Culture

Artemisia Gentileschi’s painting Lucretia sells for almost €4.8m | Art and design

A newly discovered canvas by the female 17th-century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi sold for almost €4.8m (£4.1m) on Wednesday, a record for the artist, auction house Artcurial said. The sale came amid a surge of interest in the rare female baroque painter’s extraordinarily dramatic work and easily exceeded the base estimate of between €600,000 and €800,000. The painting, Lucretia, depicts the ancient Roman noblewoman who killed herself after being raped, showing her bare-breasted and about to plunge a dagger into…

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Shakira: ‘I needed surgery – or divine intervention’ | Music

There was a time, in late 2017, when Shakira thought she might never sing again. After suffering a haemorrhage in her vocal cords, she could barely speak. “I always thought there were going to be things in my life that would go away, like beauty, youth, all of that stuff,” she says. “But I never thought that my voice would leave me, because it’s so inherent to my nature. It was my identity. So when I couldn’t sing, that was…

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Big flute discovery and billionaire woes | Brief letters | Education

I was fascinated to read your obituary of Frank Giles (7 November) which contains the following: “His father died when he was 10, leaving the family in straitened circumstances … even so, enough money was found to send Giles to Wellington college.” As the current fees for Wellington seem to be approximately £30,000 per year, and presumably were the equivalent in the 1930s, could we please have the Guardian definition of “straitened circumstances”?Mike HoskinHinton St George, Somerset • My son’s…

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Why boarding schools produce bad leaders | Education

In Britain, the link between private boarding education and leadership is gold-plated. If their parents can afford it, children are sent away from home to walk a well-trodden path that leads straight from boarding school through Oxbridge to high office in institutions such as the judiciary, the army, the City and, especially, government. Our prime minister was only seven when he was sent away to board at Heatherdown preparatory school in Berkshire. Like so many of the men who hold…

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‘It’s in complete crisis’ – architects form trade union amid fury and despair over exploitation | Art and design

Unpaid overtime, precarious contracts, working hours so antisocial your only friends are people who do the same job … after a minimum of seven years’ education and professional training, the reality of working as an architect can be a bleak prospect. It’s not hard to see why so many of them wear black, as if in permanent mourning for the lives they once had. “Spending almost 10 years at uni to be paid £20,000 doesn’t seem right,” says Joseph, a…

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Arts education should not be a luxury, says Julie Hesmondhalgh | Education

Julie Hesmondhalgh, the actor and campaigner, has accused policymakers of conspiring to limit access to arts and culture for British children. Reacting to a report into school provision, Hesmondhalgh told the Observer she was dismayed that arts education was now seen as a luxury. “The idea it is not career-oriented is so wrong. And anyway, what happened to the idea of learning for learning’s sake? It is so depressing.” The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education has called for the…

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Oxford professor accused of selling ancient Bible fragments | Education

An Oxford University professor has been accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to a controversial US company that has been involved in several high-profile scandals related to its aggressive purchases of biblical artefacts. Dirk Obbink, one of the world’s most celebrated classics professors, has been named after an investigation by staff associated with Oxford’s Oxyrhynchus Papyri project. He is accused of selling without permission a number of ancient fragments to the US arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby. Its owners,…

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Ofsted plan to inspect ‘cultural capital’ in schools attacked as elitist | Education

A two-word term, invented in the 1970s by a French sociologist heavily influenced by Karl Marx, makes an unlikely entrance in Ofsted’s new framework [pdf] for the inspection of schools in England this week. Each institution is now to be judged on the extent to which it builds pupils’ “cultural capital”. What exactly does that mean? Users of the term, including the schools minister Nick Gibb and the former education secretary Michael Gove, suggest it is about ensuring that disadvantaged…

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Panic Attack review: a wake-up call the woke won’t read | Education

When a member of the American Nazi party spoke at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, he did so at the invitation of a leftwing student group. As a stunt to promote the event – part of a series which also featured Malcolm X, the conservative William F Buckley, communists and a member of the fringe rightwing John Birch Society – the students wore Nazi uniforms. All such guests were “greeted politely”, according to the feminist scholar Jo Freeman,…

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Excluded: former pupils in spotlight in play about school system | Education

In a Victorian Gothic church behind Harrods in west London, a group of young people from troubled backgrounds have gathered to rehearse a play about school. Excluded is a new production, set in a turbulent GCSE class in a London secondary school in 2019, that attempts to shine a light on the problems faced by vulnerable young people within the education system. The content of the play is close to home. At an early workshop exploring the issues, it emerged…

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Manchester University students paint over Rudyard Kipling mural | Education

Students at the University of Manchester have painted over a mural of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, arguing that the writer “dehumanised people of colour”. The poem If, which was written around 1895, had been painted on the wall of the university’s newly refurbished students’ union. But students painted over the verses, replacing them with the 1978 poem Still I Rise by theUS poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. In a statement on Facebook, Sara Khan, the union’s liberation…

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‘Stormzy effect’: record number of black Britons studying at Cambridge | Education

The “Stormzy effect” has helped inspire record numbers of black British students to study at the University of Cambridge, following the musician’s high-profile backing of scholarships for black students at the institution. Cambridge said 91 black British students had been admitted as first-year undergraduates at the start of the academic year, an increase of nearly 50% compared with last year’s 61 students. It takes the total number of black undergraduates studying at Cambridge above 200 for the first time. Last…

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Where will our working-class playwrights come from, now the arts have been sidelined? | Selina Todd | Education

The playwright Shelagh Delaney shot to fame when her debut work, A Taste of Honey, first performed in 1958, turned into a runaway success. She was just 19. The play told the story of a single mother, Helen, and her teenage daughter, Jo, who wanted more from life than marriage and motherhood in the slums. It has rarely been off the stage since and is currently being revived in a National Theatre tour. Fascinated by the work and its Salford-born…

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Workers feel more stress and anxiety than ever before. We need to talk about this | Elliot Perlman | Books

In towns and cities across Australia, one gets the sense that many people are just barely hanging on. You see it on their faces, hear it in their voices, and sometimes even fear the consequences of it via spontaneous outbursts of public incivility over things that, decades ago, one would not have expected to cause any disturbance of the peace. You see it on the street in the menacing – or at least defensive – looks people give one another,…

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A Principal’s Reflections: Lead in the Now – Education Article

“When you finally let go of the past, something better comes along.” – Anonymous There are many reasons why we tend to fall back on what we are either comfortable with or have always done.  For one, comfort tends to be the enemy of growth.  In other cases, the fear of failure of the unknown can derail us from taking the needed risks to implement new and better ideas.  Then there is the most dangerous view in education that the…

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Time to stop neglecting education for adults | Letters | Education

Gaby Hinsliff is right (My dad studied late in life. He wouldn’t get the chance now, 1 June). She knows from family experience that mature learning is rich in rewards both professional and personal. The Augar report acknowledges this, making positive recommendations as to how to extend its reach: the reintroduction of maintenance grants is particularly helpful. Welcome as it is, this development merely foreshadows what should be a policy direction for the future. As president of Birkbeck I know…

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