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Tom Rice’s book offers an extensive and cogent history of the Colonial Film Unit (CFU) from its early conception in the minds of bureaucrats and educational specialists to its dissolution following the wave of independence movements in the mid-20th century.
Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America is a deeply researched book, focused on how the new medium of photography was shaped and, in turn, altered by the country’s struggle over human bondage.
The Romantic image of the starving artist painting in a threadbare garret and refusing to bend his talent to please a Philistine public could not be further from the artists and their studios considered in Louise Campbell’s Studio Lives.
In 1979 Pete Wrong of the art collective and Punk band Crass was being interviewed by New Society about his graffiti operation on the London Underground: ‘We don’t just rip the posters down or spray them. We use stencils, neatly, to qualify them.
Some 70 years after the British left India it is timely to look back at how the kings and queens of the United Kingdom came to amass one of the largest private collections of South Asian art in the world. Two conjoined exhibitions currently showing at the Queen’s Gallery do just that.
In Room 145 of the Ceramics Galleries of the Victoria & Albert Museum, at the top of case 50, you can see an ‘architectural fragment’, which, according to its label, ‘once ornamented a palace in Yuanmingyuan or “garden of perfect clarity”’.
Somewhat late in the day, Tate Britain has got around to an exhibition about the British Empire and its legacies.
Scholars of contemporary religious history, of art history, and of the immigrant experience will find much to interest them in this fine volume from Samantha Baskind of Cleveland State University, Ohio.
A stigma around the ill-defined genre of popular history lingers in the academy.
The dissemination of cultural improvement was written into the ethos of the BBC under John Reith, the first director-general from 1927. Until 1945 the BBC broadcast a single national service and therefore constructed programming that attempted to offer a culturally unified ‘voice of the nation’.