Welcome to our Website

Our studytours can complement the course of studies of Open University students, particularly for those taking courses in Art History or Classical Studies.  However, we also aim to make our tours and visits informative and enjoyable for those who are generally interested and for husbands or wives who want to come along.  We aim to provide opportunities for people to learn and deepen their studies, as well as to have a good time being in inspirational cultural places and in the company of like minded people.  This of course would not be possible without our tutors, who are all experienced lecturers and specialists in their field with experience in taking people abroad. Our studytours are usually limited to 16 people to ensure maximum benefit to all participants.  We can also organise taylor made tours or gallery visits for groups.

Franzi Sardinien 1 2015Franziska Siragusa, BA (Hon), Director, studied at the  Open University and graduated at the University of Reading.  Franziska is now based in Italy and she has been organising studytours since 1997 to numerous locations.


Rachel and Sue are our Office Angels.  They deal with the incoming and outgoing post as well as banking cheques.  If you have more specific queries it is quickest to e-mail Franziska.

LRAC I would also like to recommend to you the London Regional Arts Club , www.lrac.co.uk , they provide both course specific events as well as general interest events.

Our Tutors

Jackie Parry, MA, is an experienced lecturer and art historian who has led many gallery visits and study tours.  She teaches art history at the University of Sussex and the Open University.  She has also lectured for NADFAS, the U3A and the National Trust.  Her interests are mostly based around 18th century art and culture and the development of modernism from 19th century to the present.  Her MA research included issues of gender and critical theory.

  Dalila Castelijn has a degree in foreign languages and literature from the University of Trieste, Italy and BA in history of art and architecture from Birkbeck College, London. She specializes in art and architecture of the Renaissance in Europe and has taught for the OU and the WEA. Courses taught for the OU include A216, A354 , A424 and, currently, AA315.  She has led many art study tours  to Italy and Turkey.
 Peter Murphy, BA, is a noted expert in the fields of Byzantine and Pre Renaissance Italian Art. Educated at Jacob Kramer College of Art and the University of East London, later trained with noted iconographer Guillem Ramos Poqui in London. Peter works using traditional techniques from medieval religious painting, including egg tempera paint and gold leaf. He was Vice Chairman of the Society of Tempera Painters and is a member of The British Association of Iconographers for whom he runs workshops. He runs courses in the UK, USA, Greece, and Italy teaching these techniques and in addition leads groups on Sacred Art Tours to Italy and Sicily.
Cathy Mercer, MA, is an experienced teacher, lecturer and tour manager.  She has taught in London schools and for the Open University, Birkbeck College, LRAC, City Lit and the WEA.   She has led numerous study tours to Italy, Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey and in the UK.



Dr George Nash is a specialist in contemporary and prehistoric art and is currently an Associate Professor at IPT (Tomar), Coimbra University, Portugal. Over the past 30 years George has undertaken many field projects around the world including research in Chile, Israel, Norway and Sardinia, resulting in the publication of many papers and books.  George is currently involved in research of a number of cave sites in South Wales.  George also has an extensive knowledge of the later prehistoric archaeology of Anglesey, having excavated several major sites on the island since 2012.  

Dr Ardle Mac Mahon is a long-standing Associate Lecture in Classical Studies with the Open University. He has a primary degree and research master’s degree in Greek & Roman Civilization from University College Dublin. He gained a PhD in Roman Archaeology from the University of Durham. The topic of his thesis was on the retail establishments (tabernae) of Roman Britain. His research has broadened to include the examination of the shops and workshops of the rest of the Roman empire but with a particular focus on Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia. More broadly Ardle’s interests are in the social history of the non-elite.


Gallery and Museum Visits