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Slide 1 - British Culture
Slide 2 - The culture of the United Kingdom refers to the patterns of human activity and symbolism associated with the British people and the United Kingdom. It is informed by the UK's history as a developed island country, monarchy, imperial power and, particularly, as consisting of four countries—England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales—which each have their own preserved and distinctive customs and symbolism. Popular culture of the United Kingdom has impacted upon the world in the form of the British invasion, Britpop and British television broadcasting. British literature and British poetry, particularly that of William Shakespeare, is revered across the world.
Slide 3 - 1. Languages in the United Kingdom No official language. English is the main language and the de facto official language, spoken monolingually by an estimated 95% of the UK population. However, individual countries within the UK have frameworks for the promotion of their indigenous languages. In Wales, English and Welsh are both widely used by officialdom, and Irish and Ulster Scots enjoy limited use alongside English in Northern Ireland, mainly in publicly commissioned translations. Additionally, the Western Isles council area of Scotland has a policy to promote Scottish Gaelic.
Slide 4 - 2. The Arts 2.1 Literature The earliest existing native literature of the territory of the modern United Kingdom was written in the Celtic languages of the isles. Anglo-Saxon literature includes Beowulf, a national epic, but literature in Latin predominated among educated elites. After the Norman Conquest Anglo-Norman literature brought continental influences to the isles. English literature emerged as a recognisable entity in the late 14th century, with the rise and spread of the London dialect of Middle English. Geoffrey Chaucer is the first great identifiable individual in English literature: his Canterbury Tales remains a popular 14th-century work which readers still enjoy today.
Slide 5 - From Elizabethan period, poet and playwright William Shakespeare stands out as arguably the most famous writer in the world. The English novel became a popular form in the 18th century, with Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) and Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (1745). After a period of decline, the poetry of Robert Burns revived interest in vernacular literature, the rhyming weavers of Ulster being influenced by literature from Scotland. In the early 19th century, the Romantic period showed a flowering of poetry comparable with the Renaissance two hundred years earlier, with such poets as William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, and Lord Byron. The Victorian period was the golden age of the realistic English novel, represented by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne), Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, George Eliot, Lord Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Hardy.
Slide 6 - World War I gave rise to British war poets and writers such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Rupert Brooke who wrote (often paradoxically), of their expectations of war, and/or their experiences in the trench. The Scottish Renaissance of the early 20th century brought modernism to Scottish literature as well as an interest in new forms in the literatures of Scottish Gaelic and Scots. The English novel developed in the 20th century into much greater variety and was greatly enriched by immigrant writers. It remains today the dominant English literary form. Other well-known novelists include Arthur Conan Doyle, D. H. Lawrence, George Orwell, Salman Rushdie, Mary Shelley, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Virginia Woolf, Ian Fleming and J. K. Rowling.Important poets include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, T. S. Eliot, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, John Milton, Alfred Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling, Alexander Pope, and Dylan Thomas.
Slide 7 - 2.2 Theatre The United Kingdom has a vibrant tradition of theatre. The reign of Elizabeth I in the late 16th and early 17th century saw a flowering of the drama and all the arts. Perhaps the most famous playwright in the world, William Shakespeare, wrote around 40 plays that are still performed in theatres across the world to this day. Today the West End of London has a large number of theatres, particularly centred around Shaftesbury Avenue. The Royal Shakespeare Company operates out of Shakespeare's birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon in England, producing mainly but not exclusively Shakespeare's plays. Important modern playwrights include Alan Ayckbourn, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, and Arnold Wesker.
Slide 8 - 2.3 Music Composers William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, John Taverner, John Blow, Henry Purcell, Edward Elgar, Arthur Sullivan, William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett have made major contributions to British music, and are known internationally. The United Kingdom also supports a number of major orchestras. London is one of the world's major centres for classical music. The UK was one of the two main countries in the development of rock music, and has provided bands. It has pioneered various forms of electronic dance music.
Slide 9 - 2.4 Broadcasting The UK has been at the forefront of developments in film, radio, and television. Broadcasting in the UK has historically been dominated by the BBC, although independent radio and television (ITV, Channel 4, Five) and satellite broadcasters (especially BSkyB) have become more important in recent years. BBC television, and the other three main television channels are public service broadcasters who, as part of their license allowing them to operate, broadcast a variety of minority interest programming. The United Kingdom has a large number of national and local radio stations .
Slide 10 - 2.5 Visual art The oldest art in the United Kingdom can be dated to the Neolithic period, and is found in a funerary context. In the Iron Age, the Celtic culture spread in the British isles, and with them a new art style. The Romans brought with them the Classical style and glass work and mosaics. The Celtic fringe gained back some of the power lost in the Roman period, and the Celtic style again became a factor influencing art all over the UK. In the UK the different style to some extent fused into a British Celtic-Scandinavian hybrid.
Slide 11 - Notable visual artists from the United Kingdom include John Constable, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, William Blake and J.M.W. Turner. Notable illustrators include Aubrey Beardsley, Roger Hargreaves, and Beatrix Potter. Notable arts institutions include the Allied Artists' Association, Royal College of Art, Artists' Rifles, Royal Society of Arts, New English Art Club, Slade School of Art, Royal Academy, and the Tate Gallery.
Slide 12 - 2.6 Architecture The architecture of the United Kingdom has a long and diverse history from beyond Stonehenge to the designs of Norman Foster and the present day. The earliest remnants of architecture are mainly neolithic monuments. Over the two centuries following the Norman conquest of 1066, and the building of the Tower of London, many great castles such as Caernarfon Castle in Wales and Carrickfergus Castle in Ireland were built to suppress the natives.
Slide 13 - In the early 18th century baroque architecture was introduced, and Blenheim Palace was built in this era. However, baroque was quickly replaced by a return of the Palladian form. The Georgian architecture of the 18th century was an evolved form of Palladianism. In the early 19th century the romantic medieval gothic style appeared as a backlash to the symmetry of Palladianism.
Slide 14 - At the beginning of the 20th century, arts and crafts in architecture is symbolized by an informal, non symmetrical form, often with mullioned or lattice windows, multiple gables and tall chimneys. This style continued to evolve until World War II. Following the Second World War reconstruction was heavily influenced by Modernism, especially from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Modernism remains a significant force in UK architecture, although its influence is felt predominantly in commercial buildings. The two most prominent proponents are Lord Rogers of Riverside and Lord Foster of Thames Bank.
Slide 15 - 3. Science and Technology From the time of the Scientific Revolution, England and Scotland, and thereafter the United Kingdom, have been prominent in world scientific and technological development.
Slide 16 - Possibly the most famous of all English scientists, Isaac Newton, is considered by historians of science to have crowned and ended the scientific revolution with the 1687 publication of his Principia Mathematica.
Slide 17 - Technologically, the UK is also amongst the world's leaders. Historically, it was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, with innovations especially in textiles, the steam engine, railroads and civil engineering. The UK remains one of the leading providers of technological innovations today.
Slide 18 - 4. Religion The United Kingdom was created as a Protestant Christian country and Protestant churches remain the largest faith group in each country of the UK. * The Anglican Church of England, is the Established Church in England. The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England. * The Presbyterian Church of Scotland is regarded as the national church in Scotland. * The Anglican Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920. * The Anglican Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871. Other religions followed in the UK include Roman Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism.
Slide 19 - 5. Cuisine British cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with the United Kingdom. Historically, British cuisine means "unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it." However, British cuisine has absorbed the cultural influence of those that settled in Britain, producing hybrid dishes, such as the Anglo-Indian Chicken tikka masala, hailed as "Britain's true national dish".
Slide 20 - British dishes include fish and chips, the Sunday roast, and bangers and mash. British cuisine has several national and regional varieties, including English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine, which each have developed their own regional or local dishes, many of which are geographically indicated foods such as Cheshire cheese, the Yorkshire pudding, Arbroath Smokie and Welsh rarebit.
Slide 21 - 6. Education Each country of the United Kingdom has a separate education system, with power over education matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being devolved. Education matters for England are dealt with by the UK government since there is no devolved administration for England.
Slide 22 - 6.1 England Most schools came under state control in the Victorian era, a formal state school system was instituted after the Second World War. Initially schools were separated into infant schools (normally up to age 4 or 5), primary schools and secondary schools (split into more academic grammar schools and more vocational secondary modern schools). England has many prominent private schools, often founded hundreds of years ago, which are known as public schools or independent schools. Eton, Harrow and Rugby are three of the better known.
Slide 23 - England's universities England's universities include the so-called Oxbridge universities of (Oxford University and Cambridge University) which are amongst the world's oldest universities and are generally ranked top of all British universities. Some institutions are world-renowned in specialised and often narrow areas of study, such as Imperial College London (science and engineering) and London School of Economics (economics and social sciences). Academic degrees are usually split into classes: first class (I), upper second class (II:1), lower second class (II:2) and third (III), and unclassified (below third class).
Slide 24 - 6.2 Northern Ireland The Northern Ireland Assembly is responsible for education in Northern Ireland though responsibility at a local level is administered by 5 Education and Library Boards covering different geographical areas.
Slide 25 - 6.3 Scotland Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from other parts of the United Kingdom. Traditionally, the Scottish system has emphasised breadth across a range of subjects compared to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish system has emphasised greater depth of education over a smaller range of subjects at secondary school level. Qualifications at the secondary school and post-secondary (further education) level are provided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and delivered through various schools, colleges and other centres.
Slide 26 - State schools are owned and operated by the local authorities which act as Education Authorities, and the compulsory phase is divided into primary school and secondary school (often called High school). Scottish universities generally have courses a year longer than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, though it is often possible for students to take a more advanced specialised exams and join the courses at the second year. One unique aspect is that the ancient universities of Scotland issue a Master of Arts as the first degree in humanities.
Slide 27 - 6.4 Wales The National Assembly for Wales has responsibility for education in Wales. A significant number of students in Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of Welsh and lessons in the language are compulsory for all until the age of 16. There are plans to increase the provision of Welsh Medium schools as part of the policy of having a fully bi-lingual Wales.
Slide 28 - 7. Sociological Issues England has one of the highest population densities in Europe. Housing, therefore, tends to be smaller and more closely packed than in other countries. In the modern United Kingdom more detached housing has started to be built, most beginning in the mid-nineties. Driven by the strong economy, city living has boomed with city centre population's rising rapidly. Most of this population growth has been accommodated through new apartment blocks in residential schemes, such as those in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester. 7.1 Housing
Slide 29 - 7.2 Living Arrangements Historically most people in the United Kingdom lived either in conjugal extended families or nuclear families. In the 20th century the general trend is a rise in single people living alone, the virtual extinction of the extended family (outside certain ethnic minority communities), and the nuclear family arguably reducing in prominence. Some research indicates that in the 21st century young people are tending to continue to live in the parental home for much longer than their predecessors.
Slide 30 - 8. Sports The national sport of the UK is football, having originated in England, and the UK has the oldest football clubs in the world. The first ever international football match was between Scotland and England in 1872. The match ended goalless.
Slide 31 - Other famous British sporting events include the Wimbledon tennis championships, the Grand National, the London Marathon, the Six Nations rugby championships (of which 4 "home nations" participate), the British Grand Prix, The Open Championship, The Ashes cricket series and The Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge universities. A great number of major sports originated in the United Kingdom, including football, squash, golf, tennis, boxing, rugby (rugby union and rugby league), cricket, field hockey, snooker, billiards, badminton and curling.
Slide 32 - 9. National Costume and Dress There is no national costume of the United Kingdom. Scotland has the kilt and Tam o'shanter. In England certain military uniforms such as the Beefeater or the Queen's Guard are considered national symbols. British fashions defined acceptable dress for men of business. Key figures such as Beau Brummell, the future Edward VII and Edward VIII created the modern suit and cemented its dominance.
Slide 33 - 10. Naming Convention The naming convention in most of the United Kingdom is for everyone to have a given name, (or forename) usually (but not always) indicating the child's sex, followed by a parent's family name. Traditionally, Christian names were those of Biblical characters or recognised saints; however, in the Gothic Revival of the Victorian era, other Anglo Saxon and mythical names enjoyed something of a fashion among the literati. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, first names have been influenced by a much wider cultural base.
Slide 34 - 11. Questions for Discussion 1. What are chief languages used in the United Kingdom today? 2. Please talk about Elizabethan Theatre?