For young designers at the beginning of the 1980s, Memphis was a revelation. Now in their 40s, these same designers speak of this wilfully provocative and short-lived design group with a mixture of reverence and repulsion. Founded by the Milanese designer and architect Ettore Sottsass, it incited designers of everyday objects - from office chairs to buildings via wallpaper and vases - to break away from clean-cut mainstream modern European design. Nathalie du Pasquier, one of the Memphis team, describes it as "a way of life, of transferring into the world of the western home the culture of rock music, travel and a certain excess". However ephemeral, Memphis certainly had an effect. Introduced to the world at the 1981 Milan Furniture Fair, where it stole the show, Memphis was the major influence on Philippe Starck, today the world's best known and most imitated designer. Those wacky hotel lobbies for Ian Schrager in Miami, New York and Hong Kong, and that best-selling lemon-squeezer, … [Read more...] about Love it or loathe it?
Hawa Koroma is a 23-year-old single mother with two children. She left school with just handful of GCSEs after spending her teenage years looking after her younger sister and grieving for her mother, who died of cancer. Aged 16 and pregnant with her first child, she ended up in a care home. “I was lost,” she says. But unlike most care leavers she found her way: she’s now a first-year university student with ambitions to become a child psychologist. Koroma is lucky. There are 72,000 children in care in England, and they face far worse life chances than their peers. They face a much higher risk of homelessness, teenage pregnancy and unemployment. And just 6% of young people with experience of the care system will attend university, compared with almost 50% in the general population. To address this, the government announced a new care leaver covenant last week, aimed at easing the path into independent adulthood. While it acknowledges that universities already do a lot … [Read more...] about ‘There’s a lot of stigma’: why do so few care leavers go to university?
Researchers from the Millennium Cohort Study are following nearly 19,000 children born at the start of the 21st century, building a picture of their birth and early childhood to try to gauge the long-term impact of these formative years. The study, which will keep tracking the children until they reach the age of 11, presents an intimate portrait of family and community life in Britain, examining poverty, parenting, education, health, religion and ethnicity. Led by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education, it is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and government departments. Today's results come from between 2006 and 2007, when the children were aged five. Learning The survey found that children whose parents read to them every day at the age of three were more likely to flourish in their first year in primary school, getting more than two months ahead not just in language and literacy but also in maths. Their scores in the Foundation Stage … [Read more...] about Researchers track lives of 19,000 British Children
Children growing up in the north’s most deprived communities face a “double whammy” of familial disadvantage and poor institutional performance, with up to 15% of children in some areas dropping out of education and training before they are 18, a report has found. Despite parts of the urban north experiencing rapid regeneration as the government’s “northern powerhouse” project progresses, many children – girls in particular – feel they will not benefit from what they view as just “a few shiny new buildings”, according to the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield. She is calling on the poorest northern children to be put at heart of the northern powerhouse, having spent the past year travelling across the north of England interviewing students and their teachers and carers for a new report, Growing Up North. One of her most “unacceptable” findings is that despite the law now requiring children to stay in … [Read more...] about Children in north ‘face double whammy’ of poverty and bad schools
I don't wish to claim that the UK is the best in the world at turning science into innovative products, but Aditya Chakrabortty's article (4 December) about the country's efforts in exploiting graphene – the ultra-thin "wonder material" made from carbon – was unnecessarily gloomy. First, in describing the work by Nobel laureates Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov at Manchester University, where they discovered graphene in 2004, Chakrabortty fails to mention that the construction of the new, state-of-the-art £61m National Graphene Institute at the university has been specifically designed to encourage innovation. Second, he cites AstraZeneca's closure of its research centre at Alderley Park in Cheshire as an example of Britain's lack of innovative nous. Yes, the centre closed this year, but it has been relocated to Cambridge. Of course, that raises separate questions over the north-south divide, but not to mention the centre's move seems a strange oversight.Matin … [Read more...] about No need to be so gloomy about graphene