diane arbus: in the beginning - meet the curator

In the Beginning: Diane Arbus | Meet the curator | Hayward Gallery

‘Diane Arbus confronted individuals and had a kind of dialogue with them. That dialogue is in her pictures.’ 

In this short video, Jeff L. Rosenheim, curator of diane arbus: in the beginning, introduces the exhibition and discusses the remarkable way that Arbus sought out and engaged with her subjects. 

I think people shared secrets with her that they would not share with other people. She had a certain magic.
Jeff L. Rosenheim on Diane Arbus


This exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


diane arbus: in the beginning at Hayward Gallery ran from 13 February until 6 May 2019.

From internationally acclaimed artists at Hayward Gallery, to pop-up installations, showcases and immersive experiences. Engaging and inspiring art and exhibitions can be found across Southbank Centre.

current & upcoming exhibitions

I’m Still Here

HM  Young  Offenders  Institution  Cookham  Wood,  acrylic  on  canvas
Art by offenders, secure patients and detainees from the 2018 Koestler Awards
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19 Sep 2018 – 4 Nov 2018
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DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics

A free HENI Project Space exhibition of work by artists who have used drag to explore identity, gender and politics
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22 Aug 2018 – 14 Oct 2018
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In the Gallery: Ralph Rugoff on Gursky

In The Gallery | Ralph on Gurksy

‘One thing you really get a sense of from this exhibition is the world we live in.’ Director of Hayward Gallery Ralph Rugoff leads you through selected works from the Gallery’s retrospective of the works of Andreas Gursky.

With a focus on some of the photographer’s more recent works, including Utah (2017) and Tokyo (2017), Rugoff describes how Gursky continues to showcase a very modern world without ever making a political statement, instead leaving it to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.


In this intimate video Rugoff’ describes Gursky’s methodical attention to detail and the painstaking process the artist goes through with every image he produces. Its an attention to detail which led to the artist undertaking the same train journey over and over again in order to build up the composition of Tokyo, and also seek to recreate the distortion of a photograph taken on the move for Utah.

Through these works, as Rugoff explains, Gursky has given a completely different stature and meaning to the very modern art of the mobile phone photograph.

When we were installing the show I kept using the word painting by accident, because these works have such a sophisticated, formal complexity to them, that they seem like they exist somewhere in between photography and painting.
Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward Gallery

Andreas Gursky runs until 22 April. The Gallery is open 11am – 7pm every day except Tuesdays. Late night openings Thursday until 9pm.

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Listen to the best of London Literature Festival 2017

London Literature Festival 2017 Highlights by Southbank Centre

Autumn 2017 saw a wealth of literary and oratory talent descend on Southbank Centre for the London Literature Festival. This podcast delivers a snapshot of the packed three-week programme, with memorable moments from some of the headline talks featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton, Philip Pullman, Tom Hanks and Rt Hon. Gordon Brown, as well as a unique insight to Poetry International in the festival’s 50th year.

London Literature Festival is a celebration of literature in all its forms; poetry, novels, non-fiction and spoken word. Last year the festival centred around the theme of a ‘world on the brink’ in which we gave special focus to writers and authors who address the great challenges the world is facing at the moment, and utilise literature as a space in which we explore the potential for reimagining it, and the future.

In this podcast you’ll hear Rodham Clinton’s thoughts on ‘fake news’, why Pullman never forgot about ‘Pale Gas’, how Hanks’ parents finally found what they were looking for, and you’ll hear a former Prime Minister describe the moment Amy Winehouse told Nelson Mandela he had much in common with her husband.

...this statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square; his hands outstretched with a vision of the future, his finger pointing upwards in defiance, saying no injustice shall last forever, and courage and sacrifice in the name of freedom will not be in vain, and that is the legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Rt Hon. Gordon Brown, speaking during Nelson Mandela: The Presidential Years

London Literature Festival may have now finished, but our literary and talks programme continues to deliver fascinating events throughout the year.

see the programme

Teju Cole, on Blind Spot and human fragility

Teju Cole: Blind Spot by Southbank Centre

Earlier this autumn, acclaimed author and photographer Teju Cole came to Southbank Centre to talk about his new book Blind Spot, in which his images of the contemporary world are accompanied by his lyrical and evocative prose. Listen to the highlights.

In this discussion with our Senior Programmer for Literature & Spoken Word, Ted Hodgkinson, Cole explores the unexpected connections between the visual world and written word, and offers a guide to seeing in our troubled times. 

Each person is a highly specialised library that cannot be replaced
Teju Cole

Each year we welcome a host of writers, authors and international voices to Southbank Centre for London Literature Festival.

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Goldie returnz infused with Beethoven, Charlie Mingus & Charles Bukowski

The drum & bass stalwart is back with his third artist album The Journey Man and his second autobiography All Things Remembered.

Goldie arrives at Royal Festival Hall in a whirlwind of shiny teeth and energy; he’s come directly from filming an item to support Jeremy Corbyn on the importance of arts funding, further along London's South Bank. The unmistakable demeanour, the faint West Midlands twang and the extraordinarily candid window into his life - all are in play as we head up to the Members’ Bar to debate everything from the limbic system of the brain to whether Beethoven was black...

I’ve had a lot of richness but I’ve never really had wealth

He’s been in the public eye for some 25 years now, but there are no airs and graces about Goldie. 'I catch the train everyday, like Corbyn - people say "what are you catching the train for you should have driver?" I like catching the train!' 

Though in the UK to play a plethora of DJ sets across the summer festival season, and to promote both his new album, The Journey Man and upcoming his auto-biography, All Things Remembered, Thailand is where Goldie calls home these days, and, in its current post-Brexit climate, he doesn’t miss too much about London.

'In a way I’m glad I took myself away from England. If you’ve lived a very toxic life then it’s a very toxic place to be. I had to put myself away from myself to be honest. I do love this country but I love myself enough to pull myself away, and I also realise it’s about making way for other things to happen and enabling me to grow.' He muses, 'I’ve had a lot of richness but I’ve never really had wealth.'

Raised in the care system in the West Midlands, Goldie had what most would call a tough upbringing, but he found his escape in art - which took him out of the estates and off to the sunny climes of Miami. His love of art and culture has often pulled him back from the brink, 'It’s the love affair that will never abandon you.' 

The Journey Man is Goldie's third artist album, following Timeless (1995) and Saturnz Return (1998). It was after the latter that his career veered into the mainstream, taking in everything from acting in Bond movies to conducting classical music and donning the lycra in Strictly Come Dancing. On Saturnz Return he worked with the late David Bowie, forming a friendship he recalls fondly. Bowie, the undisputed master of reinvention, has clearly been a great inspiration to Goldie.

Does great stress lead to great art?

We’re debating whether the experience of going through hardships and turbulence in life can be a powerful driver for creating art. Goldie mentions a conversation he once had with a neurosurgeon about the limbic system of the brain, that which controls our emotional responses, behaviors, motivation and memory. According to the surgeon, when you view scans of the brain's response to observing art, and its response to observing trauma, they trigger very similar patterns. 'It explains a lot about why trauma excels us; why artists are often the most traumatised people,' he says, offering  Jay-Z and Bjork as tangible examples. 

Beethoven was berated... that’s always confused me, the fact that he was mixed race…

He’s becoming even more animated now, referring to the much debated theory that Beethoven was mixed race and that his mother, Maria Magdalena Keverich, was Moorish, having being born in Flanders in an area under the control of the Moors at the time. ‘It made him complex. He wrote his music so they couldn’t follow it, to confuse the orchestra. He hid his music behind maths.’

It’s not beyond reason to draw parallels in the unconventional ways in which Beethoven constructed his music, and the genre-defining manner in which Goldie time-stretched beats in ways not previously done, and played his sequencer backwards to create Timeless, a record that changed the course of electronic music production.

Beethoven’s compositions are known for the patterns hidden beneath the sounds. Some say his use of mathematical sequences to compose was his means of continuing to write music as he descended into deafness. Others suggest it’s more than a happy accident that in doing so he constructed layers of consonance and dissonance that somehow fit together perfectly to add turbulence and emotion to the score. Miles Davis, Goldie points out, is another artist who skillfully blends dissonant chords. ‘It’s fascinating isn’t it,’ he leans back admiringly, ‘I always found great inspiration from that.’

Next year marks a decade since we saw Goldie on television in his topcoat and tails, wielding a baton as he learned how to be a classical music conductor on the BBC programme Maestro. I ask if that experience changed him at all? ‘I like the fact that alchemy plays a big role in my life. Not having the ability to read music in the way that I’m supposed to. I’ve played Ronnie Scotts… I don’t think there’s been another artist who’s played Ronnie Scott’s that’s not been able to play an instrument. It was a a bit of mind fuck for me… in a good way. I’ve really enjoyed that side of my life.’

Goldie’s political manifesto

The world has changed a lot since Maestro. Back then Barrack Obama was striding towards his first term as US President. Now, the spectre of Obama's successor looms large, particularly as we meet in a week when Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un are beating their chests like nuclear-armed silverback gorillas. It’s left us both feeling somewhat uneasy about the state of the globe, and the future. 'I think we’re in a really special time for young people now. They still see two people arguing but it’s not like Scargill and Thatcher anymore… it’s much worse. It’s like Darth Vader and Genghis Khan... and that’s the choice you’ve got! What can you do?'

If I had my way yoga would be in the school curriculum, and parkour a national sport

These days to keep calm and carry on, he does yoga speaks highly of its benefits - if his next reinvention takes him on a political journey, it will form a part of his manifesto. 'If I had my way yoga would be in the school curriculum, and parkour a national sport. I’d have music colleges as a given, and I’d have free transport for young people to create healthy minds. The amount of money this country makes from speed cameras is more than enough to educate our youth.'

To Goldie's credit he’s regularly used his public platform to try and inspire disadvantaged young people, in fact it was for services to music and young people that he was awarded an MBE in 2016. He advocates for facilities in estates to help channel children's talents in creative ways, because he knows from experience what can happen if they have no outlets. 'My kid Jamie, got 35 years for homicide… aggravated, premeditated homicide... killed a kid.' 

The tragic gang related stabbing in Wolverhampton was widely reported when he was sentenced in 2010. 'I’ll be 64 when he comes out of prison. I’ll never forget the day they closed his school down. He was nine years old and they took his junior school in the middle of an estate - a place called Firetown. Do the maths. You close the school down which is the community at the heart of the estate, chop out the heart and watch it die, and you wonder why those kids went left and right.'

I’m Dr. Price twice! None of them are going to get me anything in the real world. They open a few doors maybe but I don’t know what doors they are, I ain’t seen them yet!

I wonder if his MBE means anything to him? ‘Let me tell you something, putting letters after my name makes no difference to me.’ He reminds me it’s not his only title, he also has an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences from Brunel University and an honorary degree of Doctor of Design from the University of Wolverhampton. ‘I’m Dr. Price twice! None of them are going to get me anything in the real world. They open a few doors maybe but I don’t know what doors they are, I ain’t seen them yet.’ That said, he concedes that his mum, who sadly passed away in 2015, may feel some pride at his accolades, ‘maybe there’s a little part of her that just gives me the wink when I’m sleeping.’

The Journey Man takes a sojourn into jazz 

So to the new album. A decade since his last and reportedly four years in the making, The Journey Man is, according to Goldie, an amalgamation of the music he grew up with. 'I love the album because it is a body of work. There’s something for everyone on there.' A whopping 16 tracks long, it boasts a healthy dose of pleasingly heady drum and bass as you might expect, but for good measure The Journey Man also takes a sojourn into jazz and soul territory too, with some stunning vocal contributions.

Goldie kicks off a live tour to promote it in November, getting back on stage with some of his friends from the Heritage Orchestra, the ensemble with which he performed his Timeless album live at Royal Festival Hall in 2015, to rapturous acclaim. 'Nine of us on stage with the four singers - it’s a bit like watching Incognito.'

Playing at Ronnie Scotts meant more to me than my MBE

In February this year Goldie took his Timeless Orchestral show to legendary jazz club Ronnie Scotts. 'Playing at Ronnie Scotts meant more to me than my MBE to be honest,' he beams. Jazz has long been a great inspiration to his music; Timeless was inspired by American jazz drummer Art Blakey, and now he’s espousing Charlie Mingus. 'For me Mingus as a composer… forget playing double bass - as a composer he was unbelievable, fierce as well.'

Now Goldie is looking to the future, he’s experimenting with not smoking. It’s a week since his last cigarette and that hasn’t happened for the last 20 years. 'I’m enjoying it,' he says with just a hint of uncertainty and lashings of good intention.

'I’m looking forward to [coming to] Southbank.' He’ll be discussing his upcoming autobiography on 22 October as part of London Literature Festival. All Things Remembered is his second autobiography, the first, came out in 2002 but an awful lot has happened since then. This tome, he says, is very different to the last one. 'The book’s been a good story... a kids story as well. Like Ham on Rye but the darker, blacker version of that,' he laughs, drawing parallels with the brooding social commentary of Charles Bukowski. All things considered it will definitely be a ripping yarn.

And with that he’s off, pausing gracefully for a selfie with a fan, before he heads out to the next appointment in his exhausting schedule. I don’t know where he finds the energy.

See Goldie interviewed at this year's London Literature Festival on 22 October  

Information and tickets

Jazz inspiration play list

Hear some of the composers and musicians that inspired Goldie's music.

Zadie Smith: Swing Time - in conversation

Zadie Smith by southbankcentre

Taking inspiration from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Zadie Smith’s Intimations is published on 28 July. The book features six personal essays by Smith, written in the early months of the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown in the United States.

In the summer of 2017 we welcomed Zadie Smith to the Southbank Centre to discuss her fifth, and most recent, novel, Swing Time. In conversation with our Head of Literature and Spoken Word, Ted Hodgkinson, the author reflected on fiction, friendship and capturing a changing world on the page; something she has very much done in Intimations.


An essential writer for our times, Smith’s other novels include the multi-award-winning White Teeth (2000) and the Booker Prize shortlisted On Beauty (2005). In this fascinating discussion she talks candidly about the writing process as well as her fascination with time ('It's really the only subject for me') as a recurring motif within her work, and for the freedom it offers a writer.


I've enjoyed being an old white guy, a strange Jewish autograph collector, an old black American woman, a young hot black guy swimming in a pool in Boston. Which was always my issue with time, that I would only get to live once, as me. In the novels I get to be all those people, and presumably offend the representatives of all those people on earth.
Zadie Smith


The show must go on(line)

Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.

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Antony Gormley on the theme of Inside, and curating Koestler

Antony Gormley on the theme of Inside, and curating Koestler

Turner Prize-winning sculptor Antony Gormley is to curate the 2017 Koestler Awards exhibition of art by offenders, secure patients and detainees. In this exclusive video interview for Southbank Centre, he explains what the theme of this year’s exhibition, Inside, means to him.

We are all defined by our condition, by our context, but however conditioned we are, our minds are always free.
Antony Gormley

An artist who continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming, in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise, Gormley describes how he wanted to encourage the artists of this year’s exhibition to draw on the ‘limitlessness’ of the mind in their work.

As someone who has always looked to take his work beyond gallery spaces, and other locations in which art may be perceived to belong, Gormley, perhaps understandably, tells us how he views the Koestler exhibition as a key opportunity for him, and us, to discover a place where art arises without the constructed labels of its environment.

It’s a very sad thing if we think that art is something which can only be found in art galleries or museums.
Antony Gormley

Inside, art by offenders, secure patients and detainees, is exhibited at Southbank Centre from Thursday 21 September - Wednesday 15 November. 

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Tom Hanks joins 2017 London Literature Festival line-up

In a UK-exclusive event, Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival, in collaboration with Penguin Live, presents Tom Hanks in conversation on his first collection of fiction, with live readings from the author.

In his only UK appearance, Tom Hanks joins us to introduce his new book Uncommon Type; a collection of short stories which explore the human condition and all its foibles, each one connected by the recurring motif of a typewriter. Published by William Heinemann, Penguin Random House, Uncommon Type is released on Tuesday 17 October.

Tom Hanks in conversation about Uncommon Type is at Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday 1 November 2017

Beloved for his wit and sensitivity as an actor, Tom Hanks brings these characteristics to his first collection of short stories, Uncommon Type. We're thrilled he's chosen to present them at Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival.
Ted Hodgkinson, Senior Programmer, Literature and Spoken Word, Southbank Centre