Shakespeare in Ten Acts at the British Library

blThis week the British Library is inviting people to join them on a journey through 400 years of history – from the first productions of Hamlet and The Tempest – to understand how Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed for new generations of theatre-goers.

Shakespeare in Ten Acts showcases over 200 unique and rare items such as the only surviving play-script in Shakespeare’s hand, an authentic Shakespeare signature, the earliest printed edition of Hamlet from 1603 and Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Complementing the exhibition is a new online learning resource, Discovering Literature: Shakespeare. Whether you’re a student, teacher, researcher, or simply a lover of literature, Discovering Literature: Shakespeare will encourage critical thinking and independent learning to enrich your understanding of all-things Shakespeare.

The exhibition runs until September 6th. For more details, visit the link below:

West Africa – Word, Symbol & Song at the British Library

blA major new exhibition, West Africa: Word, Symbol & Song, begins at the British Library from today, celebrating the cultural dynamism of West Africa, from early symbolic scripts and illuminated manuscripts, to the writings of Wole Soyinka and the music of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.

From the great manuscript libraries of the early Middle Ages, through to colonialism and independence right up to the writers and artists working in the present day, West Africa has a powerful literary, artistic and musical heritage.

The exhibition traces a thousand years of this history, drawing on over 200 stunning manuscripts, books, sound and film recordings as well as artworks, masks and colourful textiles from the British Library’s vast African collections and beyond, offering an insight into the centuries-old written heritage, as well as the ancient oral traditions of West Africa, both of which continue to influence and inspire in the present day.

The exhibition, which runs through until 16th February, will be accompanied by a major series of talks, events and performances. For further details, visit the British Library website here.

Want to Know What Was on TV on the Day You Were Born…?

Radio Times by Bradford TimelineThe BBC this week launched a new online service that allows you to search through complete schedules of their seminal listings magazine, Radio Times.

The Genome Project has digitised listings from nearly 4,500 issues that cover everything broadcast by the BBC on their radio and television channels between the years 1923 to 2009, and though at present the database only contains basic information such as capsule synopsis and programme details and a brief cast/credit list, they aim to include images later.

Nearly 4.5 million programmes are covered, including old favorites such as Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python – and Crackerjack! – along with details of the BBC’s coverage of major sporting and historical events including Olympic Games, World Cups and Moon landings. So now you can find out what was on TV the day you were born!

Although ITV listings are not included owing to copyright issues, you can access an archive of the TV Times, ITV’s ‘answer’ to Radio Times, by visiting the BUFVC database’s TV Times listing archive, which covers the period 1955-1985 (please note you will need your Athens username & password to access this service).

Radio Times cover by Bradford Timeline, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Terror at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoHalloween has started early at the British Library this October, as they open their vaults to a spooky new exhibition entitled Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination.

From the literary nightmares of Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to the screen perils of Stanley Kubrick and Hammer horror films, over 200 rare objects chart 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre, detailing how the genre has cast a dark shadow across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and every day life.

Iconic works such as handwritten drafts of the classics Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as well as the more contemporary horrors of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and the Twilight saga, are included in the exhibition, which runs through until 20th January. Full booking details are available via the British Library website here:

Photographic Youth Music Culture Archive (PYMCA) Trial

pymca logo

Between now and December we’re trialling a unique on-line social history and youth culture database that may prove of much interest to social scientists, artists and historians alike.

The Photographic Youth Music Culture Archive (PYMCA) is a specialist resource featuring over 40,000 exclusive photographs, moving images, texts, graphics, digital magazines and supplementary research. With insight materials covering the last 150 years of youth culture, youth tribes and social history, PYMCA is an essential educational resource for many HE and FE subject areas from media to fashion, music to history, social sciences and much more.

To access the database please go to  – when prompted follow the ‘Login via your home institution’ link, choose Loughborough University from the drop-down menu & input your Athens username and password.

We would welcome feedback – good or bad – on this trial, so please contact Steve Corn  with any comments you would care to make.

Forthcoming Events on Campus During the Spring Term

790There’s a wide range of musical and artistic events to look forward to on campus during the Spring Term.

Radar, the University’s own arts programme, kicks off the New Year with an intriguing new installation work, Product Pleasure, which is being hosted in a kiosk on Market Street in Loughborough town centre! Academics within the University Design School have been exploring how consumers see products as sensorial, emotional and meaningful experiences, not merely as objects to deliver a service, and artists Jeremy Hutchison and Cecile B. Evans have been asked to respond to these questions and the research that is taking place within the Design School through these installation works. Jeremy Hutchison begins with his commission which is launched on Friday 10th January at 6pm, and continues throughout the following week from 11am daily until Saturday 18th January.

On Wednesday 22nd January award-winning guitarist Alan Thomas will be providing a free lunchtime performance of classical and Spanish guitar favourites, and timeless Lennon/McCartney compositions in the Art Cafe at the Cope Auditorium at 12pm.

Eden Flix continues their season of hard-hitting documentary films with an environmental twist with a showing of How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? introduced by Professor Jacqui Glass, Professor of Architecture & Sustainable Construction in the School of Civil and Building Engineering, on Wednesday 29th January at 3pm (free entry, but booking is necessary). The film traces the rise of one of the world’s premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.

On Wednesday 12th February the Heath Quartet (pictured above) will be playing at the Martin Hall Theatre from 7pm. Formed in 2002, the Heath Quartet is already establishing a strong international presence, having performed at prestigious festivals and venues across the UK, Europe and further afield.  In 2013 they won the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award, the first ensemble in 15 years to win it, and in 2014 they make their Carnegie Hall debut. In this programme they will be performing works by Mozart, Tippett and Mendelssohn.

And on Monday 17th March from 7pm in the Cognito Bar at the Student Union, Speech Bubble will be blowing up for another scintillating evening of the finest poetry and spoken word by professional wordsmiths and student talent.

On a negative note, An Evening with Richard Mabey, arranged for Wednesday 29th January at the Martin Hall, has had to be cancelled owing to ill health. Those who have already purchased tickets need to contact the box office on 01509 635000 to arrange a refund.

Full and complete details of these events can be found via the Loughborough University Arts website here.

Forthcoming Arts Events on Campus During the Autumn Term


A host of award-winning artists and musicians will be visiting the campus this term.

Author Blake Morrison, whose novel The Long Weekend was recently dramatised on ITV, will be talking about his life and career at the Martin Hall Theatre at 7PM on Thursday 24th October. He will be reading from his works and afterwards will be available to sign copies of his books.

 On Friday 1st November from 7PM in the Leonard Dixon Studio at the Martin Hall writer and theatre maker Martin Pinchbeck will be presenting three works inspired by the works of Shakespeare under the umbrella title of The Trilogy. The Beginning, an interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Middle, a deconstruction of Hamlet, and The End triggered by a stage direction form The Winter’s Tale. Fusing an experimental approach to Shakespeare’s text with the company’s personal stories about their first and last times onstage, The Trilogy asks the audience to enter a world where a perfomance can be a rehearsal, text can be both script and set and they are always aware of where the fire exists are.

On Wednesday 6th November at 7PM in the Cope Auditorium the Gould Piano Trio will be playing a selection of Mozart, Smetna and Schubert. Regularly featured on Radio 3, the Trio are one of the UK’s leading ensembles, having established, over their 20 year history, an enviable reputation at home and abroad for their compelling style, integrity and imagination.

Music is said to aid the digestion, so why not take your sarnies along to a Lunchtime Concert at the Art Cafe in the Cope Auditorium starring the Cardinal Saxophone Quintet who will be performing a foot tapping programme of saxophone originals and arrangements of popular music. Better yet, it’s free!

Folk music fans are in for a treat when Kathryn Tickle and the Side (pictured above) visit the Martin Hall Theatre on Wednesday 27th November (doors 7PM). Channelling their diverse musical experiences into a powerful new sound The Side stay true to the spirit and essence of Kathryn’s own Nurthumbrian folk tradition whilst unleashing the talent and creativity of each individual musician.

On Monday 2nd December Speech Bubble, the Lufbra Poetry Jam, blows up again in the Cognito Bar at the Student Union from 7PM.  Featuring the performing talents of students, locals and professional mentally-muscled, pencil-pushers in a night of oral entertainment.

Christmas isn’t all that far off really, and to help give you that festive feeling the University Choir, aided & abetted by the University String Orchestra, will be performing Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit – music for Christmas Eve based on French Christmas folk songs – at the Cope Auditorium from 7PM on Wednesday 4th December.

For full details, ticket prices and booking links, visit the Loughborough University Arts page here:

Benjamin Britten at the British Library

Benjamin Britten in bronze by Michael AmbjornA unique range of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of the birth of the celebrated English composer Benjamin Britten begins this month at the British Library.

Poetry in Sound: the Music of Benjamin Britten 1913-1976 explores the life and career of a composer whose work spanned practically every musical genre and who drew his inspiration from literature and poetry, including a collaboration with W.H. Auden.

Alongside the manuscripts of some of Britten’s most celebrated compositions, the exhibition will feature photographs, concert programmes, and hitherto unpublished recordings of his music. There will also be a series of talks, forums and musical events through the summer.

The British Library has also digitised all of its Britten manuscripts, which are now available online in a special arrangement with the rights-holders. 

The exhibition, which is part of Britten 100 festival celebrating the centenary of the composer, opens this month and runs through until September. For further details visit the British Library site here:

Bronze bust of Benjamin Britten by Georg Ehrlich, photographed by Michael Ambjorn, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Planet Earth is Blue (and there's something you should view…)

international space station by nasaSpace buffs and music buffs alike should be thrilled by a song video with a difference that’s just been posted to YouTube – all the way from the Earth’s orbit!

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, the out-going commander of the International Space Station, returns to Earth today and decided to mark the end of his tenure by performing and recording an acoustic cover of David Bowie’s immortal 1969 inter-galactic hit Space Oddity – while floating in zero gravity around his very own ‘tin can’ inside the space station against the backdrop of outer space, 230 miles above the Earth, making it the first ever music video to be filmed in space. Beat that, Major Tom!

The video marks a triumphant culmination of a six-month tour aboard the station that has seen Hadfield become a global social media superstar through his Twitter account, which he began with the aim of raising awareness and reigniting enthusiasm for space travel, recording every detail of his stay in space backed by some stunning shots of the Earth from orbit. To date he’s amassed over 770,000 followers – doubtless now a few music promoters among them!

To view the video on YouTube, follow this link:

International Space Station over the Earth, courtesy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, reproduced from Flickr under CC License.

Get Documentary with Filmakers Library Online

filmmakers library online

If you’re looking for something beyond the standard text resources among our social science and humanities database, the Filmakers Library Online offers a visual interpretation across the subject spectrum through nearly 900 globally acclaimed documentary films and videos.

Filmakers Library Online provides award-winning video documentaries that cover literature and the arts, race and gender studies, multiculturalism, human rights and criminal justice, psychology, globalization and global studies, the environment and bioethics, politics and current events, and much more. It presents points of view and historical and current experiences from diverse cultures and traditions world-wide.

Among the collection are works by noted independent film makers including Academy Award nominated documentarians Josh Aronson, David Bradbury, Christine Choy and Roger Weisberg, as well as films produced through studios and producers including the BBC, the Discovery Channel and the National Film Board of Canada.

All the films are indexed and easily searchable through multiple points of access including thumbnail images and synchronised transcripts, allowing you to find your point of interest in hundreds of hours of video within seconds.

All films are free to view on the website, and require nothing more than a Flash-enabled browser to play.

You can access it directly via or you can search for material through Library Catalogue Plus.