Professor Helen Hills
Professor of Art History
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BA (Oxon), MA & PhD (Courtauld)
Helen Hills, Professor of History of Art, studied History at Oxford University before turning to History of Art at the Courtauld (MA with Distinction) & PhD. Her doctorate study of inlaid marble decoration in Sicily later became her first book, Marmi Mischi Siciliani: Invenzione e Identità (Società Messinese di Storia Patria, 1999). Helen taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA and at the University of Manchester, UK before joining the History of Art Department at York as Anniversary Reader in 2005.
Helen's research focuses on the relationships between architecture, urbanism, religious devotion and spirituality, and gender and social class, with particular interest in baroque Italy. Invisible City: The Architecture of Devotion in Seventeenth-Century Neapolitan Convents (Oxford University Press, 2004)was awarded the Best Book Prize in 2004 by the Society for theStudy of Early Modern Women, USA. Rethinking the Baroque (Ashgate, 2011) offers essays by leading scholars from art history, philosophy, and literature studies to reconsider the potential of ‘baroque’. She is currently working on a book focused on the Treasury Chapel of San Gennaro in Naples. Helen is co-founder of the Neapolitan Network which developed from an AHRC-funded Network and was established in 2010. It is an exchange and meeting point for scholars of Neapolitan culture from all over the world.
Helen has been the recipient of numerous distinguished research awards and scholarships from the AHRC, British Academy and the Getty. She has given papers at conferences and research seminars from Adelaide, Australia to Santiago, Chile. She has been Visiting Professor at the University of Stockholm, Emory University, and the University of Colorado-Boulder. In 2014 she will be Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies at Smith College, USA.
- Chair, Departmental Research Committee: 2006-7, 2008-2012
- Department Management Team 2008-2012
- Library Officer 2006-7, 2008-09
- Representative on Digitization programme
- Director, LFA-Art History Programmes, 2013-present
- University Research Forum (2007- present)
- Advisory Committee for Arts & Humanities for Promotions (2010- present)
- Baroque art and architecture
- Materiality and religion, especially 17th Century Italian
- Architectural theory
- Baroque theory
- Architecture, gender, sexuality
- Southern Italian baroque art and architecture (esp Sicilian and Neapolitan)
Helen's research explores the inter-relationships between architecture, urbanism, holiness, and gender in early modern Italy, seeking to understand materiality, form and spatiality in relation to conflict and desire.
Helen's recent book, Invisible City: The Architecture of Devotion in Seventeenth-century Neapolitan Convents (Oxford UP, 2004), awarded the Best Book Prize (2004) by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (USA), considers aristocratic conventual architecture as metaphor for the aristocratic virginal body. Marmi mischi siciliani: invenzione e identità (Messina: BASM, 1999) sought to re-evaluate the intensely decorated marble inlaid chapels of baroque Palermo, by analysing them in relation to the political and social force fields in which they were produced. This takes issue with the long-standing (still persistent) view of southern baroque architecture as provincial and untutored imitation of the grandeur of Rome.
Rethinking the Baroque, an interdisciplinary volume of essays exploring baroque’s potential, was published in August 2011. It contains essays by leading scholars in art history, philosophy, literature and literary theory, and arose from an international conference Helen organized at York & Castle Howard in 2006.
"Making Religion Matter? Questioning the Relationships between Religion and Art" .
Helen was responsible for bringing to York Professor Joseph Connors, Director Villa I Tatti for the Patrides Lecture; Professor Andrew Benjamin (Monash University , Australia) as Distinguished Visiting Speaker in January 2011 and Professor Alexei Lidov, Distinguished Visiting Professor 1 May-30 June 2011.
Following her British Academy Research Readership (2005-07), Helen is now completing a monograph book on the spiritual topography of Naples. This book considers baroque architecture, reliquaries, altarpieces, book frontispieces, portraits of would-be saints, and sculpture, as forms of holiness. It works towards thinking architecture as productive rather than as instantiation of pre-formed idea; and towards architecture as involved with, but not to be explained solely in terms of, non-architectural historical processes. Seeking to understand forms of holiness in relation to socio-political, urban and governmental questions, but not to reduce an analysis of form to these factors, the book explores how architecture can best be understood in relation to holiness. It considers architecture as intersection of and exchange between extensive and intensive space in the case of the miracle-working and exuberantly decorated Cappella del Tesoro in Naples Cathedral.
- 2012-14: British Academy Small Grant (£9875)
- 2008-09: AHRC Workshops Award ‘Exoticizing Vesuvius’ (Topography & Culture in Neapolitan History c.1500-present: Principal Investigator; with Dr M Calaresu, Cambridge
- 2008-09: AHRC Research Leave Scheme Award 2008-09
- 2005-07: British Academy Research Readership
- 2003: Balsdon Fellowship, British School in Rome
- 2002: AHRB Matching Leave Award
- 2000-02: ‘Urban Memory in Manchester: the Fabrication of the Post-Industrial’, AHRB, £79,296. With Mark Crinson & Frank Salmon
- 1998-99: ‘Convent architecture, gender, and power’, J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Arts and the Humanities
- 1998-99, Research Fellowship at the Centre Canadien d'Architecture. Awarded but declined
- 1997: ‘Mapping Early Modern Italian Cities: Maps as Inscriptions of Power’, Review Committee for Grants from the Endowment Committee of the College for Scholarly Publications and Performances, UNC-CH
Helen welcomes enquiries from students wanting to undertake research in areas related to her research interests (especially baroque architecture, Italian baroque sculpture & painting, relationships between holiness & architecture or genders /sexualities and urbanism / architecture).
Prospective PhD candidates may like to consult the History of Art Funding webpage, the Italian Cultural Association's website "Il Circolo", The British School at Rome and ResearchResearch.com for details of available scholarships. The Early Modern Architecture also provides resources and funding news.
Helen served on PhD committees for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and supervised the successful completion of the PhD Baroque Examinations of a further 14 students.
- Bogdan Cornea, '"Why tear me from myself?": The Depiction of Flaying in the Art of Jusepe de Ribera'
- Martin Nixon, ‘The Baroque Towns built in the Val di Noto Area of Sicily 1700-1780’. Martin has been awarded the 2011 John Fleming Prize for research in Eastern Sicily.
- Josephine Neil, 'Is a visual apophaticism at work in Spanish and Neapolitan Counter-Reformation Painting, and how did it influence the way divine presence and action was perceived?' Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King's College London. April 2012-present. PhD co-supervisor with Prof. Ben Quash.
- Phil Thomas, 'John Coates Carter (1859-1927): architecture and a sense of place in South Wales’
- Elizabeth Chew, PhD on 'Female art patronage and collecting in 17th-century Britain' (case studies of Anne Clifford Sackville Herbert, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke & Montgomery (1590-1676) and Aletheia Talbot Howard, Countess of Arundel (1584-1654). (advisor 1995-99) Examinations passed 1995; PhD awarded Dec 1999. Now Curator at Thomas Jefferson Museum at Monticello, USA.
- Alex Pilcher, 'Mythologies of Foundation in Renaissance Florence, c.1450-c.1550', Feb 1998-Sep 1998 (PhD co-supervisor). PhD submitted Oct 98. PhD awarded 1999.
- Alice Sanger, 'Women of Power: Studies in the patronage of Medici Grand Duchesses and Regentesses 1656-1650'. Feb 1998-May 1999 (submitted) (PhD co-supervisor ). PhD awarded 2000. Now temporary Lecturer in Art History, University of Manchester.
- V. Whitfield, 'Portraiture of industrialists in 18thC Britain', temporary supervisor during illness of Prof. Marcia Pointon, Nov 00-Jul 01. PhD awarded Jun 02.
- Alessandra Pompili, 'An insula in Ostia'. Aug 03-Feb 05 (PhD co-supervisor with Prof. R Ling). Awarded PhD Jul 07.
- Charlotte Poulton, 'The representation of music in early modern Italian painting' (Part-time USA) Viva Examination Oct 2009: PhD awarded with minor corrections (External Examiner: Professor Robert Kendrick, Department of Music, University of Chicago).
- New Approaches to Naples: The Power of Place, ed. Helen Hills & Melissa Calaresu , Ashgate, 2013
Renaissance Quarterly Review (PDF , 410kb)
Urban History Review, Fall 2014 (PDF , 39kb)
- Rethinking the Baroque , ed. Helen Hills (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011).
Read reviews, Read a CAA Review, Review from the Burlington Magazine (PDF , 166kb) Rethinking the Baroque flyer (PDF , 69kb) Rethinking the Baroque webpage
- Invisible City: The Architecture of Devotion in Seventeenth-century Neapolitan Convents . Oxford University Press, 268 pp.;44 b. & w. & 10 col. plates. 2005. Awarded the Weiss / Brown Award in support of outstanding works of scholarship of European culture pre-1700, 2003, The Newberry Library, Chicago; Winner of the Best Book Prize, 2004, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, USA.
Read some reviews Invisible City webpage
- Representing Emotions: New Connections in the Histories of Art, Medicine, and Music, ed with P. Gouk, (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005).
Read some reviews
- Architecture and the Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe, (Aldershot : Ashgate, 2003).
Read some reviews
- Fabrications: New Art and Urban Memory in Manchester, ed. with N Rudd & M Crinson (Manchester : UMiM, 2002).
- Marmi mischi siciliani: invenzione e identità (Inlaid polychromatic marble decoration: invention and identity) trans. AnnaVio, Messina: Archivio Storico Messinese (Scholarly monograph series), 1999.
Full publications list
- 'Beyond Mere Containment: The Neapolitan Treasury Chapel of San Gennaro and the Matter of Materials', California Italian Studies Journal, 2012, 3 (1), pp.1-21.
- 'The Uses of Images: TJ Clark & WG Sebald', Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies, 2012, vol.2, pp.57-80.
- ‘Urbanism in Siena: A Polite Tale of Patronage, Profit and Power’, Art History, Summer 2010, pp.551-554.
- ‘The Face is a mirror of the soul: frontispieces and the production of sanctity in post-Tridentine Naples’, Art History, vol. 31(4), 2008, pp. 547-574.*
- ‘Demure Transgression: Portraying Female “Saints” in post-Tridentine Italy’, Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol.3, Fall 2008, pp. 153-208.*
- ‘The Baroque: Beads in A Rosary or Folds in Time’, Fabrications – Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians ANZ, vol. 17(2), 2008, pp. 48-71.*
- ‘Indeterminacy and Architectural History: Deterritorializing Cosimo Fanzago’, field, vol. 1, September 2007, http://www.field-journal.org
- ‘Too Much Propaganda’ Oxford Art Journal, vol. 29 (3), 2006, pp. 446-452.
- ‘What’s In a Relic?’, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 28 (1), 2005, pp. 119-124.
- ‘“Enamelled with the Blood of a Noble Lineage”: Tracing Noble Blood and Female Holiness in Early Modern Neapolitan Convents and their Architecture’, Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, 73(1), 2004, pp. 1-40.*
- ‘The Veiled Body: within the folds of early modern Neapolitan convent architecture’, Oxford Art Journal, vol 27 (3), 2004, pp. 269-290.*
- ‘Deciphering the Hieroglyphics of the Modern Metropolis', Oxford Art Journal, vol.26 (2), 2003, pp. 181-186.
- ‘The Fetishized Past: Post-industrial Manchester and Interstitial Spaces', with Tyrer, P., Visual Culture in Britain, vol.3 (2), 2002, pp. 103-118.*
- ‘Cities and Virgins: Female Aristocratic Convents in Early Modern Naples and Palermo', Oxford Art Journal, vol.22 (1), 1999, pp. 29-54.*
- ‘The Road Not Taken', Oxford Art Journal, vol. 20(1), 1997, pp. 95-99.
- ‘Villa Palagonia in Bagheria near Palermo', Daidalos, 28, June 1998, pp. 34-44.
- ‘Centri e Periferie: Decorazioni ecclesiastiche in marmi intarsiati nella Palermo del XVII secolo', Arte Cristiana, 1996, pp. 405-419.*
- ‘Mapping the Early Modern City', Urban History, 23, 1996, pp. 145-170.*
- ‘Spanish Influence on Sicilian Baroque Architecture', Ricerche di Storia dell'Arte, 58, 1996, pp. 65-95.*
- ‘The Making of an Art-Historical Super Power?’, Oxford Art Journal, 18(1), 1995, pp. 137-140.
- ‘Iconography & Ideology: Aristocracy, Immaculacy and Virginity in Seventeenth-century Palermo', Oxford Art Journal, Vol.17(2), 1994, pp. 16-31.
- 'The Neapolitan Seggi as Patrons of Religious Architecture (PDF , 867kb)', in Grit Heidemann, Tanja Michalsky (eds): Ordnungen des sozialen Raumes. Die Quartieri, Sestieri und Seggi in den fruehneuzeitlichen Staedten Italiens, Berlin: Reimer 2012, pp.159-188.
- ‘”The Face is a mirror of the soul’: Frontispieces and the production of sanctity in post-tridentine Naples’, in Art and Architecture in Naples, 1266-1713, eds. Cordelia Warr & Janis Elliott, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 125-151.*
- ‘How to Look like a Counter-Reformation Saint’, in Exploring Cultural Histories: Essays in Honour of Peter Burke, M. Calaresu, F. De Vivo, J.P. Rubies (eds), Farnham: Ashgate, 2010, 207-230.
- ‘“The Face is a mirror of the soul”: Frontispieces and the Production of Sanctity in Post-Tridentine Naples’, in Art and Architecture in Naples, 1266-1713, eds. Cordelia Warr & Janis Elliott, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 125-151.
- ‘The Housing of Institutional Architecture: searching for a domestic holy in post-Tridentine Italian convents’, in eds. S Cavallo, S Evangelisti, Domestic and Institutional Interiors, Ashgate, 2009, 119-152.
- ‘Abitare l’architettura istituzionale: alla ricerca del sacro domestico nei monasteri post-tridentini italiani’, in ed. Candace Smith, Soror Mea Sponsa Mea: Arte e musica nei conventi femminili in Italia tra Cinque e Seicento, Bologna: Il Poligrafo, 2009, 23-48. Winner of the 2010 SSEMW (USA) Arts and Media Project Award competition
- ‘« Négociation » du pouvoir en Italie post-Tridentine : gender, architecture, et puissance’, in Femmes de pouvoir et pouvoir des femmes dans l’Occident medieval et moderne, eds. Armel Nayt-Dubois & Emmanuelle Santinelli-Foltz: Lez Valenciennes n.41-42, 2009, 151-162.*
- ‘Nuns and Relics: Spiritual Authority in post-Tridentine southern Italy’, in ed. Cordula van Wyhe, Female Monasticism in Early Modern Euurope, Ashgate, 2008, 11-39.
- ‘Architecture of Difference: The Secret of the Religious Architectural Body’, in Gender, Religion, Human Rights in Europe, Rome: Herder, 245-262, 2006.
- ‘Architecture and Spiritual Life in Tridentine Naples’, in Valerio, A., (ed.), I Luoghi della Memoria: Istituti religiosi femminili a Napoli dal IV al XVI secolo, FPV per la Storia delle Donne: Naples, 35-51, 2006.
- 'Alberti and Affetti: Architecture and Edification’, in Gouk P & Hills, H. (ed)., Representing Emotions: New Connections in the Histories of Art, Music and Medicine, Aldershot: Ashgate, 89-108, 2004.
- ‘Towards Histories of Emotions’, with P. Gouk, in Gouk P & Hills, H. (ed)., Representing Emotions: New Connections in the Histories of Art, Music and Medicine, Aldershot: Ashgate,15-34, 2004.
- ‘Theorizing the relationship between architecture and gender in early modern Europe’, in Hills, H. (ed.), Architecture and the Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe. Aldershot: Ashgate, 3-23, 2003.
- ‘Half-Forgotten Streets: Architecture and Amnesia in Manchester’, in Crinson, M, Hills, H., & Rudd, N., (ed.), Fabrications: New Art and Urban Memory in Manchester, Manchester: UMiM, 32-39, 2002.
- ‘Architecture as Metaphor for the Body: the Case of Female Aristocratic Convents in Early Modern Italy', in Durning, L., and Wrigley, R. (ed.), Gender & Architecture: History, Interpretation, Practice, Chichester & New York, John Wiley & Sons., 67-112, 2000.
- ‘Monasteri Femminili aristocratici a Napoli e a Palermo nella prima età moderna e la "Conventualizzazione" della Città', in Fiume, G., (ed.), Il santo patrono e la città: San Benedetto il Moro: culti, devozioni, strategie di età moderna, Venice: Marsilio, Venice, 68-80, 2000.
- ‘The Convent in the City; the Choir in the Convent: Female convent churches in Baroque Palermo and Naples', in de Moura Sobral, L. & Booth, D., Struggle for Synthesis: The Total Work of Art in the 17th and 18th Centuries: Proceedings of Conference, Braga 1996, vol. I, Lisbon: Ministerio da Cultura, 177-194, 1999.
- ‘Convents in the city; choirs in the convents: Aristocratic female convents and urbanism in early modern Palermo and Naples' in Trigilia, L., (ed.), Annali del Barocco in Sicilia: Pompeo Picherali: Architettura e Città fra XVII e XVIII Secolo, Rome, 61-76, 1998.
- ‘Commonplaces: the Woman in the Street: Text and Image in the work of Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger', in Mills, S., (ed.), Language and Gender: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, (New York: Longman, 1995) pp. 240-256.
- ‘The Immaculate Conception in Seventeenth-Century Palermitan Iconography', Archivio Storico Siciliano, ser.IV, vol.X, 1994, pp. 181-230.*
- 'La Cappella del Crocifisso nella Cattedrale di Monreale in Madonna', M.L., & Trigilia, T., (ed.), Barocco Mediterraneo: Sicilia, Lecce, Sardegna, Spagna, (Rome: Istituto poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, 1992) pp.61-76.
All other publications
- ‘Bramshill House, Hampshire', Country Life, Part I Oct.10, 1985, pp.1011-1016 & Part II, Oct 17, 1985, pp.1095-1099.
- ‘The Art and Architecture of Sicily', Blue Guide to Sicily, London: A& C Black, New York: WW Norton, 1988, 12-27.
- Review of L Nochlin, The Politics of Vision and B Taylor's Eve & the New Jerusalem Women's Art Magazine No.46, pp.26-27
- ‘The Art and Architecture of Sicily', Blue Guide to Sicily, revised version, A& C Black, New York: WW Norton, 1993, 14-30.
- ‘Andrea Pozzo’, ‘Angelo Italia’, ‘Baldassare Longhena’; ‘S Maria della Salute, Venice’; ‘the Quattro Canti, Palermo’, International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture, London & Chicago: St James’ Press, 1993, pp.524-527; 598-9; 693-4; 713-16.
- ‘Palermo: History & Urban Development’ , Encyclopaedia of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist Art: Vol. 2: Macagnino to Zucchi, Grove Encyclopaedia of European Art, London: Macmillan, 2000, 840-6 (& 6 other entries).
- ‘Form Follows Funding’, review of Amelia Jones (ed.), The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, Routledge: London & New York, second edition, 2010,
Reviews of Single Academic Books:
Helen has reviewed numerous books for a range of journals including:
Church History, Sixteenth century Studies, Journal of European History, Women's Art Magazine, The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Sociological Review, Word & Image, Art History, Oxford Art Journal, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Renaissance Quarterly, Burlington Magazine, Journal of Early Modern History.
- 1994: `The Baroque in Portugal Exhibition, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC', Eighteenth Century Studies, May, pp.487-490
- Co-organizer & Co-curator, Fabrications: New Art and Urban Memory in Manchester. Included commisioning 6 new pieces of art from 6 contemporary artists. Cube Gallery, Manchester. 11 September - 2 November 2002.
- The Blood Miracle of San Gennaro
An interview discussion with Ewart Shaw on Radio Adelaide 10 February 2014 is available here.
A group of upper level students at Mount Grace Priory during Helen's Architecture, Gender & Sexuality module.
I have taught at all levels at the Universities of Keele and Manchester in the UK, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the USA, and Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.
BA Undergraduate modules include:
- The City & the Subject in Early Modern Europe
- Architecture, Gender and Sexuality
- Critical Approaches to the Baroque
- Seeing the City
- Architectural Theory
- Architecture & Memory
- Historiography & Theory
- Introduction to Architecture
- Masculinities & Femininities in Baroque Art
- Space as Property and the Properties of Space
MA modules include:
- Rethinking the Baroque
- Advanced Problems in Baroque Art
- Redeeming Matter
- Space as Property and the Properties of Space
A group of upper level students at Mount Grace Priory during Helen's Architecture, Gender & Sexuality module.
Bogdan Cornea, one of Helen's PhD students, receives a prize for his presentation on his PhD topic at the Humanities Research Centre, University of York, in July 2014. Photograph Ian Martindale
- Visiting Professor, Department of History of Art, The University of Stockholm, Sweden: February 2008.
- Visiting Professor: Emory University, USA: April 2013.
- Smith College, USA: Ruth and Clarence Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies: September-December 2014.
Consultant Editor of the Open Arts Journal (Open University Press): Feb 2013-present
Scientific Committee Member Arte - Architettura - Città e Territorio.(with Alicia Cámara Muñoz (UNED – Madrid) Maria Concetta Di Natale (Università di Palermo) Marco Rosario Nobile (Università di Palermo) Dany Sandron (Université de Paris - Sorbonne)
Regular reader for: Art Bulletin, Art History, Journal of Hispanic Studies, Konsthistorisk tidskrift, Eighteenth-Century Studies; The Sixteenth Century Journal; Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (USA);Art Bulletin; Sculpture Journal, Object (UCL's Graduate Student On-line Publication); Manchester University Press; Oxford University Press; Ashgate Publishing Company.
Invited talks and conferences
Helen has presented papers at many national and international conferences and institutions including CAA, AAH, Universities of Essex, Courtauld Institute, Warwick, Reading, Oxford, Manchester, Sussex, MMU, (Renaissance Research Seminar); Cambridge; Leeds (early modern Research seminar); Liverpool; Clark Institute, USA; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UCL-Courtauld Early Modern Research Seminar; University of Valenciennes, France; University of Stockholm, Sweden; University of Santiago, Chile; Palazzone Cortona (Harvard, Scuola Normale Pisa & EPHE, Paris), Italy; Universität der Künste, Berlin; V & A Museum, London; National Gallery, London; British School in Rome, Italy; Queen’s University, Canada; SE College Art Conference USA; Centro Internazionale di Studi sul barocco in Sicilia, Italy; Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, Italy; Istituto Portugues do Patrimonio Arquitectonico, Lisbon, Portugal; Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies (Pittsburgh) USA; Università degli Studi, Palermo, Italy; Conference of Urban Historians, Berlin; Villa Le Balze (Georgetown University), Florence; Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX, USA; Roma Tre University, Italy; Ecole Française de Rome; Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome; Università degli Studi, Bologna; La Sapienza, Rome; Antwerp University; Fondazione Valerio per la Storia delle Donne, Naples, Italy; Meadows Museum, Dallas, Texas (USA); Harvard University, USA; Duke University, USA; College Art Association (New York) 2013; Università degli di Studi di Palermo; University of Leicester; University of Adelaide (ARC Centre of Excellence for History of Emotions); La Sapienza-Swedish Institute & Accademia di San Luca, Rome; IHR, London; Royal Holloway, London; University of Colorado- Boulder, USA.
- The White Bull & Blue Skies: Rethinking the Art History Curriculum after the "Old Europe"
University of York, May 2012.
Poster (PDF , 569kb). Programme (MS Word , 165kb).
- Exoticizing Vesuvius? Formations of Naples, c.1500-present
3 AHRC Workshops in 2009
Principal Investigator with Dr M Calaresu, Cambridge: The historical and intellectual formation of Neapolitan historiography; Topography and Piety: Naples Afflicted; Objects of Collecting in Naples and Naples as Object of Collecting, 1708-2008.
- Rethinking the Baroque
University of York and Castle Howard, 5-7 July 2006
- Study Days on ‘Monument’, ‘Space’, 'Architecture & Holiness beyond Liturgy’, ‘Precious Stones & Other Materials’, ‘Niche’
University of York, 2005-2010
As Director of the Architectural History & Theory Research School Helen organized these study days with visiting and internal speakers.
- Urban Memory in Manchester
University of Manchester, September 2002
- Representing Emotions: evidence, arousal, analysis
University of Manchester, 25-27 May 2001
An international, interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Manchester in the Department of Art History, co-organized with Penelope Gouk. Sponsored by the British Academy, Wellcome Trust and the University of Manchester. This resulted in the edited volume 'Representing Emotions: New Connections in the Histories of Art, Music and Medicine' (Ashgate, 2005).
Helen was interviewed by Ewart Shaw on radio Adelaide (10 Feb 2014) talking about bloody miracles. Part of the interview is available here
- Helen was one of 3 specialists talking about 'The Baroque' with Melvyn Bragg: In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg: 'The Baroque Movement', BBC Radio 4, 20 & 21 November 2008, (2009).
- Helen was featured on Night Waves talking about the 'baroque' as part of Radio 3's "Baroque Spring".
International Research Evaluations
- AHRC Peer Review Panel Member, 2010-2014
Jun 2012-present: Invited Member of the Italian National Evaluation of research Quality Exercize Peer Review
University of Roma-La Sapienza, Rome, External Academic Advisor to the Department of History, Cultures & Religions, Italy: Jan 2011-present
- History of Art expert member of the Research Quality Assessment panel (Akreditacija-znanost, Zagreb) for three national research institutes in Croatia: Croatian Institute for Research in History; Institute for Research in Art History; Croatian Institute for Research in Archaeology. May 2011
- Invited Member of the Irish Research Council International Assessment Board (for postgraduate Awards). April 2013-present.
Co-organizer & Co-curator, Fabrications: New Art and Urban Memory in Manchester. Included commisioning 6 new pieces of art from 6 contemporary artists. Cube Gallery, Manchester. 11 September - 2 November 2002.