Annual Research Initiative

Each year, the Lise Meitner Group’s Annual Research Initiative considers the practical and theoretical repercussions that a specific form of loss poses for the discipline. It brings together scholars, conservators, curators, and artists to promote research that explores what those repercussions mean not only for objects but also for our approach to them. 

In 2022–23 “Waste” examined what we intentionally throw away. In 2023–24 “Loot” addresses things that are taken away or intentionally destroyed. Future yearly initiatives will be devoted to lacunae and the destructive effects of natural disasters. The Initiatives encourage a broad rethinking of loss as something that can materially transform, conceptually reclassify, and otherwise uncover new categories of object – a force that shapes both what is left of the history of art to study and the biases, limits, and lenses that inform how we study it. 

Conceived in collaboration with affiliated academics and pre- and postdoctoral research fellows, each Initiative culminates in a multi-day series of events. At the core is an international conference that brings scholars together around a single topic. This convening is complemented by partnerships with local collections and institutions, resulting in a calendar of related programming that includes special presentations by artists, keynote addresses by leading experts, roundtables, and site visits around the city of Rome – itself a landscape of objects lost, spoiled, reused, and recovered. 

The outcomes of each Annual Research Initiative are collected in a volume of essays, forming part of a dedicated five-volume editorial series published by Officina Libraria. This is the central collective output of the Lise Meitner Group. 

2022/23: Waste

2022/23: Waste

The initiative addressed the materiality, spatiality, and processing of waste in the early modern workshop. 
Conference organizers: Ruth Ezra (University of St Andrews), Francesca Borgo (University of St Andrews/Bibliotheca Hertziana)
Keynote speakers: Simon Werrett (UCL), Vittoria Di Palma (USC)
Artists’ talk: DOM in conversation with Marco Armiero (L’era degli scarti/Wasteocene, 2021)
Site visits: Monte Testaccio, led by The British School at Rome; The American Academy Sustainable Food Project
Event PagePoster; Program
Volume scheduled for publication in 2024 
Supported by: Association for Art History; St Andrews School of Art History; St Andrews Network for Climate, Energy, Environment and Sustainability
2023/24: Loot

2023/24: Loot

The initiative is investigating the ways in which conflict and its resolution moved, modified, and reclassified art objects in the long early modern period.
Conference organizers: Francesca Borgo (University of St Andrews/Bibliotheca Hertziana) Julia Vázquez (Bibliotheca Hertziana)
Keynote speakers: Ananda Cohen-Aponte (Cornell University), Erin Thompson (CUNY)
Site vist: Palazzo della Marina

Event PageCall for PapersPoster


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