BSR News Autumn 2016

As the summer draws to a close, we look back - and forward. This newsletter celebrates achievements, and looks forward to the arrival of new awards such as the Scholars' Prize in Architecture, and The Bridget Riley Fellowship. A new editorial team for the Papers of the British School at Rome will carry forward our highly regarded academic journal, and Simon Keay, our Research Professor in Archaeology, is a newly elected Fellow of the British Academy, a just reward for his brilliant work in Italy and beyond. We wish buon viaggio to Helen Ackers and Katherine Paines, who have supported our work in the London and Rome offices, and are moving to exciting new careers; and we welcome Alice Marsh (a former BSR City of Rome student) and Ellie Johnson, who will be helping us communicate our many events and news stories.

We are extremely grateful for all the valuable support we have received so far this year. With a newly refurbished building, we set out on our second century here on Via Gramsci. And as I have written elsewhere, we will remain a British and Commonwealth institution operating at the highest levels of excellence in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts, and in collaboration with our friends in Italy, Europe and beyond. Please come and see us soon!

Christopher Smith

Welcome to our 2016-17 award-holders

As we start another academic year, we are delighted to share with you the names of some of our  2016-17 award-holders, who recently arrived at the BSR.

If you want to catch up on what happened in 2015-16, you can see  our  photo round-up of the year,   watch our podcasts  on YouTube, and read our Annual Review and Fine Arts Catalogue.

The Bridget Riley Fellowship

We are delighted to announce that, through the invaluable advocacy in particular of Penny Johnson (a current member of the Faculty of the Fine Arts), as well as Sir Nicholas Penny (who stood down recently as a member of the BSR's Council) and the current Chair of the Faculty, Vivien Lovell, the Bridget Riley Art Foundation has awarded us funding for three years for an annual six-month residency.  We can now confirm that the inaugural Bridget Riley Fellowship has been awarded to Sinta Tantra, who will be joining us in January 2017.

Some of you may recall that the BSR hosted an exhibition of Bridget Riley's works on paper in 1996, curated by Marina Engel - it is exciting to be able to renew our link.  

Collaborating for cultural heritage

Conservation and collaboration were top of the agenda for our opening event of the 2016-17 academic year, Collaborating for the Cultural Heritage of the World: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships

A joint event with the Italian National Trust, FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), the keynote was delivered by Dame Fiona Reynolds, chairman of the worldwide network of heritage and conservation charities, INTO, with responses from two very special guests, President of FAI and BSR Honorary Fellow Andrea Carandini, and Italy's Minister for Culture and Tourism, Dario Franceschini.

Following an afternoon session that investigated a variety of case-studies - including a presentation by Simon Keay and BSR Research Fellow Renato Sebastiani on the potential of the archaeological park at Portus and Ostia - Dame Fiona's wide-ranging presentation offered a clear focus on what is needed for successful heritage management.

The latest from the Lateran and Pompeii
Ian Haynes on the Lateran Project

Earlier this year we caught up with Ian Haynes, Professor of Archaeology at Newcastle University, to give us an insight into his work on the Lateran Project, an ongoing collaboration between Newcastle University, the University of Florence, the Vatican Museums and the BSR.

Ian outlines the project's far-reaching implications for the study of the early church, imperial security, and our understanding of the development of Rome.

The project was the subject of a major three-day conference here at the BSR in September.

Second season of excavation in Pompeii

This summer saw the second season of work by the BSR at the site of the necropolis of Porta Nola outside the northeastern gate of Pompeii.

Training for the 22 students on the International Field School focused on the study of cremation burials,  while conservators continued work begun last year on the structure of the tomb of Marcus Obellius Firmus. This summer's excavations focused mainly on the area behind the tomb. 

Fine Arts alumni, now and then
Winifred Knights and Alfred Hardiman

The work of Winifred Knights - the first woman to win the prestigious Rome Prize at the BSR in 1920 - was finally given the attention it deserves in a new exhibition in London this year.

If you haven't heard of her, you are not alone - her work received very little attention in her lifetime and throughout the twentieth century. Though the exhibition is now over, you can still
 listen to an interview with curator Sacha Llewellyn on BBC Radio 3.

Winifred also appeared in our recent blog - this time as a model for another BSR artist, Alfred Hardiman. Hardiman was her contemporary at the BSR, and is the subject of an article recently published by Valerie Holman in Sculpture Journal, the findings of which were based in large part on research carried out in the BSR Archive. It is fantastic to see the creative practice recorded in our Archive increasingly becoming the subject of contemporary research.

What are our Fine Arts alumni up to?

Back in the 21st century, our alumni have been busy over the summer.  Cornelia Parker's Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) has taken over The Met's roof garden until 31 October, and the exhibition she curated at London's Foundling Museum has just finished. Over the summer Thomas J. Price's sculptures were on display at the National Gallery As part of his prestigious Jerwood Painting Fellowship, Archie Franks' works are being exhibited in a touring show across four UK locations in 2016. A work by Susan Norrie was one of five selected for joint acquisition by Tate and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia as part of an initiative to promote Australian art globally.  Laure Prouvost and Celia Hempton were selected for the first edition of the ICA's annual Art Night festival in London earlier in the summer.

And once again many BSR alumni featured in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Keep us up-to-date with news of exhibitions and projects - e-mail Natalie Arrowsmith.


 Architecture prizes and programmes
PechaKucha produces architecture prize

Last October saw the BSR put on its first PechaKucha, co-organised by former Rome Scholars in Architecture Tim Bell (1998-9) and Hugh Petter (1990-2), and hosted by Bob Allies (1981-2), on the theme Rome and Architecture.

The presentations - and the lively debate on Rome's value to the modern architect that followed - spawned the idea for a Scholars' Prize in Architecture. We sent out an appeal to all former architecture award-holders to contribute towards a prize of three months in one of our recently refurbished studios.

We are grateful to all those who donated so generously, and look forward to welcoming winner Morgan Gostwyck-Lewis to the BSR in January-March 2017. 

We continue to work with our partner the Royal Academy Schools on finding sustainable funding for a jointly hosted six-month architecture prize, and we are pursuing all other avenues to sustain architecture at the BSR.

Meeting Architecture: Fragments 

We are half-way through Fragments, the third strand in our Meeting Architecture programme, which considers how ideologies are shaped, memories evoked and emotions stirred by buildings, their contents and their ruins.

The first year of Fragments focused on the Middle East, and included a lecture by the Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture and exhibitions by the artists Dor Guez and Akram Zaatari.

2016-17 will concentrate mainly on Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The programme opened with an exhibition by Polish artist Miroslaw Balka on 26 September.

Members events
Sicily: Culture and Conquest
Exploring hidden gems with the Ashbys

Early in June, our Ashby Patrons spent their annual long weekend in Rome exploring its 'hidden gems'. Led by Christopher Smith and Tom True, the group enjoyed tours round palazzi in Rome and Lazio, including the magisterial Villa Farnese in Caprarola - after which we shared a delicious lakeside lunch al fresco.

Back at the BSR, a demonstration of the Library's recently restored magic lantern slide projector gave Ashbys a rare opportunity to sit down. A great highlight was the opportunity for the Ashbys to spend time with so many of our current award-holders, whether over dinner, in their studios or on a site visit.

No Ashby weekend would be complete without a trip to the Forum with Christopher, who this year dazzled the group with a visit to the recently reopened Santa Maria Antiqua and Domitianic Ramp.

To learn more about supporting the BSR via the Ashby Patrons, visit our website or contact Elizabeth Rabineau in our London office.

Perspectives on ancient and medieval Sicily

Why does Sicily need two simultaneous museum exhibitions in the UK? The answer is simple: it is such a diverse and complex island, with a rich and continuous history as a crossroads of cultures. 

The BSR was therefore thrilled to present both shows at our BSR at the British Academy event on Monday 20 June. 

With representatives from both the British Museum and the Ashmolean, we saw how different curatorial approaches brought out different facets of this extraordinary island. We also heard from Christopher Smith how the BSR is supporting and showcasing work from the chalcolithic to late Roman periods - and how Sicily is a necessary part of the broader enquiry regarding migration, from antiquity to the present day.

Yet again the BSR packed out the British Academy for our event. If you missed it, you can watch it on YouTube - and we hope to see you at our next London lecture in November!

Image acknowledgements 
Christopher Smith: Antonio Palmieri. Award-holders  in the Sainsbury Lecture Theatre: Antonio Palmieri. An artist at work in the studio: Antonio Palmieri. Professor Andrea Carandini, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Minister Dario Franceschini: Antonio Palmieri. Award-holders visit the Lateran excavations: Giorgio Lizzul. Study of the cremations of two Praetorian guards: Charles Avery.  Winifred Knights in her studio at the BSR:  BSR Photographic Archive. Transitional Object (PsychoBarn): Cornelia Parker.  Installation view of work by Edward Simpson (Rome Prize-winner in Architecture 2013-14): Roberto Apa. A Crossroads in A, 2006, courtesy Miroslaw Balka and Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan.  Tom True leads Ashby Patrons and award-holders around Villa Farnese in Caprarola: Rachel Adams. Installation view from June Mostra : Roberto Apa.