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Culture now: ICA

19 February 2013 | Nicky Charlish

"Our on-going talks series, Culture Now, continues to inspire debate. These are wonderfully 
intimate occasions during which people get to hear from a range of incredible artists, 
writers, actors and designers" - Gregor Muir, Executive director of the ICA.

Ever since it opened, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), situated near the Trafalgar
 Square end of the Mall, has been a place for culture-watchers. Now there's a chance to
 catch-up on the present state of the arts with a series of lunchtime conversations, called
Culture Now, involving leading figures from different branches of the contemporary scene. 
As Gregor Muir, Executive Director of the ICA, says: "Our on-going talks series, Culture Now, continues to inspire debate. These are wonderfully 
intimate occasions during which people get to hear from a range of incredible artists, 
writers, actors and designers, including Steven Berkoff, lynda Benglis, Geoff Dyer, Antony 
Gormley, Pam Hogg, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and many more. Inspired by the ICA's
 wider programme and critical issues of the day, speakers have discussed everything from
public sculpture and acting, to freedom of speech and painting. We have many regular 
visitors who make this a weekly date in their diary!" 

 
So what we can look forward to in the weeks ahead? Steven Watson is a keen champion of
the UK and global magazine scene and is founder of innovative magazine distributor Stack,
 designed to enable independent publishers find a wider readership. On I March he will be in
conversation with Kit Hammonds, from publishing event Publish and be Damned, discussing 
alternative publishing models in advance of the following day's self-publishing fair. At a
 time when, due to technological advances, publishing in all its formats is undergoing a
revolution, this should be a stimulating event for all who are interested in the written word. 
 
Stephen Poliakoff is a name which has been tripping off the tongues - for several decades -
of all concerned with the theatre. Award-winning author of numerous plays for stage and
screen, as well as being the holder of a CBE, on 8 March he will be in conversation with
Geoffrey Colman about his career and his recent BBC television series Dancing on the Edge.
Colman, at present the Head of Acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama, has been 
a freelance director and acting coach with an impressive roster of experience in opera, 
theatre, film and television, so is well qualified to discuss the wide range of Poliakoffs work. 
 
On 15 March we have the chance to encounter Michael Nyman MBE, a composer,
musicologist, pianist, conductor, author, film-maker and photographer. He coined the term
'minimalist music' during his time as a music critic, and the films for which he has written 
scores include The Draughtsman Contract (1982), The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her 
lover (1989) and other films such as Gattaca (1997) and The libertine (2004). He will be in conversation with author Geoff Dyer. And, one week later, on 22 March, it's the turn of
 Vashti Bunyan to appear. This singer/songwriter released her first album, Just Another
 Diamond Day, back in 1970. It sold few copies and Bunyan abandoned her musical career,
only to resurrect it when - after 30 years - her album had attracted a cult following. In
conversation with music writer Rob Young she should - as with Nyman - be able to give us
give us up-to-date soundings on the state of contemporary music. 
 
 
 
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