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Mellon Research Initiative: Student Research Grants

Mellon Research Initiative: Student Research Grants

Deadline: May 12, 2014, 5pm

Five bursaries of $1200 each are available for students at the Institute of Fine Arts to become active participants in the colloquium From ‘Surface’ to ‘Substrate’ : The Archaeology, Art History, and Science of Material Transfer (November 7-8, 2014). The colloquium forms part of the Mellon Research Initiative.

Invited speakers at the colloquium include Patricia Crown (University of New Mexico), Rebecca Farbstein (University of Southampton), Olivier Gosselain (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Erma Hermens (University of Glasgow), David Killick (University of Arizona), Marcos Martinon-Torres (University College London). IFA participants will include Jonathan HayClemente Marconi, and Michele Marincola. The conference is convened by David Wengrow ((Professor of Comparative Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University College London), and full details can be found on the conference page.

Colloquium Summary:

In recent decades the empirical base from which the history of material transfers is written has undergone a significant but rarely examined transformation. To reconstruct the changing scope and velocity of material flows, researchers in the humanities and social sciences once relied primarily on written sources, images, and distributions of finished objects. Today, however, they are routinely asked to incorporate types of data that derive from highly specialized disciplines well outside their normal range of expertise. The refinement of techniques such as DNA analysis, isotope analysis, optical and electron microscopy, and chemical study of both organic and inorganic remains now allows past movements of materials—as well as of living beings—to be traced with greater accuracy than ever before.

Comparable developments can be observed in the history of art and architecture, where analysis is no longer confined to matters of form and surface appearance. Increasingly, 'technical art history' also takes into account methods for studying underlying materials, structures, and substances, which may or may not follow the same processes of selection and paths of transmission as images. Historical assumptions, on which concepts of ‘style’, ‘emulation’, and ‘provenance’ are based – assumptions about the contiguity of technological, visual, and social domains – are laid open to question in new and exciting ways.

From the perspective of visual culture, we might ask for example how an analytical move from surface to substrate affects the epistemological status of regional styles, or how it might oblige us to revise received criteria for ‘imitation’ and ‘authenticity’? How might such a move allow us to engage with the life histories of objects and built structures – including phases of production, conservation, and commoditization – previously hidden to the naked eye? In approaching these questions, what might natural scientists, archaeologists, and art historians learn from one another? What is the contribution of conservators to these debates?

How to Apply

Recipients of the bursaries will be expected to conduct original researchon a focused case study, and to present their findings in the form of a poster presentation (to be displayed at the IFA prior to and during the conference) and a 10-minute talk to be incorporated into the conference program.

There are no restrictions on chronology, location or subject matter, and applications from archaeology, art history, and conservation students are equally welcome. Guidance on poster design and printing, as well as general advice on content of presentations will be provided to the successful candidates.

To apply for these positions, provide an outline of 500 words describing the kind of project you plan to undertake, and as specific an indication as possible of the subject matter you propose to cover. Please give the name of an IFA professor who will support this application, and act as a supervisor for the project. Applications must be submitted by email to Yaelle Amir, Mellon Research Activities Coordinator at yaelle.amir@nyu.edu by May 12 at 5pm. Successful applicants will be notified by June 13


February 1, 2014
Workshop on Digital Tools
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Claire Brandon, Elizabeth Buhe, Lindsay Ganter, Christina Long, and Margaret Wessling. More information and video from this conference is available here.

October 4-5, 2013
Art History and the Art of Description
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Joseph Ackley, Kara Fiedorek, Katerina Harris, IFA PhD, Brett Lazer, and Ileana Selejan. More information and video from this conference is available here.

April 12 - 13, 2013
Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Andrea Achi, Kirsten Lee, Brian Castriota, Rachel Boate, Allyson McDavid. More information and video from this conference is available here.

November 30th, 2012
Digital Art History
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Emily Bauman, Sara Ickow, and Allison Young. More information and video from this conference is available here.

April 28-29, 2012
Image and Ontology in Comparative Perspective
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Matthew Breatore, Marci Kwon, Sean Nesselrode, Brendan Sullivan, and Matthew Worsnick. More information and video from this conference is available here.

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