘Austen Sisters’: dramatic performance of historic correspondence.
Tuesday 6 March / 7.30pm / £5
A diverting forty-minute dramatic and entertaining recital of readings from Jane and Cassandra Austen’s letters, prose and poetry about sisters, performed by local actress and speaker Rowan Suart. A fantastic insight into the life of one of Civilisation’s very best storytellers.

Fleet Library
‘Fiction For All Tastes’: a writer’s talk
Wednesday 6 March / 7.30pm / £5
A chance for some guidance three creative minds. Join our panel of authors, writing in very different genres, who will discuss their latest books and share their tips on the writing process, the ideas behind their books, using a pseudonym and getting published.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre
Science Evening: various talks and workshops
Wednesday 14 March / 6pm – 8.45pm
Join us to embark on Civilisation’s next achievements and discoveries! An evening of mind-blowing and fun talks and events: The World’s Largest Telescope, Gravitational Waves, plus cultural fascination with Get Creative with Cosplay and The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who.

For more on our science events, see our Inside Libraries blog on British Science Week (9-18 March).

The Civilisations Festival will run between 2 March and 11 March 2018, though partners can stage events any time during the series transmission period in early 2018.

The Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler

About the book

Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, herding reindeer across the tundra with Lapps and shadowing the Trans-Alaskan pipeline with truckers, Sara Wheeler discovers a complex and ambiguous land belonging both to ancient myth and modern controversy.  The Magnetic North is a spicy confection of history, science and reflection in which Wheeler meditates on the role of the Arctic: fragmented lands which fed imaginations long before the scientists and oilmen showed up (not to mention desperado explorers who ate their own shoes). The Magnetic North tells of all this, plus gulag ghosts, old and new Russia, colliding cultures and bioaccumulated toxins in polar bears.

 

Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties

Reads like a series of essays. Very comprehensive and academic. Strongly divided opinions. Could be read on several levels

star rating ** ½

 

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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

About the book

She was a schoolmistress with a difference. Proud, cultured, romantic, her ideas were progressive, even shocking. And when she decided to transform a group of young girls under her tutelage into the “creme de la creme” of Marcia Blaine school, no one could have predicted the outcome.

Reviewed by Sutton Scotney

An eccentric teacher in the Thirties who had her own method of teaching and not very popular with the headmistress who did her utmost to get rid of her. It wasn’t too bad but not for me”

star rating – **

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The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst

In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge friend Cecil Valance, a charismatic young poet, to visit his family home. Filled with intimacies and confusions, the weekend will link the families for ever, having the most lasting impact on George’s sixteen-year-old sister Daphne.

As the decades pass, Daphne and those around her endure startling changes in fortune and circumstance, reputations rise and fall, secrets are revealed and hidden and the events of that long-ago summer become part of a legendary story, told and interpreted in different ways by successive generations.

Powerful, absorbing and richly comic, The Stranger’s Child is a masterly exploration of English culture, taste and attitudes over a century of change.

 

Reviewed by Perspectives

“7 members read / partially read this book. 6 thought it well written, interesting, challenging but overall unenamoured. 1 member loved it!”

star rating ***

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A gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

About the book

With America quietly gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, a ‘half-Jewish’ farmer’s daughter from the plains of the Midwest, has come to university – escaping her provincial home to encounter the complex world of culture and politics.
When she takes a job as a part-time nanny to a couple who seem at once mysterious and glamorous, Tassie is drawn into the life of their newly-adopted child and increasingly complicated household. As her past becomes increasingly alien to her – her parents seem older when she visits; her disillusioned brother ever more fixed on joining the military – Tassie finds herself becoming a stranger to herself. As the year unfolds, love leads her to new and formative experiences – but it is then that the past and the future burst forth in dramatic and shocking ways.
Refracted through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a lyrical, beguiling and wise novel of our times.

Reviewed by Damzals Reading Group:

Some extreme scenes. Wide appeal. Well written, good use of language.

Star rating: ***

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Amulya Malladi – Mango Season

About the book

Every young Indian leaving the homeland for the United States is given the following orders by their parents: Don’t eat any cow (It’s still sacred!), don’t go out too much, save (and save, and save) your money, and most important, do not marry a foreigner. Priya Rao left India when she was twenty to study in the U.S., and she’s never been back. Now, seven years later, she’s out of excuses. She has to return and give her family the news: She’s engaged to Nick Collins, a kind, loving American man. It’s going to break their hearts.
Returning to India is an overwhelming experience for Priya. When she was growing up, summer was all about mangoes—ripe, sweet mangoes, bursting with juices that dripped down your chin, hands, and neck. But after years away, she sweats as if she’s never been through an Indian summer before. Everything looks dirtier than she remembered. And things that used to seem natural (a buffalo strolling down a newly laid asphalt road, for example) now feel totally chaotic.
But Priya’s relatives remain the same. Her mother and father insist that it’s time they arranged her marriage to a “nice Indian boy.” Her extended family talks of nothing but marriage—particularly the marriage of her uncle Anand, which still has them reeling. Not only did Anand marry a woman from another Indian state, but he also married for love. Happiness and love are not the point of her grandparents’ or her parents’ union. In her family’s rule book, duty is at the top of the list.
Just as Priya begins to feel she can’t possibly tell her family that she’s engaged to an American, a secret is revealed that leaves her stunned and off-balance. Now she is forced to choose between the love of her family and Nick, the love of her life.

Reviewed by  Whitchurch Reading Group:

An interesting subject giving an insight into a culture. The recipes and kitchen scenes were very visual. Easy to read and a good story – would recommend it.

Star rating: ***

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