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Robert Hewison

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Adjunct Professor

Robert Hewison is a British cultural historian who has combined a life-long study of Ruskin with an active engagement with contemporary culture and the development of cultural policy. He became interested in Ruskin when he wrote a television adaptation of the Whistler v. Ruskin libel trial, and returned to Oxford to take a research degree that led to his first book, John Ruskin: The Argument of the Eye (1976). In 1978 he curated Ruskin and Venice at the J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville. He has edited two collections of essays on Ruskin, New Approaches to Ruskin (1981) and Ruskin’s Artists: Studies in the Victorian Visual Economy (2000). In 2000 he co-curated Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites at Tate Britain and in 2009 published Ruskin on Venice: “The Paradise of Cities”. He has held chairs at Lancaster University and City University London, and was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford in 2000.

Hewison has divided academic work with broadcasting and journalism, and was a drama critic for the London Sunday Times for 35 years. He is an Associate of the think tank Demos, and has worked as a consultant to the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Clore Duffield Foundation, where he helped create the Clore Leadership program. His books on contemporary culture include The Heritage Industry (1987), Monty Python, the Case Against (1981), Culture and Consensus: England, Art and Politics since 1940 (1997) and Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain (2014).


Robert Hewison speaks with Jorge Otero-Pailos, Director of Columbia GSAPP’s Historic Preservation Program. They discuss Hewison’s life-long fascination and study of John Ruskin, teaching students to draw as means of exploring truth, and the influence of Ruskin’s thinking on the field of preservation in particular through his study of Venice. The conversation took place in advance of Hewison’s lecture “John Ruskin: The Argument of the Eye”, held at the School on February 16, 2017.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A6856‑1 Spring 2023
Master Class
Robert Hewison
T/TH 6:30-8:00, F 2 PM -3:30 PM
SES B (3/20-3/31)
1.5 Points
A6848‑1 Spring 2019
John Ruskin and the 19th Century
Robert Hewison Mini Session
M,T,W - 6pm-8pm + F 1pm-3pm & 4pm-6pm
SES B: ¾ - 5/3
1.5 Points
A6848‑1 Spring 2017
John Ruskin and the 19th Century
Robert Hewison Syllabus Mini Session
HP Lab-655 Schermer
2/13, 2/15, 2/20, 2/22 6-8 PM
SES A 1/19-¾
1.5 Points