Four images - (1) Topless man on hill, (2) Paddington Bear commemorative coin in front of St. Paul's, (3) The Archers, (4) People waving and holding up papers

We scour the media each week for our favourite four cultural stories, innovations or campaigns across the vibrant sectors that our team promotes, including: books; visual art; architecture and design; museums; performing arts; and universities

Portrait prize finalists

The Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize, organised by the National Portrait Gallery and one of international photography’s most important awards, announced their shortlist on Tuesday this week. Organisers praised the three chosen portraits for featuring ‘inspiring and emotive narratives of community,’ and the shortlist featured in arts and picture stories across the press this week. The Guardian led their story with Irish photographer Enda Bowe’s portrait of a young man named Neil on a housing estate in south Belfast, while The Evening Standard celebrated Los-Angeles-based Pat Martin’s image of his mother, Gail, taken as part of Martin’s attempt to create the family album he never had. British photographer Garrod Kirkwood’s shortlisted photo shows a family setting off on a holiday adventure; The BBC described it as capturing ‘a moment full of promise and possibility’. Entries will be on show at the National Portrait Gallery from 7 November 2019 – 16 February 2020.

Paddington Bear embarks on fresh adventures on the new 50p coin

We were delighted to see that literary hero Paddington Bear will gain a new platform this week, with additional 50p coins featuring the ever-charming children’s character going into circulation. As Sky News reports, the two new 50p coins released by the Royal Mint follow two coins released in 2018 to celebrate the bear’s 60th birthday. The Daily Express reckon these rare new coins, depicting Paddington visiting the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, could sell for up to £500 – so be sure to check any 50ps you get your hands on!

Cooking with The Archers

Meanwhile, fans of The Archers will now have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culinary world of their favourite radio series – from Alistair’s Goan fish curry to Jill’s flapjacks. The first official cookbook from the soap opera in decades, The Archers: Year of Food and Farming, has been compiled by Archers writer Keri Davies and promises to serve up gossip on favourite characters alongside the recipes. As The Times reports in their aptly headlined ‘Tuna in for a good meal,’ it remains unconfirmed as to whether the book will include a recipe for cheese soufflé, recently the centre of competition at the village fete.

A-level results

We’re hoping those of you with A-level students in your family received good news today! There has been much news on universities in the lead up to A-level results. The Guardian reported over the weekend that UK universities were bracing themselves for a last-minute fight for A-level students as tens of thousands of course places remain unfilled. The Daily Telegraph reported that private schools have been accused of using governors to get an upper hand on Oxbridge admissions. And, The Sunday Times report that 48% of A-level results are wrong might bring some solace to those who didn’t get the results they were after today. As reported extensively, Labour also announced that they would end university offers before results day in a bid to support poorer students.

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Image credits

*Clockwise from top left

Enda Bowe/ The Guardian

Sky News

The Guardian

The Times