Current lecturers

Agnes Crawford is originally from London, she graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Architectural History in 1999 with a dissertation about the architecture in the paintings of Piero della Francesca. She moved to Rome in January 2000 with the intention of staying perhaps six months. Agnes is fully qualified as a guide by the Province of Rome and has twenty-two years’ experience working both mostly in and around Rome and giving talks about multiple aspects of Rome’s history, art, and architecture. She has also written for numerous guidebooks and has a subscription newsletter at She can also be found at and is UnderstandingRome on both Facebook and Instagram.

Patrick Doorly was educated at St John’s College, Oxford; Stockholm University; and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He was Acting Director of Studies for the History of Art at the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, in 2001–02. Since then he has taught art history part-time in the department. His book The Truth about Art: Reclaiming quality was published by Zero Books in 2013.

Michael Duigan teaches Classical and Ancient history at the City Lit. For many years he lectured in the Certificate/Diploma in History of Art course at Birkbeck. He delivered a course in the ‘Classical Tradition’ at St Mary’s University and on ‘the Classical Artist’ at the Courtauld Institute. He also teaches a Summer School on Ancient History and Art in Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (Christ Church). Michael acts as a tour guide to archaeological sites and museum collections.

Laura Gray has lived in and around Siena since 1995. Her degree in English Literature from Oxford University was quickly set aside in order to focus on the wine industry, in which she worked full time until 2022. She is now helping run Learn Italy, navigating the organisational aspects, and accompanying most trips. She has three children and an Italian husband. She is a qualified sommelier, a fluent Italian speaker and has a deep interest in Renaissance Italy, while continuing to work as a winery consultant. After spending more than half of her life in Italy, she is able to offer insider insights, as well as food and wine expertise.

Martin Gray spent the best part of his working life lecturing at the University of Stirling, where he became Head of the Department of English Studies. He is author of several academic books, as well as The Penguin Book of the Bicycle (1978). His involvement with Italy started at the University of Perugia in the mid-1960s. Since then he has travelled all over Italy as often as he could. In 1972 he bought a house near Montalcino. He started Learn Italy in 2002.

Steve Kershaw is a Classics Tutor for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, and the leader of the European Studies Classical tour for Rhodes College and the University of the South. He has travelled extensively in the Mediterranean world, lecturing on the Classical sites and culture of the region. His latest publication, A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths, was published in 2007, and he is currently working on A Brief Guide to Classical Civilisation and developing an online course in Greek Mythology for Oxford University. He is also an honors graduate of the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, and is regarded as one of the finest jazz double bass players in the UK. He lives in the Oxfordshire town of Deddington with his artist wife and his English Springer Spaniel.

Dr Diana Matthews has an MA in Medieval Studies and a Ph.D. in the architecture of Renaissance Rome, the latter being the result of a long love affair with the arts, culture, food, and cities of Italy.  She taught art and architecture for the Open University for ten years, including a course on Siena, and then at Reading University and, more briefly, at Oxford Brookes.  She also lectures to a variety of art societies including Rye and Rochester and for the Friends of the Ashmolean in Oxford.  Currently, she lectures for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education where she enjoys teaching weekly classes, the occasional Summer School, and series of lectures at Rewley House. She has led a number of groups to Italian cities, including Rome, Siena, and Urbino.