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Interview with Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell on Art Fund and cazenove+loyd’s Inspired Journeys

The Art Fund has teamed up with one of the most respected names in the travel industry, cazenove+loyd, to offer audiences insightful and luxurious art tours to international destinations. The Inspired Journeys programme unites industry experts with art lovers in various locations across the globe, offering them a behind-the-scenes look at revered artistic locations. Some of the trips in 2015 will see Princess Xenia Hohenlohe present the hidden treasures of Bavaria; Director of Wilfredo Lam Centre of Contemporary Art, Jorge Fernandez, uncover the cultural heritage of Cuba and artist Olivia Dalrymple explore the creative history of India. We speak to Co-founder and director at cazenove+loyd, Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell, about the initial idea behind the tours and his favourite destinations.

A: You run a unique range of art-inspired holidays, what could a visitor expect from one of your trips?
CWS:
Our groups are generally smaller than is typical and our leaders are real experts. This means that we get much more private access and insight. In addition, the hotels and lunches/dinners we select are also the best available dining venues, rather than “group” hotels and mainstream establishments.

A: This year you have trips to Cuba, Brazil, Germany and many more places. How do you think art and culture influences a city?
CWS: Cuba is a great example of how contemporary art and working artists can be woven into an Inspired Journey. Because of Henrietta Loyd’s personal contacts we can access the leading curators and artists. Our May 2015 Art Insider trip coincides with the Havana Biennale and access is incomparable with Jorge Fernandez, the museum director, leading the trip. Brazil, likewise is focused around contemporary art whilst Bavaria and Princess Xenia Hohenlohe’s address book gives insight into the area’s oldest families, houses and private collections.

A: One of the trips will be to Japan, can you detail a little of what audiences will learn in this location?
CWS: Sophie Richard, the leader, is key to this trip. She has written the “go to” book on Japan’s Museums and brings the sort of access and insight which a tailor-made trip cannot give. That is the whole point – the leader and the fact that there is a group of like-minded people means that the museums and cultural sites really push the boat out.

A: Can you tell me about one of your favourite cultural holidays?
CWS:
I love buildings that give me a sense of place. India is a favourite of mine, but I would rather spend time in a tumble-down fort in rural Rajasthan or a musty temple or shrine in the Himalayas than in a gleaming palace or monument. Strangely, as it does not necessarily need to involve much travel from the office in SW London, Dennis Severs’ house in Spitalfields delivers this atmosphere exactly. One of my favourite London museums, for instance, is the John Soane Museum. We now have an office in the USA and I am really looking forward to bringing my own country to life for small groups of culturally curious Americans.

A: Are there any locations you’d love to visit in the future with Inspired Journeys?
CWS:
We are currently working on some really interesting trips to little-visited parts of Italy and Spain. The whole “greatest hits” approach to many countries makes much tourism very mundane. We have the ability to deliver so much more, especially with the extra clout and conviviality that a small group brings. We are bringing the same point of difference to a group travel experience to that which we have brought to tailor made travel over the last 20+ years.

To find out more about Inspired Journeys, visit http://tinyurl.com/mplt3w2

Credits
1. Image courtesy of cazenove+loyd and Art Fund.