Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Britain's vanishing public art

Bulldozed, stolen, melted down... my piece for BBC Culture on efforts to track down Britain's missing art: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160208-why-are-these-masterpieces-at-risk

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Road to Wigan Pier, via Aleppo


My latest feature on Syrian refugees for AlJazeera, this time one those who have chosen to come to the UK - even though countries like Germany and Sweden seem much more obvious destinations because of their comparatively generous asylum policies. Only about 5,000 Syrians have been granted asylum in the UK since the war started in 2011. 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Seal-spotting along the Thames

Some things are much better now than they were in the good old days. Like sewage systems, for example. How the Thames was brought back to life after being declared biologically dead in the 1950s (and became a haven for seals, cormorants and even dolphins): http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151111-how-the-river-thames-was-brought-back-from-the-dead?ocid=fbbrt

Monday, 19 October 2015

Scientists vs art forgers

"We created a social network – a Facebook of the early 16th Century."

Really enjoyed writing this feature on the latest techniques in the fight against art forgery for the BBC. It's not every day that you get to visit a secret little studio in South London, look at pigments from Pompeii and hear all about social networks in Renaissance Florence.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Middle-class Syrian refugees start back at square one...

My feature for Al Jazeera about Syria's scattered middle class: a banker, a business student and an archaeologist talk about their lives as refugees.

Monday, 21 September 2015

British grassroots efforts to help refugees

Halal pot noodles, waterproofs, organic tomato puree: Londoners join the effort to help refugees on the continent. Recent feature for Al Jazeera. Here's how you can support one of the grassroots organisations - through crowdfunding.

'Where else should I live?' The refugees housed at Dachau

My feature for the Guardian on the refugees housed in the "herb garden" at Dachau, a former Nazi slave-labour plantation in the grounds of the concentration camp. It's one of those stories that will stay with me for a long time. Some of the people I spoke to want the site to be a memorial and exhibition space; others say the space is needed as social housing. But the interview that touched me most was with Ashkan, a young Afghan man who lives at Dachau, and his girlfriend, Dania.

While the German officials around them were trying to find a balance between commemorating past wrongs and addressing present needs, Ashkan and Dania were caught in their own, personal struggle to reconcile the past with the present. A timely reminder that a refugee's journey doesn't end when she steps off the train in Germany.