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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 28 June 2010

On Start The Week Andrew Marr talks to John Akomfrah about his latest film installation about memory and movement, focusing on the experiences of migrant workers in the West Midlands. Robert McCrum argues that Globish - Global English - has now conquered the world, while Oscar Guardiola-Rivera counters with the question, 'What if Latin America Ruled the World?', and it's not just in football that South America shows flair and imagination. Emily Doolittle isn't talking to the animals, she's listening to their song, and asking how far animal sounds can be classed as music.
Producer: Katy Hickman.


    A new film by John Akomfrah explores themes of migration and memory. Akomfrah was inspired by the Greek Myth of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, who gave birth to the nine Muses. His film interweaves archive of migrants in 1950s Britain with abstract sequences of a figure wandering through a snowy landscape to raise questions about journeys, homelands and identity. John Akomfrah talks about his desire to find a new way of using archive material as art, rather than documentary.

    Mnemosyne will be shown as part of a gallery-based exhibition at the British Film Institute from 10 July to 30 August.

    John Akomfrah

    ‘Globish’ has been described as ‘the worldwide dialect of the third millennium’. The term was first used to describe a functional English, perfectly adapted as the global language of commerce, technology and education. In his history of this global phenomenon, Robert McCrum argues that while the British Empire is long dead, its language is now extending its influence further and further. But Globish has transcended the legacy of empire and is set to become the lingua franca of globalisation.

    Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language is published by Viking.


    Many Europeans and Americans see the booming economies of China and India as a sign of the new world order, but where do the countries of Latin America stand in this changing world? In his new book, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera argues that Latin America is now a major player on the world stage, and its historical contribution to globalisation should be recognised. He examines the use of grass roots politics and alternative economic structures that have protected countries like Argentina and Brazil from the worst of the present economic crisis. With the rising cultural, economic and political influence of Latinos changing the landscape of the United States, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera asks What if Latin America Ruled the World?

    What if Latin America Ruled the World? How the South Will Take the North into the 22nd Century is published by Bloomsbury.

    What if Latin America Ruled the World?

    Musicians throughout history have been enchanted and inspired by the sound of birdsong. Composer Emily Doolittle, who has incorporated the sound of birdsong into her work, asks why birds sing and whether we can describe their songs as “music”. Songbirds, humpback whales and dolphins are some of the few animals that learn their ‘songs’ by imitation, but Emily Doolittle asks whether they function in the same way as human music.

    Emily Doolittle is taking part in a discussion, Beautiful Noise: The science and evolution of music, as part of the Festival of Science and Arts at the Royal Festival Hall on 30 June.

    Emily Doolittle


Arts & Culture selection

Damian Lewis on reading A Delicate Truth

A selection of highlights from our arts and culture programmes.


  1. Image for Start the Week

    Start the Week

    Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the…

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