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Holly Kelsey (Taught Master's Degree, 2018-19)

I graduated with a joint honours BA in History and English from the University of Oxford in 2018, in which I specialised in sixteenth and seventeenth century cultural history and literature. I was attracted to the centre’s taught MA for its deeply interdisciplinary nature, geographical range, and of course the unparalleled opportunity to spend a term in Venice learning about the renaissance city in situ. My highlights from Venice include a private tour of the Tintoretto exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale with its curator from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, touching Galileo’s signature in the Archivio di Stato, and mastering winding alleyways during acqua alta with a gelato in hand.

During the MA I deepened my existing interests in the culture of early modern England, but also loved the opportunity to think more broadly about how we conceptualise the ‘Renaissance’ and make richer connections over space and time. I loved writing my four coursework essays on hugely diverse topics– from Venetian shipyard workers to seventeenth century representations of Stonehenge – all of which pushed me to think creatively and in which I was encouraged to take risks. I also completed an interdisciplinary thesis on book-burning in early modern England. On the skills development side of the degree, I benefitted from the centre’s palaeography classes and A1 Italian language course, which I was able to develop in the spring term by auditing an undergraduate Italian studies module on Renaissance magic. The close-knit nature of the centre at seminars and when socialising also creates a strong community of learners and friends which I found really valuable.

I love the culture and atmosphere of working in a university, so after the MA I have begun the Ambitious Futures graduate scheme in University Leadership. During this scheme I will undertake 3 placements across 2 universities with a view to fast-tracking a career in Higher Education management. The Renaissance Studies MA helped me develop my skills in consolidating complex concepts, project management, formal writing, self-motivation and organisation which are all invaluable in my current job in Warwick’s institutional Strategy group. Outside of work I keep up my academic interests by enjoying visits to the theatre, creative writing, and continuing to learn Italian – and have already returned once to Venice!

If you wish to contact Holly about MA/academic interests/career, she can be reached at