Gemma Cairney brings together artists from two different countries to combine their talents to make a new piece of music.
In this episode Gemma invites 24-year-old London rapper Loyle Carner to Guyana, South America to join flautist and composer Keith Waithe, a leading figurehead and champion of Guyanese culture. Loyle aka Benjamin Coyle-Larner was raised in Croydon South London by his Scottish mother and stepfather. His biological father is of Guyanese descent, but he has never visited the country.
Loyle earned a Mercury Prize nomination for his debut album Yesterday’s Gone in 2017. His second album Not Waving, But Drowning was released earlier this year exploring everything from his ADHD and the pains of moving away from home, to his mixed race heritage. His other passion is food and he launched the Chilli Con Carner cookery school for kids growing up, as he had, with ADHD.
Loyle will be immersed in the culture, food and music of Georgetown, working with Keith and other traditional Guyanese musicians to learn about the roots of Guyanese music and explore his black identity and create a brand new track together .
Presented by Gemma Cairney
Produced by Jax Coombes
A BBC 6 Music Production for BBC Radio 4
Going to the Gay Bar
LGBTQ+ venues are closing across the UK.
Research from the UCL Urban Laboratory indicates that, since 2006, the number of venues in London has fallen from 125 to 53 - with some still at risk of closure. Conversely, there's been a 144% increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, with one in five experiencing a hate crime this year.
Performance artist and writer Travis Alabanza asks if the venues have served the purpose they were originally built for or if now, more than ever, LGBTQ+ people need these spaces. Speaking to Professor Ben Campkin from UCL, Travis finds out why individual venues are closing and the impact of their loss.
Travis hears personal accounts of how these venues shapes individuals, and visits one of London’s oldest LGBTQ+ venues, The Black Cap, which closed in 2015. Campaigners have since held weekly vigils there, but developers want to turn the upper part into luxury apartments and say a new pub will have an "LGBT flavour". Travis also visits a venue being threatened with closure, The Eden Bar in Birmingham, as well as other LGBTQ+ spaces beyond nightlife; Gay's The Word bookshop, and The Outside Project.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell explains the impact of these venues in the 70s and 80s compared to today, and London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé discusses how London is working to protect venues.
Finally, Travis speaks with Phyll Opoku- Gyimah, the co-founder of UK Black Pride, to consider whether these venues truly serve the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community.
Produced by Anishka Sharma and Sasha Edye-Lindner
Researcher: Eleanor Ross
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
LLGC Oral History clips and First Out Oral History clips courtesy of UCL Urban Laboratory.
Photo credit: Tiu Makkonen
House of Dreams
"I always say, it's my house - I'll do what I want. People choose to come into the house, that's fine by me, of course you're extremely welcome to come through the door, but when you come into my world it's my rules."
Step inside the House of Dreams...
Inspired by outsider art environments like Picassiette in Chartres, Palais Ideal in Hauterives, and the home of Bodan Litnianski, the artist Stephen Wright has been slowly transforming every inch of his East Dulwich home since 1998.
The surfaces inside and outside the house have been covered with found objects - broken dolls hanging from the ceiling, his parents' dentures cemented into the wall, photographs, records, discarded glasses, wigs and bottle tops. A riot of colour and texture, each object reverberant with past lives - the scent of old perfume on fabric, the marks of damage and use on a well-loved toy. The walls, floors and ceilings are also covered with hand-written 'memory boards' in black and white, detailing important events in Stephen's life. A life marked by painful loss and deep love.
"All of these [outsider artists] are fighting the world by doing this, that's what this is about... they are fighting the world. It's about imposing your own personality and your own vision on a world that is uniform."
Original music composed by Jeremy Warmsley
Produced by Eleanor McDowall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
Art of Now: Sell Out
Ben Ferguson explores corporate sponsorship in the arts and the murkier area of brand-artist collaboration.
The art world is saturated with corporate money. There are big sponsorship deals, where companies underwrite cultural institutions like the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum and the Tate in return for cultural prestige and hanging company logos over exhibitions. And alongside this, the half-hidden, lucrative world of artist-brand partnerships or collaborations, where brands are not only underwriting artists' work financially but wrapping themselves around the creative process itself.
Patronage in the arts is nothing new. With years of austerity, public funding suffers and corporate money becomes ever more vital for the art world. But companies and brands have their own agenda, their own interests. What are they getting out of it? How much influence do they have on the work commissioned and shown?
Fossil fuel companies who sponsor the great public galleries, in particular BP, are accused of using their association with the arts to divert public attention away from their environmental record - so-called "art-washing". Meanwhile there is growing unease that brands in general are becoming embedded in the art world, their commercial interests somehow concealed behind the work. Are lines being crossed between art, ethics and commerce and should we be worried?
Journalist Ben Ferguson hears from artists including Nan Goldin, Gary Hume, Anish Kapoor, Antonio Roberts and Unga from the collective Broken Fingaz, as well as critics, activists, educators and cultural platforms. He asks what "selling out" really means in today’s art world.
Produced by Simon Hollis
A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4
Image credit: Antonio Roberts
Art of Now: The World in Their Hands
We hear from one of the world’s last remaining globemakers and reflect on the globe’s cultural and symbolic currency.
While Google Earth may give us intricate detail of every inch of land, there’s nothing like clutching a globe to properly comprehend our place in the world. We’ve been fascinated by replicating our planet since ancient times; an art and science that’s developed as our understanding has evolved.
In this programme, we step into the studio of Bellerby & Co Globemakers, one of the few companies remaining that are making globes by hand today. From their Stoke Newington warehouse, we follow the journey of a globe from design to dispatch. We hear about the challenges they face daily, from retraining their hands to querying geopolitical protocol, and the customers who’ve commissioned their unique bespoke worlds.
Alongside this creative process, we visit installation artist Luke Jerram, who is touring his replica earth artwork, Gaia. We also hear from writer and cartography enthusiast Simon Garfield and globe conservator Sylvia Sumira to explore the rich history of globemaking as well as some bigger ideas around the influence of those who represent our planet to us. The globe is crucially illustrative of our shared experience. Do we need its symbol today more than ever?
Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker
Photo by kind permission of Bellerby & Co Globemakers (credit: Sebastian Boettcher)
Gaia soundtrack courtesy of Luke Jerram and Dan Jones