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Robert Hewison

Thu, Mar 30, 2023    6:30pm

The Peckham Paradigm: Gentrification in a London Village

Robert Hewison is a British cultural historian who has written widely on 19th and 20/21st British culture. He is currently at Columbia as an adjunct professor to present a masterclass on the Victorian cultural and social critic John Ruskin. Besides his extensive published work on Ruskin, his books include a serious study of Monty Python, of preservation, The Heritage Industry: Britain a Climate of Decline (1987) and of arts policy, Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain (2014). A broadcaster and journalist, he has been a long-serving arts writer for the London Sunday Times, and has held chairs at Lancaster University, City University London, and Oxford, where he was Slade Professor of Fine Art in 2000. His latest book is Passport to Peckham: Culture and Creativity in a London Village (2022).

“The Peckham Paradigm: Gentrification in a London Village” focusses on a few square miles of South London, the district of Peckham, a historic village which since the 20th century has become a centre for artists and the creative industries. It has also attracted significant immigration from Africa and the Caribbean. As a social space it has been subject to urban expansion, degeneration, planned regeneration and informal gentrification. Its history raises issues of architecture, planning and preservation. In this talk I explore the idea that the experience of Peckham suggests a paradigm of contemporary urban development more generally.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.