Wars is the reviews website
of the Institute
of Ideas (IoI)
in London. In keeping with the IoI's aim of shaping the future
through debate, we review books, films, theatre, art and talk
events, with a view to understanding how political and other
ideas filter through the culture, and how the arts in turn influence
politics and culture more generally. We also publish essays,
interviews and other articles on the arts, culture and society.
is often presented as a vast accumulation of commodities to
be browsed and consumed by passive audiences. In this view,
the role of the critic is banal. Critics trawl through the marketplace
and advise us, as the annoying phrase has it, 'what's hot and
what's not'. Culture
Wars is different. We want to engage
with cultural life, to discuss it, and argue over it. And we
want to encourage others to join in.
We believe that cultural
output tells us a great deal about the society we live in. As
well as assessing books, plays, films and so on for themselves,
we are keen to draw out the way they express contemporary ideas.
Ideas like multiculturalism, environmentalism, evolutionary
psychology, and social exclusion, to name just a few, appear
in the most unlikely places. By engaging with contemporary culture
we can come to a better understanding of society more generally.
with arts practitioners
Wars continues the spirit of Round
Table Rumbles, a series of live review events organised
by the Institute of Ideas with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
between 2001 and 2004, and at the National Theatre in London
in 2005. Panels of critics discussed a selection of shows relating
to a different theme each night, with writers, directors and
performers, as well as ordinary fringe-goers, invited to join
in the discussion. Without compromising critical judgement,
our aim is to encourage engagement between critics and performers,
avoiding self-important showboating on the part of critics,
and self-serving cynicism on the part of practitioners. Our
reviewers are committed to the art forms they write about, and
we encourage submissions from practitioners themselves.
We do not currently
pay contributors, but we offer a space for all and any writers
who share our aims. Some of our writers are professionals who
make a living writing for other publications. Others are amateurs
in the best sense of the word, writing for the love of the arts.
Our reviewers include arts practitioners - writers, directors
or performers in their own right - as well as more expert critics.
We welcome unsolicited reviews, in the hope of establishing
Culture Wars as nursery for new
writing talent, as well as a home for established writers who
share our commitment to the arts and ideas.
Dent development editor