Pushkin House (London)
Pushkin House has been established to serve as a home and dedicated showcase for Russian culture in London, a focus for Anglo-Russian cultural exchange, a provider of education and information on Russian language and culture, a resource and networking centre for individuals and institutions.
In pursuit of these aims, Pushkin House has developed a lively and varied cultural programme on Russian literature, art, film, music, theatre and dance, as well as history, philosophy and politics. Events include lectures and talks, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, films, concerts and readings.
The House also has its own reference library of Russian culture.
Besides its own events, Pushkin House welcomes and encourages collaboration with other institutions and groups dedicated to Russian culture. The House currently hosts lectures run by the Pushkin Club and the GB-Russia Society. Regular Russian language courses are provided by the Russian Language Centre. Creative partnerships are being established with major museums and libraries in Russia.
Pushkin House owes its foundation to the energy and vision of Maria Kullmann, daughter of the famous Moscow surgeon Mikhail Zernov and wife of Gustav Kullmann, a renowned Swiss lawyer who worked for many years in the top echelons of the League of Nations.
In the 1950s, there was a need for a politically neutral Russian cultural centre in London. Maria Kullmann and a small group of friends acquired a house in West London, where she created a unique centre. There were performances by representatives of the old Russian culture – Tamara Korsavina, Mstislav Dobuzhinski, Sergei Lifar, Alexander Meinford and many others – and by the first Soviet writers and artists allowed to travel abroad.
After August 1991, representatives of post-Soviet Russian culture, including poets and writers who had moved to the West, started appearing at Pushkin House. At the same time, however, chronic problems were becoming obvious. Most of the rooms in the Ladbroke Grove house had for years been let out as flats, and the cultural facilities were limited to just one room.
The need for radical change was clear. The Pushkin House Trust therefore decided to sell the building on Ladbroke Grove, in order to acquire and staff a more suitable property which could now be totally dedicated to supporting Russian culture in London. There would be lectures, concerts, exhibitions, seminars and films. 5A Bloomsbury Square, an imposing Georgian townhouse, was purchased in 2005.
The new cultural centre – Pushkin House – officially opened in November 2006. Its cultural programme today includes concerts, lectures on all aspects of Russian Culture, exhibitions of Russian art and screenings of Russian film and opera. Events open with an informative introduction. Artists from Russia and all over the world take part in the Pushkin House cultural programme.
Pushkin House has established links with distinguished cultural organisations in Russia and plans to greatly expand these links in the near future.