Posted on 23/06/2011
Renaissance specialists at Royal Holloway, University of London launched a £780,000 research project in collaboration with Reading University and The British Library at an official signing ceremony.
The second phase of an extensive research project cataloguing the works of the Italian academies during the period 1525-1700 was launched at the special ceremony at the British Library during which representatives from the three organisations signed the project agreement.
This four year project, The Italian Academies 1525-1700: the first intellectual networks of early modern Europe, is part of a wider Italian academies project. The first phase saw the development of the extensive database which catalogues the work of some 500 academies across the Italian peninsula. It provides information about the academies, their members, publications, activities and emblems.
The learned academies were responsible for debate and discussion in many different disciplines from language and literature, through the visual and performing arts, to science, technology, medicine and astronomy. They functioned as alternative institutions to the universities and the courts, and among their members were pioneering scientists, writers, artists, political thinkers, and representatives of both sexes and all social classes.
Professor Jane Everson, of the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures and project director, said: “It was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find studies on the academies overall, their impact on the culture, society, scientific enquiry, publishing and other ‘industries’ of the period. This lack of research, it became clear, was closely related to the difficulty scholars faced in trying to get at the primary materials, for example the proceedings, publications, membership lists etc of the academies, singly, regionally or across the whole Italian peninsula.”
Dr Lisa Sampson, Modern Languages and European Studies Lecturer at the University of Reading, said: “This is a very exciting project which is producing some very interesting research and dissemination activities. As well as offering a series of studies and workshops to international audiences as well as school groups. We are making the world of the Italian academies known.”