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Travelling Research Seminar Programme - Crossing Frontiers: Christians and Muslims and their art in Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus


May 07, 2015

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We are delighted to announce the launch of a new travelling research seminar programme for Early Career Researchers interested in the medieval art and culture of the eastern frontier between Christianity and Islam, covering Anatolia, the Caucasus and the western Iranian world. The seminars will travel initially to eastern Turkey and Armenia with the aim of investigating questions of cross-cultural exchange and international artistic production. This project is supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative, and it aims to give emerging scholars the opportunity to visit and discuss a range of important monuments alongside a group of more senior advisors and mentors. The initial research trips will run in September 2015 and Spring 2016.

This project is organised by Dr Antony Eastmond, AG Leventis Reader in the History of Byzantine Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art; and is administered by Dr Niamh Bhalla.


The project is open to research students, early career academic researchers and tutors, and those working in research institutes (such as museums, government and non-governmental agencies dealing with history, art or archaeology).

On each research seminar trip the participants will hear lectures from leading academics on the art and archaeology of this period in the region, participate in seminars and visit key historical museums and sites of interest. In many cases they will gain unique access to areas not normally seen by members of the general public.

Who we are looking for

This is a genuinely open competition. We are looking for proactive participants who we think will most be able to benefit from visiting all the sites on the two trips, and who are willing to contribute to discussions and debates on site as well as before and after the seminar trips.
We particularly want people who are interested in investigating monuments in an international cross-cultural setting.
We hope to recruit early career scholars, who may not yet have established themselves but who want to broaden their experience and range of expertise.

Obvious candidates include those working on the medieval cultures of Georgia, Armenia and the Turks. Those with wider interests in the history of Byzantine or Islamic art and culture might also apply. We expect most applicants to be art historians, but we welcome applications from archaeologists, historians and others who are interested in using material evidence in their research and who share our commitment to cross-cultural study.

We particularly welcome applicants from Georgia, Armenia and Turkey.

Good English will be a prerequisite as this will be the working language of the project.

Please note:
Applicants should be aware that access to the sites that we will visit requires reasonable fitness and stamina, and involves walking considerable distances over uneven ground.


The project is supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative, allowing us to cover all participants’ costs. It is administered by The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

All successful applicants will have the cost of the following items covered:

  • Air fares for travel to both research trip locations
  • HOTEL ACCOMMODATION costs at all sites where we stay on both trips
  • All internal travel costs, as well as entrance fees to all sites on the scheduled itinerary
  • All main meals in both research trip locations (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Visa application fees where necessary
  • Travel insurance

There are no ex gratia, or honoraria, or other cash payments made to offset costs such as lost wages.

Visa application fees will be covered. However applications for visas for each research trip must be made by the individual candidates accepted onto the programme. Excessive costs involved in obtaining visas, such as repeated trips to embassies for face to face interviews, cannot be covered. Refunds for visa application costs will only be made upon submission of original receipts for all payments made.

Lead Academic Organiser

The project is led by Dr Antony Eastmond, AG Leventis Reader in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, UK.

Senior Academics

Oya Pancaroğlu (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul)ğlu

Ioanna Rapti (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris) 

Zaza Skhirtladze (Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi)

Christina Maranci (Tufts)

Nazenie Garibian (Matenadaran / Academy of Sciences)

Sussan Babaie (Courtauld Institute)

Programme Officer

The Project Co-ordinator is Dr Niamh Bhalla

We invite research students, early career academic researchers and tutors, and those working in research institutes (such as museums, government and non-governmental agencies dealing with history, art or archaeology) to apply. We particularly welcome applicants from Georgia, Armenia and Turkey.

Those applying to take part in the seminar programme must be able to attend both research trips (to Turkey and Armenia) for the full duration of those trips. They must also commit to participate as fully as they can with the group discussions that will take place during the research trips.

The first trip (to Turkey) will be in early September 2015. The second trip (to Armenia) will be in Spring 2016.

If the programme is oversubscribed with applicants of equal merit, we will give priority to applicants who are:

  • Resident in, or closely associated with, the countries with which this project is concerned
  • Able to communicate, read and write in English at a level at least equivalent to the standard expected from a higher-level student at a British university. We will ask for evidence of this in the form of a statement on your English language ability from an appropriate referee or in the form of English language qualifications
  • Able to commit to attend both of the research trips and be able to provide written evidence they have permission to do so from authorities such as employers or educational institutions to which the applicant is affiliated.


All applications must be made through our online application form. To begin your application please click here. Before starting please have the following documents ready, saved either as PDF or Microsoft Word (Doc) files:

A personal statement of not more than 750 words
This should explain why you want to take part in this programme. You should tell us about yourself outlining your current research interests (e.g. your PhD dissertation topic, or current project). We are interested in both the material that you are investigating as well as the research questions or approach you are adopting to analyse it. Please also outline how you believe taking part in this programme will help you with your future research, and what you think you will be able to contribute to the group. This statement should not exceed 750 words.

A written statement from one person willing to act as your referee.
A referee's statement is sometimes called a letter of recommendation. The person writing it should be your employer (if you are in employment), or a work colleague, or a recent or current academic tutor. When choosing a suitable referee it is important to choose a person who is relevant to the subject of this research programme. This referee statement should not exceed 500 words. The referee statement must also state your level of ability in speaking, reading, understanding and writing in English. There will be an option to submit this document confidentially at a later date if it is not submitted with the application. Instructions for this are detailed on the form.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

The Courtauld Institute of Art promotes equal opportunities. The information collected on this form will be treated as confidential by HR and we would appreciate your co-operation in helping us to monitor the effectiveness of our Equal Opportunities Policy.  Your application will not be affected by the information provided and will be separated from your application form on receipt.

If selected, you will be asked to provide a letter from your employer or place of study confirming you have permission to take time off work or study to attend both of the research seminars. Remember, each research seminar lasts ten days.

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