Category Archives: Blog

A New Normal – BBC Religion & Ethics Review

The BBC’s Review of its Religion and Ethics output and programme-making practice has important immediate and long-term implications. I want to focus not so much on what programmes will get made as a result of its findings but on the change to media culture that I believe will follow from the implementation of its decisions.

This change will be seen in:

*the training of journalists of the future;

*the rising prominence of religious literacy as a concept, as a skill worth cultivating and an essential tool of self-understanding and of any claim to be an interpreter of the times;

*the development of a type of ‘belief literacy’, beyond religious literacy and well beyond the BBC.

The Review has launched a set of new norms, along with a raft of new means of consolidating and progressing them.

Mark Friend, who led the Review process, facilitating the roundtable consultation in Cardiff

Continue reading A New Normal – BBC Religion & Ethics Review

The Chimes – Dickens for our times

Don’t miss ‘The Chimes’ in its London run from 19th – 30th December. This staging of Charles Dickens’ second ‘Christmas Book’ as musical theatre is strikingly confident in its mix of professional actors and ‘an ensemble of men and women who have been homeless and are re-building their lives’.

The high quality of the songs  by Conor Linehan with musical direction by Cathal Synnott plus their excellent delivery by a well-drilled cast make this a real treat.

Trotty Veck (Matthew Jure) & Meg (Lucy Benson Brown)

The script, while staying close to the original story,  blends in contemporary resonances a-plenty. Continue reading The Chimes – Dickens for our times

The Hidden Story: Understanding Knowledge Exchange Partnerships within the Creative Economy

The Hidden Story: universities & knowledge exchange in the creative industries published its report on 4th December. There are many implications for Wales. As the report states:

‘The Creative Industries are a significant sector for the success of the UK economy contributing £87.4bn GVA in 2015 (DCMS). It is therefore important that we use the research funds allocated to university support for this sector (over £46 million in 2015) as effectively as possible. To do this, we must understand the distinctive nature of knowledge exchange relationships between universities and enterprises within this sector. ‘

The Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations at USW was the main Case Study from Wales. Continue reading The Hidden Story: Understanding Knowledge Exchange Partnerships within the Creative Economy

TV Commissioning: Demand & Supply

For decades I have, without knowing it, been walking past the place where Broadcasting in Wales began. It launched on 13th February 1923  in the building that’s now a NISA store, opposite Cardiff Castle. I spotted the commemorative plaque only recently.

Mostyn Thomas sings ‘Dafydd Y Garreg Wen’ in the first BBC broadcast from Wales, 1923

Continue reading TV Commissioning: Demand & Supply

Seen in Berlin 3: Bell Power and Cake

In unexpectedly warm sunshine outside the Bundestag in Berlin plangent bells rang across the park… and rang… and rang.

This tolling was so protracted that I realised something our of the ordinary was happening but even when I’d walked right up to the bell tower that’s visible above the trees near the Tiergarten I still didn’t grasp what I was hearing. Continue reading Seen in Berlin 3: Bell Power and Cake

Seen in Berlin 2: Luther – Image and Effect

The 500th anniversary this year of the Protestant Reformation is marked in Berlin by two key exhibitions.  In September  I saw both the  Luther Bilder / Luther Pictures at the Gemaldegalerie and The Luther Effect – 500 Years of Protestantism in the World at the Gropius Bau.

From the Bilder exhibition this is my favourite detail: the beaked, cheeky figure – human or not? – raving it up among a group of Catholic clergy in a pro-Luther parody… Continue reading Seen in Berlin 2: Luther – Image and Effect

Reading Another Angela

I admit I took on the editing of Elizabeth Ruth Obbard’s forthcoming book READING THE BOOK OF LIFE (New City Press) partly from curiosity because I share a name with the subject.

I was named after Angela Merici, a pioneer of the education of women but the subject of this biographical sketch and selection of documents is another Italian Angela, from Foligno, halfway between Assisi and Spoleto. Continue reading Reading Another Angela