Current MA/PhD Students
Educational History: Centre College, BA in Art History, 2019
Michael Baird is a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on African art. He is interested in the Western reception of African material culture and how discourses of fine art and value were adapted into the establishment of African nation-states and national identity at the end of the colonial era. In 2019, he received his bachelor’s degree in Art History from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. His 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.
Taylor Barrett is a second-year dual degree MA/MLIS student. She received her BA in studio art and archival studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. During her time at Smith, she held internships at The Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Prior to arriving at Carolina, she spent two and a half years in Philadelphia, working with the ancient Egyptian Collection at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Most recently, she served as the Photography Archives Intern in the Minor White Archive at the Princeton University Art Museum. Taylor is interested in contemporary American art, material culture and artists’ archives.
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 is pursuing a career in curatorial work and 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. During the 2019-20 academic year she will be completing her dissertation with support from the UNC Graduate School’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship.
Educational History: B.A. Art History and Religious Studies, University of North Carolina Asheville
Cassidy is currently a Master’s student and received her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from UNC Asheville in 2019. She held undergraduate internship positions with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial House and the Asheville Art Museum. Her research interests include the gendered body in religious iconography, specifically female representations in biblical narrative.
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.
Educational History: University of Georgia, M.A. in Art History, 2019; Birmingham-Southern College, B.A. in History and Art History, 2016
Emily is a first year PhD student from Albany, Georgia. She received her Masters with Distinction from the University of Georgia and plans to continue her examination of the French Renaissance court, specifically investigating the role of myth and allegory in the depiction of royal mistresses. Emily 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.
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 16th-century English art, working with Dr. Tania String. She is especially interested in issues of gender, decorative objects, and jewelry in the early modern world. She graduated with her B.A. in Art History and German Studies from Oberlin College in 2012, where she also worked as a curatorial assistant for the Allen Memorial Art Museum. In May 2019, she earned her M.A. in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin. Her master’s thesis, “Flexible Fashion: A Precious Girdle Book at the Tudor Court,” focused on the practice of wearing small, decorated prayer books in the 1500s and how they reflected noblewomen’s engagement with the issues of England’s Reformation. While attending UT Austin, Sarah also served as the Graduate Representative of the University of Texas Medievalists and the treasurer for the Graduate Student Art History Association.
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.
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.
Robin Holmes is a Ph.D. student of French modern art, advised by Dr. Daniel Sherman.
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.