Welcome to the 60th show of Absolutely Intercultural, the podcast about all things inter-cultural. In many cultures, 60 of anything marks a celebration. For example if you have been married for 60 years then that is your diamond jubilee and everybody has to give you diamonds!
absolutely vocational: Firstly we go to the closing event of a European project, Brydlydmuren, (break the sound barrier) all about using sound in vocational education. Students had done all sorts of sound-related work including a collaborative project with a university in Turkey. This final event took place in a large hall in the city of Aarhus and included displays and experiences such as a blind restaurant, which is where you eat in complete darkness so that your other senses come to the fore. One of the events was a Skype video conference with the Turkish university.
absolutely culinary: I attended a chat show featuring one of Britain’s celebrity chefs, Jessie Dunford Wood. This was another of the events offered by Language Lab, the online language school based in Second Life. One of the attractions of going to these events is that you can participate by asking questions yourself. So what comes to mind when you hear the phrase British food? Would you go to a British restaurant for a special treat?
In the second extract from the Jessie Dunford Wood session we hear about the difference between a chef and a cook and why the athletes had to bring their own food to the London Olympics in 1948. In the podcast I promised you could see a memo written at the time by British civil servants who were checking on how the different national teams were coping with their British food rations. One I particularly liked was about the Mexican team. The civil servants noted that ‘the habit of regarding food as a precious commodity was foreign’ to the Mexican. See the memo here.
absolutely complimentary Thanks to Tammy Roberts from Nashville for some kind words about the show. Tammy organises international exchanges for high school students. Amongst other things Tammy wrote: ‘Your podcasts have helped me to understand different cultures around the world which has helped me to relate better with some of the students. One small example was the German student that thought I was very odd for flying a US flag at our home. … once I heard your podcast on Germans flying flags, it clicked why she was not comfortable with my display‘. We love stories like that. So if you have another example where you found the podcast useful then let us know by leaving a comment here.
Juliette Towhidi is widely known for her screenplay of the film ‘Calendar Girls’. This is a very British movie based on a true story. The Women’s Institute or WI as it’s known, in Britain, is an old-established organisation originally for farmer’s wives to get together and swap recipes and knitting patterns. At least that is the stereotype. The film tells the story of a group of friends at a Women’s Institute in Yorkshire, one of whom has a husband who dies of cancer. The friends decide to raise money for cancer research in a very unusual way by making a calendar posed by members of the WI in various states of tasteful undress. Tasteful means that although they are wearing fewer clothes than they should, you don’t see anything that you shouldn’t. Remember that these are mainly women of ‘a certain age’ as we say politely.In real life thousands of copies of the calendar were sold and the story became widely known.
This was a virtual event which happened in the virtual world, Second Life. The chat show was one of a series of events organised by Language Lab, a pioneering language school which operates 100% in Second Life. They have built a whole city with a theatre, art gallery, café, toy shop and church to name but a few of the locations where you can have your language lessons. As well as more traditional lessons, they also organise events such as art exhibitions and the chat show which features in this podcast. The great thing is that you are not watching a TV here, you are part of it. They have even hired actors who staff the café, shops and other buildings so that you can have the full inter-cultural experience. For example the audience at the Juliette Towhidi interview could slip the chat show host a note with a question for the movie writer.
absolutely secret What is the secret of a good education? Finland is a country which regularly tops the PISA international comparisons and at a recent conference I attended, the audience couldn’t help questioning the Finnish presenter Timo Väliharju of Mediamaisteri about the secret to Finland’s success.
absolutely sacred In this segment Juliette is talking about another film, London Kebabs, which she was involved in which explored religious and cultural differences.