Since the inception of the course we have always endeavoured to get brilliant, charismatic, knowledgeable academics, critics, writers, artists, composers, conductors onto our team. I recall chatting to one leading professor from an Ivy League American university, who remarked that she would have sold her grandmother for our faculty!
It's been possible for some to come and pursue their research in the world-famous archives in Venice, to photograph for future publications, and more, partially due to our sponsorship, in that for one or two hours of their time each day they lecture for us, and they can then stroll off and spend fruitful hours in the Biblioteca Marciana or the Archivio di Stato di Venezia to conclude research for books on Titian, Music or Architecture.
For others, it's a welcome break from punishing academic schedules in universities, newspapers, museums or simply a delightful break from (mostly) Northern Europe in dismal, dark winter and early spring.
So let me introduce some of our newest recruits. Some have already put in a couple of shifts, others are new.
...and it's always sad to say farewell to some of the academics and experts who have given their expertise over the years; Nick True has hung up his boots after 47 years with us, Deborah Howard as well, the wonderful Jane Glover, Peter Phillips, and many more. I can't say how much we have loved their contributions, and how much we miss them. Some may return though.
Patrick Craig has stepped in once the excellent Peter Phillips moved on, and has been a massive success, bringing his own countertenor voice from being Vicar Choral at St Paul's Cathedral
Claudia Tobin, writer, curator and academic specialising in the intersections between literature and the visual arts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Thomas-Leo True, once the director of The British School in Rome and now director of the Hay Castle museum introduces the group to the artistic and cultural wonders of Florence
Andrew Hopkins, Architectural historian specialising in the history and historiography of Renaissance and Baroque architecture in Italy, has taken the role of teaching everyone about aspects of Venetian architecture
Kate Hext is Associate Professor of English at the University of Exeter, where she teaches modern literature and film. Her second book, Wilde in the Dream Factory, will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2024. She is editor of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays for Oxford World's Classics (August 2024)
Boyd van Hoeij has worked in the film industry for over 20 years and is now based in Luxembourg. He was a contributing critic for U.S. trade paper Variety before moving to The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. His lectures on cinema are memorable, brilliant and eye-opening
Charlie Gere is a British academic who is professor of media theory and history at The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, The University of Lancaster and previously, director of research at the Institute for Cultural Research at The University of Lancaster. He has published widely.
Leslie Primo is a graduate with a degree in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck, University College, London. During his studies he specialised in early Medieval and Renaissance studies, including, Italian Renaissance Drawing, Art and Architecture in Europe. He lectures for The Arts Society around the world and has made programmes for the BBC and the radio.
Marika Seguso runs the fantastic Cookery Classes. She graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York and started working at the well-known Chantarelle, where she learnt techniques and secrets of French cooking from the famous chef owner David Waltuck
Rebecca Darley is a professional writer, researcher and editor, with degrees in History, Archaeology and Byzantine Studies and more than ten years’ experience publishing and teaching in the UK Higher Education system. She works as Lecturer in Global History (500-1500 CE) at the University of Leeds and external doctoral supervisor at Birkbeck, University of London
Eva Vermandel is a photographer, who relocated to London in 1996 to live and work. Known for her still and timeless portraits which often bear references to painting (the Flemish Primitives, Ingres, Bronzino), her photographs have appeared in a wide range of magazines such as The Wire, Telegraph Magazine, Independent Magazine, Mojo, The New York Times Magazine and W (USA)
She has had solo exhibitions at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin and the Whitechapel Gallery and the ICA in London. Her work is in the collections of the V&A, the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Portrait Gallery, London.
It goes without saying that these are all Professors, highly qualified, hugely charismatic and can lecture on topics that many students have never come across, with a skill and ability that does not condescend to those who already have prior knowledge but can make their presentations really engaging to those who are coming for the first time.
Top row, Kate Hext, Eva Vermandel, Patrick Craig, Next row, Claudia Tobin, Thomas Leo True, Marika Seguso, Next, Boyd van Hoeij, Andrew Hopkins, Leslie Primo, then, Charlie Gere, and Rebecca Darley
More to come! Sign up to bask in the warmth of their knowledge and enthusiasm