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Atmosfears20180910

Japanese poets create new work in a location marred by a tragic history.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Three Japanese poets create new work in a landscape shaped by a dark past.

The world is shaped by the words we give to it. Locations across the globe are coloured by our own thoughts and feelings towards them. We worship and sanctify certain areas while dreading, demonising and recoiling away from others.

In certain places, the layers of words are so close to the surface that we cannot ignore them. They are palpable, alive and tangible.

This is the Atmosfear.

A group of poets have chosen to travel to one of these locations with a tragic history. Here, they try to overcome the negative vibrations that persist by reconnecting with the land underneath.

Poet and translator Jordan Smith travels with Yasuhiro Yotsumoto, Takako Arai and Sayaka Osaki to the Aokigahara forest in Japan.

The Japanese nickname given to it is Jukai - meaning Sea of Trees. It is a site where many people have taken their own lives. Initially, they converse about what this landscape says to each of them individually - but most importantly they discuss the new words, the new meaning and the new story they want to write onto it. They then write original works of poetry and come together to read them to one another.

As a group, they decide what Atmosfear they think should be left behind.

Produced by Anishka Sharma and Barney Savage
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Band Politics2018032220180609 (R4)

6 Music's Chris Hawkins investigates a new wave of politically engaged bands.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

BBC 6 Music's Chris Hawkins listens to new music every day - and he's noticing a trend.
More and more of the bands he plays on the station are writing about politics. Acts like Nadine Shah, Cabbage, Idles and Life are covering topics as diverse as The NHS, the refugee crisis of 2016, austerity and rail privatisation.
Chris visits the performers to ask them what is fuelling their music, considering whether supposedly radical bands are operating in a form of musical filter bubble - singing radical songs to an audience who already agree with their point of view.
From the blues to grime, music and politics have always been intertwined, but Chris Hawkins provides a snapshot of the topics which are driving a generation of rock bands right now.
Presented by Chris Hawkins
Producer Kevin Core

Music featured:
Nadine Shah: Out the Way. Holiday Destination. Mother Fighter. Jolly Sailor.
Idles: Mother. Divide and Conquer.
Life: In Your Hands. Euromillions.
Cabbage: Tell Me Lies About Manchester. Preach to the Converted.

Band Politics2018070120180609 (R4)

6 Music's Chris Hawkins investigates a new wave of politically engaged bands.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Border Wall20181004

Art on the US-Mexico Border

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Donald Trump's pledge to build a "big beautiful wall" along the US-Mexico border has inserted a political urgency into the mainstream art world and made the Latino experience a point of inspiration for many. Seven artists working on either side of the border wall, from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east, describe their work and how recent US immigration policy has helped to shape it. From music, to sculpture, virtual reality and performance art, the Art of Now explores the diverse artistic scene thriving along the 2000 miles border.

Producer: Sarah Shebbeare

Dangerous Places20180315

Errollyn Wallen meets artists working in places of conflict and danger around the world.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Composer Errollyn Wallen meets some of the artists working in places of conflict, violence and oppression around the world. She hears their personal testimonies and explores why art and music, poetry and drama can sometimes flourish in times and locations of danger and violence.

What use is art in a warzone, and what can these individuals and their work tell artists in more peaceful places about making art that helps us question and communicate?

Cartoonist and free improvisational trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj talks about his work during the 2006 Lebanon war and the problem of exoticising art from warzones. Journalist and poet Bejan Matur describes how living as a Kurd in southeastern Turkey has shaped her work. Actor and educator Ahmed Tobasi explains how Jenin's Freedom Theatre changed his life, and Mustafa Staiti discusses his work as artistic director of the city's new Fragments Theatre. Composer Matti Kovler explores the impact of his experiences in the Israeli Defence Forces during the Second Intifada.

Featuring music from Mazen Kerbaj and Richard Scott, The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, AWA, Matti Kovler, Rotem Sherman and Suna Alan.

Image courtesy of Mazen Kerbaj.

Producer: Michael Umney
A Resonance production for BBC Radio 4.

Guantanamo20180329

Exploring an unlikely exhibit of artworks from Guantanamo Bay.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Mansoor Adayfi spent 15 years detained without charge at the American military prison in Guantanamo Bay. Now released, he guides us vividly through an unlikely exhibit of artworks made by former and current Guantanamo war-on-terror detainees.

The exhibit, titled Ode to the Sea, was held at the John Jay College at the City of New York in the autumn of 2017. Shortly after its opening, it became the centre of a debate where issues of artistic expression, ownership, and civil liberties came into collision. In response to the show, the US Department of Defense declared art made by wartime captives to be government property - even threatening to burn Guantanamo cell-block art.

Mansoor takes us behind the headlines and tells the story of his years at Guantanamo through the lens of art - the insight it gives us into the detainees' lives and captivity and their imaginations.

With contributions from Erin Thompson (curator and professor), Alka Pradhan (human rights / national security lawyer), and Gail Rothschild (painter).

Produced by Sarah Geis
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
(Images credit: Courtesy of the artist and John Jay College, NYC.).

Identity Crisis20180917

Writer Sohrab Ahmari defends the art world from the threat of identity politics.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

The art world is in a crisis, an identity crisis. That's according to writer and art critic Sohrab Ahmari in this impassioned polemic, He argues that contemporary art is being stifled by an obsession with identity politics.

Identity politics in art is certainly nothing new, nor is the criticism of contemporary art. However, Sohrab argues that art's current infatuation with identity politics is going too far.

Whether it's artwork dealing with race relations, sexuality, gender, power or privilege, Sohrab says a desire for political point-scoring in the art world has far-reaching consequences - not only does it affect the quality of the artwork itself, but it also fuels narcissism, social division and political conformity.

Speaking to artist and critic Alexander Adams, Sohrab hears how identity politics drives artists to only create work about their own lived experience and results in a bland wash of politically correct slogans.

So what's driving these artists to pursue identity politics? Sohrab speaks to the current crop of young impassioned artists to find out how and why identity politics features in their work. They suggest that art can and should be a tool for bringing about societal change.

So what's at stake? Central to this programme is Sohrab's concern that identity politics threatens art's traditional search for truth, freedom and beauty. Moreover, in the current climate where activists are calling for certain artworks to be destroyed, he argues that, far from bringing the art-loving public together, identity politics is increasingly dividing us.

A TBI production for BBC Radio 4.

Arts series.

Inbox20180920

The Inbox is open - a unique platform for the creativity of Radio 4 listeners.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

From flash fiction to poetry, new music, to soundscapes, The Art of Now: Inbox is a new programme showcasing listeners' creativity. The home made masterpieces are submitted by smartphone and marshalled by comedian and actor Jo Neary. Jo will take us through the strange and wonderful entries, guiding us through the eccentric and varied storytelling...
Along the way you'll hear strange soundscapes, a new voice on the mindfulness scene, recordings of a favourite landscape, poetry which touches on memories of place and an unforgettable Tinder experience.
Submissions are now closed, but keep in touch at theinbox@bbc.co.uk

Contributors:

Annabelle Galea
Michael Spicer
Christopher Sloman
Charmaine Wilkerson
Jez Riley French
Nigel Staley
Ben C Winn
Alison Holder
Coralie Mattys
Fiona Nolan
Rhiannon Walsh
Sookie Jones
Polly Britsch
Kitty Britsch
Pope Lonergan
Jane Postlethwaite
Chris Palmer
Sabine Brix

With music by Scanner

Presented by Jo Neary
Produced by Kev Core.

Nick Danziger's Shutter Stories20181001

Photographer Nick Danziger travels to Armenia, revisiting isolated elderly people.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Award winning photographer Nick Danziger revisits Armenia to see if a pilot project started by the Red Cross can help thousands of isolated elderly people.

Over the centuries, the former Soviet Republic of Armenia has often been at the centre of many geo-political upheavals - and earlier this year, after weeks of peaceful protests against political corruption and cronyism, it’s clear that upheaval still exists today. But as Armenia goes through yet another political transition, it’s the elderly who are left struggling to cope.

Nick Danziger is a passionate advocate for human rights and development, documenting the lives of those who are not being reached by development projects and where basic services and essential infrastructure doesn’t exist or doesn’t work. Armenia is one such place and somewhere Nick has been to many times.

He returns to Armenia to catch up with a pilot project he first became involved with over a year ago. The project was started by the Red Cross in order to try and help the thousands of isolated elderly people who are struggling to survive – coping in temperatures of -30 in the winter and unable to afford food and medicine on their tiny pensions. Often they are living in buildings without heating or running water - the result of a devasting earthquake over 30 years ago - and, because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the buildings have been left in a state of disrepair.

With young people leaving the country to find work abroad, many elderly people lack the support of children or close family members and are struggling to survive. Is this project managing to make a difference to their lives?

Producer: Angela Hind
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4

Outsiders20180909

Can anyone declare themselves an artist? David Tovey considers the so-called rules.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

"Art saved my life", says David Tovey.

He experienced homelessness, homophobia, and despair so deep that he killed himself - twice - before being resuscitated. His ongoing recovery is intertwined with his stunning visual and textile work, which has been showcased at Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Gloucester Cathedral.

But will David ever stop being an outsider artist? Does the ex-homeless label hinder him, or does it serve him?

Can anyone declare themselves an artist? David considers the so-called rules as he wonders how open the established art world is to outsiders. He leads an uncompromising - and at times uncomfortable - discussion about activism, criticism, exploitation, entitlement, preconception and power.

Contributors include:
Liv Wynter, artist, activist and writer
Matt Peacock, artistic director, Streetwise Opera
Tony Heaton, artist, sculptor and chair of Shape Arts
The White Pube (Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad), critics and curators
Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England

Producer: Steve Urquhart
A Boom Shakalaka production for BBC Radio 4.

Return To Catalonia2018031920180524 (R4)

A personal, artistic response to the Catalan crisis by Anglo-Spanish artist Sonia Boue.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Anglo-Spanish artist Sonia Boue responds to the Catalan crisis and the Spanish Civil War by retracing her father's exile and exhibiting her work in Spain for the first time.

We chart her journey as she makes her artistic response and navigates her own family history, capturing the processes by which she unravels the complex emotions and memories the unrest in October 2017 revives within her, and exploring her Spanish identity.

In a loving tribute to her father, Sonia retraces his exile in reverse. In 1939, he fled over the Pyrenees to France as Franco's army advanced on Barcelona, never letting go of his grief at being forced from his homeland.

The programme is also a lament for the 500,000 Spaniards who left Spain as the Civil War drew to a close - and indeed for all exiles everywhere, including those like Sonia, for who it is a historical memory passed down to the next generation.

The silencing of Civil War history, first by Franco's dictatorship and then by the "pact of amnesia" which aided the transition to democracy in the 1970s, is a recurrent theme in Sonia's work. She discovers elements of her own history and her father's struggle which are new to her and confronts the very real fears that surface as she prepares to take her artistic practice to Spain for the first time.

It is something she feels she needs to do - and yet she identifies menacing undertows in the recent upheavals in Catalonia that threaten to silence her more than ever before.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Anglo-Spanish artist Sonia Boue responds to the Catalan crisis and the Spanish Civil War by retracing her father's exile and exhibiting her work in Spain for the first time.

We chart her journey as she makes her artistic response and navigates her own family history, capturing the processes by which she unravels the complex emotions and memories the unrest in October 2017 revives within her, and exploring her Spanish identity.

In a loving tribute to her father, Sonia retraces his exile in reverse. In 1939, he fled over the Pyrennes to France as Franco's army advanced on Barcelona, never letting go of his grief at being forced from his homeland.

The programme is also a lament for the 500,000 Spaniards who left Spain as the Civil War drew to a close - and indeed for all exiles everywhere, including those like Sonia, for who it is a historical memory passed down to the next generation.

The silencing of Civil War history, first by Franco's dictatorship and then by the "pact of amnesia" which aided the transition to democracy in the 1970s, is a recurrent theme in Sonia's work. She discovers elements of her own history and her father's struggle which are new to her and confronts the very real fears that surface as she prepares to take her artistic practice to Spain for the first time.

It is something she feels she needs to do - and yet she identifies menacing undertows in the recent upheavals in Catalonia that threaten to silence her more than ever before.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Surveillance20180927

Artist Nye Thompson asks how the creative world is reflecting the state of surveillance.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Nye Thompson's new installation finds unsecured video streams and interprets them with AI. Inspired by this, she explores the role of the artist in our world of mass surveillance.

Named The Seeker, Nye's latest piece is an autonomous machine that identifies video streams across the globe and describes what it sees. Recently Nye has been using the world's unsecured footage from as material for her art. In doing so she has questioned what it means to have the tools of surveillance in our homes and our pockets.

Today surveillance extends far beyond CCTV. Image recognition enables machines to identify what they see and an even more accurate portrait is available through our data; browsing history, social media posts, message logs and countless other areas. The Edward Snowden leaks brought such techniques into the public eye five years ago. Since then these methods have continued apace with technological advancement, often on the grounds of making our lives simpler and safer.

Alongside the unveiling of her new work, Nye seeks out others across the art world occupied by what surveillance means today and what art can tell us about its practices, its ethical boundaries and its future.

Produced by Sam Peach.

The Architecture Of Incarceration20180823

Britain is opening a series of large new jails, but why is the go-to design 250 years old?

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

As Britain opens the latest in a series of large new jails, architect Danna Walker looks at the unique tensions in architecture's relationship with the judicial system - where the go-to design for prisons is 250 years old, and where ideological conflicts between incarceration and rehabilitation dominate.

In the late 18th century, British utilitarian thinker Jeremy Bentham developed the Panopticon - a circular design featuring a central hub from which a single watchman could observe all prisoners without them knowing they were being watched. Bentham described the design as "a mill for grinding rogues honest".

Over the centuries, the standard, go-to design for prisons has been based on Bentham's ideas, apparently unchallenged. Yet report after report damns poorly-designed buildings, inadequate for rehabilitation. Outcomes are concerning - people who have already been through the criminal justice system commit approximately half of all crime, at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £10-15 billion per year.

A prison transformation programme is underway, with the Ministry of Justice earmarking 10,000 places in old Victorian prisons for replacement with new purpose-built facilities.

New prisons like HMP Berwyn in Wrexham are not places of beauty - they follow the centuries-old blueprint of plain facades, punctuated by tiny windows. Yet the work that takes place inside them is of fundamental importance to the safety of our society.

Visiting London's oldest jail, HMP Brixton, as well as the unusual setting of HMP Styal near Manchester, the programme questions the role of prison, whether it should make people feel happy and whether good design can drive better outcomes.

Producer: Andrew Wilkie
A PRA production for BBC Radio 4.

As Britain opens the latest in a series of large new jails, architect Danna Walker looks at the unique tensions in architecture's relationship with the judicial system - where the go-to design for prisons is 250 years old, and where ideological conflicts between incarceration and rehabilitation dominate.

In the late 18th century, British utilitarian thinker Jeremy Bentham developed the Panopticon - a circular design featuring a central hub from which a single watchman could observe all prisoners without them knowing they were being watched. Bentham described the design as "a mill for grinding rogues honest".

Over the centuries, the standard, go-to design for prisons has been based on Bentham's ideas, apparently unchallenged. Yet report after report damns poorly-designed buildings, inadequate for rehabilitation. Outcomes are concerning - people who have already been through the criminal justice system commit approximately half of all crime, at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £10-15 billion per year.

A prison transformation programme is underway, with the Ministry of Justice earmarking 10,000 places in old Victorian prisons for replacement with new purpose-built facilities.

New prisons like HMP Berwyn in Wrexham are not places of beauty - they follow the centuries-old blueprint of plain facades, punctuated by tiny windows. Yet the work that takes place inside them is of fundamental importance to the safety of our society.

Visiting London's oldest jail, HMP Brixton, as well as the unusual setting of HMP Styal near Manchester, the programme questions the role of prison, whether it should make people feel happy and whether good design can drive better outcomes.

Producer: Andrew Wilkie
A PRA production for BBC Radio 4.

The Joy Of Text20180924

Artist Bob and Roberta Smith examines how text and language are used in art.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Artist and broadcaster Bob and Roberta Smith, famed for his hand-painted slogans, goes on a personal journey to explore how text and language are used in art.

From monks in Cistercian Abbeys and medieval bureaucrats, to conceptual art subversives challenging who could be considered artists, Bob and Roberta Smith draws on a wide range of traditions. He also re-examines his own formative experiences with the interplay of words, colour and form to bring listeners into the present.

Over the course of the programme, we're led on an emotional trip through a world of cut up Victorian novellas - and we encounter pop-art printing making nuns working at the coal face of the civil rights.

Bob and Roberta Smith meets political cartoonists creating new languages, artists fusing text and images to give voices to the marginalised, and a group of women democratising art through text, images and a Risograph printing machine.

This programme reveals that - away from plays, novels or song lyrics - text and language have been adopted by artists in contrasting and ever-evolving ways, but these all reveal that text is an art form in itself.

Featuring Steve Bell, Janette Parris, Tom Phillips, Donna Steele and Sofia Niazi.

Presenter: Bob and Roberta Smith
Producer: David Waters
A TBI production for BBC Radio 4.

True Jit20180826

How the Zimbabwean music scene is responding to the end of the Mugabe era.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Tayo Popoola looks at the changing face of the Zimbabwean music scene since the fall of Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean musicians had been largely silenced by the reign of Mugabe. Internationally renowned performers like Thomas Mapfumo and Lovemore Najaivama were banned by state TV and radio for their socially minded lyrics and their opposition to Government corruption. Night curfews meant that many music venues were forced to close.

Now Mapfumo, known as "the lion of Zimbabwe", has announced his return from exile later this year, and musicians are feeling free to express themselves.

In Bulawayo, musical styles like Sungura and Jit, which placed Zimbabwe at the centre of the African music scene in the 1980s, are being revived. They are irrepressibly upbeat, encapsulate the joyous period immediately after independence, and are playing to new audiences.

Tayo Popoola assesses the mood of the Zimbabwean music scene as it emerges into the light.

Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Visual Assault20181011

Zoe Buckman meets female artists responding to sexual discrimination around the world.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Artist and photographer Zoe Buckman recently installed a giant neon uterus with boxing gloves overlooking Hollywood. It’s feminist and it’s fierce.

In the wake of a turbulent year for women and women’s rights, Zoe sets off to find out how other female artists around the world are reacting and responding to sexual discrimination and violence.

Installation artist Mireille Honein suspended wedding dresses by nooses on Beriuit's beachfront to draw attention to a law which allowed rapists to escape punishment if they married their victim.

The Saudi artist Ms Saffaa plasters walls with murals and portraits of Saudi activists in protest at her country’s guardianship laws.

In her studio in Brooklyn, Zoe brings together artist and photographer Lorna Simpson, and sculptor Patricia Cronin in a conversation about how far art can go in braking boundaries, if it can make others listen, and if it can bring about change.

Presenter: Zoe Buckman
Producer: Georgia Catt

Warsaw20180903

Poland's artists, writers and musicians respond to growing ultranationalism.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Poland's artists, writers and musicians respond to growing ultra-nationalism.

In the run up to the 2015 presidential elections, Poland's populist Law and Justice party campaigned on a platform of national pride and traditional Catholic values. Since taking control of the government, the party remains popular with many Poles but has also faced accusations of posing a grave risk to democratic values. Recent changes to the country's justice system drew thousands of protestors into the streets and resulted in charges from the EU that the government is attempting to undermine the rule of law by stacking the courts with political-loyalists.

Opposition parties and human rights activists have also accused Poland's ruling party of restricting free speech by pushing virtually all critical voices off the state news media and trying to exert political control over the country's arts and cultural institutions.

With regional elections due to take place this autumn and the country remaining deeply split politically, Anna McNamee travels to Warsaw and beyond to find out how Polish artists, writers and musicians have been affected by the rise of ultra-nationalism. Can art change Poland's political future?

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Arts series.

Women Who Walk20181008

Doon Mackichan wanders, falls and loiters with just a few of the women making walking art.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

Have you seen the women who walk?

Actor and comedian Doon Mackichan goes for a wander with just a few of the women using walking as part of their art. What does this apparently simple activity mean for the work they create, for the places they traverse, and for the way we think about cities and bodies, space and power?

From the Romantic Poets to contemporary Psychogeography, art and writing focused on walking has been seen as the preserve of a relatively exclusive and almost entirely male group. But what stories and ideas, experiences and people does this tradition exclude? Doon seeks out some alternative explanations of what it means to move through the world and reflects on the significance and power of an activity as varied as the people who practice it.

In Tolworth, Kingston Upon Thames, Doon meets artist and poet Lucy Furlong and naturalist Alison Fure as they follow in the footsteps of local walker and nature writing icon Richard Jeffries. At Tooting Bec Lido, artist Amy Sharrocks introduces Doon to the pleasures of falling and the significance of urban water. In Manchester, Doon joins Dr Morag Rose and the Loiterers Resistance Movement for one of their monthly drifts across a changing city. And in Paris, Afghan performance artist Kubra Khademi recalls a walk that changed her life.

So sit down, put your feet up and come for a walk.

Presenter: Doon Mackichan
Producer: Michael Umney

The programme is devised by Dr Jo Norcup and produced in association with Geography Workshop.

A Resonance production for BBC Radio 4

01Greek Revival20180227

As Athens struggles through what's been called a "forever crisis", the critic Alastair Sooke reports on the arts boom in Greece.

Culture is experiencing a moment of richness in debt-stricken Athens. In light of declining state support for the arts, young Athenians are taking matters into their own hands. They're benefitting from the city's cheap rents, generous studio spaces and its new galleries popping up in abandoned spaces.

Alastair explores the city, meeting a generation of artists coming to terms with a new Greece. ATH1281, one of the most prolific street artists in Athens, takes him on a graffiti tour, to explain how his murals provide a cutting commentary on modern Athenian life.

At the 2004 Olympic Park on the outskirts of town, many of the buildings are now derelict. Filmmaker Sofia Exarchou used this village as the setting for her award-winning feature film Park. Her collaborator, the musician The Boy (Alexander Voulgaris) also used the crisis as an artistic catalyst, writing and recording an entire album in one week, in response to the 2015 referendum.

When Documenta, one of the world's most influential art exhibitions, was held in Athens last year, Greece's resurgent arts scene was put on the international map. Alastair meets some of the British artists who have moved to Greece, including digital artist James Bridle and recent graduate Catriona Gallagher. What's it like to be a newcomer in a city brimming with new artist-run spaces? And what do they make of the idea that Athens is the "New Berlin" for the arts?

Produced by Paul Smith
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Alastair Sooke meets young artists leading a new creative moment in Athens.

02No Singing, No Movement: Part 120180306

Sudanese journalist Yousra Elbagir investigates the musical life of Sudan, past and present, in light of the changes wrought in the 1980s by Islamic rule. She explores what was lost, the possibilities of musical performance in the capital Khartoum at the moment, and the forces at play in a culture that seems to be opening up again.

Music used to be everywhere in Sudan, especially in Khartoum. As a hub of migration of foreign nationals, colonial officers, West Africans on their way to Mecca, and rural migrants, its music represented a melting pot of all incoming influences. The heyday was between the 1950s and the 70s, when jazz seeped out of the night spots which peppered the streets of the city. Later they throbbed to rock and disco.

During the 70s an all-girl trio called The Nightingales were hugely popular, though their routines and outfits were considered slightly risqué even then by conservatives - they became known as the Sudanese Supremes. And Sharhabeel Ahmed melded rock and roll and jazz influences with Sudanese music, with his wife Zakia playing electric guitar in the band.

But the rise of Islamism produced an assault on popular culture. With the 1983 September Laws the then president Jafer al-Nimeiri declared Sharia Law. With the establishment of an Islamic state after the coup in 1989, a series of public order laws in the early 1990s aimed to eradicate un-Islamic cultural practices. Music was haram: forbidden. What songs there were had to glorify religion and the war in the south; it was forbidden for men and women to dance together. Some singers were detained. Many left the country.

The same government may still be in power but there seems to have been a shift in policy since around 2010. Love songs are permitted again, but dancing on stage remains outlawed in the main. The Nightingales, Al Balabil, have reformed.

Recently there's been a flowering in Sudan: a new wave of young musicians taking up music, after decades of difficulties.

In these two features Yousra, who was born in Khartoum and brought up between Sudan and Britain, looks at what remains of the music scene in Khartoum. Having missed the golden age of Sudanese music by a long way (she is in her twenties), she tries to recover that era by talking to the older generation, those who remember the days when Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles would come to town to perform. She explores the changing atmosphere of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the restrictions brought in after the coup in 1989, and looks at what music means in a country that has faced famine, civil war and economic and political crisis. And she talks to legendary musician Sharhabeel Ahmed, who managed to stay the course.

In programme 2 Yousra visits a ground-breaking music festival in the northern desert of Sudan, on the banks of the Nile, to meet musicians working in Sudan now. It's a world of grey areas and red lines. She meets the all-female band Salut Yal Bannot, who are pushing at the boundaries and addressing issues facing women in Sudan. But for those trying to incorporate dancing into their performances, like Amjad Shakir, who represented Sudan on The Voice (Arab World), the morality police are waiting at the end of each public performance. Those brought up outside the country who are forging international careers, like Ahmed Gallab (Sinkane) talk about their musical connection to Sudan; electronic musician Sufyvn describes DJing in a city where dancing is still not acceptable. Yousra asks what young creatives are up against in a country where there are still such restrictions, and stigma clings strongly to the profession of musician - especially for women. If things are opening up now: how much, and for whom?

Yousra Elbagir explores the musical life of Sudan from the 1960s to the current resurgence

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.

03No Singing, No Movement: Part 2, Sudan's New Generation2018031320180317 (R4)

(Programme 2 of 2)

In the second programme in the series, Yousra visits a ground-breaking music festival in the northern desert of Sudan, on the banks of the Nile, to meet musicians working in Sudan now. She meets the all-female band Salut Yal Bannot, who are pushing at the boundaries and addressing issues facing women in Sudan. But for those trying to incorporate dancing into their performances, like Amjad Shakir, who represented Sudan on The Voice (Arab World), the morality police are waiting at the end of each public performance. Those brought up outside the country who are forging international careers, like Ahmed Gallab (Sinkane) talk about their musical connection to Sudan; electronic musician Sufyvn describes DJing in a city where dancing is still not acceptable. Yousra asks what young creatives are up against in a country where stigma clings strongly to the profession of musician - especially for women. If things are opening up now: how much, and for whom?

Yousra Elbagir and a new wave of Sudanese musicians explore the current cultural climate.

Documentary strand looking at contemporary art movements across the globe.