Laura Anne Parker
Address: School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, Department of Italian Studies, Samuel Alexander Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL
PhD title: Public History and Collective Memory in Venice and Venetia, 1815-1915
Supervisory panel: Dr David Laven, Dr Elsa Damien, Professor Stephen Milner
Discipline area: Italian Studies
During the year I spent in Venice teaching English on a British Council programme in 2004-2005, I was repeatedly struck by a powerful sense of Venetian identity, shaped in part by the city's extensive historical and artistic patrimony. My AHRC-funded PHD, which began in January 2008, forms part of the Italian section's current research project Venice Remembered: Identity and the uses of history in Risorgimento and Liberal Italy, 1815-1922, and offers me the chance to explore the background to this fascinating aspect of contemporary Venetian society. My aim is to examine the ways in which historical events were publicly commemorated and visually represented during this period. I will compare the different ways in which Habsburg rule, the Republic of 1848-9, and the united Italian state used the representation and celebration of Venetian history to foster and mobilise venezianità, or alternatively to check and repress such sentiment.
My work will focus on a number of areas. First, it will explore iconography in public representations of Venice's past. I am interested in how the different regimes used and appropriated the symbols of Venice's republican past, such as the Lion of St Mark, into public memorials, paintings, public documents and coins, for example. Second, I shall focus the way in which 'historical' festivals (inherited from the Republic's religious calendar) were viewed by successive regimes. I will examine how, for example, the Austrian or post-unification Italian authorities responded to the annual Festa del Redentore, which was often seen as epitomising venezianità. Third, I will explore attitudes to the past as revealed in museums, public buildings and monuments. I am particularly interested in how the Austrian rulers responded to curating Venice's great and distinctive artistic tradition, and how far and to what ends did the authorities commission works of art commemorating both past Venetian glories, and honouring great Venetians, through projects such as the Panteon Veneto, and the monuments dedicated to Canova and Titian in the Frari.
It is hoped that my research project will add an interesting visual dimension to Dr David Laven's Venice Remembered project.
- January 2008-December 2010: PhD in Italian Studies at the University of Manchester.
- September-December 2007: Completion of Semester 1 of the MA in European Languages and Cultures (Italian Studies) at the University of Manchester.
- July 2006: I graduated from the University of Bristol with a BA in the Joint School of History of Art and Italian. My final year dissertation focused on the 'second wave' of Italian Futurism, with particular emphasis on Aeropainting, Futurist Sacred Art and the work of Sicilian painter Giulio D'Anna.