BBC Radio 4 –  March 12th 2015 11.30

This new series  takes a forensic look at how we humans really like to consume our culture.   FRAMING DEVICE with Sarah Cuddon looks at  that  staple of the domestic interiors, the picture  frame.  Framing decisions made by artists and mere mortals in suburban framing shops  can draw attention to, detract from or even radically alter the nature of the object within.   Which in our programme could be a human ponytail or an oil painting.  (Photo Jill Reidy Red Snapper Photography)

EXIST THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP – presenter Nick Baker – looks at the way in which museum gift shops have become a central part  of the visitor experience, and how purchases in museum and gallery  gift shops connect with the content of the exhibitions.  These can include anything from a miniature Liverpool wheelie bin to a replica of part of the Elgin Marbles.

ON A PLATE The questions this programme asks are as much related to egg cups  claiming  ‘Best Mum in the World’ as they are to rare Willow Pattern tea sets. How the design, familiarity, choice and condition of the stuff people really eat off affects the experience of consumption -literally and metaphorically.  Jack Monroe – more associated with what’s on the plate – presents

TOO MANY BOOKS (listen to it below)  depicted our struggle with a glut of the written word.  Presenter Sarah Cuddon, Producer Tamsin Hughes


Human Cubans

BBC World Service November 2014, available here

Nick Baker and Anglo Cuban journalist Arnaldo Hernandez Diaz get to grips with modern Cuba and its people.  A vivid snapshot of Cuba  in three parts:

human cubans

 Above:  Arnaldo Hernandez Diaz, Jose Augustin (soon to be Adela) and Nick Baker

CUBA OFFLINE –  Cuba is one of the planet’s least connected countries.  Meet the people who would love to get online, as well as those who have never touched a computer.  Most Cubans can’t afford it, but there are ingenious ways to circulate downloaded material.  There are also benefits of not being connected. And dissent online….

CUBA LGBT  Fransisco had  to ‘come out’ to his wife and son. Mercedes is a lesbian activist.  Jose Augustin, exiled from family,  awaits sex change surgery.  Despite a homophobic past, Cuba’s keen to liberalise attitudes  thanks to the efforts of Mariella Castro, the President’s daughter, who explains why Cuba funds free transgender surgery.

EXPORT DOCTORS  Tachira and Jo have just qualified as doctors.  They’re Americans, among 20 students who  trained for free this year in Cuba, promising  to return to practice in poor communities in the US.  US training  would have cost $250,000.  We hear about their experiences as ‘honorary Cubans’.