Matthew Anderson, editor
Book: Peter Pomerantsev’s Nothing is True and Everything is Possible is a journey into the looking-glass world of Putin’s Russia: eye-opening, terrifying – but entertainingly told.
Film: I like them bleak and with subtitles, so I was blown away by The Club, a pitch-black drama from Chilean director Pablo Laraín.
Musical highlight: The Dutch record label behind Amsterdam’s Dekmantel Festival know what they are doing. For serious fans of electronic music, this year’s line-up was near perfect.
Exhibition: The spiralling ramp of New York’s Guggenheim was the perfect setting for the work of Japanese artist On Kawara, who makes us realise how small our lives are in the great vastness of time.
TV: The BBC’s eight-part series The Honourable Woman was gripping – and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s accent was spot on!
On BBC Culture: Kimberly Bradley did a brilliant job in February of bringing to life the character of Wally Neuzil, the enigmatic muse of Egon Schiele.
In 2016: The Noordbrabants Museum will display 20 of the remaining 25 panels by Hieronymus Bosch to celebrate his 500th anniversary – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them together.
Rebecca Laurence, deputy editor (London)
Book: I was gripped by Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life – it’s a beautifully rendered, emotionally heightened story of abuse, memory and friendship.
Musical highlight: Patti Smith’s set at Glastonbury featured the Dalai Lama and a screaming, guitar-wrecking finale of The Who’s My Generation. You can’t top that!
Film: Asif Kapadia's Amy was a touching portrait of the singer that took a critical view of her family and the media for their part in her tragic story.
Exhibition: Élisabeth Louise Vigée le Brun at the Grand Palais in Paris was an overdue tribute to the French portrait painter who lived a fascinating and scandalous life.
TV: A dirty, silly comedy about strangers who become parents, Catastrophe’s humour turned very black in the second series – I’m curious to see where it goes next.
On BBC Culture: I loved Nicholas Barber’s piece on Pixar: the dark side of Toy Story. It was insightful and poignant – with good jokes.
In 2016: My ultimate childhood book is The BFG so I’m excited by the new film version. It's from the team behind ET and Mark Rylance plays the giant – if anyone can do it justice they can.
Christian Blauvelt, deputy editor (New York)
Book: Ta-Nehisi Coates got personal and analytical in Between the World and Me, a memoir and manifesto on US race relations.
Film: Frederick Wiseman is 85 years old and producing documentaries more vital than many film-makers a third of his age. His latest, In Jackson Heights, was a panoramic celebration of US multiculturalism.
Musical highlight: Hip-hop met history geeks in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage smash Hamilton, which gave us the best Broadway cast album in years.
Exhibition: New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Plain Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, collected hundreds of years of Native American masterworks – including stunning contemporary pieces.
TV: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver eclipsed every other late-night comedy programme with hilarious deep-dives into televangelism, transgender rights and, of course, Fifa.
On BBC Culture: When Nicholas Barber looks back at an old film, you know his thoughts will be worth reading – but his reappraisal of 1980 disaster Heaven’s Gate may have been his best yet.
In 2016: Everyone’s losing their minds over The Force Awakens but I’m almost as excited for the next installment of Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, Life Debt, that shows more of what led up to the new film.
Fiona Macdonald, features writer
Musical highlight: Róisín Murphy was hypnotic live, changing into ever more bizarre outfits on stage to end up like a shimmering glitter Yeti. And her voice wasn’t bad, either.
Exhibition: Graham Fagen representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale presented Reggae vocalist Ghetto Priest singing The Slave’s Lament by Robert Burns: a haunting video that stayed with me for weeks.
Book: In his latest novel, Beatlebone, Kevin Barry weaved masterful prose with the wisecracks of a fictional John Lennon. Strange and wonderful.
TV: The Bridge series 3 – with a vacant stare, a piercing mind and a long-lasting pair of leather trousers, Saga Norén is one of the most compelling female characters on TV today.
Film: Shot on an iPhone but punctuated with moments of old-fashioned Hollywood (and an impeccably timed car wash scene), Tangerine vies with Bad Santa for Scrooge appeal.
On BBC Culture: Superheroes of the ancient world by Natalie Haynes – because anything comparing Perseus with Wonder Woman gets my vote.
In 2016: I started listening to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard for the name – but carried on because of the blissed-out melodies and bonkers lyrics. Can’t wait to see them live.
Olivia Howitt, picture editor
Book: Vandela’s Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty was a page-turner journey of escape and self-discovery in the exotic land of Morocco.
Film: Set in a dystopian landscape, The Lobster was a beautifully twisted modern-day romance – a multi layered depiction of the forced idea of coupledom. I cringed, and laughed out loud.
Musical highlight: At Glastonbury I felt the ground vibrate and my body shake to the sound of Jon Hopkins playing his dark, electronic beats to the neon glow of hula hoop girls – wonderful.
Exhibition: Ai Weiwei is a true legend: his gracefully crafted pieces sat perfectly in the grand Royal Academy. His ideas, strength and mission to change society through art blows me away.
TV: The second series of Fargo feels so good for this time of year – reminiscent of Twin Peaks, it pairs a picturesque, snowy landscape with a gruesome tale of murder and deceit.
On BBC Culture: Where do zombies come from? Well, not from a shopping mall in ’70s America. This piece was a fascinating journey into the history of the zombie – great pictures too.
In 2016: I’m looking forward to hearing The Horrors’ new album. I had their 2014 release, Luminous, on repeat. If I get to see Faris Badwan on stage again in a sea of lasers I will be very happy.
Sam Rigby, social media assistant
Book: David Nicholls keeps getting better, and he may have topped his bestseller One Day with Us – a tale of one man’s attempt to save his marriage. Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure.
Film: The trailer for Carol alone was one of my favourite cinematic moments of 2015, and thankfully the film itself lived up to the hype, with strong lead performances and exquisite direction.
Musical highlight: Marina and the Diamonds never gets the credit she deserves as a songwriter and performer, and her third album, Froot was her most accomplished record to date.
TV: Catastrophe, the NSFW series from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, breathed new life into the romantic comedy and made me cringe harder than I ever thought possible.
Exhibtion: The Anthology of Finnish Fashion told the story of Finnish design from the 1950s up to the present day, and served as the perfect introduction on my first trip to Helsinki.
On BBC Culture: It was the series that shaped my love of period drama and it will never be beaten. It was a delight to revisit Pride and Prejudice at 20 and learn more about it.
In 2016: Game of Thrones season 6 – the series enters uncharted territory in 2016, as it moves ahead of George RR Martin’s novels. Anything could happen.
Lindsay Baker, associate editor
Book: Anne Tyler writes brilliantly about the messiness of family life, always with a hint of comedy. Her novel A Spool of Blue Thread is no exception – funny, big-hearted, believable.
Film: I found Still Alice completely gripping and devastating. Julianne Moore’s nuanced performance as a brilliant academic losing her mind to early onset Alzheimer’s is breathtaking.
Musical highlight: I enjoyed a performance of Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, purveyor of satirical ‘chap hop’. He played his banjolele and rapped at Elderflower Fields Festival in Sussex. Excellent fun.
Exhibition: Savage Beauty at the Victoria & Albert Museum was beautifully put together, capturing with great spectacle and theatricality the strange genius of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
TV: Capital, the three-part BBC adaptation of the John Lanchester state-of-the-nation novel, was acted and directed with intelligence and wit. It kept me hooked – a satire and a thriller in one.
On BBC Culture: I loved Will Self’s lyrical and thoughtful piece about a neglected corner of Britain. It was a reflection on Britishness and had a real lightness of touch.
In 2016: I’m looking forward to the Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective at Tate Modern. It’ll be interesting to see her earlier abstract paintings along with the better known work.
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