Specialist Advice in Education and Culture
Lewis has spoken at various conferences and has been interviewed in the media in the UK and US for his views on UK higher education. He has a particular interest in Philosophy, Religion and the Arts and was awarded a PhD from Cambridge University (Queens' College) in 2000 for his work on the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Lewis subsequently taught and supervised undergraduate students on various papers in the Faculties of Divinity and Philosophy at Cambridge University. As a result of grants from the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge, Lewis was the first scholar to examine Kazantzakis’ personal library in Iraklion, Crete. His research resulted in numerous conference papers and articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as the critically acclaimed book Creative Destruction: Nikos Kazantzakis and the Literature of Responsibility (2002). In 2003, shortly after being appointed Lecturer in Philosophy and the Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University, Lewis was also appointed the inaugural President of the UK branch of the International Kazantzakis Society. During this time Lewis arranged and chaired the first International conference on Kazantzakis to be held in the UK, with speakers from Australia, USA and Europe. As well as his teaching and research commitments at Canterbury Christ Church, where he was also first year tutor to over 50 undergraduate students, Lewis initiated the first Erasmus University exchange link between Canterbury and the University of Urbino, Italy, and was also awarded a British Academy Research grant for work on the life and art of Spanish writer and artist Eugenio F. Granell. Lewis has spoken at many leading Universities in the UK, US and Australia, where he was a key-note speaker at the University of Sydney in 2004. Lewis was recently (Feb 2013) a main speaker at an International Symposium on Kazantzakis held at Kings College London, where he spoke on Kazantzakis and Mahler. He has recently interviewed Rowan Willams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, on Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ' (this interview can be seen elsewhere on this website).
In 2004, Lewis returned to Cambridge where he taught the IB (Theory of Knowledge) as well as assisting students with physical and learning difficulties. He subsequently moved to a large independent Sixth Form College in Cambridge where he was responsible for all aspects of University advice and applications on all subjects, including those from the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts. During this time, Lewis arranged for several respected speakers, including from Cambridge University and Dartmouth College, USA, to address the students on various issues of Education, Philosophy and the Arts.
From 2004-2009 Lewis was President of the UK Shostakovich Society (UKSS), responsible for promoting the life and work of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Under his Presidency, the UKSS became affiliated to Fitzwilliam College Cambridge and financially supported the acclaimed Fitzwilliam String Quartet for performances in the UK and St Petersburg, including at the famous Sheremetyev Palace and the final apartment of Modest Tchaikovsky. Also during this period Lewis organised the Western Premiere of Shostakovich’s 4th Symphony for 2 pianos with award winning pianists Rustem Hayroudinoff and Colin Stone. To mark the occasion, Lewis secured funding for Shostakovich’s former pupil and friend, the late Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko, Professor of Composition at St Petersburg Conservatoire, to attend. Further high profile projects included organising, marketing and securing funding for events “Shostakovich and Jewish Music”, “An Evening with Pasternak” (attended by Evgeny Pasternak, son of Nobel Prize winning author Boris Pasternak), and an international conference at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge with leading authorities from Russia, Ukraine, USA, Israel, Azerbaijan, France and UK to mark the centenary of Shostakovich’s birth in 2006. Lewis also secured personally from Moscow a collection of films containing the music of Shostakovich for the first ever ‘Shostakovich in Film’ series at the Barbican Centre in London. A notable culmination of the celebrations was a performance given by Colin Stone, Professor of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music, of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues at Cadogan Hall, London. The event was preceded by a Question and Answer Session between Lewis and the acclaimed pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.
As part of his work on Shostakovich and overall commitment to the arts, Lewis also wrote and produced the documentary The Unknown Shostakovich. Shot in Moscow, St Petersburg, Milan, Paris, Zurich and London, the documentary featured some of the leading figures and orchestras, including Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Fedoseyev, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Maxim Shostakovich and the distinguished poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. The film opened to critical acclaim at the Barbican cinema in London and was subsequently shown on European channels, as well as receiving continuing regular viewings on the SkyArts channel. Lewis was also invited to show the film at the annual arts festival in Lisbon. Lewis has been interviewed on both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 for his work on Shostakovich and became an Honorary Member of the Centre of Russian Music, Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 2006. During his time as President of the UKSS, Lewis initiated and coordinated an archive of rare Shostakovich materials, including letters and scores from Moscow and St Petersburg. The archive was officially opened by the composer’s son, Maxim Shostakovich, and Lewis has recently directed and overseen the donation of this archive to the Department of Music at the University of Bristol.
Lewis is also a respected playwright. His 2015 play 'Like a Chemist from Canada' premiered at London's Sadlers Wells with further performances at The Royal Academy of Music (London) and the Sheldonian Theatre (Oxford). His next play 'And It Rained All Night' is scheduled for 2019. Lewis is also the author of the 'Archie's Way' children's ebooks, all proceeds of which go to autism and children's charities. He is a Trustee of the Autism Research Turst at Cambridge University, led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, and is currently writing his first novel, 'The Pentonville Experiment' based on historical research. Lewis is passionate about prison reform and education, volunteers at Pentonville Prison and recently raised over £10,000 for The Prisoners' Education Trust by running 100 miles from Ruislip to Canterbury.