109 episodes

In the Financial Times culture podcast, editors Lilah Raptopoulos and Griselda Murray Brown get together to make sense of where culture is going. This season, with Gris on maternity leave, Lilah is presenting a special six-episode series about how culture is shifting shape. The pandemic has exposed deep cracks in our systems, giving us an unprecedented chance to reexamine and upend. Our question is: what’s possible now? Join Lilah, star guests and the team behind the Financial Times’ award-winning Life & Arts journalism to explore how culture is helping us envision what’s next. New episodes every two weeks.

Culture Call Financial Times

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 282 Ratings

In the Financial Times culture podcast, editors Lilah Raptopoulos and Griselda Murray Brown get together to make sense of where culture is going. This season, with Gris on maternity leave, Lilah is presenting a special six-episode series about how culture is shifting shape. The pandemic has exposed deep cracks in our systems, giving us an unprecedented chance to reexamine and upend. Our question is: what’s possible now? Join Lilah, star guests and the team behind the Financial Times’ award-winning Life & Arts journalism to explore how culture is helping us envision what’s next. New episodes every two weeks.

    Shantell Martin on how to draw a line. Plus: Gris returns!

    Shantell Martin on how to draw a line. Plus: Gris returns!

    Welcome to our Season 3 finale! To wrap up the year, Lilah is joined by the artist Shantell Martin. Shantell draws big, bold lines. Everywhere. She makes a strong case for taking out a pen. We discuss how to teach art to the next generation, what it means to 'sell out' in the art world, British versus American racism, and an urgent question for this time: who are you? Afterwards, co-host Griselda Murray Brown stops in during maternity leave to talk about motherhood and this season's themes.

    Thank you for joining us on this journey. You can keep in touch with Lilah on Instagram at @lilahrap, on Twitter at @lilahrap and @ftculturecall, and by email at culturecall@ft.com.

    Links from the show:

    For free 30-day access to FT journalism, sign up to the Coronavirus Business Update newsletter with this special link: https://www.ft.com/newsletter-signup/coronavirus?segmentId=0d92d58c-2c7d-178e-6aa8-81529dd53b1b

    —Shantell on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shantell_martin/

    —Shantell's work at the New York City Ballet: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballet-shantell-martin-artist.html

    —Dear Grandmother, a collaboration between Dot and Shantell Martin: https://shantellmartin.art/work/x-dot-martin/  

    —New Tricks, Shantell's British detective show recommendation, is on Amazon Prime

    —Janelle Monáe's music video for Turntables: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CFrCk6_0rM

    —A great recent FT interview with Mary Gaitskill, author of Lost Cat: 55dee0a5-1cb2-4aff-b536-9bb80f29a257

    —Morning Song by Sylvia Plath: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49008/morning-song-56d22ab4a0cee

    —Great back catalogue episodes: start the journey of this season with Episode 1: Miranda July! Some standout Gris interviews include Tyler Mitchell, George the Poet and Jia Tolentino. Some standout Lilah interviews include Ira Glass, Maaza Mengiste and Esther Perel.

    ---

    “Turntables” is an original song by Janelle Monáe for the Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés' 2020 documentary film All In: The Fight for Democracy. Courtesy Bad Boy, 2021
     
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    • 56 min
    Maaza Mengiste on telling lost stories: 'Archives are not innocent'

    Maaza Mengiste on telling lost stories: 'Archives are not innocent'

    Maaza Mengiste is one of the FT's Women of the Year, and author of the epic historical novel The Shadow King. Her book, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia at the start of WWII. It asks massive questions about how history is remembered, recorded and retold. Maaza and Lilah talk about collective memory, women warriors, decolonising the archives and who will tell the stories of 2020. It's full of wisdom. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll take notes.

    Plus: Alice Fishburn, editor of FT Weekend Magazine, drops by to discuss the novel, our Women of the Year issue, and commissioning in a pandemic.

    We love hearing your thoughts! Email us at culturecall@ft.com. Message Lilah on Instagram or Twitter @lilahrap, and the podcast @ftculturecall.
    Links:For free 30-day access to FT journalism, sign up to the Coronavirus Business Update newsletter with this special link: https://www.ft.com/newsletter-signup/coronavirus?segmentId=0d92d58c-2c7d-178e-6aa8-81529dd53b1b

    –Explore the FT Women of 2020 issue (paywall) https://www.ft.com/womenof2020
    –Maaza Mengiste's Inventory Q&A in FT Magazine (paywall) https://www.ft.com/content/cc2a53d3-960e-4617-a1c1-0df51e17bdae
    –A Big Read on the crisis in Ethiopia (FT): https://www.ft.com/content/b888c23a-45ed-4937-9154-3117cc23e202 and a Twitter thread from Maaza on the humanitarian disaster https://twitter.com/MaazaMengiste/status/1331312586869104641
    –What's going on currently in Armenia (Politico) https://www.politico.eu/article/nagorno-karabakh-refugees-see-little-chance-of-returning-home-after-peace-deal/ and a history of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (Jacobin) https://jacobinmag.com/2020/10/azerbaijan-armenia-conflict-nationalism-colonialism
    –Project 3541, Maaza's online archive of the 1935-41 Italo-Ethiopian war https://www.project3541.com/
    –An essay by Maaza on losing her father https://thecorrespondent.com/484/trapping-ghosts-photographs-dont-lock-us-to-loss-they-remind-us-to-live/64077614260-800b5ee9
    –The Rockefeller Tree in all its glory https://twitter.com/liamstack/status/1328801264075935747
    –Maaza's book recommendations: Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah, Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez, Trieste by Dasa Drndic
    –Alice mentioned two FT Magazine stories: The next pandemic: where is it coming from and how do we stop it? https://www.ft.com/content/2a80e4a2-7fb9-4e2c-9769-bc0d98382a5c and Siri Hustvedt: ‘I think of the sirens as New York’s heartbreaking music’ https://www.ft.com/content/9b39d8ae-8433-11ea-b872-8db45d5f6714
    –Alice's book recommendation: Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

    –Our next guest is Shantell Martin. Here's her Instagram https://www.instagram.com/shantell_martin/?hl=en and a TED Talk about her work https://www.ted.com/talks/shantell_martin_no_one_else_you_could_be
    –Reader recs: The Social Dilemma and Love and Anarchy are on Netflix
    –The reader-recommended piece by Eric Hoffer https://www.cooperative-individualism.org/hoffer-eric_role-of-the-undesirables-1963.htm
    –Lilah's recs: Kiley Reid's novel Such a Fun Age comes out soon in paperback https://www.ft.com/content/542200be-322a-11ea-a329-0bcf87a328f2 / The Queen's Gambit is on Netflix
     
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    • 48 min
    Simon Schama on what history can teach us

    Simon Schama on what history can teach us

    Simon is one of the world’s premier historians and art historians, and also a colleague! After a tumultuous election, we've invited him on to help connect the dots and give us much-needed historical context. Plus: Neil Munshi, our west Africa correspondent joins us from Lagos to reflect on our conversation and discuss his recent piece on how companies are facing their brutal colonial histories. Two people with global, historical lenses through which to see 2020.

    What do you think is possible now, that seemed impossible before? Email us atculturecall@ft.com. You can message Lilah on Instagram or Twitter @lilahrap, and find the podcast on Twitter @ftculturecall. We love voice notes - so send those, too.

    Links from the episode:
    –Simon's piece The two Americas: LBJ, MLK and what the dramas of 1965 can teach a polarised nation https://www.ft.com/content/73a26ef6-9083-43bb-8881-b48768a87b92
    –Simon's piece on statues: History is better served by putting the Men in Stone in museums: https://www.ft.com/content/1117dfb6-8e51-46ec-a74b-59973a96a85a
    –Simon's BBC series the Romantics and Us is on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgYZaUBQg9s&t=1093s
    –Wendell Wilkie's One World: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_(book)
    –September, by Gerhard Richter: https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/paintings/photo-paintings/death-9/september-13954
    –Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is on Netflix
    –Neil Munshi's piece, Belgium’s reckoning with a brutal history in Congo: https://www.ft.com/content/a17b87ec-207d-4aa7-a839-8e17153bcf51
     
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    • 43 min
    iO Tillett Wright on the American experiment

    iO Tillett Wright on the American experiment

    “I feel like America was an experiment that right now is yielding really hideous, ugly results". In the days after the US election, Lilah explores how divided the US is with artist and activist iO Tillett Wright. iO created the hit true-crime podcast The Ballad of Billy Balls. He just finished a ten-year project travelling to all 50 states to photograph 10,000 queer Americans and has a unique lens on America. They discuss the election, how Americans were taught to hate, the dangers of groupthink, the ebb and flow of the fight for queer rights, this generation’s fight for civil rights and what effective activism looks like.

    iO's projects:

    –The Ballad of Billy Balls: https://www.theballadofbillyballs.com/

    –His memoir, Darling Days: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28446322-darling-days

    –Self Evident Truths: http://www.selfevidentproject.com/

    –iO's Ted talk, 50 Shades of Gay: https://www.ted.com/talks/io_tillett_wright_fifty_shades_of_gay?language=en

    –A conversation between iO and King Princess (Interview Magazine): https://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/io-tillett-wright-and-king-princess-examine-queerness-in-todays-america

    iO's recommendations:

    –Rabbit Hole podcast, from the New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/column/rabbit-hole

    –The Social Dilemma is on Netflix (here's an FT interview with its director, Jeff Orlowski): https://www.ft.com/content/f1d3a2c8-1a01-4d37-a939-6067ab2b8b63

    –Swindled, a podcast about white-collar crime & corporate greed: https://swindledpodcast.com/

    –A General Theory of Love: a book about the science of human emotions and biological psychiatry https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35711.A_General_Theory_of_Love

    Ahead of our next episode, here are three pieces by Simon Schama:

    –The two Americas: LBJ, MLK and what the dramas of 1965 can teach a polarised nation https://www.ft.com/content/73a26ef6-9083-43bb-8881-b48768a87b92

    –Simon Schama: History is better served by putting the Men in Stone in museums https://www.ft.com/content/1117dfb6-8e51-46ec-a74b-59973a96a85a

    –Plague Time: Simon Schama on what history tells us https://www.ft.com/content/279dee4a-740b-11ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca
     
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    • 45 min
    Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei? The Chinese dissident artist on what makes a powerful protest

    Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei? The Chinese dissident artist on what makes a powerful protest

    After a summer defined by protest, we invite on Ai Weiwei, one of the most influential artists and activists of our time, to discuss whether we've changed. Weiwei describes how to protest creatively and powerfully ("you only see your power from your enemy's eye"), the symbolic meaning of this pandemic, and his view on the state of humanity. Plus: FT arts editor Jan Dalley joins Lilah to unpack the conversation and consider where art is going.

    Links from the episode:

    —Circa 2020 on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/circa.art/?hl=en. They're raising money for struggling UK artists with a £100 Ai Weiwei print here through October: https://circa.art/the-circa-economy/

    —Watch Human Flow on Amazon Prime or here: https://www.humanflow.com/watch-at-home/

    —Watch Coronation, Ai Weiwei's most recent documentary, which compiled secret footage of Wuhan during the peak of the Covid crisis, on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/267483

    —13 Ai Weiwei works to know (Royal Academy of Arts): https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/article/ai-weiwei-13-works-to-know

    —FT piece on the best new operas online (paywall): https://www.ft.com/content/4b8480f7-6e96-4a90-bea2-3ed40c94d504

    —Jan Dalley's review of the art world in the 2010s: https://www.ft.com/content/b8cd60bc-227b-11ea-b8a1-584213ee7b2b

    Clip credit: AT SEA consists of footage filmed by Ai Weiwei during the making of “Human Flow” in 2016. Since 2015, hundreds of thousands of refugees have attempted the dangerous sea journey trying to reach Europe. Alongside these scenes are shots of physical barriers erected across Europe, the cold response to the plea for safety and shelter from the world’s most vulnerable. Video edited by: Autumn Rin Quotes: The border is not in Lesbos, it is in our minds and in our hearts. – Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist (b. 1957) Music Credit: Karsten Fundal
     
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    • 43 min
    Bonus: Poet Natasha Trethewey on memory, grief and Black Lives Matter

    Bonus: Poet Natasha Trethewey on memory, grief and Black Lives Matter

    In this bonus episode, we bring you a conversation between Lilah and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. In her recent memoir, Memorial Drive, Natasha shares the painful story of her mother's murder at the hands of her stepfather when Natasha was 19. Natasha was born to a black mother and white father in the Deep South during the civil rights movement. When she was an infant, the KKK burned a cross in her family's front yard. In this interview she speaks to the cyclical nature of history, the disease of racism, and the power of memory. This interview was originally recorded at the FT Weekend Live Festival in early September 2020.

    Get tickets to the virtual October 22 FT NextGen festival here for free, using the promo code FTPodcast.

    —Watch this conversation between Natasha and Lilah on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POReYD7lRvg
    —Read Natasha’s piece for the FT, America the Beautiful: three generations in the struggle for civil rights: https://www.ft.com/content/eaa41ce4-a65a-11ea-92e2-cbd9b7e28ee6
    —Read the FT review for Memorial Drive, written by playwright Bonnie Greer: https://www.ft.com/content/a1a857e4-f9cf-4165-9a25-a7c9758b9dcb
    —Read Natasha’s poem, Imperatives for Carrying On in the Aftermath: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/148332/imperatives-for-carrying-on-in-the-aftermath
     
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    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
282 Ratings

282 Ratings

Nanjing Golfer ,

When are you back again ?

Hope to hear another of your excellent podcasts soon ?I wrote to to from Nanjing around a year ago when the lockdown was impacting on so many lives . I am
happy to say we continue happy and healthy here and looking forward to school resuming after the Lunar New Year holiday . Keep on keeping on - we love the insightful wisdom and wacky slant on our bonkers world that you and your first class guests provide ! Sue

gerbro20 ,

Always something new and unexpected

This is my favourite podcast reviewing the arts. The personal dimension Gris and Lilah bring to their choice of guests and their conversations makes these podcasts refreshingly new and exciting. Can’t wait for the next series!

Kerri McEvoy ,

Enriching

Brilliant conversations with fascinating guests... I so look forward to EVERY episode... Lilah and Griselda you are fantastic. 💛

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