Thornton Lecture

The annual Open City Thornton lecture has a simple premise: a guest speaker of international repute, addressing the topic of ‘the open city’.

2017 Lecture: Maria Balshaw

The inaugural annual Thornton Lecture, named in recognition of Victoria Thornton OBE Hon FRIBA and her contribution to the cultural life of London, was given in 2017 at Tate Modern.

As Mayor Sadiq Khan said at the silver anniversary launch of at City Hall in September 2017, Open House London, which Victoria founded in 1992, “has struck a chord with Londoners – not only appealing to our sense of discovery, but the pride we take in our city and neighbourhoods”. Open City is the only independent organisation in London that connects professionals, policy-makers and the public.

In keeping with the direct appeal of Victoria’s concept – free public entry to London’s best buildings - the Thornton lecture has a simple premise: a guest speaker of international repute, addressing the topic of ‘the open city’.

Maria Balshaw, the new Tate director, gave the inaugural lecture. Given Maria’s ambition is to make Tate “the most culturally inclusive institution in the world”, the lecture gave a fascinating insight into her passion for art, architecture, people and cities.