Posted on: August 21, 2015 in: Pick of the week

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our latest blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard in the news this week.


People Love Art Museums – but has the art itself become irrelevant?

With attendances at museums, galleries, and other cultural events at a high, Michael Lewis discusses the rise of the cultural experience, and asks whether our focus on the act of attending has made us indifferent to the art itself. Have museum cafes and gift shops taken over from critical engagement with the actual museum contents? And what does this mean for the future? Lewis’ full article is published here, and is an interesting (but quite long) read.

Music is a Potent Source of Meaning

According to interesting new research from the National University of Ireland, younger and older people may be listening to music for different reasons. While most participants in the study agreed that music helps to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels, psychologists found that those under 30 generally valued the social aspect of listening to music, making connections with their peers, and those over 60 valued more the inner, meditative experience of listening.

The Neuroscience of Drumming: Researchers Discover the Secrets of Drumming & the Human Brain

It’s good news for drummers. A study at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm has found that drummers’ brains really are different from the rest of us, with links between keeping rhythm, intelligence, and problem solving. Last week we wrote about how listening to music can help to speed up recovery after surgery; this week we learnt that the ‘drummer’s high’, the endorphin rush from playing music, can not only increase people’s pain thresholds, but can also promote wellbeing and co-operation.

Philip Pullman speaks up in favour of music education

In an interview with Intelligent Life magazine, Philip Pullman named music as the most important subject at school. He talked about his wish for all school children to have access to music education, and to be given the opportunity to make music. The whole article is a joy, so we won’t give too much away!