Warwick staff were heavily involved in an innovative collaborative programme of research and postgraduate training with the Center for Renaissance Studies of The Newberry Library of Chicago.
The Newberry Library, whose collections number 1,500,000 printed titles, five million manuscript pages, and 300,000 historic maps, has particular strengths in the Renaissance, European discovery, exploration, and settlement of the Americas, and British literature and history. Its Center for Renaissance Studies organises a Consortium of 45 (37 when Warwick first joined) universities, which brings together Renaissance specialists from a wide range of North American universities, including some of the premier institutions in America's Midwest such as Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Funded by a grant of $323,000 (£190,000) from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the first project was entitled 'The Spaces of the Past: Renaissance & Early Modern Cultures in Transatlantic Contexts' and began in October 2005.
In 2009 Warwick's CSR and The Newberry Library's Center for Renaissance Studies obtained further funding ($421,000) from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a new cycle of Warwick-Newberry initiatives, on “Renaissance and Early Modern Communities in a Transatlantic Perspective”.
The new programme aims to consider the formation and impact of networks and groupings which directed Early Modern life (from c. 1400 to c. 1720) in three different areas of research: Italian art history (and its links to Early Modern England); Early Modern English/British and American historiography; and the transmission of texts and ideas in Renaissance Italy and beyond. Each strand will, from its own particular angle, address a broad set of underlying research questions:
· What were the foci around which communities emerged?
· To what extent were these communities defined by concrete, physical or environmental factors? Or to what extent could communities develop on the basis of commonalities that transcend geographical, civic, social, religious, even temporal boundaries?
· How did communities determine inclusion and exclusion?
· How did different groups or groupings interact?
· How did communities lose their cohesion or what led them to dissolve, whether abruptly or gradually? What, in other words, influenced their continuity or transformation?
Each year of activities will involve two short workshops and one residential summer workshop, which are to be held at Warwick, Warwick’s facility at the Palazzo Pesaro-Papafava, in Venice, and The Newberry Library. Each year’s activities will be followed by two eight-week Visiting Fellowships; these will offer the opportunity to two of the selected Workshop Participants to build on the contacts and research collaborations established in the course of the previous year.