Arts & Culture Round-up: Looking forward, looking back

Arts and culture 610November is a month of remembrance. This month, several bloggers have been looking back in history, and taking inspiration from commemoration.

At 11am on the 11th day of this month, I was sitting in a cafe with my son, who was recovering from a trip to hospital. The radio quietened and people stopped their chatter; and, at the end of the two-minute silence, I explained to Austin just why it was that people stopped their daily business, to remember people who died all those decades ago.

At five years old, I don’t think he quite grasped the significance of the silence (‘but Mummy, did you know those people who died? What were their names?’). But, since then, he’s been asking questions about soldiers, conflict, death and sacrifice. And – even though I detest war – I agree with the fine words expressed by Franglaise Mummy, in her post about a visit to the poppies at the Tower of London:

“If each generation doesn’t stop to remember, to teach their children about the horrors of these wars (notably WWI and WWII) then it feels to me that those soldiers and civilians died in vain, and it will become harder to learn from our past mistakes.”

Other bloggers have posted about the 888, 246 poppies laid out artistically, to represent each Commonwealth and British death during WW1. Mari’s World enjoyed her long-planned visit with her two daughters, but was taken aback by the crowds. Dadbloguk was inspired by his daughter’s history homework to recount some of his family’s war stories. And Hatty Daze went to see an interesting performance of How Nigeria Became at the Unicorn Theatre, set in 1914, the year WWI broke out.

Jo Sandelson decided NOT to fight through the crowds and visit the Tower poppies, but instead took her family to the beautiful Blenheim Palace to see an installation by Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Wei Wei. Family Travel Times visited the historical Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey, where they had a hands-on experience of some of the weaponry used during WWI. And Chelsea Mamma experienced warfare of a different sort, when she witnessed the world’s largest trebuchet – Fire! display at Warwick Castle.

As well as looking back, November’s also a time when some of us start looking forward…. to Christmas (yes, I know it may be a bit premature. But personally I love getting all worked up about those Yuletide festivities!) Stressy Mummy has posted about Disney on Ice, and a very special surprise for those of you whose children love the hit show Frozen. Johnson Babies has written about  Sherman Theatre’s touring production Match, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match Girl. And, on the Pigeon Pair and Me, there’s a team review – involving the whole family – of Stick Man, playing in London and Edinburgh this Christmas.

If you have plans for a Christmas city break, including a little cultural fun, then it’s worth checking out the Top Five Things to do in London, by Alison at Space in Your Case. A Mummy Too has posted a list of things to do in the West Midlands in the run-up to Christmas. And, if you’re so busy catching pre-Christmas shows and exhibitions to spend much time in the shops, why not check out an online guide to affordable art posted by Wild and Grizzly, with some fantastic ideas for gifts for the art-lover in your life.

And finally: a couple of other arts-related posts have caught my eye this month, which I wanted to mention. Laura’s Little Things has posted about her family day the Battersea Arts Centre. And Babes About Town reviews the National Theatre children’s production of Romeo and Juliet, which is currently touring primary schools.

Have you been to see any Christmas performances or exhibitions? Do let me know, in the comments below.

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About Nell Heshram

Nell Heshram is a writer who blogs at the Pigeon Pair and Me. On her blog she shares tips on arts and culture for kids; family travel; and what’s new in her home town of London.


  1. 18 November 2014 / 10:42

    Another fab round-up, thanks for including me 🙂

  2. 18 November 2014 / 13:11

    Thanks for including me and for your kind words x

  3. 20 November 2014 / 23:27

    Thank you for including us too – looking forward to reading all the others!