Inspired by the Barbican’s international arts programme, a curated mix of podcasts, playlists, films, videos, talks and articles enables audiences to continue to enjoy the Centre’s rich and varied programme.

Highlights of new digital content announced today include:  

  • As part of this year’s digital edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, the Barbican’s Head of Cinema, Gali Gold, will chair two Q&A webinar discussions with filmmakers and human rights experts (24 & 29 May)
  • To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May), the Barbican hosts the third edition of the Nothing Concrete podcast series The Art of Change with Stephen Fry on music, art, isolation, mental health and the healing power of art; and makes available a new Spotify playlist:Music for healing and head space inviting listeners to find a moment of calm
  • Composer Erland Cooper and filmmaker and photographer Alex Kozobolis will take over the Barbican’s Instagram channel for a week
  • The Poetry Exchange releases Then Or Now – the score to William Tuckett’s new work choreographed for Ballet Black – as a special edition podcast, confronting some of the big questions of our time
  • On Tue 19 May, the Barbican releases an audio recording of Ninth Street Women on Mixcloud. Part of the public programme for 2019 exhibition Lee Krasner: Living Colour, author Mary Gabriel celebrates Lee Krasner and her fellow Abstract Expressionist pioneers

All digital content is available for everyone to read, watch and listen to for free at and via the Barbican’s social channels. In addition, podcasts can also be accessed by subscribing to the Nothing Concrete podcast via AcastSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

New Digital Content – full details below


Erland Cooper Instagram takeover

Following the postponement of his An Orkney Triptych concert which was due to take place at the Barbican on 13 June 2020, composer Erland Cooper has been projecting films onto the concrete walls around the Barbican estate. Made on the Orkney Islands by filmmaker and photographer Alex Kozobolis, the films are accompanied by music from Erland’s three albums. From Mon 18 May this content will take over the Barbican’s Instagram channel for a week.

A new Spotify playlist to find calm 

A new Spotify playlist of Music for healing and head space‘ to help listeners find a moment of calm, curated by the Barbican’s music team, will go live on Mon 18 May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. Available via the Read, Watch & Listen page.

The Art of Change with Stephen Fry series continues on the Nothing Concrete podcast 

Episode two of the Nothing Concrete podcast series with writer, actor, comedian and campaigner Stephen Fry saw Stephen talk movingly and honestly about his struggles with bipolar disorder and his own suicide attempts and is available via the Read, Watch & Listen page or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Episode three (available on Wed 20 May) continues the discussion as journalist Chris Gunness and Stephen Fry talk about his work for gay rights, as well as prostate cancer and mental health advocacy. This four-episode series is part of The Art of Change in which the Nothing Concretepodcast meets artists and performers who are passionate about changing the world.


Human Rights Watch Film Festival 

Barbican Cinema celebrates its important and long-standing partnership with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival as it returns with a digital edition from 22 May to 5 June, having closed in March due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Co-presented by the Barbican, Curzon and Regent Street Cinema, a collection of nine international titles which were due to be screened at the Barbican, will be available to stream on Curzon Home Cinema. Each film will also include a live Q&A webinar discussion with filmmakers and human rights experts, two of which will be hosted by the Barbican’s Head of Cinema, Gali Gold.

On 24 May at 8.30pm, Leftover Women documentary filmmakers, Hilla Medalia and Shosh Shlam, will join Gali Gold and Yaqiu Wang, Human Rights Watch China Researcher to discuss the issue of “sheng nu” or “leftover” women in China, which leaves single females over 27 under immense social pressures to marry or be rejected from society.

On 29 May at 8.30pm, Born In Evin documentary filmmaker Maryam Zaree will join Gali Gold and Tara Sepehri Far, Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa researcher, to talk about the impact of the decades of silence surrounding the circumstances of hers and many others’ births inside Evin, Iran’s most notorious political prison.

For details for these and the full digital festival programme see Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Please note that subscription fees apply for selected streaming platforms.

Theatre and Dance

The Poetry Exchange podcast

The Poetry Exchange release a special edition podcast, Then Or Now – the score to William Tuckett’s new work choreographed for Ballet Black – which would have had its premiere at the Barbican on 26 March 2020. It features poems by American poet Adrienne Rich and the music of Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704), played by violinist Daniel Pioro. With Poetry Direction by Fiona Bennett, the words are voiced by Natasha GordonMichael Shaeffer and Hafsah Annela Bashir.

Opening with the words ‘What kind of times are these?’ Rich’s poetry confronts the big questions of our time with astonishing power and intimacy. Then Or Now offers a powerful listening experience where words, music and the imagined movement of Ballet Black’s dynamic dancers conjure images of beauty and truth in a troubled world. Listen to the podcast here.

Visual Arts

From the archive

On Tue 19 May, the Barbican releases an audio recording of Ninth Street Women on Mixcloud. Part of the public programme for 2019 exhibition Lee Krasner: Living Colour, author Mary Gabriel celebrates Lee Krasner and her fellow Abstract Expressionist pioneers: Elaine de KooningGrace Hartigan,Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler. Gabriel explores the rich story of these five women whose lives and art work drove a revolution in modern art.

Previously announced digital highlights include:

  • Meet our Community Collaborator Headway East London in this longread article
  • Episodes one and two of the four-part Nothing Concrete podcast series The Art of Change withStephen Fry – the third episode of which will be available on Wednesday 20 May
  • Complicité’s award-winning production of The Encounter (2015), filmed at the Barbican, accompanied by a live discussion event and public Q&A with Simon McBurney
  • Two short films commissioned for the cancelled The Lark Ascending: People, Music, Landscapeconcert
  • Tony Allen playlist, curated by Strut Records in tribute to the legendary Afrobeat drummer, who last appeared at the Barbican in 2019. Barbican Profile: Tony Allen is available on the Barbican’s Spotify channel.
  • A live discussion between filmmaker Kitty Green and Birds Eye View director Mia Bays, with an intro from Barbican curator Sonia Zadurian about The Assistant
  • A specially recommissioned and recorded conversation between Karen Knorr and Anna Fox, two of the artists featured in Masculinities: Liberation through Photography (2020) in the Art Gallery as well as a Q&A with Barbican Visual Arts Curator Alona Pardo about this exhibition, still available on the Barbican’s Twitter.
  • Richard Mosse in conversation with Anthony Downey about Incoming
  • Family favourites chosen by Barbican Cinema curator Susie Evans to keep the over 5s entertained during lockdown


The Barbican is temporarily closed until further notice due to UK Government advice on Coronavirus/Covid-19. All events taking place until Tuesday 30 June 2020 have now been cancelled or postponed. Everyone who has booked a ticket for a Barbican event during this period is eligible for a full refund. Information on how to claim this is published here. Anyone who has tickets up until the end of June has been contacted by the Box Office.

The Barbican is encouraging audiences to make a donation so it can keep investing in the artists and organisations with whom it works. Audiences are also being asked to consider donating to the Centre’s Resident and Associate companies to support them through these difficult times.