Palmyra 2018: the death and life of history in a troubled land

Saturday 22 September | 4.30pm–5.30pm

Best known for his many BBC TV series about buildings, Dan Cruickshank is a historian with a particular interest in architecture.

His talk arises out of his trip to Syria in February 2018 with his friend the veteran photographer Don McCullin to make a documentary for BBC4. They wanted to see for themselves the damage that has been wreaked by the civil war on not only the population but also on the country’s cultural heritage.

In his talk, Dan describes their journey through Syria - Damascus, Homs, Krak des Chevaliers and Palmyra - and reflects upon architecture, history, national pride and identity. He looks at IS’s cultural terrorism, examines the monuments damaged and ponders the challenges - artistic, technical, ethical - of repair and reconstruction.

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More about Dan Cruickshank

Dan Cruickshank has been a visiting Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Sheffield, is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Georgian Group and on the Architectural Panel of the National Trust.

Among his best known books are: Around the World in Eighty Treasures (with the BBC, 2005); The Secret History of Georgian London: How the Wages of Sin Shaped the Capital (2009), Dan Cruickshank’s Bridges: Heroic Designs that Changed the World (2010); The Country House Revealed (with the BBC 2011), and Spitalfields: the history of the nation in a handful of streets (2016). He has recently published Skyscraper, which tells the story of high–rise architecture, starting in Chicago and New York in the late 19th century.

BBC television series include Britain’s Best Buildings; Under fire – culture and conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and the occupied territory of the West Bank; The Marvels of the Modern Age,  Around the World in Eighty Treasures;  Egyptian Adventures; Adventures in Architecture and  The Country House Revealed.  

Palmyra, 2018
Palmyra, 2018

Banner image: Dan Cruickshank