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The Spirit of Place: a talk by Clem Cecil at the Paul Mellon Centre

What are we trying to save when we campaign for buildings? Former Director of SAVE Britain's Heritage, co-founder of the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society and present Director of Pushkin House, Bloomsbury, Clem Cecil, talks about the elusive 'spirit of place' and the motivation behind saving buildings based on her personal experience of campaigning in Russia and the UK. She will also look at the story of the architect's house Konstantin Melnikov in central Moscow that was taken out of the family's hands by the Russian state in 2014.

Clem Cecil is a Russian-speaking specialist in language, literature and architectural preservation, with many years’ experience working in, and with, Russia, initially as correspondent for The Times, then as co-founder of the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society. She has co-edited four books on Moscow, St Petersburg and Samara. From 2012 to 2016 she was the director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage and SAVE Europe’s Heritage and is currently the Executive Director of Pushkin House, the UK's oldest independent Russian cultural centre located on Bloomsbury Square.

Image by Richard Pare of the Melnikov House

Image by Richard Pare of the Melnikov House

This event is part of Bedford Square Festival. For the full list of events please visit

Bedford Square Festival is based in the heart of London with more than 35 free arts and cultural events hosted by the Paul Mellon Centre, Architectural Association, New College for Humanities, Sotheby's Institute of Art and Bloomsbury Publishing. 

This year's festival takes place between 3 - 6 July and celebrates the artistic, cultural and literary institutions who reside on Bedford Square. 

Exhibition related publications:

Exhibition Catalogue: May My Voice Now
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