2024 Art History Resident

The Association for Art History and the Ampersand Foundation are delighted to announce that Bob Mills, Professor of Medieval Studies at UCL, has been awarded our fourth Art History Residency.

The residency offers a researcher the opportunity for concentrated time to further their work at Wigwell Lodge in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. It will run from October 2024 to January 2025.

Bob’s research during the residency will focus on imagery of wildness in England and northwest Europe c.1200 to 1500. A key aim of the project, Wild Forms in Medieval Art, is to pioneer an ecocritical approach to visual culture in the period. Case studies include artistic encounters with wild but captured animals such as elephants and lions; hunting manuals, which drew on their makers’ lived experiences of wild creatures and environments; illustrated commentaries on Aristotle’s biological works, which represent nonhuman sex as a site of pleasurable bewilderment; biblical, hagiographic and cartographic imagery of wilderness landscapes, such as deserts, as spaces for trial and transformation; and the emergence of wild folk or ‘wodewoses’ in ecclesiastical art and architecture.

Bob says: “I am thrilled at the prospect of a period of concentrated writing time in Derbyshire. The Art History residency will allow me to further my research on the unruly passage of wildness through medieval art, leading to the completion of my next monograph. Having spent several years in a major administrative role, this award offers an invaluable opportunity to refocus my energies entirely on this project and to contribute new insights to our field.”

Gregory Perry, CEO of the Association for Art History notes that: “Bob’s research exemplifies the broad nature of art’s histories with the panel excited that the residency provides an opportunity for him to take a compelling ecocritical approach to original research into the imagery of wildness in medieval art. The Association is enormously grateful to the Ampersand Foundation for allowing us to help facilitate original art historical research and assist a scholar in this way. We hope that with successive years that this residency continues to flourish as a flagship opportunity for individuals in our field.”

Bob will be invited to give an AAH lecture on completion of the residency.

Image credit:

Wild man, first quarter of fifteenth century. Relief on spandrels of west entrance, St Agnes’s church, Cawston (Norfolk). Photo: Bob Mills.

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