A talks programme accompanied the London’s Burning artistic programme, exploring how cities past and present have responded to crisis. It included an exclusive poetry reading by actor Simon Callow at the top of The Monument, and The Great Fire in Three and a Half Pints, a series of three guided walking tours. Elsewhere speakers included London’s highest ranking female firefighter, Becci Bryant.
You can download and listen again to a selection of these talks below.
1. The City from Above: The Great Fire in Verse
Actor Simon Callow reads extracts from John Dyden’s poem, Annus Mirabilis at the top of the Monument.
Looking out over the City today at the top of the Monument, hear his reading of Dryden’s acclaimed poem and his reflections on life in 1666.
2. Art and Crisis
Artist Lars Jan, Helen Marriage (Director of Artichoke) and Judith Knight (co-Director of ArtsAdmin) discuss the role of art in addressing global disasters.
During London’s Burning, at Broadgate audiences were invited to experience Holoscenes, a five hour underwater performance installation inspired by the threat we face from rising sea levels.
Join Artichoke Director Helen Marriage as she discusses art and crisis with Lars Jan and Judith Knight, exploring how each of them use art to respond to the issues impacting the world today.
3. Fire: Threat and Saviour
Three speakers each share their thoughts on the Great Fire of London for 15 minutes each.
At Bishopsgate, home of the Royal Bank of Scotland three speakers each give their unique perspectives on fire.
Joshua Levine practised as a barrister for several years before becoming an actor and a writer. His plays have been performed on the London stage and on BBC Radio 4, and he has scripted a television documentary about eighteenth-century London for BBC 2. His most recent book, The Secret History of the Blitz is highly acclaimed. It is an account of eight-and-a-half months in which relationships changed, boundaries were pushed, and British people’s lives became more intensely lived.
Becci Bryant is the first female Chief Fire Officer to have risen through the ranks. Her career began in 1992 when she joined the fire brigade as one of the first three female firefighters to enrol at Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service. In January 2014, she became the first woman in the country to have started her career as an operational firefighter to achieve the role of Executive Director/Deputy Chief Executive. Two years later, she was appointed as Staffordshire’s Chief Fire Officer.
Ed Galea is the founding director of the Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) – Europe’s largest university-based fire and evacuation modelling research team – at the University of Greenwich. In this role, he co-ordinates, manages and directs the research activities of some 30 group members. FSEG have won a string of national and international awards that testify to the world leading nature of their work. In the last UK wide Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008), FSEG was confirmed as one of the top research groups in the UK.
4. When things go wrong: 21st Century responses to world trauma
An open discussion about catastrophe and the psychology of crisis and mass emergency behaviour.
Recorded at the Barbican, hear from three speakers.
Dr John Drury, is Deputy Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange (Impact) in the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology.
Philip Collins, a British journalist, academic, banker and speechwriter. A columnist and chief leader writer for The Times, Phil is also the chair of the board of trustees at the independent think tank Demos and a visiting fellow at University College, Oxford. Prior to joining the national newspaper, he was the chief speechwriter for the former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Elif Shafak is Turkey's most-read woman writer and an award-winning novelist. She has published thirteen books, nine of which are novels, blending Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls.
Hosted by 5x15’s Eleanor O’Keeffe