Thousands of black soldiers fought in the First World War. Poet Jackie Kay tells the story of one of them – Arthur Roberts. Arthur grew up in Glasgow and joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in 1917. He fought at Ypres and kept a detailed diary, which gives us a unique account of the war. Arthur’s evocative writing and sketches paint a vivid first-hand picture of life in the trenches. Like Arthur, Jackie Kay is a black Glaswegian, and she explores what it was like being black 100 years ago.
In Make Me Up, multimedia artist Rachel Maclean has created a world that is both seductive and dangerous; a place where surveillance, violence and submission are a normalised part of daily life. She tackles these contradictions head-on and never balks at pushing boundaries.
This darkly-comic film takes a satirical look at the contradictory pressures faced by women today. It examines how television and social media can be fun and expressive spaces to explore identity, but simultaneously a gilded prison that encourages women to conform to strict beauty ideals.
Siri wakes to find herself trapped inside a brutalist candy-coloured dreamhouse. Despite the cutesy decor, the place is far from benign, and she and her inmates are encouraged to compete for survival while being watched over by surveillance cameras, 24/7.
Presiding over the group is an authoritarian diva who speaks entirely with the voice of Kenneth Clark from the 1960s BBC series Civilisation. As she forces the women to go head-to-head in a series of demeaning tasks, Siri, with the help of fellow inmate Alexa, starts subverting the rules and soon reveals the sinister truth that underpins their world.
Stacey Dooley travels the world to uncover the hidden costs of the addiction to fast fashion. She sees for herself how toxic chemicals released by the garment industry pollute waterways that millions of people rely on. She witnesses the former Aral Sea, once one of the largest bodies of fresh water, now reduced almost entirely to dust.
These are shocking discoveries likely to make you think twice about whether you really need those new clothes.
It is 1918 and the end of WWI. Millions have died, and the world is exhausted by war. But soon a new horror is sweeping the world, a terrifying virus that will kill more than fifty million people – the Spanish flu. Using dramatic reconstruction and eyewitness testimony from doctors, soldiers, civilians and politicians, this one-off special brings to life the onslaught of the disease, the horrors of those who lived through it and the efforts of the pioneering scientists desperately looking for the cure.
Narrated by Christopher Eccleston, the film also asks whether, a century later, the lessons learnt in 1918 might help us fight a future global flu pandemic.
Angela Carter’s surreal imagination produced some of the most dazzling fiction of the last century. Pioneering her own distinctive brand of ‘magic realism,’ works like The Magic Toyshop and Nights at the Circus cracked open the middle-class conventions of the postwar novel and influenced a new generation of writers.