Robert Winward, professor of Art + Design in the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, has been named a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). Based in London at the historical Lowther Lodge in Kensington Gore, the Royal Geographical Society is the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography. It is best known as a key supporter of many notable explorers and expeditions, including those of fellows Darwin, Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt and Hillary.
The prestigious fellowship is granted to those who demonstrate sufficient involvement in geography or an allied subject through publications, research or professional experience. Fellows are awarded permission to use the post-nominal FRGS after their name and are provided privileged access to RGS resources and support. Princess Anne is the royal family patron and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, is honorary president.
The Royal Geographical Society has a long history of merging visual arts and geography by supporting artists and geographers on expeditions, map-making and sponsoring art exhibitions that illuminate world geography. Winward has been assigned to work within the Higher Education Social Cultural Geography Research Group.
“It’s an honor to be awarded fellowship in this prestigious organization,” Winward said. “I now have access to tremendous fiscal and professional resources, even expedition support. I look forward to exploiting my privileged access to the extensive RGS archives in the historic Foyle Reading Room.”
Winward was awarded this fellowship for his career history of helping students understand the historic influence geography has had on the arts. His faculty-led student expeditions on the Via Francigena pilgrimage route in the Alps and to the Saint James Way have been featured by the BBC, as well as the European news magazine, L’Illustré. His own design work often addresses the intersections of culture and nature. He’s currently working on a poster series titled “Poetry of Geography,” an outgrowth of his sense of place research conducted in a variety of European destinations while on a recent sabbatical leave. Winward is also a professional mountain guide in the Swiss Alps and is known for his expertise in blending alpine visual culture, history and geography.