Art in 2011

By Cressida Smart

Writing a review of the arts for any given year is never easy. I wanted to cast the net as wide as possible, but my own knowledge was limited. How do you round up a year when the sheer volume of exhibitions is vast. Instead, I have chosen five happenings in 2011 that stood out for me and had an impact on art either on a local, regional or world stage. Read more of this post

Films in 2011: Highlights and Lowlights

By Tom Bangay

5. 13 Assassins

In choosing my films of the year I strained every authorial sinew to include those cinematic experiences I enjoyed the most, rather than those which popular critique had told me were masterpieces before I’d even had chance to groan at the eye-stabbingly annoying Orange/Potiche sequence preceding them. For this reason, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Tree of Life remained absent from the list, and Miike Takashi’s wonderfully enjoyable 13 Assassins made the cut. Thousands of cuts. Read more of this post

2011 in Review: the year’s important speeches

By Chris McCarthy

Even without the long lens of historical perspective, 2011 will be known, in the sporting vernacular of our transatlantic ally, as a game-changer. How the game has changed remains unclear but events this year in Europe and the Arab world will define these regions, and the broader geopolitical picture, for decades, potentially generations. Read more of this post

The world in 2011: the events

By Emma Brooks

As 2011 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on what events have marked the year and what it will be remembered for. It has been eventful in more ways than one, marked with the usual natural disasters, political upheavals, scandals and economic woes. Here are but a few of the events that marked 2011. Read more of this post

Banksy and the Cardinal Sin of Blasphemy

By Cressida Smart

The unveiling of a controversial Banksy sculpture this week coincided with David Cameron’s speech whereby he stated that the UK is a Christian country. Banksy follows a long line of figures in art and literature who have spoken out against religion. However, when it comes to airing controversial views on Christianity, I would argue their treatment is less favourable than offensive material against other world religions. Read more of this post

Economy 2011: a bad news story

By Rachit Buch

Jesse J may have had success with her song Price Tag, but she was wrong: it is about the money, and too many people can’t help but think about the price tag. In fact, 2011 was summed in song form by Aloe Blacc’s I Need a Dollar, released a year ago.

This was the year of doom, gloom and anger. But it wasn’t all bad: inflation, unemployment and debt hit millions, but a fortunate group of hard workers in the UK did quite well as FTSE directors pay went up almost 50%. It turns out that this added to the anger, and exemplified the major theme of the economy this year: 2011 was when inequality hit home. At times, it felt like the newsreel had become stuck on ‘glum, to depressing’. Large, significant, multiple crises afflicted the UK, Europe, the USA and various developed and developing countries. Read more of this post

Reflections on the Revolution in the Arab World

By James Le Grice

The media has homogenised the popular revolts that spread across North Africa and the Middle East this year as “The Arab Spring”. It is not too much of a generalisation to refer to these revolts as a singular revolution; they share certain similarities of intent, organisation, and character. And now that the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt have run the full course from demonstrations to regime change, to political party formation, to elections, and to the emergence of winners, we have case studies with which to make predictions about the wider “Spring”. Read more of this post

Bangladesh 40 years on

By Eshaan Akbar

16 December 2011 is a very important day for my family.  Not only does it mark 23 years since my grandfather’s death but also 40 years since “Victory Day” for the country that came to be known as Bangladesh.  It marks the day Pakistani Armed Forces surrendered to the Allied Forces of East Pakistan, the Mukti Bahini and Indian forces.  With a patriotic Bangladeshi mother and a similarly patriotic Pakistani father, I have witnessed the most fascinating dynamics around this time of year throughout my life. Read more of this post

The British Museum’s Picasso gift: a change in philanthropy in the UK?

By Cressida Smart

Christmas came early for Stephen Coppel, prints and drawings curator of the British Museum, when his department received a complete collection of Picasso etchings. The donation allowed the British Museum to become one of only a handful of institutions in the world, and the only one in the UK, to own a set made by the artist between 1930 and 1937, known as the Vollard suite. Read more of this post

Sovereignty takes centre stage in Taiwan’s presidential campaign

By Anna Costa

What would IR scholar Stephen Krasner say if asked to comment on the electoral battle taking place in Taiwan in view of the mid-January presidential elections? Brought to international fame by his provocative Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, Krasner would have a hard time explaining why sovereignty, if it really is more a fiction than a political reality, is playing such a crucial role in the electoral contest currently taking place in Taiwan. Read more of this post

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