Hygge – the new trend. What is it?

It is no accident; it has been crafted and manufactured with much deliberation for this zeitgeist. How it went from a BBC article to a huge proliferation of books, articles, and looking to other countries for guidance on how to live our lives, amid Brexit.

Did the industry provide one trend, and then provide an antedote?


This is the audio of this article in The Guardian, here:



The Hygge of Oasis: Why I find the band strangely comforting: New Statesman:


Chance Gallery: Little City Observationist exhibition

The little things in London, often missed by tourists, are a treat when viewed through the eyes – or, lens – of Stephanie Sadler. Her best photos (18 of them) make up her first solo exhibition ‘Little City Observations’ at The Chance Gallery, 123 Sydney Street, Kensington.

See it now until 17 November!

Photo by Vanessa Fergus

Photo by Vanessa Fergus



Stephanie is the Little City Observationist. The exhibition features photos from her blog Little London Observationistwith some photos from abroad too. A New Yorker artist and blogger, she’s called London her home since 2007 and been on a mission to seek out ‘the little things’ on her travels around the world, for her photography and her award-winning (Top Expat Blog Great Britain via Internations, Top Blog England via Go Overseas, one of the World’s Best Travel Blogs via Travel Onion, etc) blog. She’s started a new one recently to capture other cities, too.

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The launch party on Monday was wonderful. The balance of black and white, and colour, photography is laid out with optimum space for appreciation and mingling in the bright little gallery, and the photos themselves have a distinctive style. Consistent with the focus of the blog, I got a real sense of the limitless possibilities of art, street art, blogging, fashion and design across the divides of London.

I caught Stephanie amid mingling and she was a lovely ray of sunshine as a host, and her love for London and art is clear.

Stephanie on the left

Stephanie on the left


Two interesting things strike me about the exhibition.

First, it’s an original and inspired exhibition of the quirks and unusual spots in London, and she has a distinctive style. The consistent blogging has led to a self-made success story purely through dedication, love of Londoners, and she’s a lovely person.

Second, she is clearly genuinely inspired by the city around her and the blog, and the exhibition, gives a real sense of the random mix jumbled together in this vast and varied city. Like her post of 35 Londoners.

It helped me remember why I love it here so much, despite getting caught up in the struggles of life, as we often do, since I came back from New Zealand in 2009.

Have a look and it’ll make you see London in a new way.


Two glasses of wine - and LLO cupcakes!

Two glasses of wine – and LLO cupcakes!

Exhibition was funded via Kickstarter.




The Argus & why it annoyed me

Picked up The Argus on Wed, Oct 30, 2013. I know it’s an easy target, but here’s my scoff:

The Argus: News, Sport, Brighton and Hove Albion and Entertainment for Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

= News, Sport, Brighton and Hove Albion and Entertainment for Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

The front page news? The weather.

The storm that wasn’t. Also, green spaces under threat. There’s no story on the front to be continued, just two headlines that don’t say anything newsworthy. Maybe there’s no news today…

… Except, it’s the day before Halloween.

I just walked down the road and found Brighton, the UK’s top arts and culture city (besides London?), is holding Halloween parties, themes and do’s of some sort in every single venue, pub, and anything else. With a bit of active research, I could come up with at least three distinctive local-daily-news stories related to the exciting night ahead, pictures of Brighton’s streets and décor, interviews with venues, hosts, and chuck in a scary local resident. To be lazy, I could also wax lyrical on Breaking Bad via the inevitable proliferation of Breaking Bad themed Halloween parties.

The front page headline is not even a news piece about the weather; it’s the opinion piece about the weather.

An opinion writer – the last of a dying species of opinion writers actually still paid to fill the endangered territory of a local newspaper double spread – has used his space to write that the weather was not worth the writing. Nihilistic and self-defeating dribble about journalism itself that got his opinion onto the front page: “These feelings of unease were made worse by newspapers such as the Express, which delight in doom-laden weather predictions.”

So where is the breaking news, the daily news, the local news? Page 2 is a national story about the Royal Mail where the only connection seems to be the fact there’s a post office in Brighton; well done. Page 3 seems to be a game of how many fish-related puns – haddock-enough? – can fit into one plaice (sorry) in a story about a fish-and-chip owner who retired. A month ago.

Page 4-5 is ‘Your News’. I’m sure this is a much-cherished feature of The Argus but in practice it means the first actual up-to-date news the local newspaper reader comes across is written by residents, not journalists.

And then: The prominent feature about Kickstarter.

In which, three local projects are cited, fair enough; but these projects aren’t the mainstay of the article. Nothing, absolutely nothing, pertains to anything local until at least two thirds of the way into a double page feature in a local newspaper. The first two thirds give the impression that desperate, confused journalists just Googled their way through and cobbled together a quick collection of speculation and figures without any interested, specialist knowledge – or the inclination to interview anyone to obtain some. This is evident from their cited example of the games console Ouya as a ‘notable success’ on Kickstarter but this project has actually been a catastrophe in every sense of the word.

The Argus has a Twitter feed but they didn’t use it, despite Twitter being the prominent social media used to promote Kickstarter projects.But I can think a couple of Brighton projects off the top of my head I have passively seen via my Twitter feed, despite the fact my feed is based in London. (Reason: Brighton is an arts hub. Does The Argus know that?).

I just found three Brighton projects that are worth much more than a squashed mention at the end of the feature, via a 5 second Twitter search (clue: ‘Kickstarter’ + ‘Brighton’): Playing With Fear, Kollektiv’s First Ever Gallery, and CAT SKIN. These three have something unique about them which I could ascertain from just an interested glimpse.

Arts or technology: Worth a degree?

This five minute debate on technology vs. Arts degrees is weak on the side of the arts. Against Belinda Parmar, campaigning tech agency Lady Geek’s CEO, the Guardian art critic Adrian Searle often resembles a rabbit in the headlights. He says he couldn’t bear a world full of technocrats and I would like to develop that thought.

It is not just technology that is important, and it is certainly not the most important advance for society, despite the financial and career rewards at the moment. Logically, a world focused on developing technology leaves less room for the ideas, visions and – if you like – soul, behind them. Think human and machine: Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, or I Robot. Amazing films. I studied them at University and learned about the ideas and moral questions of technology. I wonder if you learn as much about the arts when you study technology.

Films that belong with the arts and the arts are where philosophy and how to live and morals are truly debate and grow, by the people who study, love and invest in the arts. Technology certainly does enhance the arts, but I say there is no point to technology without the arts. Study of the arts (and I don’t just mean through a University, of course) are there for that purpose, and that is what they are worth. Technology may well provide fantastic career options, but I gained an arts degree for the purpose of a career and to nurture and appreciate myself, the world, and the stories of life.

Arts Council bans unpaid intern ads!


The Arts Council England has posted a public warning to employers recruiting unpaid interns via their jobs website http://www.artsjobs.org.uk. The announcement, featured prominently on the home page and every page, reads:

Unpaid opportunities

We recognise that there is great value in people having access to proper work experience, where it is offered and arranged properly and is a mutually beneficial arrangement, but that this should never be used as a way of attempting to circumvent national minimum wage regulations. Please ensure that your posts are compliant with our terms and conditions. We reserve the right to remove any posts without further notice to you which, in our reasonable judgment, do not comply with the terms and conditions.

Internships in the arts

Arts Council and Creative & Cultural Skills have published these guidelines to help clarify the legal obligations of arts organisations offering internships. Please note that we will not accept postings on Arts Jobs for unpaid internships unless they are part of a recognised further or higher education course.

The Arts Council has also published guidelines to clarify the legal obligations of arts organisations offering internships here.

Tanya de Grunwald is tireless and inspiring. She wrote the useful and brilliant books How to Get a Graduate Job in a Recession and Dude, Where’s My Career?: The Guide for Baffled Graduates (recommended!). She has written on the subject in national newspapers and magazines and she inspired me from the beginning of my own bewilderment just out of University in the recession.

Graduate Fog has campaigned against unpaid graduate internships and the site is an awesome source of graduate careers advice – particularly in the arts and media, the two worst offenders when it comes to exploitation of keen, young graduates.

The Arts Council announcement and guidelines are fantastic news!

Arts Council England’s executive director Moira Sinclair said to Graduate Fog:

“The arts in England can only benefit from a wide range of ideas and voices in both artistic and leadership roles. If we don’t create fairer entry routes into the arts workforce we risk closing the door on a new generation of talented leaders from a range of backgrounds, and the arts will suffer.

“That’s why the Arts Council published Internships in the Arts last year, which we hope will help arts organisations offer high quality, paid internship opportunities that don’t put them at risk of legal action. These guidelines reflect the law, rather than create new rules or regulations, and while the Arts Council has no legal authority to find an employer in breach of the law we would encourage all arts organisations to take note of their responsibilities.

“We are working hard to ensure that employment opportunities in the arts are open to all and to build a diverse, highly skilled arts workforce which is why we have also established the Creative Employment Programme.”

Use this job search on Graduate Fog to filter out unpaid graduate positions!