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Terror and Wonder – The Gothic Imagination

What is it about things that go bump in the night? Today, dark shadows lurking in the corner can be extinguished with the flick of a light switch. However, our collective fascination with the other-wordly shows no sign of abating.

This was evidenced by my recent visit to the British Museum’s Gothic Imagination exhibition.  The exhibition took me on a suitably supernatural trip through the world of the macabre. This is a place populated with ruined castles, young ladies dressed in white and sublime landscapes where thunderstorms crash through angry purple skies.

As a former English Literature student, following the history of the Gothic novel was probably my favourite aspect of the exhibition. The journey began with the pioneers of the form, Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe. There was a wonderfully waspish letter from Ann to her mother-in-law.

Original manuscripts ranging from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights through to Clive Barker’s first draft of Hellraiser were on display. It was wonderful to be able to follow the creative process involved with these iconic works. Seeing Shelley’s comments on Mary Shelley’s draft of Frankenstein transported me to that now legendary gathering on the shores of Lake Geneva where Byron challenged those present to come up with a ghost story.

If vampires were keeping you up at night, the exhibition also included a rather terrifying looking kit for their extermination. This rather gruesome object on loan from the Royal Armouries in Leeds included a stake and silver tipped bullets. It was not said whether it had been used in anger or not.

The exhibition is no longer. But in a suitable nod to the everlasting nature of some of the inhabitants of the Gothic world, a podcast lives on.

BBC Academy joins iTunes U – press release

The BBC Academy today announced it has joined iTunes® U, the world’s largest online catalogue of free educational content from top schools and prominent libraries, museums and institutions, that helps educators create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabi, and offers them to millions of iOS users around the world.

The BBC Academy on iTunes U will offer behind-the-scenes footage of BBC1 programmes Crimewatch and Countryfile, revealing exactly how a television programme is created and produced. For those interested in storytelling, Sarah Phelps, popular writer of BBC1 dramas including JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and Crimson Field; along with Sally Wainwright, who wrote BBC1 dramas Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley, are among those sharing their expertise. Finally, for those wanting to make people laugh for a living, Richard Curtis, writer of comedy classics like Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and Notting Hill, will share his thoughts on being productive, staying creative and honing the process of comedy.”

The free iTunes U app, featuring courses, collections and educational resources, gives educators and students everything they need on their iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® to teach and take entire courses. With iTunes U, students and lifelong learners gain easy access to enriching educational content no matter where ideas are shared or interests are explored.

For further information, please visit The BBC Academy on iTunes U

Notes to Editors:
The BBC Academy is the BBC’s training and development division. It puts training and development at the heart of the BBC and also works with the wider industry, equipping people with the skills they need for a lifetime of employability in the ever-changing media landscape.

The BBC’s training and development division has a charter remit to train BBC staff and to help to train the wider industry. As part of a recent review and ahead of its relocation to Birmingham in 2015, The Academy has signalled that it will increasingly focus on digital delivery for much of its learning content.

BBC Academy – i Tunes U

After a year of careful negotiations, the BBC Academy’s i Tunes U site goes live today – Monday 19th January – in the Beyond Campus section.

It’s a very promising start to the week. The BBC Academy iTunes U site was one of the development projects I’ve been working on with external supplier Chromatrope.

New content will be added every week and we will be watching with interest to see what we can learn from the statistics and feedback.

The BBC Academy’s move to Birmingham in July 2015 has meant re-thinking what it can offer digitally.

We have been exploring different freely available platforms to see how they might be used to provide more creative learning options.

Our other projects are coming along very well and hopefully there will be some more news on them shortly.

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