The Center for Material Culture Studies awarded fifteen UD M.A. and Ph.D. students working in the arts, humanities and social sciences a $4,500 ten-week DelPHI Summer Research Fellowship at the University of Delaware. In coordination with this award, the fellows recently concluded a two-week Delaware Public Humanities Institute workshop, through which they learned a variety of public engagement skills, including how to engage non-specialists and institutions.
Among the fifteen students chosen for this exciting opportunity, Art History Ph.D. candidate Rachael Vause was in attendance. Inspired by a course she took in the Material Culture Studies program at UD, Vause pursued the DelPHI fellowship to further her dissertation research on medieval jewelry. “It seemed a logical step to seek funding from this amazing department as I engage in dissertation research this summer. The early medieval period (5th-10th centuries) is often misunderstood [and] underrepresented in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Through the familiar object of jewelry, I hope to make the medieval period and its people more accessible and relatable,” Vause said.
The two-week Public Humanities Institute aims to incorporate public engagement through material culture studies. At the conclusion of the workshop, Vause is particularly motived to explore partnerships with communities in Philadelphia, possibly including students in jewelry programs at the University of the Arts and Temple University, as well as groups who want to know more about non-white populations during the medieval period. “In the same way the costumes of the [Metropolitan Museum of Art] Gala empowered Rihanna, Chadwick Boseman, and Zendaya to appropriate the Middle Ages, the medium of ornamentation is a powerful entry point to for urban, non-white groups to also see themselves in the medieval.”
Vause is also appreciative of Erickson Blakney's and Lisa Hatcher's presentation, “Telling Your Story, Using Voice and Body Effectively.” She explained, “I was especially grateful for being made more acutely aware of my physical posture, speech, and demeanor in an interview… I’m sure it will greatly improve my communication skills with a variety of audiences.”
In addition to Rachael Vause, Department of Art History Ph.D. candidates Alba Campo Rosillo and Anne Cross were also awarded DelPHI Research Fellowships and attended the two-week workshop.