Richard Howells


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Tel. +44  (0)207  848 1357



Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries

King's College London

London WC2R 2LS

Recent Publications

A Critical Theory of Creativity: Utopia, Aesthetics, Atheism and Design, London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, scholarly monograph, first published June 2015; paperback edtion 2017.


"A critical theory of creativity which argues that a Utopian drive is aesthetically encoded within the language of form. Combining multidisciplinary theory with case studies ranging from intentional communities to the relationship between Navajo theology and design, it demonstrates humankind striving to fashion a better world from the raw materials we inherit.  Building upon the work of Ernst Bloch, it sees the “fall” as a liberation and Prometheus as a hero. It takes religion seriously as a cultural narrative, but it replaces divine creation with human creativity. Coupled with this liberation from Eden comes a very human obligation that cannot be delegated to God, to nature or to market forces. Its intellectual compass ranges from Roger Fry to Philip Pullman and Slavoj Žižek, returning always to an empowering, human-centred universe. As Bloch declared in The Spirit of Utopia: “Life has been put into our hands”.


Also recently published:


"Copies and Translations: Roger Fry, Old Masters and the Omega Workshops” in The British Art Journal, Volume XVI, No. 1, 2015 (Summer), pp. 47-57. ISSN 1647-2006.

Howells Utopia Cover Howells Utopia Cover Pl 19 Fry Leonardo Credi Annunciation Copy