BBC Director-General, Tony Hall has unveiled details of new landmark BBC Arts series, Civilisations, along with  supporting programming across BBC TV and Radio and an accompanying Civilisations Festival, which will see the BBC partner with more than 250 museums, galleries, libraries and archives across the UK.

Civilisations is produced by the BBC and Nutopia in partnership with The Open University and in association with PBS. The BBC says the series is inspired by Kenneth Clark’s ground-breaking BBC series from 1969. The show will be presented by Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga and they will “travel far and wide across six continents to find answers to fundamental questions about human creativity. The series will examine what makes a civilisation. It will look at paintings, sculptures and architecture that have enriched, challenged and unsettled human beings across the world and reveal the artists who made them and the cultures that produced them.”

The Executive Producers are Jonty Claypole and Mark Bell for the BBC, and Denys Blakeway and Michael Jackson for Nutopia. The Series Producers are Melanie Fall and Ian MacMillan. Bill Gardner, VP of Programming and Development, will oversee the project for the PBS version of the project.

Tony Hall said: “In a complex and fast changing world, Civilisations is a landmark BBC Arts series which asks us to question what lies at the heart of our identity and what makes us human. We want it to inspire the public to take their learning further, and we want the Civilisations Festival to allow them to do just that by engaging with museums and galleries across the UK. Above all, we want to leave a powerful legacy of lifelong cultural enrichment and bring a whole new generation of people together through the arts in a way that only the BBC can.”

Alongside the nine-part BBC Two series, BBC One will present a collection of eleven programmes called Civilisations Stories, exploring the stories emerging from the art of each region and what they say about the communities in which we live.

Also, in an accompanying programme for BBC Two, Civilisations on your Doorstep, Mary Beard will explore the stories and controversies behind works of art from all over the world that are now displayed in museums across Britain.

Further programming on BBC Two will include two special Performance Live programmes in collaboration with Arts Council England, BBC Arts and Battersea Arts Centre, presenting new commissions from director and photographer Robin Friend and director and choreographer Wayne McGregor – Winged Bull in the Elephant Case and hip hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur Akala – The Ruins of Empires.

BBC Radio will also broadcast special programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4.

As previously announced in October last year, the Civilisations Festival is a collaboration between the BBC, museums, galleries, libraries and archives across the UK. More than 250 organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have signed up as partners.

Staff Reporter

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