The podcast companion to the series exploring thousands of years of visual culture.
Episode 10: David Olusoga
David Olusoga talks to Viv Jones about the making of Civilisations. They discuss his two episodes, First Contact and The Cult of Progress. David says that the great arts and history documentaries he watched growing up inspired him to become a historian and filmmaker, and he talks about the power of television to change lives.
Episode 9: Simon Schama
Simon Schama talks to Viv Jones about the making of Civilisations. They discuss the highs and lows of filming such an ambitious global series, from being granted rare access to breathtaking cave paintings, to coming face-to-face with a bolting horse in the ancient city of Petra.
Episode 8: Matika Wilbur, Chip Colwell and Ernest House Jr.
In the 8th programme in the Civilisations TV series, David Olusoga looks at how artists reacted to the colonialism of the 19th century. He travels to America to see art by both white and Native American artists who were documenting the displacement and suffering of Native peoples. A common view at the time was that indigenous Americans would disappear completely.
For the podcast, Viv Jones speaks to three people who are working to remind the world that Native Americans are not a people of the past. In spite of all that their communities have had to overcome their beliefs, religions and arts are still very much alive today.
Matika Wilbur is photographing every tribe in the United States to ensure that stereotypes of Native Americans are replaced with images that represent their true diversity today. Her project, which has taken her to every state, is called Project 562.
Chip Colwell is Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He describes himself as a ‘living paradox’ because his role sometimes requires him to give the items in his museum’s collection away. America’s museums are expected to return Native American cultural items - including stolen art, sacred objects and human remains - to groups that have an appropriate claim to them. Chip is working with Ernest House Jr., Executive Director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, on a project that will help tribes find out whether their cultural items are now in European museums.
Episode 7: Colourful Stories
Unusual stories of the bizarre and gruesome things that have been used as paint pigments from Kassia St Clair, author of The Secret Lives of Colour. Plus, why did Van Gogh create portraits of the man who sold him his paints? Nienke Bakker, Curator of Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, brings us the story of Père Tanguy whose arts supply shop was at the heart of the Paris art scene. Produced and presented by Viv Jones.
Episode 6: How Civilisations Collapse and Understanding the Aztecs
Contrary to myth and misconception, the Aztecs were not a bloodthirsty, inhumane, deeply patriarchal and authoritarian society. Viv Jones is disabused of everything she thought she knew about this sophisticated civilisation by Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock.
Dr Guy Middleton calls himself a 'collapsologist'. He attempts to solve the mystery of why and how past civilisations collapsed. Guy says that often popular explanations say more about the fears we have in our own time than about the archaeological evidence past peoples left behind.
Episode 5: Caravaggio
Viv Jones delves into the BBC archives to find out how Caravaggio’s tempestuous life - of brawls, duels, and prison escapes - is reflected in his provocative paintings. Featuring archive interviews with his biographers Helen Langdon and Andrew Graham-Dixon, curator Letizia Treves, historian Jerry Brotton and the director Martin Scorsese.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to these excellent podcasts which have added further detail and insight to the glorious BBC 1 series. Viv Jones is a delight to listen to and I hope to hear more from her in the future.
Really interesting podcast and perfect to listen alongside the series. Viv is a fantastic and very enthusiastic presenter!
What a lovely podcast! Great addition to the programme and fills my mind's eye with wonderful things I had never thought about. Presented with warmth, wit and intelligence. Also neat, bright production. More please.