21 July 2020

Switzerland and the Art of Shutdown — Views from the UK and CH

Following podcasts in lockdown about Austria and Liechtenstein, Dr Seán Williams from Germanic Studies continues with his audio journey through the Alps.

Photo of lake in Switzerland

Having been commissioned by the Swiss Cultural Fund UK and the Embassy or Switzerland to produce a podcast on the “art” of shutdown. Seán is experienced in speaking and writing about the German-speaking world for newspapers, magazines, and the BBC: Sheffield’s School of Languages and Cultures is a key player in creating cultural content about the German-speaking world for UK audiences. You can listen to the programme from mid-August!

Switzerland and the Art of Shutdown — Views from the UK and CH

Lockdown may have narrowed our perspective to quotidian home life, but in other ways it has opened our eyes to the problems of the world.

The British cultural critic Seán Williams, acclaimed Swiss novelist Tabea Steiner, and former Swiss-Mobility student and teacher Raphael Zimmermann come together with readings and reflections on culture and coronavirus, Switzerland and the art of shutdown. At the centre of this creative soundscape are paradoxes of the pandemic. There is a collective sense of feeling alone — despite, technically speaking, being more “connected” than ever before. In an original literary text for this podcast, Tabea Steiner writes about being lost for words. Lockdown may have narrowed our perspective to quotidian home life, but in other ways it has opened our eyes to the problems of the world. Is responding with literature a social imperative, or yet another problematic human intervention? Three creative voices turn to contemporary fiction and the classics, against an aural backdrop of “little Switzerland” in Yorkshire, the rush of the river Aare in Bern, and an urban Zurich apartment that looks onto the Alps via Webcam.

 

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