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OpenLearn Live: 14th January 2016

Updated Thursday 14th January 2016

An artist who painted her way from Serbia to the US. Then more free learning across the day.

OpenLearn Live brings free learning into the heart of your world. This page will be updated during the day.

Yesterday, we dipped into a project recording everything Bach wrote, heard about who can read your messages and explored Bowie's links to sci-fi

See the complete collection of OpenLearn Live


Today's posts


Sweden changes the rules

Sweden has traditionally welcomed refugees - but now they're tightening the rules and introducing more stringent border checks. What's changed?

To an extent, the restrictive turn taken by the government (a minority coalition between the Social Democrats and the Green Party) is an attempt to stop the growth of the Sweden Democrats. By taking a tougher stance, the government hopes to bridge the gap between an essentially pro-immigration political system and a more sceptical general public.

At least as important, however, are purely practical and economic considerations. The current asylum situation is unprecedented, even comparable to the Balkan crisis in the 1990s.

Read the full article: Why has Sweden tightened its borders?


Is coming out going out of fashion?

The announcement by Scottish secretary David Mundell that he is now identifying as gay prompts the BBC to ask if people even need to come out these days. Amongst those they ask is the OU's Daniel Langdridge, who suggests that if your identity is different from that of a prevailing majority, you'll always need to advertise that identity sometimes:

LGBT people are and will remain a minority, says Darren Langdridge, professor of psychology and sexuality at The Open University.

"The majority of people are heterosexual and that's not going to go away," he says. "There's always going to come a point of recognising you're different. You've got to come out to someone." And that's a good thing, he says. But if coming out will always be a necessary personal statement, it may become less of a political one, he believes.

Read at BBC News: Do people still need to 'come out'?

Read: Football fans would be supportive of a gay player


BBC Radio 4, 4.30pm & iPlayer - BBC Inside Science

Today, in the magazine that puts science into your ears: why did dinsoaurs have all those frills; the difference the genome project is making; how is the world dealing with nuclear waste - and more.

Listen on BBC Radio 4 at 4.30pm or 9.30pm, and iPlayer from about 5.30pm

Listen via the BBC website

How do you dispose of nuclear waste?


Public domain: Milena Pavlović Barili

This week, we're starting our days with some quick profiles of people whose work came into the public domain at the start of 2016. Yesterday, we met the philosopher and graphic upstart Otto Neurath. This morning, meet Milena Pavlović Barili.

Milena Pavlović-Barili Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Carl Van Vechten collection at the Library Of Congress

Milena was born in Pozarevac, Serbia in 1909. She's arguably the greatest female Serbian artist and although her career was short, her impact was felt across the world.

Obviously, her entry into public domain in 2016 means that she died in 1945; her death was cruelly early and the result of a fall from a horse. Suffering from a congential heart defect, the accident proved fatal.

Milena studied at the Belgrade Royal Academy of Arts (and then, latterly, in Munich) during the 1920s. The move to Germany was just the first step in a career which would see her move extensively - first through the capitals of Europe; then to the US.

Her work falls into four phases. First, a period of education and learning, where her art was strongly realist. Then, between 1932 and 1936, a linear period, using slight but bold strokes.

Next came a phase where her painting becomes more iconic, taking on a dreamlike mixture of memory, Renaisance echoes and a strong influence from the work of the surrealists.

Finally, aligned with the move to the US, Milena became increasingly in demand by glossy fashion publications (Vogue, Harper's and so on) and her work started to become lusher - although alongside fashion and high society portraits, she also worked on a series of religious works.

Milena Pavlović-Barili self-portrait Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Public domain Self-portrait of Milena Pavlovic Barilli from a 2009 stamp

Although her work was in demand, at the time of her death she was only just becoming widely known throughout art circles.

As well as her painting, she was also a poet, publishing a number of collections.

She was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.

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