An elderly man admires a vibrant blue stained glass artwork depicting abstract figures, animals, and scenes.

Beauty and aesthetics


Beauty is not an ornament to the good life, it is at its heart

Why does the hand want to draw what the eye sees as beautiful? Why do we respond to beauty by creating the beautiful?

by Nick Riggle

Waxwork of a woman in a vintage recording studio behind a microphone. A control panel is in the foreground, and a sign reads “Sing like Crazy with Patsy Cline.”



They’re playing our song! The philosophical puzzle of cover songs

Can a song be both the original and a copy? Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, and the ‘crazy’ philosophical puzzle of song covers

by P D Magnus

A bearded man’s portrait surrounded by scientific instruments, an elephant, a globe, and palm trees on a colourful background.

Stories and literature


Are successful authors creative geniuses or literary labourers?

Some writers are explorers, like Edgar Allan Poe. Others are exploiters, like Jules Verne. Which type is better off?

by Oleg Sobchuk

Ancient cave painting with red pigment and engraved lines on a textured stone surface.

Artists and art history


The art of Ice Age children offers a tactile sense of the past

Small hands in dark caves: Ice Age art reveals the role of artistic expression and child’s play in ancient societies

by Izzy Wisher

Black and white photograph of Emily Dickinson, inside a red velvet and gold frame.



Emily Dickinson and the creative ‘solitude of space’

For the poet Emily Dickinson, sequester was a feminist act of independence: it gave her mental and literal space to write

by Magdalena Ostas

People walking past a green wall with illustrations of vintage computing devices and Chinese text.



How a solitary prisoner decoded Chinese for the QWERTY keyboard

China’s personal computing revolution was born not in a suburban garage but a prison cell, and fine-tuned on a teacup

by Thomas S Mullaney



When the mind is dark, making art is a thrilling way to see

For aphantasic artists with no mind’s eye, creating paintings is a way to experience the mental pictures they can’t see

by Adam Zeman

Altered states


Only by taking leave of our senses can we plunge into reverie

By letting meaning loose, allowing it to graze, we can revel in reverie, free of the tether that commonsense keeps tight

by Rachel Genn