Long reads

Photo of bench in the Barbican Estate

Sometimes a story needs a bit more telling. Sit back, settle in – it’s time for a long read.

Browse some of our longform articles on a range of topics from science fiction literature and contemporary dance to American minimalism and unlikely Norwegian radicals


#ShePersisted: Malalai Joya

Inspired by documentary Enemies of Happiness – about Afghan MP and activist Malalai JoyaOOMK chair a discussion on how to create space for Muslim, female empowerment in 2018

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#ShePersisted: Georgina Beyer

Inspired by documentary Georgie Girl – about the world's first trans MP, Georgina Beyer – screening as part of our Nevertheless She Persisted film season, Cause & Effect zine chair a discussion in response: talking trans visibility, the treachery of 'firsts' and how to bring outsider politics to the mainstream. 

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John Cale: A Futurespective

Across six decades, John Cale has connected the realms of cutting-edge experimentalism and pop immediacy, creating tirelessly, and releasing a vast catalogue that spans ambient innovations to intoxicating rock, orchestral symphonies, electronica, and movie scores. Ahead of John Cale (2018-1964): A Futurespective, music journalist Arwa Haider looks back through Cale’s career to date.

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The Modern Silent

Silent London’s Pamela Hutchinson looks back at the origins of silent cinema and contemplates the striking similarities to what we’re watching now on our phones and on the big screen…

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Opera as Politics

Professor Sarah Hibberd explores the history of opera as a vehicle for reflecting, responding to and even effecting political change.

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Told by an Idiot

How can we tackle the lack of diversity on stage? We spoke to theatre company, Told by an Idiot, for their advice.

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From Page to Stage: Pluto

We speak to Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui about the process of translating manga for the theatre, the impact of manga on the creative process and get an insight into rehearsals with the Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon.

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Too Young For What?

We examine the past, present and future of Jean-Michel Basquiat's legacy after a day of events, installations and special performances celebrating Basquiat's creativity

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Stockhausen: The Father of Electronic Music

For the tenth anniversary of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s death, Robert Worby looks back at the composer's defining masterpieces - music that demands to be heard - and felt - live.

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Basquiat and Downtown

Tim Lawrence remembers the cultural renaissance that was downtown New York's music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. From SoHo warehouses to Mudd Clubb, we look at how Basquiat's passion for New York's music scene influenced his artistic style. 

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The Grime and the Glamour

Christina Newland looks back the scuzzy and blisteringly creative streets of late 1970s and 80s New York City, as seen on the big screen. 

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On Trajal Harrell

Discover more about Harrell’s work and inspirations from MoMA associate curator, Ana Javenski

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Brave New Words

We look at how writers from the 19th century to today have been inspired by what we do not yet know or understand

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What London Watches: The Ten Films

We asked Londoners – ‘what film shook your world and why?’ The films you chose formed our first crowd-sourced film season. From Casablanca to Sholay, here are the stories behind the films London watches. 

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The Sounds That Changed America

We investigate how the world of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams transformed the American musical landscape

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How do you build an orchestra for London?

We follow the journey of creating an orchestra that would sound, look and feel like London with Sir Simon Rattle

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Ibsen: an unlikely radical

Forbiddingly complex and even more forbiddingly beared, Andrew Dickson explore the life of Ibsen, our contemporary

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35 Years of Firsts

Celebrating the Barbican’s 35th anniversary, we look back at some of the ‘firsts’ that have took place within our walls and beyond.

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