Culture – The Enemy of Progress?

Culture Image

Second only to Covid, “Culture Wars” have shaped the start of the 2020s, and arguably their impact could be more long-lasting.  

Whether in the context of the recent US elections, terrorism in France, or divisions between London and the North over Covid, time and again the media has returned to the idea of nations divided by often mutually exclusive culture narratives about who we are and what we believe.  These narratives have, in turn, been reinforced by social media echo chambers in which discrete ‘truths’ compete often in fact free environments for the attention of ‘our people’.

In his new book for Radix, Culture – The Enemy Of Progress?, Simon Mundy argues that our human and political cultures have become too intertwined with the concept of the nation. Too many cultural buildings, artefacts, practices and activities are draped with flags. There is a confusion between loyalty to personal culture and loyalty to a recent political structure built on power and historical fiction. The result is a poisoned social environment and the manipulation of citizens for the convenience of those with a controlling interest.

With the departure of Trump as US President we will consider whether the forces he has ridden, if not unleashed, are here to stay and Mundy will argue that to combat the misuse of culture, the tools deployed must themselves be cultural.

  • Chair

    Jo Phillips

    An award-winning journalist and former Director of Communications in the corporate and not for profit sectors, Jo’s career spans politics, public affairs and media. She was Paddy Ashdown’s Press Secretary when he was Leader of the Liberal Democrats and has acted as professional lead for a range of organisations on strategic policy and communications, lobbying and stakeholder relations.She worked with the BBC on their review of political coverage, the Home Office on youth & democracy projects, the Power Inquiry and the London HIV Prevention Programme. A regular political commentator on national and international broadcast media, she writes for The Guardian, The Independent, Total Politics and other national publications. She was Editor of the award-winning current affairs show Sunday Service for Radio 5 Live and Editor of live TV coverage of political party conferences for the BBC.

  • In Conversation With

    Simon Mundy

    former Director of the National Campaign for the Arts and co-founded the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage (now Culture Action Europe). He is a published author, poet and throughout his career he has been a columnist for various classical music magazines, as well as presenting on radio. He has served on the boards of several arts organisations, including the European Union Baroque Orchestra and the Sidney Nolan Trust. He has been an adviser to the Council of Europe, Ford Foundation and UNESCO, among many others. For a decade he was involved with various units of the War Studies Department at King’s College London dealing with culture and conflict and has directed festivals in Caithness and Utrecht.


Online Event


Monday 25th January 2021, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Additional Details


Pre-registration is required to join the event.

To register for this event click this link or the RSVP button

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Follow Us