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The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World was recently awarded an $180,000 grant from the Getty Foundation to begin work on an international project titled "The Arts of Rome's Provinces." 

The grant is intended to develop an "international conversation about art history," said Natalie Kampen, visiting professor of Roman archaeology and art, who will lead the project with Susan Alcock, professor of classics and director of the Joukowsky Institute.

But Kampen said she and Alcock are "not teachers in any way." They will be "facilitators" who will bring together groups of professionals that may not have encountered each other otherwise, she said.

Twenty people with terminal degrees will be chosen to be a part of the project, Kampen said. "There is a wide spectrum of people who could conceivably be involved in this."

She and Alcock will send invitations to experts in the discipline of art history and related fields — to scholars at universities, museums and professional organizations throughout the world — to apply to participate. Alcock, Kampen and a small international committee will choose the fellows.

Because art history is studied differently in each part of the world, the project will aim to "figure out how these different kinds of art histories can benefit each other," Kampen said.

Local traditions will lend a new perspective to the subject, she added.

"What we're proposing is to do our project in two separate countries and in each country at several different sites," Kampen said. She called the project a "movable feast" because the fellows will study Roman art history and archaeology in both Greece and England.

The foundation approached Kampen and Alcock several years ago and asked if they would form a project to internationalize art history and apply for the grant. "As a 1976 Ph.D. from Brown, I knew I wanted to bring the grant back to Brown to say thank you," said Kampen, who is a professor of women's studies and art history at Barnard College.

She and Alcock planned a project that "nobody had ever done before," Kampen said.

Though she is excited for the work to begin, she said she is nervous about organizing such a large project.

Kampen said she has been asking the question, "Why is art produced in different parts of the Roman empire different?," for her entire career. Now, with tools and insights that the other fellows will contribute, she said she hopes not only to "find answers" but also to "figure out interesting ways to ask questions."

Being able to work on the project is "one of these great opportunities that you never think you'll get," Kampen said.


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