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Michael Baird

Michael Baird
Educational History: Centre College, BA in Art History, 2019

Michael Baird is a doctoral student in the department of Art and Art History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is interested in the Western reception of African material culture and how the discourse of fine art was utilized in the fashioning of national identity at the end of the colonial era. His current work centers on how art education formed an integral component of the British colonial apparatus in the East Africa Protectorate and how this colonial instruction in making continues to influence understandings of art within the contemporary nation-state of Uganda and perceptions of Ugandan art abroad. In 2019, Michael’s senior thesis contended with representations of black masculinity in the oeuvre of Robert Mapplethorpe and the social construction of categories within visual culture. Following his graduation, he worked as a curatorial intern and later curatorial and education assistant at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. The work he did at the museum was part of a larger initiative to re-evaluate the ways in which the museum characterizes, displays, and educates the public on African-inspired religions and objects that have acquired religious value.

Close-up portrait of Franny Brock

Franny Brock
Educational History: The Courtauld Institute of Art, MA in the History of Art, 2012; Oberlin College, BA in Art History, 2009

Franny is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, specializing in eighteenth-century French art and works on paper. She was advised by Dr. Mary D. Sheriff until Dr. Sheriff’s passing in fall 2016. Her dissertation, entitled “Drawing the Amateur,” is now being supervised by Dr. Melissa Hyde (University of Florida). Franny’s project examines drawings made by amateurs, particularly women, working outside of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in eighteenth-century France. Before arriving at UNC, Franny completed her BA in Art History at Oberlin College and her MA in the History of Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She completed her master’s degree in eighteenth-century French and British drawings, taught by Dr. Katie Scott and Professor David Solkin. Franny has held positions at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, The Frick Collection, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Ackland Art Museum. She has curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions, including “Visions of Antiquity in the Eighteenth Century” at the Dallas Museum of Art and “Celebrations and Revelries in Seventeenth-Century Dutch art” at the Ackland Art Museum. She also has expertise in student and faculty support, having worked at the UNC Writing and Learning Center and the Center for Faculty Excellence.

Rachel Ciampoli

Rachel Ciampoli
Educational History: College of William and Mary, B.A. in Art History with a minor in Management and Organizational Leadership, 2019

Rachel is a first-year PhD student in the department of Art and Art History at UNC. Her undergraduate honors thesis examined the negotiation of visual culture and public space by African Americans in antebellum New York City through the previously unexplored nineteenth-century painting “Servants at a Pump” by Italian-American artist Nicolino Calyo. Rachel’s research probes the relationship between racialized identities and depictions of public green spaces in American art. She is interested in the role of landscape in the American art canon and in the formation of national identity. Before beginning the PhD program, Rachel spent three years developing a visual arts integration initiative within the education department at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Photo portrait of Erin Dickey.

Erin Dickey
Educational History: UNC-Chapel Hill, MA, Art History/MS Information Science, 2018; University of Chicago, MA Religious Studies, 2010; Boston University, BA English/Religious Studies, 2008

Erin is a Ph.D. student focusing on contemporary art and technology, with specific interests in media theory, histories of telecommunications technologies, visuality, materialism(s), and archives. Erin was a Fellow in the Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded “Learning from Artists’ Archives” program (2015-2017). Prior to coming to UNC, Erin was Development and Outreach Coordinator at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC. From 2010-2012, she worked as a Mobile Facilitator recording stories and conversations across the U.S. for the national oral history nonprofit StoryCorps.

Bust portrait of Emily DuVall

Emily DuVall
Educational History: University of Georgia, M.A. in Art History, 2019; Birmingham-Southern College, B.A. in History and Art History, 2016

Emily DuVall is an Art History Ph.D. student working with Dr. Tania String. Emily studies the French Renaissance court, specifically the origins and endurance of royal symbols. Her dissertation addresses the demonstration of power and the possession of space following the Hundred Years’ War, as seen in depictions of ceremonial entries and the royal hunt. She has worked as a curatorial intern at the Albany Museum of Art in Albany, Georgia, as a gallery assistant at Portraits, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama, and most recently, as the Pierre Daura Graduate Intern at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia.

Miranda Elston

Miranda L. Elston
Educational History: Western Washington University, BA in History, 2009; Parsons, School of Design joint program with the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, MA in The History of Design and Curatorial Studies, 2012.

Miranda is a Ph.D. candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill, working with Dr. Tania String. Her dissertation project, “Architectural Geographies: Spatial Representation in Early Tudor Imagination (1509-1547),” explores the theme of sixteenth-century experience and perception of architectural space through literary and pictorial examples. Her broader interests include England’s relationship to the Atlantic world in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Miranda completed her undergraduate studies at Western Washington University. She earned her MA in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies offered jointly by Parsons, School of Design and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Miranda has worked as a consultant researcher and digital developer for Local Projects. In addition, she consulted on digital installations for the National Building Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. She has previously worked as an adjunct instructor at Parsons the New School and Elon University and worked as a Learning Coach at UNC. Miranda has received awards from Kress Fellowship for Applied Research, the Maynard Adams Fellowship for the Public Humanities, the Visiting Scholar Award at the Yale Center for British Art, the Graduate School at UNC, and the UNC Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. She has published several articles and book chapters and was awarded the Best Essay Prize Recipient for her article “Holy Things: Dürer’s Feast of the Holy Rosary in the Rudolfine Court,” in Carae: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Vol 5. (2019).

Sarah Farkas

Sarah Emily Farkas
Educational History: The University of Texas at Austin, MA – Art History, 2019; Oberlin College, BA – Art History and German Studies, 2012

Sarah is a Ph.D. student focusing on sixteenth-century English and German art of the Reformation, working with Dr. Tania String. She is especially interested in issues of gender, decorative objects, and jewelry in the early modern world. She is a 2020-21 Wilson Library Hanes Graduate Fellow working with numerous objects in the Rare Book Collection and was the 2020-21 Graduate Intern at the Ackland Art Museum. While an undergraduate at Oberlin College, Sarah also worked as a curatorial assistant for the Allen Memorial Art Museum.

Brianna Guthrie

Brianna Guthrie (May 2022)
Educational History: Syracuse University, B.A., 2006; University of Florida, M.A., 2008

Brianna is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in the portraiture of early modern England. Under the guidance of Dr. Tatiana C. String, her dissertation, entitled “Maternity and Matriarchy in English Family Portraits, 1603-1685,” evaluates the work of mothering and maternal authority as pictured in paintings, prints, sculptures, and other material objects. She seeks to highlight these visual examples of maternal work as our own society becomes more conscious and vocal about the unrecognized and historically dismissed labor involved in childcare. Her other research interests include portrayals of families, gender and sexuality, body theory, and the imagery of contemporary royalty. Brianna has received grants and fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Institute, the UNC Graduate School, the Ackland Museum of Art, and the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program at UNC. Prior to joining the program, she was an Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach State College and a Curatorial Assistant at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL.

Sophie Heldt

Sophie Heldt
Educational History: Wake Forest University, BA in Art History, 2020

Sophie is a Master’s student in Art History at UNC focusing on late 19th century and early 20th century French art. She is a recipient of a Graduate School Merit Fellowship and the Graduate Assistant for the John and June Allcott Gallery. Sophie is especially interested in studying artists who lived and worked in turn-of-the-century Paris and wants to explore the dynamic between form, perception, and psychology in relation to these artists’ creative processes. She hopes her background as a visual artist, particularly in painting and printmaking, will lend a unique perspective to her art historical research.

Josh Hockensmith

Josh Hockensmith
Educational History: University of Richmond, BA, 1995

My main area of interest is artists’ publications: artists’ books, zines, Web-to-print work, and other kinds of printed matter. I came to artists’ publications as a writer and poet interested in how different embodiments of a text affect its meaning, so I’m very interested in the intersection of text and visual art, and in a postcolonial view of the book as just one among many technologies of content transmission across cultures. I’m a career library worker involved in collecting artists’ publications and teaching with them. I also have a studio practice creating them under the press name Blue Bluer Books. My poems, translations, and flash fiction have appeared in some literary journals over the years and my artists’ books are held in a number of library, museum, and private collections.

Savannah Hubbard

Savannah Hubbard
Educational History: University of Mississippi, B.A. in Art History, 2021

Savannah is currently a master’s student in Art History at UNC- Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the program, Savannah interned at the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi. Broadly, she is interested in 15th & 16th century English court art. More specifically, her research consists of tracing the visual evolution of female beauty standards as seen through Medieval and early Renaissance portraiture.

Bust portrait of Taylor Hunkins.

Taylor Hunkins
Twitter: @HunkinsTaylor
Educational History: Dickinson College, BA in Art History, 2017

I am a PhD student studying Contemporary African Art, with a specific interest in the intersection of art, visual culture, and design within East Africa. Currently, I am thinking about visual culture in and around Nairobi, Kenya and how artists/art collectives employ the aesthetics of visual and material culture to construct their own understandings of local, national, and international identity. As a subsection of this inquiry, I am fascinated with populist or ‘pop’ art in Kenya, its aesthetic make-up, and political ramifications. Prior to coming to UNC, I received my BA in Art History from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During my time at Dickinson, I curated “Mafile Fen,” an exhibition of Bamana sculpture and textile that explored the relationship between performance and object in Bamana aesthetics. I have also held internships at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Museum of African Art in DC.

Bust portrait of Kelsey Martin.

Kelsey D. Martin
Twitter: kelsey_d_martin
Educational History: University of New Mexico, MA Art History; University of Colorado, Boulder, BA Sociology

Kelsey is an Art History Ph.D. Candidate and Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Fellow at UNC-CH. She was advised by Dr. Mary D. Sheriff until Dr. Sheriff’s passing in the fall of 2016 and is currently advised by Dr. Melissa Hyde (University of Florida, Gainesville). Her fields of specialization rest in early modern Europe (though she often ventures to the 19th and early 20th centuries for various curatorial projects), with particular emphasis on eighteenth-century French art, works on paper, and women artists from 1450-1950. Her dissertation project explores women artists’ relationship to printmaking in eighteenth-century France, including their roles as designers, engravers, and exhibitors of prints. Kelsey is the recipient of numerous awards, internships, and fellowships, including the ‘Rare Prints Project’ Internship at the National Gallery of Art, D.C. (2017), the Object-Based Teaching Fellowship at the Ackland Art Museum (2017-2018), and the Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Curatorial Internship for European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (2018-2019). She served as the curatorial intern for the DMA’s Women Artists in Europe from the Monarchy to Modernism as well as the major traveling exhibition, Berthe Morisot, Woman Impressionist. Kelsey also curated Violence and Defiance, a works on paper show of German and Austrian Expressionist prints, which debuted at the DMA in August of 2019. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Kelsey will be in Paris conducting dissertation research thanks to the generous support of the UNC-CH Georges Lurcy Research Fellowship.

Rachel E Mauney

Rachel E Mauney
Educational History: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A. in Art History with Honors, 2020

Rachel is currently a master’s student in Art History. Her research focuses on the art and material culture of late medieval and early modern Europe, with particular interests in religion and the artistic production within medieval convents. Rachel is also interested in the intersections of death, devotion, and commemoration. Rachel has acted as an intern in Docent Education at the North Carolina Museum of Art and, during her undergraduate tenure at UNC, as Head Student guide at the Ackland Art Museum.

Julianne Miao

Julianne Miao
Educational History: University of Georgia, BA in Art History, 2019

Julianne is currently a master’s student at UNC-Chapel Hill working on American art. She has held internships at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Princeton University Art Museum, and most recently, she was the Walton Family and Ford Foundation Curatorial Fellow at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art prior to coming to UNC. She was a recipient of the 2020-21 Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship and the 2021 Joan and Robert Huntley Art History Scholarship.

Samantha Moody

Samantha Moody
Educational History: University of North Florida, B.A. in Art History, 2020

Samantha is currently a master’s student in Art History at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her primary research interests are in medieval art, specifically representations of the body and emotion in manuscripts and architecture from the Romanesque era. Her research has also extended into later periods where she has explored the rabelaisian-like imagery in the works of Dutch Golden Age painter Jan Steen, as well as medievalism in pop culture. Samantha previously worked as a student docent for the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in Florida.

Brantly Moore

Brantly Moore
Educational History: University of South Carolina-Columbia, BA in Art History with minors in French and Hospitality, 2011; Leiden University, Netherlands, MA in Arts & Culture: Museums and Collections, 2015

Brantly is a fifth-year PhD candidate and former museum professional. Her dissertation, “Rummaging Drawers, Opening Doors: An Inquiry into Sixteenth-Century Collectors’ Cabinets & their Contents,” imaginatively reconstructs early modern persons’ embodied experience of the Kunstkammer utilizing inventories, written accounts, and extant cabinets. These little-studied technologies of display shaped and reflect early modern perceptions of and interactions with collection objects, fostering attitudes of play, curiosity, and piety. Additional, thematic research interests extend from the medieval to modern periods and include the aesthetics of function and material; historical debates pitting the fine arts versus craft and the applied arts; the history of display, collections, and museums; the organization and production of knowledge in collections; and the visual and architectural culture of medieval pilgrimage. She has received grants from The UNC Graduate School (2020 and 21), Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program, UNC (2019), the University of Amsterdam (2018), and Leiden University (2014).

Close up portrait of Aisha Marie Muhammad.

Aisha Marie Muhammad
Twitter: AishaMMPhD
Educational History: SUNY New Paltz, Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History (Cum Laude), 2012; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Master of Arts in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism, 2015

My research examines the confluence of performance and video media in sub-Saharan Africa. I am interested in how “new media” interventions affect traditional and contemporary performance rituals, including the evolution of iconography within established visual cultures. My writing and research primarily centers around West and Central Africa; I have extensively written on Nigerian artist Jelili Atiku with my master’s thesis entitled: “Humanity is ‘In the Red’: An Examination of Jelili Atiku’s Performance Series”. I am also interested in perceptions of the continent and blackness in the African Diaspora, and how contemporary media further affects visual symbols of Africa to its diaspora communities. Postcolonial theory is an important aspect of my research. Prior to coming to UNC, I was an intern at the National Portrait Gallery, and Instructor in art history at Genesee Community College (Batavia, NY). I am currently a Humanities for Public Good Fellow, working on a project that involves increasing visitor engagement in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s African galleries.

Rachel is wearing a black tank top, has her brunette hair in a bun, and is smiling because she is standing in front of the Coliseum in Rome.

Rachel Ozerkevich is an Art History Ph.D. Candidate from Toronto, Canada, and she is advised by Dr. Daniel Sherman. She received her B.A. in Art History from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and her M.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her M.A. thesis addressed athletic and nationalist symbolism in several of Robert Delaunay’s paintings. Her dissertation, “Aestheticizing Sport: Representations of Athletes in France and Switzerland, 1870-1914,” investigates different ways that male and female athletes were imaged in popular media and in the fine arts between the Franco-Prussian and First World Wars. During the 2019-2020 academic year, she will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, funded by the Werner P. Friederich Off-Campus Dissertation Fellowship.

Close-up portrait of Andrea Snow

Andrea C. Snow
Twitter: @ginnun_ga_gap
Educational History: MA, Art History and Visual Culture, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2016)

Andrea is a PhD candidate studying medieval art. Her dissertation, “A Language of Snakes: Supernatural Objects in Pre-Christian Scandinavia,” creates an art-historical framework for interpreting the relationships between the worldly and the divine in Old Norse material culture. She has presented on this topic both nationally and internationally, and her research has been published in Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2020) as well as Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft (2021). While she is foremost a scholar of the medieval far north, Andrea’s other research interests include materiality and somaesthetics, the fragmentation of the body, the Global Middle Ages, and medievalism in popular culture. She is a regular book reviewer for Religion and the Arts, a contributor to Smarthistory (see her article on Viking Art), and freelance course developer. Additionally, she has won several awards for her research and commitment to students, including a teaching award from the Undergraduate Student Union (2019). Her cardinal aim is to create an inclusive, cross-disciplinary intellectual climate throughout her career.

Jake Swartz

Jake L. Swartz
Educational History: University of North Carolina Asheville, Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Anthropology, 2019

I am a first year Master student and my research concerns ideas of power, prestige, and the materiality of statuette and arm reliquaries of the Holy Roman Empire. I am also interested in the veneration of saints during Medieval Europe. I published my undergraduate thesis titled “Divine artistry: The power of materiality and craft in statuette and arm reliquaries of the Holy Roman Empire.” with the UNC Asheville Journal of Undergraduate Research in May of 2019. I Presented this research at the at The Southeast Regional Undergraduate Research Scholarly and Creative Activity Conference in Milledgeville, GA during the spring of 2019. I also presented my research at The Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Community Engagement in Asheville, North Carolina. During my time between undergraduate and graduate school I worked closely with the North Carolina Museum of Art, in the Advancement Department. I plan on pursuing my master’s degree in art history at the university of North Carolina and eventually pursuing a Ph.D. specializing in Medieval art and architecture.

Rachel Sweeney

Rachel Sweeney
Educational History: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dual Degree BA in Art History and History, Certificate in Medieval Studies, 2021

Rachel is a master’s student in the department of Art History, and her primary research interest is early medieval art of the British Isles. More precisely, she is interested in studying both insular art of the period and the history of early medieval art’s reception and display during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is also interested in medieval revival movements, contemporary medievalism – in both its uses and abuses – and more broadly in decolonization and recontextualization of museum displays, art historiography, and art historical pedagogy. Her BA thesis, titled “Cultural Heritage on Display: A Comparative Analysis of British Insular Art and Mexica Art at the British Museum,” compared the British Museum’s display history of early English art and the art of the Mexica, and centered the ways in which the museum as a theater for imperialism continues to underserve its collections sourced from colonialist projects. She is interested in continuing to explore the intersections of the framing and display of early medieval art in a modern context and the appropriation of medieval symbolism by contemporary hate groups. Prior to coming to UNC, Rachel was a long-term curatorial assistant at the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts, working primarily with local folk art and textiles and aiming to re-evaluate the museum’s collections and exhibitions in order to highlight the historic Black and Indigenous presence in the region.

Eve Svoboda

Eve Svoboda
Educational History: George Washington University, BA in Classical Studies and Art History, 2019; University of Pennsylvania, Post-Baccalaureate in Classical Languages, 2020

Eve is currently a second-year dual degree master’s student in art history and library science at UNC Chapel Hill. Her primary research focus is Classical Art of Greece and Rome, and she is particularly interested in the connection between art and literature. She has held internships at the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, the American Academy in Rome, and most recently, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. Eve has additional interests in digital humanities, archives, and special collections which she hopes to explore further through her coursework at SILS.

Hannah Williams

Hannah G. Williams
Educational History: University of North Carolina at Wilmington, BA, Art History and English Literature, Certificate in Professional Writing, 2018
University of Georgia, MA with Distinction, Art History, 2020

Hannah is a first-year PhD student specializing in the “Northern Renaissance.” Working with Dr. Christoph Brachmann, she examines the religious function of devotional art made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Northern Europe, with special emphasis on the influences of particular mystical practices. Her MA thesis, titled “‘Do you have eyes but fail to see?’: The Unfocused Gaze and the Devotio Moderna in Hans Memling’s Devotional Diptych for Isabel la Católica,” dealt with some of these issues and earned her a distinction from the University of Georgia.

Jennifer Wu

Jennifer Wu
Educational History: Harvard University, Ed. M.; American University, M.A. in Art History

Jennifer is a Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in the art of Europe, 1400-1700, and her areas of research include image-text relations, gender studies, and material culture. In her dissertation, directed by Dr. Tania String, she explores metapaintings in early modern England. Jennifer’s interests include the praxis of teaching in both classroom and museum spaces. She has served as the Samuel H. Kress Fellow for Museum Education at the Ackland Art Museum. Currently, Jennifer is a Teaching Fellow and instructor of record at UNC and has been teaching courses on Italian Renaissance art. She recently co-taught an interdisciplinary Royster First-Year Seminar, In the Flesh: The Constructed Body in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. She co-authored a pedagogical essay based on this experience, “The Constructed Body in a Disembodied Platform: Interdisciplinarity and Team Teaching in the Age of COVID-19,” for the Sixteenth Century E-Journal, Early Modern Classroom supplement, 2020. Jennifer is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Paul Mellon Centre, the Yale Center for British Art, the Harvard Art Museums, and the Folger Institute (Folger Shakespeare Library).

Weixin Zhou

Weixin Zhou is a Ph.D. student in Art History. She is originally from Shanghai, China, and completed her undergraduate studies at Shanghai Normal University before earning an M.A. Degree in Creative and Media Enterprises in Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at The University of Warwick in the U.K. Weixin’s main research interest is Western modern art, specifically European modernism and art movements in nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is interested in the interdisciplinary approach of reflecting art and art history in the intellectual and cultural context.

Alexandra Ziegler

Alexandra Ziegler is a doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill working with Christoph Brachmann. Her research interests lie in the art and architecture of early modern Europe, with particular attention paid to intersections of politics, gender, and religion within portraiture. She is originally from Hawaii but has spent several years on the West Coast, where she received her BA from Humboldt State University and MA from the University of Oregon. Her Master’s thesis, entitled “Divinity and Destiny: Marian Imagery in Rubens’ Life of Marie de’ Medici” investigates the construction of identity, femininity, and authority in the Medici Cycle. She continues to explore these issues in her current research, looking more broadly at the tradition of saintly imagery in representations of female royals in the seventeenth century.