The Cultural Exchange



Mark Lawson and guests debate what now shapes our cultural choices - critics or clicks?

As part of Radio 4's focus on creativity and culture in 2013, Mark Lawson and guests debate how we can best navigate our way through the wide range of cultural experiences now on offer, and question why it is still so hard to predict what will prove successful.

Word-of-mouth recommendation - always a powerful force - can now be shared in a click.

Anyone with a computer can access dozens of reviews of major films, books and exhibitions - but does this sea of opinion sink the traditional critic, or do we need now more than ever a trusted guide?

And why is it still so hard to predict what will capture the imagination of readers, listeners and viewers? More information than ever is available, yet the works which reach out far beyond the anticipated audience are often quite unexpected - whether it's the global stage success of a children's book enacted with giant puppets (War Horse) or Fifty Shades of Grey.

Mark Lawson and guests debate what shapes how we make cultural choices in 2013, and looks ahead to a major Radio 4 project in which leading creative minds make daily cultural recommendations to listeners.

Producer Ella-mai Robey.