The Stones of Venice: foundations and future

Hosted by Theatrum Mundi and LSE Literary Festival

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building,


Polly Coles

Polly Coles

Jane Da Mosto

Jane Da Mosto

Liza Fior

Liza Fior

Jonathan Keates

Jonathan Keates


Professor Richard Sennett

Venice has captivated artists and writers for hundreds of years, but in a city whose literal foundations are under threat from tourism, this discussion asks what is the value of heritage, is it worth saving at any cost? And is there a future for Venice’s unique community away from the museums and palaces?

Polly Coles is a writer and broadcaster who spent several years living in Venice. Her book The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice is based on her experience of daily life in the city.  She is an alumna of LSE.  Polly recently wrote and presented five essays on modern Venice for BBC Radio 3 entitled Venice Unravelled.

Jane da Mosto is an environmental scientist and activist based in Venice. Venetian resident since 1995, Jane has held many different positions while raising her family, including scientific advisor to The Venice in Peril Fund, consultant for the OECD Territorial Review of the Venice Metropolitan Area (2010) and contributor to the UNESCO review of climate change in the Mediterranean Region (2012). She recently founded We are here Venice, a social enterprise that promotes projects that can change the future of the city, carries out research, and campaigns for the need to protect the Lagoon in order to also save Venice.

Liza Fior is founding partner of muf architecture/art, specialists in public realm architecture and art. muf authored Villa Frankenstein, the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2010 which took Ruskin and Venice itself as a means to examine how detail can inform strategy. Awards for muf include Public Realm Architect of the Year 2010 and the 2008 European Prize for Public Space (a first for the UK) for a new 'town square' for Barking, East London. Previously a visiting professor at Yale, Liza is a lecturer in Architecture at Central Saint Martins.

Jonathan Keates is a prizewinning biographer and novelist, and Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund. His books include The Siege of Venice and Handel: The Man and His Music.

Richard Sennett is Director of Theatrum Mundi, University Professor of the Humanities at New York University and Professor of Sociology at LSE.

Theatrum Mundi is a network of people whose shared aims are to understand the culture of cities and to experiment with ways of creating them. The network consists of visual and performing artists, architects and planners, film-makers and photographers, writers and scholars. The work of Theatrum Mundi is two-fold; first, maker-to-maker discussions about specific issues and experiences; second, presentations to the public based on these discussions. Theatrum Mundi happens both back-stage and on stage.

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2015, taking place from Monday 23 - Saturday 28 February 2015, with the theme 'Foundations'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSElitfest


A podcast of this event is available to download from The Stones of Venice: foundations and future

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.