New year, new projects, new partners

As we look ahead to an exciting new year at the BSR, Director Christopher Smith takes a look at some of the partnerships — old and new — that will be taking us forward in 2016.

‘We have always believed in partnerships, and the quality of our partnerships defines us.  The BSR has renewed its successful Memorandum of Understanding with the British Museum, with whom we have worked on topics as diverse as Pompeii and Herculaneum, geophysics in Sudan, the restoration of the garden of the British Ambassador’s residence in Rome, and Napoleon in Italy.

napoleon pvBSR Members at a private view of the exhibition Bonaparte and the British: Prints and Propaganda in the Age of Napoleon at the British Museum in 2015. Photograph by Kirsten Amor.

The partnership was renewed on the day that Neil MacGregor welcomed his last object into the BM — a cross made from the wreckage of a refugee boat whose survivors landed at Lampedusa.  The BSR’s own interests in Lampedusa began with a visit by Thomas Ashby early last century, and were recently revisited in the award-winning Channel 4 documentary by Zed Nelson (BSR Photoworks Fellow 2012-13).

Photographs of Lampedusa Island taken by Thomas Ashby in 1909. Images courtesy of the BSR Photographic Archive.

Lampedusa Cross

The Lampedusa Cross, made by Francesco Tuccio and donated to the British Museum in October 2015. ©  Trustees of the British Museum.

"Death in The Mediterranean" the survivors story"Death in The Mediterranean" the survivors story

Migrant boat graveyard, Lampedusa, Italy (above) and Fanus, a survivor from the October 2013 migrant boat tragedy (below). Photographs by Zed Nelson.

The BSR is also proud to announce three new partnerships. The first, with the Ashmolean Museum, will be celebrated in June, when the BSR will present, uniquely at the British Academy, both the BM and the Ashmolean exhibitions on Sicily.

The second, a partnership with the United Nations’ International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome reflects our established position as a leading player in cultural heritage management, and we will act as a bridge between ICCROM and UK universities, especially in work in the Balkans and North Africa.  We look forward to a workshop funded by the US State Department and run jointly with the Swedish and American Academies and with the Society for Libyan Studies later this year.

For the third, the Digital Art History team at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has launched a new project, the Getty Scholars’ Workspace.  BSR Librarian Valerie Scott and BSR Archivist Alessandra Giovenco have been nominated Project Researchers and will visit the GRI to discuss future collaborative projects using the new Platform.


Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Valerie Scott.

We continue our association with the Rome Art History Network, an international group of art historians based in Rome whose activities foster collaboration amongst the researchers of foreign academies and Italian cultural institutions.

Natasha Adamou (Henry Moore Foundation-BSR Fellow 2015–16) and Caspar Pearson (Paul Mellon Centre Rome Fellow 2015–16). Photographs by Antonio Palmieri.

Through these and other partnerships with, for instance, the Museum of London, Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Henry Moore Foundation*, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, as well as numerous universities in the UK and the Commonwealth, the other foreign academies in Rome and a score of collaborations with Italian authorities, the BSR remains a critical intellectual meeting point, and we are proud of the number of world class institutions who choose to work with us.’

Christopher Smith (Director)



*To listen to the talk given at the BSR by Chris Stephens, curator of the recent Henry Moore exhibition at the Baths of Diocletion, visit our YouTube channel.