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FANNY KIEFFER - Ph.D. in Art History

What is your professional / educational background and what is your Ph.D. Topic?
After having studied at the University Marc Bloch of Strasbourg, at the Center for Advanced Renaissance Studies in Tours (CESR) and in Florence (Italy), I defended my dissertation entitled “Ferdinando I de Medicis (1587 – 1609) and the Offices. The Creation and Function of the Galleria dei Lavori”. At the same time, I taught several hours at the University François Rabelais of Tours. My research covers the interactions between art and science in the Renaissance, in particular in Italy and France. I am particularly interested in the circulation of knowledge in academic and institutional circles, as well as the political issues involved in artistic and academic benefactors.

How has the Ph.D. process been for you?
My dissertation was research in archives; I would say that the best moments and the difficulties were often directly related to this approach: it is difficult not to get discouraged when one does not find anything, but, on the other hand, there is a lot of emotion surrounding each discovery.

What have you learned from this experience?
Personally, I learned perseverance and patience; professionally, it is clear that the time spent researching and writing is rewarded later when one applies for research scholarships.

What advice would you give to a student who was considering a Ph.D.?
I would tell the student not be discouraged by the years going by or the size of the task, and to write little by little as the research advances. I would advise the student also to travel and not to hesitate to contact the professors who can offer precious advice.

What are you doing now?
I have a post-doctoral position at the Warburg Institute in London (the Frances Yates Fellowship).