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Mini festival of satire at the Beacon Museum

The Golden Age of Satire? exhibition was curated and launched by Ian Hislop at the Beacon Museum

A MINI festival of events will celebrate satire from across the ages at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven.

The Festival of Satire is inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, The Golden Age of Satire?, on loan from the British Museum.

Trainee curator at the Beacon Museum, Alex Milner, said: “We will host a number of fascinating and funny talks on the subject of speaking out against authority, and how those in times past did it.

“We have fascinating satirical accounts of the Georgian-era pitched battle between notorious landowner ‘Wicked Jimmy’ Lowther and serial satirist Peter Pindar on behalf of Whitehaven’s downtrodden. We will also look, with Dr Martin Farr, at today’s satire, and how dissenting voices could and should respond to the politics of today.”

Historian Dr Christopher Donaldson will kick off the festival by exploring the literary landscape of west Cumbria on Tuesday November 12. His 2pm talk is titled Satire: From Georgian Whitehaven to Spitting Image.

Dr Donaldson is a lecturer of history at Lancaster University, and was recently credited in a new book, From the Mines to the Mountains, which looks at the literary context of Georgian Cumbria. He will look at elements of political and social satire, including well-known episodes from Cumbrian history.

On Saturday November 16 at 4pm, Dr Martin Farr, head of Contemporary British History at Newcastle University, will discuss modern satire in Britain. He said: “In the 1960s the growth of television and the decline of deference combined to cause a sustained outburst of debunking, parody, and ridicule. Intentions could be humorous or political, but the most powerful satire tended to combine both.”

Art lovers can also get satirical, with an artistic residency project, Satire in Motion, designed to create a satirical history of Whitehaven in a very special tapestry-style display. Artist Susanna Harbach will demonstrate her craft to visitors from Tuesday November 26 until Saturday December 10, with an array of workshops and demonstrations included.

For more information on all events and to book tickets online, visit or Facebook.

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