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The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics
How can we read an image to tell us more about its ancient maker? In this album a mosaic artist, Catherine Parkinson, visits the splendidly-preserved ancient Roman mosaics at Brading Villa on the Isle of Wight. With the help of two archaeologists she discovers that the iconography reveals important clues about the villa inhabitants' world view, taste, and aspirations. Their leisure pursuits, the value placed on learning, and their views on men and women are just some of the themes revealed in
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The Arts Past and Present: Ireland
Do we use our buildings to declare who we are? How far does our heritage influence our collective identity? This insightful album reveals Ireland's shifting attitudes towards its cultural heritage. In 1922 when it broke free of British rule to become an independent nation state, the Irish nationalists abandoned high-profile buildings like Dublin Castle as it was symbolic of their British oppressors, and it fell into ruin. Yet they proudly restored older sites like Cashel and New Grange, which i
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Indian Raga Music
The music of North India is mesmerising, and shrouded in tradition and culture. There, raga is the art of life - it is the music of the mind. The tracks in this album focus on three instruments - the tabla, the alap and the voice - all central to the existence of Raga. Each instrument is broken down into the individual sounds that make up the intricate compositions. Performances on all three complete this introduction to the fascinating sound of Raga. This material is drawn from The Open Unive
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Voice of Indian Song
Traditional Indian singing is intoxicating - but what is it about singing, and listening to others sing, that makes it so significant? In this album, Sudokshina Chatterjee breaks down the unique Indian style, and explains the emotions and meaning behind the songs of her culture. This material is drawn from The Open University course AA317 Words and music. The OpenLearn team.
First publishe

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Thought and Experience
This album contains fascinating and engrossing interviews with several leading philosophers concerning, primarily, the exploration of four topics: emotion; thought and language; imagination and creativity; consciousness. The interviews contain lively debates from differing philosophical viewpoints, discussions about theoretical thought experiments and the examination of theories developed by philosophers such as Aristotle, Decartes, Galileo, and Hume as well as predictions regarding the future
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The Arts Past and Present: Diva
How do you get to be one of the great operatic divas? Catherine Rogers might just have what it takes to be a famous opera singer, but she still has lots of work to do. This album gives us an insight into the immense effort it requires to become a musical performer. As well as singing, acting, language, and stage skills all need to be honed. Catherine tackles the tragic aria of the Countess in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and is praised by her tutors. In the audio track Elaine Moohan from the Musi
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Textiles in Ghana
In Ghana, types of cloth and the design of textiles are about more than just fashion. Woven Kente cloth is a great status symbol, marking wealth and, in the past, office - something to be worn on important occasions and by important people. Adinkra is a printed fabric, hand-made and worn mainly for funerals, which are very important celebrations in Ghana. The tracks on this album introduce the Kente weavers and Adinkra workers, show the creative processes behind the textiles they make, and revea
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Religion Today
Religion is a powerful force in today’s world, as almost any newspaper or news broadcast will make clear. Inextricably linked with nationalism, popular culture, social norms and the lives of individuals, it touches almost every area of public and private life. This course examines many of the most exciting and controversial issues in religion today, including the impact of globalisation/Evangelicalism, feminism and environmentalism, and whether secularisation might mean the eventual death of r
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World Archaeology
How do archaeologists investigate and understand ancient sites and civilisations? Interpreting archaeological evidence accurately and methodically is the key to obtaining a critical perspective on the development of the human race. This album provides an introduction to archaeology and its methodologies for excavation of sites that can be more than 12000 years old. Like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle but without a picture guide, archaeologists can establish how cities and civilisations develo
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Pygmalion meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The popular American TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spanned seven seasons and gained a cult following. But how is it linked to the culture of ancient Greece and Rome? On closer inspection, its characters and narratives are revealed to be new incarnations of ancient classical myths that have filtered down into modern media. This album explores one episode, "I Was Made to Love You", in which Warren creates an artificial perfect girlfriend, just as Pygmalion sculpts an ivory statue to be his
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A tribute to the world of myth: Ovid and Holkham Hall
How do the themes of classical mythology come to be refashioned through the ages? Holkham Hall in Norfolk, England, is the estate of an 18th century gentleman, Thomas Coke - a scholar of epic classical authors and avid collector of the cultural beauties of the past. This album offers an opportunity to explore his house and prolific art collection, including his lavishly illustrated manuscript of Ovid's "Metamorphoses". Ovid inspired artists ranging from 2nd century sculptors to medieval illustra
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David Hume: 18th Century Philosopher
2011 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest figures in Western Philosophy – David Hume. As well as an economist and historian, Hume was specifically known for his scepticism and empiricism, and was also an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment period in the 18th century. In this audio collection, The Open University’s Nigel Warburton is joined by A.C. Grayling and other philosophers to discuss Hume’s key theories around the self, induction and his argument a
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Philosophy: Justice and Morality
Although what constitutes justice may vary depending on culture or historical context, all forms of justice are built on a foundation of moral assumptions that include ideas about ethics, fairness and the law. Philosophers have often debated the nature of both morality and justice and their relationship with each other and in this collection we explore some of the most influential ideas on the topics from Kant to Bentham and investigate problems such as can inequalities be justified, provided th
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Wordsworth, De Quincey and Dove cottage
Can a location inspire great poetry? To what extent can a person’s environment influence their art? After leaving the area as a child the Romantic poet William Wordsworth returned to the Lake District and remained there from 1799 to 1802. Surrounded by scenery he cherished Wordsworth composed some of his best poetry in Dove Cottage, but the building was also the residence of friend Thomas De Quincy whom documented his time with the Wordsworth’s as well as his own experiences in the property.
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Duchess of Malfi: Deconstructing the play
Does the Duchess of Malfi have any resonance with modern-day audiences? Are it’s themes of politics and revenge still relevant today? Since it was originally published in the seventeenth century the play has been interpreted in a variety of ways, each different director examining the story and realising a unique translation of the work. In 2010 the Greenwich Theatre performed The Duchess of Malfi and in this collection we follow the cast and crew as they analyse the language used by John Webs
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Art history: early modern
The world of the early modern period (C10th - C16th) was one of religious obsession, power struggles and plunder. But it was also a world of stunning artistic endeavour. This collection shows how, encoded in the art and architecture of the time, you can find stories of political machinations, female influence and surging movements of people. We may think our own era has a monopoly on long-distance travel, but in the mediaeval period it was perfectly possible for Western Catholic artists to enc
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Mi'kmaq: First Nation people
Can heritage continue to inform the way we live today? Is it possible to balance traditional ideas with a modern life? The Mi'kmaq people have had roots in Conne River Newfoundland in Canada for generations, but it was only officially designated as a reserve in 1987. Many of its indigenous inhabitants still feel a connection with the past and in recent times there has been a revival of interest in Mi'kmaq culture. These films give insight into Mi'kmaq life and examine the renewal of traditional
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Health, disease and society: Scottish influence in the 19th century
This free course, Health, disease and society: Scottish influence in the 19th century, examines the role that Scots played in contributing to the developments in healthcare during the nineteenth century. The radical transformation of medicine in Europe included the admission of women as doctors and the increased numbers of specialised institutions such as asylums. Such developments were also influenced by wider social, economic, political and cultural backgrounds these are also examined.
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Women Writers: Voices in Transition
In the last century which women writers have truly challenged the existing forms of literature? How did they make their voices heard using brand new techniques and styles? For centuries there have been women writers who have changed the face of literature, but we tend to talk of their lives and work in very certain terms. This series of video-slideshows reveals how writing and reputation are often forged in transition, uncertainty and change. In these 4 films we re-examine the lives, work and in
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Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern
What is art? What is visual culture? How have they changed through history? This free course, Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern, explores the fundamental issues raised by the study of western art and visual culture over the last millennium. It moves from discussing the role of the artist and the functions of art during the medieval and Renaissance periods to considering the concept and practice of art in the era of the academies, before finally addressing the question of modern art and
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