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Happy New Year Alumni!

It may be too late to be saying “Happy New Year,” but as this is the first newsletter of 2024, I’m sticking with it. I hope you’ve had a restorative holiday break if you were able to take some time off! Or perhaps you’re like me and still recovering from your “vacation.” Here are three takeaways/highlights from my time away: (1) Turns out hiking a volcano park does require proper hiking shoes, (2) Evidently my plants can survive a three-week sojourn, making me wonder if they do need me, their all-powerful water goddess, and (3) Tiny, handmade ceramic hot dogs make for great gifts. 

I also wanted to share with you that this will be my penultimate newsletter: after my February 1 issue, I will be turning the keys over to a new writer. It’s been my true and sincere pleasure to receive news and notes from so many of you and to feel inspired by the activities of fellow alumni. With this in mind, I’d like to check in with you, to hear what you’d like to see in this newsletter. I invite you to complete (ideally before February 1) a short, totally optional survey through which I’m collecting feedback to guide my successor’s approach to future newsletters.   

In the meantime, feel free to get in touch via online form, or by emailing the alumni Gmail account—both of these systems will outlast me, your humble bard. 

With best wishes for 2024,
Rachael Schwabe (MA ’20) |

Alumni Spotlight

Noah Dubay (MA ’21) and Geoffrey Ripert (PhD Candidate) are participating in the Early Career Research Symposium hosted by the Furniture History Society being held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on January 24. Well done, Noah and Geoffrey!

John Stuart Gordon (MA ’03) and Jorge Rivas Pérez (MPhil 12, PhD 18) have joined the Board of Governors for the Decorative Arts Trust. Well done, John and Jorge!

Brian Gallagher (MA ’98, MPhil ’12) is presenting noteworthy examples of art porcelain produced in three factories in nineteeth-century Trenton, New Jersey from his recent exhibition, Walter Scott Lenox and American Belleek. Event details are listed below–congratulations, Brian!

Select Career Opportunities

The High Museum of Art is hiring a Research Assistant for their Decorative Arts and Design department, who would report to Monica Obniski (MA 06). Application materials are due by March 1.  

Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation announces the 2024 Graduate Fellowship, a $10,000 prize awarded annually by the Foundation for travel and research related to any aspect of Sir John Soane’s career, museum, and collections. Recipient is granted privileged access to the Soane Museum, its collections, and its extensive archives, with a dedicated workspace at the Museum. Candidates should be enrolled in a graduate program, preferably a doctoral degree program, in the fields of history of art, architecture, decorative arts, interiors, landscape design, and antiquities. The application deadline is March 1, 2024. For more information, you may reach out to Genevieve Ward Swenson (MA 05) at

The Decorative Arts Trust has established a new publishing grant program for two separate grant lines—one for dissertations and first time authors, and another for collections, exhibitions, and conferences. Application materials are due by March 31. 

The American Philosophical Society has issued a call for papers for a daylong conference to accompany their upcoming exhibition, Sketching Splendor: Natural History in America, 1750–1850. Application materials are due by February 15. 

The American Studies Association is accepting paper submissions for their 2024 Annual Meeting, Grounded Engagements in American Studies. Application materials are due by February 5. 

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Asian Languages and Cultures Department invites papers for their Trans-Asia Graduate Student Conference. Application materials are due January 25. 

The Yale Center for British Art has announced a call for papers for a graduate student symposium, Animal Studies and British Art. Application materials are due by February 26. 

Contingent Magazine, a nonprofit, online magazine about history and the process of doing history, is accepting pitches for various genres of writing.

The University of Antwerp is seeking two full-time professors, one in the field of Theory and History of the Interior (applications due by February 20), and one in the field of Healthy & Sustainable Indoor Climate (applications due by January 22).   

The Art Gallery of Ontario invites applications to become their Marie Zimmermann Curatorial Fellow. Application materials are due by February 16.

For more job listings please visit the BGC job board.

Password: CareersBGC2023*=*

BGC Events

Fashion’s Hard Borders
Wednesday, January 24
6 pm ET (In Person)
In early modern Europe, fashion and cartography shared more ground than is commonly believed. They not only served to strengthen nationalistic ideals but also relied on similar construction techniques. Emanuele Lugli’s presentation will delve into the political dimensions of their intersections, which, rather than being confined to the past, have exerted a lasting influence on both disciplines up to the twentieth century.

Fragile Materiality
Wednesday, January 31
6 pm ET (In Person)
In this lecture, artist and scholar Daniel Clayman gives a brief history of the contemporary glass movement and the subsequent expansion of glass in art and architecture followed by a discussion of the ways his own work and process explorations have intersected with that history over the past four decades. Clayman will comment on the future of glass, its materiality, and how it will continue to evolve in daily and artistic life.

Select Virtual and In Person Events in the World

Walter Scott Lenox and American Belleek
The Mint Museum
Thursday, January 18
6:30 pm ET (Virtual)
Brian Gallagher, senior curator of Decorative Arts at The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, will present noteworthy examples of art porcelain produced in late nineteenth-century Trenton, New Jersey, at the three factories—Ott & Brewer, Willets Manufacturing Company, and Ceramic Art Company—where Walter Scott Lenox (1859–1920) served sequentially as artistic director. Lenox was instrumental in developing a version of the eggshell-thin, ivory-colored porcelain first manufactured in the village of Belleek in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, but that achieved new aesthetic heights in the United States thanks to his vision and artistic talent. This subject is the focus of Gallagher’s exhibition, Walter Scott Lenox and American Belleek, on view at the Mint until January 21, 2024.

Sound Activation: Cripping the Galleries
The Art Institute of Chicago
Saturday, January 20
2 pm CT (In Person)
Inspired by the experiences of the visually impaired, percussionist Tommy Carroll leads a gallery tour using music and sound to create an aural art performance. This tour invites visitors to interpret the galleries in unexpected ways, expanding our conception of what it means to connect with art. 

Other-Worlding Touch Tour for Blind and low vision participants with Emilie L. Gossiaux
Queens Museum
Sunday, January 21 
1 pm ET (In Person)
Visitors who are blind or have low vision are invited to join Emilie L. Gossiaux on a touch tour of her exhibition, Other-Worlding. Core to this program is the idea of touch and access as love. Participants will learn about the proper way to touch art with consent and care. They will experience Gossiaux’s sculptural installation White Cane Maypole Dance through touch and verbal description, as well as the artist’s explanation of her process. Space is limited to 20 participants and registration is required. Please RSVP here.

Two Velvet Letter Pouches and Their Role in Safavid Diplomacy
The George Washington University Museum | The Textile Museum
Wednesday, January 24
12 pm ET (Virtual)
As a part of our online interview series for The Textile Museum Journal, contributing scholars Anna Jolly and Corinne Mühlemann examine two Iranian letter pouches from the Danish National Archives. Sewn from two differently patterned, cut, voided velvets, these pouches are exquisite works of Safavid textile art. Jolly and Mühlemann’s research suggests that they originally contained two letters from Shāh Ṣafī I (r. 1629–1642) addressed to Duke Frederick III of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp (r. 1616–1659), and received by him in 1639. The link to these letters provides a new known limit for dating the velvet fabrics of these pouches to before 1637. By placing the two letter pouches in the context of diplomatic exchange between the Safavid court and a European court, this case study highlights the role luxury textiles played in seventeeth-century Iranian diplomacy.

Busy as a Liebes Loom: Research and Conversations on Dorothy Liebes
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Thursday, January 25
1–4 pm ET (In Person)
In celebration of the final weeks of A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, join the exhibition’s curators, conservators, and book contributors for a series of presentations offering new research on Liebes’s career and work from a range of perspectives. Topics will include Liebes’s experimental approach to color and materials; conservation research on synthetic fibers often used by Liebes; her advocacy on behalf of what she called “the international language of textiles;” and the broad network of artists and designers who spent time in her studio before forging their own careers. These presentations will also provide insight into putting together this major exhibition on the designer the curators call, “the most influential designer you have never heard of.”  

Artist’s Eye: Lizania Cruz on Zines
Brooklyn Museum
Thursday, January 25
7 pm ET (In Person)
Visual artist and designer Lizania Cruz leads this edition of Artist’s Eye, the Brooklyn Museum’s series of intimate, in-gallery talks by contemporary artists who illuminate our exhibitions with fresh perspectives. Cruz, known for her installations, participatory projects, and zines, takes us through Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines.


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