Quick Reads are short books and great stories by bestselling authors. To mark its 15th anniversary, two of its writers discuss the importance of reading, how it changed their lives and how books have the power to support all of us in a time of crisis.
Two great thinkers discuss liberalism, intellectual blindness and the dangers facing democracy today. Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer and 2010 Nobel Prizewinner, promotes liberal thought and pays tribute to seven authors who embrace it, in The Call of the Tribe. He talks to Michael Ignatieff, rector and president of Central European University in Budapest, author of The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World.
This arts teacher was always a rule-breaker. At her school where more than 30 languages were spoken, she sensed urgent needs: mending uniforms, calling social services, shielding vulnerable teens from gangs. And she tailored each class to its pupils, fiercely believing in the power of art to unlock trauma, or give a mute child the confidence to speak. Time and again, she would be proved right. In 2018, when Andria won the million-dollar Global Teacher Prize, she knew exactly where the money would go: back into arts education for all, because she believes the UK government's cuts and curriculum changes are destroying the arts, while its refusal to tackle the threats of cyber-bullying, gang violence, hunger and deprivation puts teachers on the safeguarding frontline.
We make thousands of decisions every day, from minute choices we don't even know we're making, to great, agonising deliberations. But when every decision we make is life-changing, the way we reach them matters. And for every decision, there is noise. Co-authored by three eminent thinkers, this book teaches us how to understand all the extraneous factors that impact our decision-making – and how to combat them to improve our thinking. Filled with new science, illuminating case studies and practical examples, the skills outlined in this book are relevant to private or public institutions, schools, hospitals, businesses, judges – and to us all.
Daniel Kahneman is known for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making. Olivier Sibony is a writer, educator and consultant specializing in strategic decision making. Cass R. Sunstein is an expert on administrative and environmental law. They are in conversation with Angela Duckworth, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies grit and self-control.
Many D/deaf children (sign language users/those who are hard of hearing) struggle with Shakespeare as the methods of teaching are not easily accessible to them. There are at least 45,631 deaf children in the UK, only 41% of whom pass five GCSEs; 29% of deaf children use some form of sign language, but there are very few sign language-based resources for studying Shakespeare. The Signing Shakespeare project (born out of the collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the Royal Shakespeare Company) has worked with D/deaf theatre practitioners and teachers of the D/deaf to tackle the problem of access. It has undertaken a pilot study on Macbeth with three schools for the D/deaf, producing active lesson plans based on RSC rehearsal-room practice, and making films of key scenes in British Sign Language.
Abigail Rokison-Woodall, project leader, is joined by Tracy Irish ( RSC), Angie Wootten (University of Birmingham) and Charlotte Arrowsmith (actor and director) to discuss the project's aims and methods and to showcase the films.
When Covid-19 closed galleries, libraries, archives and museums, what did we learn about their role? And how might a year of empty galleries, locked exhibitions and inaccessible collections transform the sector in the future? Now that so many archives are digitised, are these physical spaces and the collections they hold redundant? Join Xerxes Mazda, Head of Collections and Curation at the British Library, Louise Siddons, associate professor of art history at Oklahoma State University and a Fulbright Fellow at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, and Charles Saumarez Smith, former Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts and author of The Art Museum in Modern Times. They talk to Erica Wagner, author and critic, whose latest book is Chief Engineer, about the builder of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Women make up less than 10 per cent of national leaders, and behind this lies a pattern of unequal access to power. This book, by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, explores gender bias and is a powerful call to arms for driven women everywhere.
Julia Gillard was the first woman to serve as prime minister of Australia and received worldwide attention for her October 2012 speech in Parliament on the treatment of women in professional and public life. She is Chair of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College, London and Chair of the Wellcome Institute.
Mary Ann Sieghart is author of The Authority Gap, revealing the scale of the gap that still persists between men and women, a fresh feminist take on how to address and counteract systemic sexism in ways that benefit all of society.