Howard Colvin was one of the most important historians of the twentieth century. He transformed the discipline of architectural history in what has since been called ‘the Colvin revolution’, applying his prodigious memory and forensic mind to a subject that had long been characterized by amateurism and dilettantism. His death marked the end of an era.
This symposium will assess his achievement and his legacy. More importantly, it will also ask the question, what happens next? Architectural history is a subject which is institutionally in decline. The number of posts in universities devoted to it has fallen precipitously over the last decade. Five years ago, it was identified as an ‘at–risk’ subject by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Yet, as a discipline, architectural history has never had it so good. There are more graduate students, more conferences, more books, and more interest in it than ever before. This symposium offers us an opportunity to consider what the field now looks like – and a chance to consider what it will look like in the years to come.
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