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2021-2022 Recipients of the Dr Greg Wells Small Research Awards

Eva van Kemenade

The generous funding of the Dr Greg Wells Research Award has helped me finance a two-month stay in Bologna, where I could do archival research for my doctoral dissertation ‘Public Festive Rituals in Space, Senses and Print in Renaissance Bologna’. My research analyses public festivals held in the streets and squares of Bologna, focusing on the post-Tridentine period from the second half of the sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century. I argue that these festivals were an expression of the political identities of different societal groups and figures who together constituted the political life of the city. During this archival research stay, I have primarily focused on the sources of the festive rituals of the Compagnie d’Armi and Arti (the militias and guilds), as well as sources related to the Festa della porchetta, the city’s main annual civic festival in this period, and the Corpus Domini processions. The archival research that I was able to do thanks to the Dr Greg Wells Research Award forms the basis for my overall project, and I am therefore very grateful to have received this grant from the CSR.

Dr Margaret Shewring

The organisers of ‘Celebrations, Communities and Performances: festival occasions in Coventry and the surrounding region from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries and their legacy’, a conference held in the Drapers’ Hall, Coventry, 20-22 April 2022, are grateful to their many sponsors including £500 from the Greg Wells Award fund, which was put to very good use. Two hundred pounds was used towards paying two students to help with the conference preparation and to welcome our visitors at the conference itself. One of these was Eva van Kemenade, a current doctoral student in CRS and the University of Amsterdam, who is working on early modern festivals. She led the small team, liaising with the organisers and the Drapers’ Hall team and ensuring everything could run smoothly. The second student was an undergraduate from Theatre and Performance Studies who is used to being an ambassador for TPS in public contexts. They both took the opportunity to participate in the conference sessions and workshops, too. Fifty pounds from the Greg Wells Bursary was combined with other funding to pay for the preparation and distribution of conference and related research materials to all those present, including academic attendees, curators and archivists as well as the general public.

The funding from the bursary for recorded interventions (£200) was used to create a short documentary on the first ceremonial sword of the City of Coventry, which has been hidden in plain sight in the Council House and is still used at key points in the civic year. This film was prepared by Luke Robert Mason, a Warwick alumnus who now has his own small production company and who will be returning to Warwick in the autumn to postgraduate studies. It included an interview between Mark Webb and the Lord Mayor as well as additional information on the importance of the ceremonial sword to the city both in the past and today. We were able to concentrate on this film as the Herbert Gallery gave us access to a film that had been made by Mark Webb in their Medieval Gallery, in the autumn of 2021, which explains the importance of the loan from the Burrell Collection of a second ceremonial sword, now understood to be the second Coventry civics sword. Both films were shown during the conference, and both will now be made available to local schools as well as to the team preparing the newly renovated historic buildings for public visits by shaping educational research tools.

Greg Wells and Ronnie Mulryne knew each other for many years in Stratford-upon-Avon. Both were determined to inspire excellent research into the history and culture of Warwickshire and the wider region as well as to be part of creating a legacy into the future. It is fitting that funding from each of them has helped to enable the success of the Coventry Conference and to contribute to its legacy.

Sergei Zotov

While I was on the research trip to Manchester at the end of January 2022, my main goal was to work in the John Rylands Library with the copies of the illustrated alchemical treatises. They are only briefly described in catalogues and are only partially digitized, or not digitized at all. During my work in the library, I found and digitized many alchemical manuscripts, which would be of great help for my theses and for my digital database of images (theses virtual appendix).

Lavishly illustrated German MS 1, German MS 3, as well as German MS 1, German MS 7 (a unique early 20th-century Splendor solis handwritten copy), Latin MS 82, will be perfect examples of alchemical iconography for my thesis.

Moreover, I have found many manuscripts with alchemical schemes, useful for my research, e.g., Crawford 21 (French 8), Christie MS 3 b 3 (2), Latin MS 65. In some of the Rylands library manuscripts, iconography of alchemy and of magic go hand in hand: Eng MS 34, Eng Ms 40, Eng Ms 44, which gives food for thought on how the same iconography could function in different contexts.

A large collection of German-language alchemical manuscripts shows an interest for illustrated continental alchemy in English milieu. Since in my theses I try to trace the paths of iconographical exchange between Germany and England, the material I gathered in Manchester will be of great help for my work.