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My Art, My Gender Identity and Me

The Cultural Frontline talks to artists, performers and cultural voices from around the world about their gender identity and the role it plays in the stories they tell and the art they create. Joining Tina are Caitlin Benedict and Amrou Al-Kadhi the creative forces behind the critically acclaimed BBC podcast NB – which stands for non-binary. They will be talking about their series and how it explores what being non-binary means and feels. The indigenous Zapotec community of Mexico...


Can podcasts change the world?

The Cultural Frontline asks how are podcasts changing the stories we tell each other and what we learn about our world? Are podcasts just a western phenomenon? According to producer and presenter Yang Yi, podcasts are not even half the story when it comes to audio in China. Yi explains that whilst entertainment podcasts are still in their infancy, it’s ‘pay for knowledge’ audio that’s big business. He’s the podcast pioneer who has interviewed everyone from the Beastie Boys to Barack Obama...


Meet theatre’s bold change-makers

We meet the writers, playwrights and performers who are changing the face of theatre. He is the fearless playwright whose productions have been met with protests and even banned. Abhishek Majumdar tells The Cultural Frontline what drives him to explore some of the world’s most volatile political conflicts on stage. What do you want from your local theatre? How about productions that not only tell dramatic stories but also confront economic inequality, racism, and social injustice. We hear...


Notre-Dame and the art that changes us

This week, we reflect on the power of art and culture to change the way we see the world. It’s a building that has been a source of inspiration for musicians, painters and writers for nine centuries. Following the devastating fire earlier this week the Parisian writer, Agnes Poirier reflects on what Notre-Dame means to her, her city and the culture of France. Has watching a band live onstage ever changed your outlook on life? Cameroonian musician Blick Bassy tells The Cultural Frontline why...


Art breaking barriers

The Cultural Frontline celebrates artists, writers and directors using art to bridge divides and provide a platform for everyone to tell their stories. Many theatres around the world now include some accessible versions of their shows for people with disabilities, such as captioned performances for Deaf audiences. But how accessible is theatre for performers with disabilities and do disabled audiences feel represented by the content being performed? We hear from two champions of...


A passion for dance

As part of the BBC’s Dance Passion season The Cultural Frontline celebrates great dancers from across the world and talks to performers and choreographers about their passion for dance. Can dance put marginalised people centre stage? We head to the Small Theatre in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital to meet Vahan Badalyan, the theatre director working to provide an artistic platform to the city’s disabled citizens. Have you ever heard of Pantsula? The acclaimed choreographer Gregory Maqoma tells the...


Arabic cinema's fearless female film-makers

Recent years have seen a new wave of female talent and women-focused stories in Arabic cinema. But what are the types of stories being told and can the portrayal of these stories help influence society across the region? We explore the opportunities and challenges faced by women working in front of and behind the camera. In this current era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, we discuss these and other challenges that arise when showing women on screen, as well as those faced by women within the...


Level up: How video games are changing society

The Cultural Frontline speaks to the gamers, designers and artists who are revolutionising the video game industry and trying to create a positive social change through gaming. What is life like for a professional e-sports player? Getting paid to play games all day and night may sound like a dream job, but in reality, what does it take to be an e-sports champion? The French League of Legends player Paul Boyer aka SOAZ tells The Cultural Frontline about a day in his life as an e-sports...


Songs for change

The Cultural Frontline speaks to singers and songwriters from across the world about how music can tell the story of their country, their people and themselves. Recent weeks have seen tensions rise between India and Pakistan following the continuing dispute over the territory of Kashmir. Military action has been taken and each nation has banned the other’s films and music. Asim Azhar is a rising star of Pakistani music, he tells Tina what this ban will mean for singers, like him, caught...


How to find the funny side of Brexit

Can you find the funny side of Brexit? The British comedian Andrew Doyle tells Tina how he believes British comedy and culture have been changed since the EU referendum. From Victor Hugo to Emile Zola, France has a long legacy of writers who seek to speak for the disenfranchised. But which writer represents the disaffected and the socially marginalised in the age of the anti-government yellow vest protests? The writer and journalist Anne Elisabeth Moutet traces the legacy of French social...


Iran Through the Eyes of its Artists

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which toppled the Shah of Iran and brought in an Islamic Republic. The seismic changes which swept the country included strict Islamic dress codes for women in public and censorship of music and the arts. But 40 years on, how has Iran changed culturally? Tina speaks to two designers inside and outside of Iran about how Iranian wardrobes mix modesty with modernity. Iranian designer and stylist Shadi Parand has dedicated her...


Hong Kong's Foo Tak Building

The Foo Tak building is a hidden artists’ hub in the centre of Hong Kong island. Fourteen storeys high, it stands inconspicuous amongst the futuristic malls and towering skyscrapers that have been crammed into this small, densely populated area. We explore the building studio by studio, meeting an intriguing mix of experimental musicians, illustrators, conceptual artists, painters, community radio producers, academics and journalists. Lack of space is huge problem for Hong Kong artists -...


Archiving Tunisia

Under the dictatorship of Ben Ali, much of Tunisia’s rich cultural heritage was left to deteriorate or simply disappear from national memory. But the Arab Spring has brought a new lease of life to Tunisia and a new freedom of expression. As a result, artists from older generations have commenced new work in preserving the country’s ancient art. Tunisian reporter Lilia Blaise reports on this culture clash. First, she meets entrepreneur Leila Ben Ghacem who has restored historic buildings and...


Restitution and Art: What Does it Mean to Return?

Last November a ground-breaking report commissioned by the French President Emmanuel Macron sent shock waves through the art world. It recommended the return or restitution of artefacts from France back to Africa. But what would this mean for museums and cultural institutions? We take the view of leading figures from two cultural institutions in the two continents – Dr Bongani Ndhlovu from the Iziko Museums of South Africa and Professor Nicholas Thomas, Director of the Museum of Archaeology...


Murder, Mystery and the Perfect Crime Story

Are true crime podcasts making detectives of us all? Tina speaks to two investigative journalists, Norway’s Marit Higraff and Canada’s Connie Walker about their award-winning podcasts, Death In Ice Valley and Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo, and asks whether podcasting is revolutionising true crime storytelling. The Danish writer Søren Sveistrup tells Tina why seven years after the conclusion of his hit TV series, The Killing, he has swapped screen writing for books, to write his first...


Meet Dimash, Central Asia’s Biggest Pop Star

Sell out tours, millions of social media followers and adoring fans across the globe. Welcome to the world of Dimash, Central Asia’s biggest pop star. We find out how he went from a child singer to a pioneer of pop music and why he is trying to change the world’s perception of his home country, Kazakhstan. Has a song, a book, a work of art ever changed the way you see the world? Zandra Rhodes, one of British fashion’s leading trend setters, reveals why the work of the artist Duggie Fields...


House of Kenzo, Art Collective

House of Kenzo are the underground dance collective revolutionising Texan nightlife. We join Breezy, Roxy, Flo, Gemel and Toni over a weekend, as they perform at the opening of a queer film festival in Austin and in their hometown of San Antonio. Each performance is a conceptual piece of artwork with built in messages of radical self-expression, body positivity, ecology and community. Constructing a DIY stage on the dancefloor, House of Kenzo blend jaw-dropping dance moves - voguing,...