April 28, 2011


The 21st Century Library: A Physical or Virtual Place?

If books are on the way out, do we still need libraries as key physical landmarks within our cities and learning communities? Although this question has often been fiercely debated, there remain deep unanswered questions: what do people (users and providers) want? What can particular places offer? And how can operational and technological processes support these goals? To advance the discussion, the Higher Education Design Quality Forum has brought together academics, architects and librarians to offer their perspectives on the challenges ahead. The event will take place from 4pm to 7pm on 5 May at the University of Manchester's Samuel Alexander Lecture Theatre.


News International: Wapping - 25 Years On

In January 1986, Rupert Murdoch unleashed a ferocious year-long industrial dispute and ushered in a transformation of the newspaper industry when he moved the main stable of News International titles - The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World - to new premises in Wapping. Six thousand employees went on strike and were served dismissal notices, and more than 1,300 arrests were eventually made. It was a major test case of the Conservative government's industrial relations legislation, had an importance perhaps second only to the miners' strike of 1984-85 in post-war British union history and remains deeply controversial to this day. This exhibition at the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell (1-31 May) brings together cartoons, leaflets, photographs and posters to explore the significance of this iconic event and argue for its continuing relevance.


East End Film Festival

Although this festival brings international films, discussions and workshops to 20 different London venues, the organisers stress that it "was started in the East End of London and its roots remain firmly embedded there". Break My Fall (29 April), for example, pays tribute to the area's non-stop party culture and includes music from many of the city's best underground artists. Under the Cranes (30 April) uses a script by former children's laureate Michael Rosen to explore the spirit of place, weaving together rare archive film with a cast of characters including Shakespeare, a Jamaican builder, a Bangladeshi restaurateur and the Jewish 43 Group, which took on Oswald Mosley's fascists in the 1940s. The festival ends on 2 May with an interactive "cycle symphony" in Spitalfields Market.



A Time-Eating Clock - A Story of Invention

Our experience of time is largely subjective. A week can race by or an hour can seem like an eternity. How can a clock do justice to such feelings? That was the challenge John Taylor set himself. He answered it by designing two chronophage (time-eating) clocks, one of them on display at the Science Museum until 30 October. It stands 3.3m high and is made of gold plate, stainless steel and electro-mechanical components without any hands or numbers. Every five minutes, it corrects itself and displays the right time through light slits. A mythical creature at the top of the face seems to be devouring time. A chain clanks against a wooden coffin to mark the hours. Dr Taylor is one of the world's leading inventors, perhaps most famous for the kettle thermostats used a billion times a day.


The Wall

Ralph Weatherstone was killed by the Stern Gang in Palestine in 1947, not long before the creation of the state of Israel. When his middle-aged son David visits the British military cemetery in Ramleh to look for the grave of the father he never knew, he is confronted by his ghost. Can they build a relationship that neither has ever known? And, with the Separation Wall casting a terrible shadow across the region, can a political mission be handed down across the generations? The world premiere of Douglas Watkinson's powerful new play continues at the New End Theatre until 6 June.

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