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Culture

Essays and videos on the arts, literature, travel, rituals and celebrations
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Childhood and adolescence

Striking shadow puppetry illuminates a skater kid’s memories of Boy Scout camp

12 minutes

A footballer in the Manchester United red strip runs past cheering fans in the stadium
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Sports and games

The moral risks of fandom

Players, coaches and team owners sometimes do terrible things. What, if anything, should their fans do about that?

Jake Wojtowicz & Alfred Archer

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Rituals and celebrations

Meet the entrepreneur whose business is crafting perfect peak experiences

12 minutes

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Religion

There was no Jesus

How could a cult leader draw crowds, inspire devotion and die by crucifixion, yet leave no mark in contemporary records?

Gavin Evans

A smiling young girl and a cat, nose to nose, by a window sill, with pinecones beside them
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Stories and literature

The best stories smell

When scents are used to intensify a narrative, they heighten young readers’ emotions and enrich their memory banks

Natalia Kucirkova

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Technology and the self

A ‘virtual outing’ on Google Maps reveals a treasured image from Diego’s past

6 minutes

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Architecture

‘I listen to the land’ – poetry and greenery intertwine in Emilio Ambasz’s architecture

9 minutes

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Design and fashion

The ornate, the aromatic, the cruel – Valentine’s cards before the age of Hallmark

16 minutes

A colour illustration of a pool of water in which many people are swimming, glimpsed through trees, against a city skyline background
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Mental health

The right to bathe

Water is a great healer. Can New York’s public pools and ‘blue spaces’ be engineered for collective hydrotherapy?

Rebecca Hayes Jacobs

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Nature and landscape

What it’s like to care for Yellowstone during its quietest – and coldest – months

13 minutes

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Thinkers and theories

On knowing who he was

Alan Watts, for all his faults, was a wildly imaginative and provocative thinker who reimagined religion in a secular age

Christopher Harding

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Rituals and celebrations

The spectacular Mardi Gras artworks born of a unique New Orleans tradition

16 minutes

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Architecture

The new architecture wars

Traditionalist and modernist architecture are both mass-produced, industrial and international. Is there an alternative?

Owen Hatherley

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Biography and memoir

As her world unravels, Pilar wonders at the ‘sacred geometry’ that gives it structure

20 minutes

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Technology and the self

An artist swaps her head with everyday objects in a musing on consumerism

4 minutes

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Art

The overlooked polymath whose theatrical oeuvre made all of Rome a stage

30 minutes

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Thinkers and theories

Dancing and time

For Rachel Bespaloff, philosophy was a sensual activity shaped by the rhythm of history, embodied in an instant of freedom

Isabel Jacobs

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Film and visual culture

An augmented-reality filter reveals the hidden movements all around us

7 minutes

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Architecture

The subtle art of elevation

Architectural drawing speaks of mathematical precision, but its roots lie in the theological exegesis of a prophetic book

Karl Kinsella

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Beauty and aesthetics

The grit of cacti and the drumbeat of time shape a sculptor’s life philosophy

11 minutes

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Stories and literature

Saved by Infinite Jest

Bereft and suicidal, I lay on my sofa. Only David Foster Wallace’s novel kept me tethered to life, and still does

Mala Chatterjee

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Language and linguistics

Messages born of melody – hear the whistled language of the Hmong people

18 minutes

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History of technology

A silken web

From its mythic beginnings in a Chinese garden, the story of silk is a window into how weaving has shaped human history

Peter Frankopan, Marie-Louise Nosch & Feng Zhao

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Film and visual culture

Stop-motion origami unfurls in a playful exploration of how senses overlap

3 minutes