The Edition

Drama students: how universities raised a generation of activists

39 min listen

This week:

On Monday, tents sprung up at Oxford and Cambridge as part of a global, pro-Palestinian student protest which began at Columbia University. In his cover piece, Yascha Mounk, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, explains how universities in both the US and the UK have misguidedly harboured and actively encouraged absurdist activism on campuses. Yascha joined the podcast to discuss further. (01:57)

Next: Bugs, biscuits, trench foot: a dispatch from the front line of the protests. The Spectator’s Angus Colwell joined students at tent encampments this week at UCL, Oxford and Cambridge. He found academics joining in with the carnival atmosphere. At Cambridge one don even attended with their baby in tow. ‘Peaceful protest? Rubbish it does nothing,’ a UCL student tells him. ‘Zionist attitudes start young, and we need our institutions to correct that. None of us are free until all of us are free, until Zionism is gone.’ One Jewish UCL student claims they were spat at by protestors ‘who told us to go back to Poland’. As part of his research, Angus sat down with Anwar, a spokesperson for the protestors at University College London and he sent us that conversation, which you can hear on the podcast. (17:34)

Then: Lara and Will take us through some of their favourite pieces from the magazine, including Philip Hensher’s Life column and James Delingpole’s review of Shardlake on Disney +.

And finally: should we take Beryl Cook more seriously? In his arts lead for the magazine this week, Julian Spalding writes about Beryl Cook whose unique art is celebrated by many as an exuberant take on everyday life. However she is often looked down upon within the art establishment. To coincide with a new exhibition of her work at Studio Voltaire we thought we would reappraise her legacy with Julian and Rachel Campbell-Johnston, former chief art critic at the Times. (29:44)

Hosted by William Moore and Lara Prendergast. 

Produced by Oscar Edmondson.