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Student Assistantships

The School of Art History offers undergraduate students the opportunity to gain experience in academic research through Research Assistantships.  Below is an outline of recently completed projects.

LK - Studentship

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, the networks they established.

Riding Astride? Ladies on horseback 1400-1830: A database
Zeynep Caserci
With Dr Ulrike Elisabeth Weiss

I am working towards a history of female equestrianism in the Early Modern period, with particular focus on the long eighteenth century. This will be the first in-depth study of the subject, and it will draw on 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. This summer, 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 eighteenth-century Britain
With Dr Stephanie O’Rourke

This project examined art criticism in late eighteenth-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-twentieth century ‘modern’ art in a range of countries not usually considered in Western survey courses. Over a number of weeks the assistant 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 18c Italy
Alice Zamboni
With Professor Brendan Cassidy

Alice assisted Professor Brendan Cassidy by undertaking bibliographical work for his book on British Art Dealers in 18c 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 sixteenth-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 Twentieth-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 2014-15. To assist Dr Linda Goddard's research into artists' writings, Lucia explored autobiographies, memoirs, and other types of life writing by twentieth-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. These were converted for the website; the results can be found here .In addition to acquiring new knowledge and research skills, Isabelle also attended one of the workshops to meet curators.

Representations of Women on Horseback, ca 1500-1850: A database
Eloise Bennett and Kate Pence
With Dr Ulrike Elisabeth Weiss

The project, for which the newly set-up database provides an essential tool, investigates how and in which contexts Early Modern women were represented on horseback, and explores the history and connotations of the side saddle. Eloise and Kate employed and honed their research skills trawling public collections for relevant images.  Both students have since pursued further degrees: Eloise at the Courtauld, Kate at the University of Chicago.    

Alexis Berg, Forger of Medieval Bindings and Objects
Student: Stephanie Hammer
Staff member: Prof. 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 nineteenth 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 Prof. Rudy’s long-term study about medieval forgeries.

Photo: one of Berg’s ornately decorated forged book bindings.