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04 JANUARY 2013

What's the Value of Culture Today?

"Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the meaning and value of culture in the twenty–first century. In a programme recorded in front of an audience at Newcastle's Literary and Philosophical Society, Melvyn and the panel consider whether Matthew Arnold's assessment of culture as 'the great help out of our present difficulties' still has any relevance, almost 150 years after it was written."

(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)

"The Value of Culture: Two Cultures", Radio broadcast, Episode 5 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Friday 04 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.

Photo credit: J. Russell, Strobel Lab, Yale University 2009



21st century • assessment of culture • chimpanzeeChristopher Fraylingcommunity regenerationcreative industriescultural formscultural hegemony • culture today • culture war • Department of Science and Art • everyday practice • everything that is not nature • expertise • great help out of our present difficulties • high culturehuman activities • Literary and Philosophical Society • Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne • Matt Ridley • Matthew Arnold • meaning of culture • Melvyn Bragg • New Caledonian Crow • Newcastle • not nature • novelspanel discussionspopular culture • recorded in front of an audience • The Value of Culture (radio)Thomas Kuhn • Tiffany Jenkins • value of culture


Simon Perkins
20 MARCH 2012

The importance of metaphor and narrative to our habits of mind

"Fiction – with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions – offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people's thoughts and feelings.

The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real–life social encounters."

(Annie Murphy Paul, 17 March 2012,



affirming experience • booksbrainbrain networksbrain science • cause and effect • cognitive mapcomplex problemscomputer simulationdepictiondescription • emotional life • empathetic individuals • empathyexperiencefictional charactersfrustration • great literature • habits of mind • hidden motives • imaginative metaphors • intentions • interacting instances • languageliterature • longings • mental image • mental state • metaphornarrativenarrative fiction • navigate interactions • neurosciencenovelsoff the page • people and their actions • psychologyreaders • reading novels • real thingreal-life • redolent details • rich replica • simulating reality • simulationsmell • social encounters • social interactionsocial interactionssocial lifesocial worldtexture • the complexities of social life • theory of mindthoughts and feelingswatching television • your brain


Simon Perkins
16 JULY 2009

Thomas Allen: pulp fiction remixes

"[Thomas] Allen's photographs are inspired by his childhood experiences with pop–up books and View–Masters. He begins his process by cutting figures and images out of illustrated pages of old books and vintage fiction novels. Allen then cleverly rearranges and juxtaposes the forms to create three–dimensional scenes. Next, he carefully lights his subjects and photographs the scenes.

When separated from their original stories, the figures take on fresh roles in entirely new situations. Yet they retain their intended purpose of storytelling. Characters and objects originally created as two–dimensional illustrations are raised from their pages and given new life in three–dimensional space. The figures return back to two–dimensional objects, this time in the form of a photograph."
(Joseph Bellows Gallery)






Simon Perkins

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