Diagram and Dimension: Visualising time in the drawings of Opicinius de Canistris (1296- c. 1352)
Using an object-based methodology that combines the history of art, science and technology, my thesis (funded by an AHRC Studentship) demystifies the highly complex cosmological diagrams of Opicinus de Canistris (drawings digitised here). By focusing on how the calendrical components of Opicinus' drawings relate to contemporary calendars in a variety of forms, I explore what they can tell us about medieval time and temporality. To hear more about my research on Opicinus, listen to my interview with the Uncommon Knowledge Podcast (Oxford)
Supervisor: Gervase Rosser
Following a BA in Art History at the University of Cambridge (Churchill College, 2009-12) I went on to study a Masters degree in medieval art at the Courtauld Institute (2012-13). Having written a BA dissertation on medieval french reliquaries in the form of the Virgin and Child, I became interested in medieval perceptions of pregnancy, leading me to study a medieval uterus diagram for my dissertation. After a graduate internship in the medieval department ofthe Metropolitan Museum of Art (Summer 2013), where I worked on the 'Treasures of Hildesheim' exhibition, I began studying diagrams as a DPhil student in 2014.
Alongside my thesis, I've studied a large fifteenth-century astronomical volvelle made in Verona, the outcome of which will become available as a forthcoming article in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Insitutes (December, 2018).
The research was made possible by a Studentship jointly-funded by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and TORCH (Humanities Division, Oxford) and a Dibner fellowship in the history of science and technology at the Huntington Library (California) in August 2016, and a small grant from the Scientific Instrument Society.
My research interests are therefore diverse across medieval visual culture, including (though not limited to):
- medieval science and technology
- diagrammatic representation
- calendars and horology
- perceptions of the body: anatomy, pregnancy and relic culture
- digital tools as a resource for teaching and researching
Teaching and Outreach
In addition to my own research, I am enthusiastic about the use of museum collections for teaching and outreach and the use of digital tools to make them more accessible. This led me to write a portfolio on object-based pedagogy to become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. As an Ashmolean Junior Teaching Fellow (2017-18), I am constructing a seminar series anchored around the Ashmolean's collections with three other doctoral students from different disciplines.
Previous to this, I was an RA for Cabinet, an OxTalent award winning online platform for the University of Oxford's collections. In addition, I have given numerous one-off outreach talks on museum collections at the Ashmolean, Courtauld Gallery, Fitzwilliam Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.