About our tutors

Mike Althorpe (The London Ambler) is an urban historian, architectural researcher, educator and story teller with a passion for the history, streets and buildings of London. Graduating from Kingston University with a BA in Fine Art, Mike went on to complete a research MA at the University of Westminster focussing on London’s Architecture, history and spatial development. He has spent the past 18 years producing a variety of built environment events, publications, exhibitions and outreach projects. Most recently he co-authored ‘Social Housing’, published by RIBA, and curated the exhibition of the same name in London in 2017 and at New York’s Center for Architecture in 2018.

John Bentley is a composer, educator and researcher, educated at Cambridge and with a PhD from Huddersfield University on the music of Percy Grainger. His compositions have been featured on BBC radio and by the Hallé Orchestra, and he has extensive teaching experience, specialising in composing and improvising workshops. He collaborated with Tom Morris (War Horse) on school show music. His career spans to India, where he led Trinity College London’s research efforts from 2012 to 2022. Currently, he is leading a significant study on music education in Indian schools.

As a music writer, he has been published in The Guardian, Tempo, and the Musical Times. He has very wide musical interests, including Tudor music; the Bach family; Haydn; Schubert; British music from 1900 to the present day; and the influence of early folk recordings on music in Russia, Eastern Europe as well as the British Isles. John Bentley offers a compelling perspective for music enthusiasts and learners.

Carla Drayton
From a background of ballet, from the age of 3, Carla developed a love of movement. Unable to pursue a career in classical ballet, she became fascinated by Taoism, which led to the discovery of Tai Chi.

From 1982 Carla started to pursue the study and practice of Tai Chi and has been fortunate to be taught by excellent masters. Eventually Carla was encouraged to start teaching, Yang-style Tai Chi.

Carla has extensive experience of teaching, having taught in Northern Ireland, Belgium, Sweden and is currently teaching at City Lit Institute in London. She also teaches Women’s self-defence.

Esperanza Fernandez was born in Logrono (La Rioja) in Northern Spain but settled in England at the age of 19. She has been teaching Spanish to adults since 1990 at Hendon & Barnet Colleges, Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, Middlesex University, Knuston Hall, (a Weekend Residential College) and since 2006 has been teaching our popular Spanish classes at the HLSI.

Vicky Ford is an experienced Pilates teacher who trained with BodyControl Pilates in London. She has been teaching for 10 years and before this trained as a professional dancer. She regularly attends new courses and workshops to keep up this high level of training.

Agnès Gatineau studied in Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris then in University College London. She has taught extensively French as a foreign language for over 25 years in a broad spectrum of Institutions and businesses. She also runs her own workshops and cultural tours. She has been the HLSI popular French tutor for over 10 years.

Darren Harper holds a BA (Hons) English & Creative Writing (1st class), a PGCE in Lifelong Learning, and has been an adult education teacher for 10 years.  In addition to teaching at the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution he teaches residential courses at Dillington House (Somerset) and Higham Hall (Cumbria), as well as Stoic retreats in Somerset, Northumberland and Morocco.  He offers study days at various independent libraries and adult education centres in the UK, as well as on-line courses.  Darren has recently completed his first book, Encounters and Reflections: An Introduction to Philosophy.

Martin Kelly has a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE. He has taught art and design subjects and interior design since 2001 in a variety of adult education institutions and was Head of GCE Art and Design from 2006-2011 at Worcester College of Technology. He has exhibited and sold artworks in Great Malvern, Pershore, Bath, Manchester, London and Sydney. He painted and built sets for theatres, photographers and trade shows in the 1980s in London and in the 1990s in Sydney.

Jill Kipnis has a City & Guilds qualification in Embroidery and a BA Honours in Textiles & Fashion.  She has been teaching for several years, and run workshops at the Knitting & Stitching shows. In 2020 she created The Heroes Quilt Book. The book shows 49 embroidered squares of people’s heroes during the pandemic. Details of her work can be found on her web site www.inspirationalembroidery.co.uk

Victor Lesk has a background in science and has also worked in IT. Since 2018 he has devoted all his efforts to bridge, organising social and club sessions, events and tourism, umpiring tournaments, and developing and maintaining bridge technology products. He enjoys introducing people to bridge as well as helping existing players discover new depths in the game and new ways to enjoy it. www.brianbridge.net/

Rachel Malik is a writer. She has written for a wide variety of publications, including the London Review of Books blog, New Left Review, Sight and Sound, Radical Philosophy, English Literary History and The Guardian. For many years Rachel taught English Literature at Middlesex University, leaving to concentrate on writing fiction. 'Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves' is her first novel and was published by Penguin in 2017. The book was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, 2018, and won her a writing residency at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, Flintshire. She is currently completing her second novel. Her website is rachelmalik.com

Elena Malysheva graduated in Linguistics from the University of Pushkin, Russia, and later moved to London, where she obtained an MSc in Education from Birkbeck University of London. She has over 15 years of experience as a professional translator in the fields of creative media, art and literature and worked as a consultant for the BBC Radio 4 series on Vasily Grossman “Destiny of a Novel”. She is currently teaching Russian language to native and non-native speakers, as well as history, culture and literature.

Misha Mansoor is an experienced exercise instructor who has been in the fitness industry for almost thirty years. In addition to general exercise instruction, she is also qualified to teach exercise to older adults from GP referrals.  She has been a popular HLSI fitness tutor since 2017.

Bettina Metcalfe is a dendrologist with a keen interest in observing and identifying trees in ornamental settings in historic parks and gardens. She is a professional teacher and has extensive experience of leading tree study walks. Bettina is an active member of the International Dendrology Society.

Vincent Milne has been teaching at the HLSI for several years and also currently teaches art at Hampstead School of Art and Mary Ward Centre. He has a BA Hons in Fine Art Painting from Goldsmiths College and several postgraduate qualifications.

Julia Musgrave has a Masters in ‘Art, Style and Design: Renaissance to Modernism, c.1450 – c.1930’ from the University of Glasgow. She gained her Ph.D. at the University of York for her research into the social networks of the British art world in the development of the Contemporary Art Society from 1910 to 1939. She is an accredited Arts Society lecturer.

Dr Mark Patton is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and London, and the author of several published works of historical non-fiction and fiction. He has taught at the Universities of Leiden, Paris, Wales, Greenwich, and Westminster, and currently teaches for The Open University. He has been teaching at HLSI since 2010.

Marie-Pierre Perez qualified at the Orléans University and The Sorbonne University in Paris. She has been teaching French in London for the past 15 years at several higher education institutions such as City University and Westminster University. She has also been providing language training at international companies. Marie-Pierre has a passion for theatre and has qualified at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique in Orléans. She has performed as leading actress and led many French drama workshops at French Institutes abroad in Germany, Lebanon, Morocco, Mexico and Switzerland.

Gloria Posner has a BA in Foreign Language and Literature (Bologna), a Certificate in Further Education and a PGCE. She has taught at various institutions including Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute for over 10 years. She has been teaching Italian at the HLSI for the last five years and will be teaching from basic to advanced levels.

Barbara Pöllet, born in Germany, has lived in England since 1996. She has a BSc in Anthropology and a Cambridge Certificate in Teaching German to Adults. She has taught German in a variety of institutions for more than 19 years, including City University and City Lit. She has been HLSI German tutor since 2017.

Dr. Diane V. Silverthorne is a music-loving art historian with special interests in Europe around 1900, particularly Vienna, and on the synchronicities between music and art. She has published widely on these subject. She lectured at Birkbeck, and at Central Saint Martins on cultural studies, and regularly gives public talks – at the Royal Academy, The South Bank Centre, the National Gallery, the Freud Museum and the V&A. Her edited volume, Music, Art and Performance: Liszt to the Riot Grrrl is published by Bloomsbury.

Dr Peter Webb has degrees from Cambridge and London Universities and a Doctorate from the University of East Anglia. After a lectureship at Coventry College of Art, he started teaching the first degree course in England on the subject of The Erotic Arts at Hornsey College of Art in London in 1970 and lectured extensively on related topics at universities and colleges throughout the seventies and eighties. He published his influential book on the same subject in 1975, later reprinted and updated. Subsequently he has written books on Hans Bellmer, David Hockney and Leonor Fini. After Hornsey, he taught at Middlesex University in London, and he retired as Reader in the History of 20th Century Art in 1996.

Julian Williamson trained at the Trinity College of Music, London, after which his career has been as a freelance musician, largely split between work as a conductor and as a lecturer. He has directed concerts in all the major London Halls and has worked abroad on many occasions, including lecturing on opera in Verona. He has been HLSI’s very popular music tutor for some 25 years.

Sarah Wise teaches 19th-century social history and literature to undergraduates and adult learners and is visiting professor at the University of Californias London Study Center.  Her debut, The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave Robbery in 1830s London, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. It was the inspiration for Skys The Frankenstein Chronicles. Her follow-up, The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum, was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize, and was the basis for the BBCs series The Victorian Slum. Her most recent book, Inconvenient People: Lunacy and Liberty in 19th-Century England, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize. She is currently writing its follow-up, to be published in 2023.

Alison Worster. Following a career as a commercial graphic designer and illustrator to senior management level, Alison retrained in garden design to set up a garden design business, allowing her to combine her experience of colour, texture and layout with her passion for plants and outside spaces. She has won a gold medal for a show garden at Ideal Home Show and exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in the ‘Fresh Talent’ category. She has a BA Hons in Design, a Diploma in Garden Design and a City &Guilds in teaching adults, which she has been doing since 2015.

Sarah Moody. Sarah Moody trained to be a teacher at The University of Edinburgh. Before that she gained a BA and MA in drama, the latter at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. After teaching drama and English in schools and colleges, and working with adult learners, she decided to follow her interest in heritage and architecture history, winning a scholarship to study an MA at The National Gallery whilst working part time as a tour guide at Sir John Soane's former country house. Sarah is now studying for a PhD that combines architecture history and literature to examine women in the twentieth century country house. She founded the Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Country House Group which allows students and researchers looking at the British country house to network with each other.