Student assistantships

The School of Art History offers undergraduate students the opportunity to gain experience in academic research through the St Andrews Research Internship Scheme. This scheme is competitive and dependent on staff projects and the annual budget.

If you are interested in participating in the Scheme as a research assistant on a staff-led project, please email a cover letter stating your motivation, skills and topic interests to

Your application will be kept on file for staff reference and students will be informed when staff are seeking assistants.

Below is an outline of recently completed projects.

StARIS Digital Art History Bibliography Project

Nicole Entin with Dr Billy Rough, Dr Emily Savage & Dr Natalia Sassu Suarez Ferri

For the 2024/25 Academic Year, the School will launch a new online MLitt programme titled ‘Digital Art History’. Over the last few months 4th year undergraduate Nicole Entin assisted in compiling a bibliography of materials relating to Digital Art History and the Humanities. These materials include books (both printed and available as e-books), journal titles, journal articles, and websites, with a focus on highlighting relevant case studies. The resulting bibliography will be incorporated into the School's new MLitt program, ‘Digital Art History’.

As part of the project Nicole has also written a blog post on ‘What is Digital Art History?’ and this can be read here.


Music Hall Exhibition Project Collaboration with British Music Hall Society

Anita Lee with Dr Billy Rough and Alison Young (British Music Hall Society)

In 2023, Anita Lee working alongside Dr Rough and Alison Young of the British Music Hall Society (BMHS) to catalogue art works on the ArtUK website which had a music hall connection.

The purpose of the catalogue was to provide BMHS with a record of music hall related artworks in public ownership in the UK and as material to be used for future BMHS ArtUK Curations.

Nearly 90 works were catalogued, 12 of which were selected for an ArtUK online Curation to mark Music Hall and Variety Day 2023 (16 May 2023). Co-curated by Anita the Curation can be viewed here: A Celebration of Music Hall 2023 | Art UK

In addition to the above, Anita has written a blog post on her experience with the project which will be posted on the British Music Hall Society’s website which is currently undergoing a redesign. In the meantime, the blogpost will be published as an article in the Society’s journal ‘The Call Boy’.

The project provided valuable experience of cataloguing, exhibition curating, and writing blogposts.

As Anita notes: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this StARIS project. Not only has it given me the opportunity to gain valuable research experience working in a small team with Dr Rough and Alison Young, but it was also a pleasure to search through the incredible artworks on ArtUK for music hall material. The project was relevant to my current Art History module on Walter Sickert; an artist well known for his paintings of music hall scenes. The resulting Curation features one of my favourite Sickert paintings and as the project draws to a close, I feel a sense of achievement in what we have produced.”


Catalogue of Music Hall Posters held in collection of Local History Centre, Leisure and Culture, Dundee

Sophie Turner with Dr Billy Rough

In 2022 Sophie Turner helped Dr Rough catalogue a series of 19th century music hall posters held in the collection of the Local History Centre, Dundee Libraries. The project provided excellent experience of archival research as the majority of the project was completed in the Local History Collection.

Sophie developed a catalogue of the posters, which included information on halls, dates, main acts, and size of poster, as well as taking photographs of each for reference. Several  fascinating discoveries were made during Sophie’s research, including the discovery of some extremely rare posters. Not only is the catalogue a useful record for the Local History Centre, it also provides the basis for a proposed future exhibition on the history of Music Halls of Dundee.


Leaves of Glass: Mica between art and science in early modernity

Emma Lyandres with Dr Ruth Ezra

Emma helped Dr Ezra to conduct research for a new project, Leaves of Glass, that considers the importance of white mica (muscovite) in early modern art and science. Over ten weeks, Emma developed a bibliography of relevant primary and secondary sources; translated texts from Italian and Russian; and aggregated a substantial corpus of micaceous objects including sundials, microscopes, ship models, and portrait overlays held in UK collections. Complementing Ruthie's initial focus on northern Europe, Emma took the initiative to pursue lines of inquiry (e.g. Francesco Lana Terzi on mineral glazes) that matched her own interest in early modern Italian art. Her assistance and conversation throughout have been invaluable to the project's development.


Grand Tour objects: Scottish collections/global perspectives

Sarah Knight and Rosie Simon with Dr Lenia Kouneni

Sarah and Rosie were involved in the development of a new research-led module on the visual culture of the Grand Tour. They worked together to identify and research 18th and early 19th c Grand Tour objects in Scottish collections. They located relevant collections and displays, made enquiries with a number of Scottish museums and collections and initiated significant contacts with curators and archivists. They also compiled a short annotated bibliography primary and secondary sources. Finally, they produced a critical reflection on the proposed module content offering their perspective as students on aspects and topics that they considered significant.


African art collections at the McManus Art Gallery and Museum, Dundee

Guste Matulionyte with Dr Kate Cowcher

In spring 2022 students in the new Honours module, AH4227: Scotland and the Arts of Africa, undertook Object Research Essays, examining single objects from the African collections at the McManus Gallery in Dundee. The assignment was formulated in consultation with the curator, Dr Christina Donald, who identified objects in need of further research and provided known provenance information. Students in the class were informed that their essays would be shared with Dr Donald at the end of the semester, and contribute to the McManus' interest in learning more about its collections. In summer 2022, Guste Matulionyte, who was a student in AH4227, reviewed 14 essays (approximately 3,000 words each) and provided one-page reports for the key findings and recommendations made in each. For each essay, Guste identified core formal and symbolic attributes, as well as principal provenance research, and she summarised suggestions made by her colleagues for future research and considerations of display. In addition to her 14 one-page reports, she wrote a short 'Summary' for the overall findings. This research, along with the original essays by students, will now be shared with Dr. Donald. Guste will work with Dr Cowcher on some online dissemination of this research via the @scotland_and_theartsofafrica Instagram page.


Places We Love: Ukrainian exhibition research

Katriona Hannah with Dr Kate Cowcher and Dr Victoria Donovan (Modern Languages)

In June 2022 a pop-up exhibition of work by contemporary Ukrainian artists was installed in the Botanic Garden in St Andrews. A collaboration between colleagues in Art History and Modern Languages, the exhibition, entitled 'Places We Love: Art and the Ukrainian East' featured work by five artists and was accompanied by a print sale that raised funds for displaced Ukrainian artists. Following the close of the exhibition, the team were invited to exhibit an expanded version at Generator Projects in Dundee in Autumn 2022. The expanded version will feature video work, alongside the prints and photographs in the first iteration. In support of this Katriona Hannah, who is from Kyiv, worked with Dr Cowcher and Dr Donovan on subtitles for a work of video art by the Ukrainian contemporary artist Vitaly Matukhno, who is based in Lviv. Vitaly's work is a 1hr15min montage film, featuring video clips from a variety of Ukrainian television and media programmes. Some basic subtitles had already been produced, but Katriona line-edited and fine-tuned the translations for flow and accuracy. As an indication of his gratitude for her work, Vitaly will list Katriona in the credits of the film's final cut, which will feature in the later version of 'People We Love'.


‘Haden’s Études à L’eau Forte’. Essay and Catalogue

Emma Lyandres with Dr Billy Rough

In 2021 Emma Lyandres helped Dr Rough to add material to a website dedicated to the print collection of Victorian Industrialist James Guthrie Orchar (1825-1898) and held in the collection of The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum. The site was developed in 2013, and Emma’s project focused on adding a new essay and catalogue to the site. For the project Emma undertook research online, at the University of St Andrews’ Library and at the Tate Archive in London.

Emma’s research, and writing, has added an invaluable contribution to the Orchar Collection: Prints website, providing an engaging essay on Haden’s work alongside a useful catalogue of prints published in Haden’s portfolio ‘Études à L’eau Forte’. The resulting essay, and catalogue, can be viewed online here: Haden’s Études à L’eau Forte – The ORCHAR Collection: Prints (


Developing an innovative online timeline of community museology for our Horizon 2020 research project EU-LAC-MUSEUMS

James Rowland with Dr Karen Brown and Jamie Brown

During his time as undergraduate research assistant, James undertook a variety of tasks with interest and precision ranging from contacting museologists from around the world for participation in a webinar, to researching annotated bibliographies, to developing an innovative online timeline of community museology for our Horizon 2020 research project EU-LAC-MUSEUMS.


Website content development for the projects 'Community Heritage Scotland' and 'Community Crafts and Cultures'

Yuyi Zhou with Dr Karen Brown and Jamie Brown

During her internship, Yuyi Zhou embarked upon a variety of tasks under the supervision of Dr Karen Brown and Jamie Brown, supporting website content development for the projects Community Heritage Scotland (funded by the RSE), and Community Crafts and Cultures (funded by RSE GCRF, and part of the university’s “Cultural Heritage Hub”. Contributions included research into community heritage organisations in Scotland, translation of key text for the web into Mandarin, and assistance in a live Webinar Q&A.


Early 20th-Century Art Historiography in Bulgaria

Rada Georgieva with Dr Shona Kallestrup

This assistantship related to Dr Kallestrup’s wider ERC project Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories which is exploring a new methodological approach to comparing the art histories of the region during the formation of the nation state. The assistantship focused specifically on Bulgarian art historiography.

The study of Bulgarian art, in the western academic sense of the discipline, began with the founding of the modern Bulgarian state after liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878. The new focus on the region’s art and architecture, and the frameworks constructed to analyse them, played an important role in the development of the nation’s sense of identity. However, few of these art histories are accessible to non-readers of Bulgarian. Rada, a native speaker, made a valuable contribution by identifying texts of interest, summarising key arguments and translating significant passages by scholars such as Anton Mitov, D. G. Popov and Anton Tornjov. Her findings enabled comparisons with contemporary projects of art-historical nation-building in the region, and were shared with ERC team members in Bucharest, Moscow and Kraków.


“Bulgarian Eyes, Eyeing Bulgaria: An examination of the Bulgarian Section at the Balkan States Exhibition, Earl’s Court, London, 1907.”

Rada Georgieva with Dr Jeremy Howard, Semester 2 and Summer 2020

Rada Georgieva worked with Dr Jeremy Howard to conduct a study of the Bulgarian section at the Balkan States exhibition as part of his ongoing research into how British interests in southeast Europe were manifested through art in the first half of the twentieth century, and how the Yugoslavian and Bulgarian states chose to represent themselves in terms of art and design abroad. Rada performed three main tasks:

  1. Making a visual survey of the many installation photographs in the exhibition catalogue (available on-line), detailing whatever can be identified in them, one by one.
  2. Making a study of the listed Fine Art and Photography exhibits – found reproductions and identified which paintings and sculptures were displayed.
  3. Making a comparative study of 1) and 2) with the photographic album of the exhibition donated by commissioner Georgi Ginev to Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria.

In addition to this Rada identified and interpreted postcards related to the exhibition; as well as Bulgarian press reviews; furthermore she suggested listed references to Bulgarian art from The Studio journal of the early twentieth century; and identified a remarkable German source that has been incorporated into the study.


“Image Rights Research in 18th- and 29th-century Art”

Aisling Coase with Dr Stephanie O'Rourke, Semester 1 2020

Aisling worked with Dr Stephanie O’Rourke on the project “Image Rights Research in 18th- and 29th-century Art”. Aisling researched image rights and formatted captions for Stephanie’s monographic book forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, which examines the relationship between art and science during romanticism.

She researched historical information about 18th- and 19th-century artworks, including their original foreign-language titles, precise dates and dimensions, and their current location in European and American institutions. Aisling liaised with museums on my behalf, including institutions in Switzerland, France, Britain, and America. She managed a large dossier of information on each image, including In addition to this Aisling undertook editorial support for the manuscript, proof-reading portions of the main text, formatting the captions and image list, and double-checking image information. Finally, Aisling did some original, self-directed research on the relationship between art and evolution in the nineteenth century.



Menstrual Zines at Glasgow Women’s Library, Glasgow

Helene Erikstrup with Dr Camilla Mørk Røstvik, summer 2018

This project explored the Glasgow Women’s Library’s collections of menstruation-themed zines, and contributed historical and visual data for Dr Camilla Røstvik’s Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship about menstruation in visual culture. Helene Erikstrup found several interesting avenues for research, especially a series of zines from the 1990s by Saskia (unknown last name) titled Heavy Flow 1-4Erikstrup photographed and analysed the zines, and co-wrote an article with Røstvik about the findings for dissemination in the medical humanities blog Nursing Clio: The project provided evidence of menstrual equity work in Scotland in the 1990s, as well as evidence suggesting that artists were already formulating a critique of the UK menstrual industry as early as 1991. 


Looking for the menstrual cycle at The Surgeon’s Hall Museum, Edinburgh, summer 2019

Alex Stephenson with Dr Camilla Mørk Røstvik, summer 2019

Art History student Alex Stephenson planned, visited, and carried out research at the Surgeon’s Hall Museum in Edinburgh, in order to contribute to Dr Røstvik’s research on menstruation. She used the museum collection data base to find out what the museum holds in terms of the menstrual cycle (menarche, ovulation, menstruation, menopause, peri-menopause), especially from the twentieth century. Alex and Camilla visited the museum together to take notes, meet with the curators, and photograph relevant material in the Pathology Collection. Alex identified several themes in the collection, and we are currently writing this up for the medical humanities blog hosted by Durham University, The Polyphony. The research will contribute to Røstvik’s work on the visual histories of the menstrual cycle, and provided evidence of surgery’s general lack of interest in the menstrual cycle, as well as visual documentation of ‘normal’ and ‘diseased’ uteri from the decades before endometriosis was considered a serious problem and hysterectomy was a common solution to any menstrual issues.


Realism and Role-Play: The Human Figure in French Art from Callot to the Brothers Le Nain

Abigail Harding with Dr Marika Takanishi Knowles

Abigail helped Marika organize and inventory over one hundred image files and permissions for Marika's monograph, Realism and Role-Play: The Human Figure in French Art from Callot to the Brothers Le Nain. This project allowed Abigail to learn about the stages of academic publication and the requirements for the reproduction of images, as well as the appropriate format of image captions. In addition, Abigail assisted Marika with research for another project, on Degas's 'bureau pictures,' by reading articles (here, Abigail used her excellent knowledge of French), taking notes, and discussing her findings with Marika. Realism and Role-Play is currently in production with the University of Delaware Press, while Marika is beginning to investigate the outlines of new project related to the material on Degas. Marika structured this assistantship so that Abigail could participate in and learn about two stages of the research process: the final stages of a manuscript nearing publication and the very preliminary stages of new work.


Museums and Community: Concepts, Experiences, and Sustainability in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean

Laura Meuller, with Dr Karen Brown (academic year 2018-19)

Laura supported research generated through the School's Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) with particular focus on the EU-LAC-MUSEUMS project ( Working with Dr Karen Brown and Jamie Brown, she provided essential assistance with the editing and proof reading of project reports and publications especially those produced by non-native English speakers. Laura also assisted with bibliography searches and is credited for her work within a number of publications issuing from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) network.



Early 20th-Century Art Historiography in Bulgaria

Rada Georgieva with Dr Shona Kallestrup

The purpose of Rada’s assistantship was to help Dr Kallestrup analyse key texts from early 20th-century Bulgarian art history, in connection with the ERC project Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. Rada made a valuable contribution to the project by identifying texts of interest, summarising key arguments, and translating significant passages. Her findings, which enable comparisons with contemporary processes of art historical nation-building in Romania and Serbia, have been shared with team members in Bucharest and Kraków.


The Walker Trust Excavations of the Great Palace, Istanbul

Fiona Taylor with Dr Lenia Kouneni

The research project is an investigation of material kept in Special Collections regarding the excavation of the Byzantine Great Palace in Istanbul, which took place between 1935 and 1938, under the auspices of the Walker Trust of the University of St Andrews. Fiona Taylor, a fourth-year student interested in Byzantine art and historiography, looked through the material in order to uncover the figures involved, the scholars’ motivations and incentives, the means by which they accessed the monuments, and the networks they established.


Riding Astride? Ladies on horseback 1400-1830: A database

Zeynep Caserci with Dr Ulrike Elisabeth Weiss

The project works towards creating a database of the history of female equestrianism in the Early Modern period, with particular focus on the long 18th century. This will be the first in-depth study of the subject, and it will draw on material culture and images (portraits, caricatures, fashion plates) as well as textual analysis. The database, set up with the help of the IT research support team, provides an essential tool. Zeynep has successfully built on the work of two previous research assistants, and has covered a lot of ground both in terms of data input and of working on the thesaurus.


Art Criticism in late 18th century Britain

Emma with Dr Stephanie O’Rourke

This project examined art criticism in late 18th century Britain. Emma, a second-year art history student, used digitized archives made available by the British Library to transcribe understudied exhibition reviews. Her work was a valuable contribution to Dr O’Rourke’s current research on the relation between artistic production and a broader set of cultural practices in that period.


Modern Art beyond the West

Kriszta Rosu with Dr Sam Rose

The project involved working together on a new Honours course being developed, 'Modern Art beyond the West'. The course itself examined the rise of early- to mid-20th century ‘modern’ art in a range of countries not usually considered in Western survey courses. Over a number of weeks, the assistant, Kriszta Rosu, searched for new sources and wrote short summaries of readings, helping to analyse and expand on the lists of suggested core texts being compiled for the course.


The cultural, scientific and social dimension of EU-LAC relations

Kate Keohane with Dr Karen Brown

In Spring 2015, Kate Keohane carried out research assistance for a funding application to the EU Commission, Topic INT 12 (2015) “The cultural, scientific and social dimension of EU-LAC relations”, supervised by Dr Brown. Kate successfully provided research, editing and formatting for various components of the grant, working on the theme of contemporary art and migration in particular. Her assistance was invaluable, and an excellent learning opportunity towards her career aspirations.


British Art Dealers in 18th Century Italy 

Alice Zamboni with Professor Brendan Cassidy

Alice assisted Professor Brendan Cassidy by undertaking bibliographical work for his book on British art dealers in 18th century Italy. She worked in Venice for three weeks with Professor Cassidy, later transcribing and translating letters in the archives and annotating letters in various Venetian libraries. Alice’s help was invaluable.  Professor Cassidy describes Alice as “thorough, precise and extraordinarily hard working, the ideal research assistant”.


The social lives of paintings in 16th century Venice

Magda Michalska with Dr Elsje van Kessel

The purpose of this project was to research and order the best possible images to illustrate Elsje van Kessel’s monograph The Lives of Paintings: Presence, Agency and Likeness in Venetian Art of the Sixteenth Century (De Gruyter, 2017). Magda was able to apply her expert knowledge of Italian and various other European languages in her search for illustrations and acquired hands-on experience in the production of an art-historical book.


Autobiographies of 20th century Women Artists

Lucia Hawkes with Dr Linda Goddard

Lucia Hawkes is a third-year Art History Honours student. She won the O.E. Saunders Prize and was on the Dean's List for 2014-2015. To assist Dr Linda Goddard's research into artists' writings, Lucia explored autobiographies, memoirs, and other types of life writing by 20th century women artists, compiling an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Linda has been using this bibliographic resource for a journal article that she is writing.


Printmaking in Scotland in the 18th Century

Isabelle Mooney with Ann Gunn

The assistantship was to construct databases of Scottish printmakers and illustrated books for a website, the main outcome of an RSE-funded research workshop project. Isabelle used a variety of library and digital sources, including the Edinburgh Directories of 1773-1785, to compile Excel databases. In addition to acquiring new knowledge and research skills, Isabelle also attended one of the workshops to meet curators.


Alexis Berg, Forger of Medieval Bindings and Objects

Stephanie Hammer with Professor Kathryn Rudy

Stephanie Hammer completed research through the URAS program in New York City in summer 2017. At the Metropolitan Museum Archives and in the Morgan Library, she investigated forger of medieval bindings and other metal objects which were made by a Belgian named Alexis Berg in the 19th century. Hammer was able to determine where and when Alexis Berg worked, and who some of his collaborators were. Hammer’s findings make an important contribution to Professor Rudy’s long-term study about medieval forgeries.


Medieval and Renaissance Furniture Database

Réka Krizbai with Dr Agnès Bos, spring 2019

The aim of the project was to launch and implement a new image database dedicated to Medieval and Renaissance furniture, useful for future research and publication projects in that field. This database is hosted by the University of St Andrews Image database. Réka entered and described in the database pictures of pieces of furniture kept in various locations. She has successfully carried out the task, learning and using the relevant vocabulary.