Between 1941 and 1944, 16,000 plucky homing pigeons were dropped in an arc from Bordeaux to Copenhagen as part of ‘Columba’ – a secret British operation to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation. The messages flooded back written on tiny pieces of rice paper tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds. Authentic voices from rural France, the Netherlands and Belgium, they were sometimes comic, often tragic and occasionally invaluable with details of German troop movements and fortifications, new Nazi weapons, radar system or the deployment of the feared V-1 and V-2 rockets that terrorised London. At the centre of the story is the ‘Leopold Vindictive’ network – a small group of Belgian villagers prepared to take huge risks. They were led by an extraordinary priest, Joseph Raskin, a man whose intelligence was so valuable it was shown to Churchill, leading MI6 to parachute agents in to assist him.
While the land is familiar, even reassuring, the sea is unknown and threatening. Why, then, did humans become seafarers? Part of the answer is that we are conditioned by our genetics to be acquisitive animals: we like to acquire rare materials and we are eager for esoteric knowledge, and society rewards us well for both. And our innate inquisitiveness drives us to explore. The pre-eminent archaeologist looks at the development of seafaring on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, two contrasting seas, the Mediterranean without a significant tide, enclosed and soon to become familiar, the Atlantic with its frightening tidal ranges, an ocean without end. Chaired by Gabrielle Walker.
In 1954, following her death, Frida Kahlo’s possessions were locked away in the Casa Azul in Mexico City, her lifelong home. Half a century later, her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered. Wilcox, curator of the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A, offers a fresh perspective on the life story of this extraordinary artist, whose charisma and entirely individual way of dressing made her one of the most photographed women of her time. Specially commissioned photographs show her distinctive Mexican outfits alongside her self-portraits, an unprecedented pairing that is enriched by iconic images taken in her lifetime. Chaired by Tristram Hunt.
El geólogo venezolano Orlando Méndez nos llevará en un apasionante recorrido desde el Big Bang hasta los orígenes y la evolución del agua y la vida. Transitaremos por la ruta de la energía, del sol al planeta azul, y evaluaremos las percepciones más comunes de los procesos naturales y geológicos generadores de energía que conforman la “sociedad del aceite de roca”.
Evento patrocinado por Shell
The literary critic, famed for his wit and acute interpretations, explores the themes of his two spring publications. Radical Sacrifice revaluates the idea of sacrifice as purposed in theology and philosophy, reclaiming the act as radical politics. The re-publication of Why Marx Was Right examines the philosopher’s core ideas in the context of capitalism’s crises and communism’s collapse. Chaired by Dai Smith.
One morning in October 2013, 19-year-old Ayan Juma and her 16-year-old sister Leila left their family home in Oslo. Later that day they sent an email to their parents. "Peace, God's mercy and blessings upon you, Mum and Dad ... Please do not be cross with us..." Leila and Ayan had decided to travel to Syria, "and help out down there as best we can". While their father, Sadiq risks his own life to bring his daughters back, at home his wife Sara begins to question their life in Norway. How could her children have been radicalised without her knowledge? How can she protect her two younger sons from the same fate? Seierstad - with the complete support of the Juma family - followed the story from the beginning, through its many dramatic twists and turns. It's a tale that crosses from Sadiq and Sara’s original home in Somalia, to their council estate in Oslo, to Turkey and to Syria - where two teenage sisters must face the shocking consequences of their decision.
The investigative journalist’s previous books include The Bookseller of Kabul and One of Us. See also .
Up Top was the name given locally to the Mid Wales Mental Hospital above Talgarth; a double meaning like 'round the bend', which often located asylums elsewhere – out of sight and out of mind. Purcell’s hitherto untold history, based on archives and oral testimony from staff and patients, shows how mentally ill people were treated through the 20th century. At first the ‘lunatic asylums’ relied on a strict regime of fresh air and bromide. Then they became ‘mental hospitals’, trying desperate measures like leucotomy, deep sleep narcosis and electro convulsive therapy. Then the word ‘mental’ was dropped and ‘psychiatric hospitals’ moved into the era of heavy drugs and psychotherapy. Finally, community care took over. The history of the Mid Wales’ was typical of many institutions that lie as ruined monuments to our attempts to help the mentally ill.
Sixty-six million years ago the dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the earth. One of the leading scientists of a new generation of dinosaur hunters, armed with cutting edge-technology, is piecing together the complete story of how the dinosaurs ruled the earth for 150 million years. At a time when Homo sapiens has existed for less than 200,000 years and we are already talking about planetary extinction, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a timely reminder of what humans can learn from the magnificent creatures that ruled the earth before us. Chaired by Gabrielle Walker.
Welcome to the world of Kya, who loves to run, read and eat ice cream. This is a joyful picture-book describing the everyday life of a child with autism, and helps people of all ages recognise certain behaviour, appreciate thoughts and feelings, and learn how to communicate with people with autism. The author joins Inclusive Minds’ Alexandra Strick to discuss and read from Jon’s book in this accessible, relaxed and interactive event. The book is based on the author’s own daughter, and children in the audience will have the chance to share the ideas, views and experiences that they would like to see in a story.