Leanne Michelle Campbell, University of Melbourne
I would like to thank the AWAWS Selection Committee for awarding me the inaugural AWAWS research grant in 2014. You have made a significant difference to my year, not only financially, but also academically, emotionally and intellectually. I would like to convey my deep appreciation for your values and for your academic as well as your financial support.
It is December, as I write this, and I have just returned from the ASOR – American Schools of Oriental Research – Annual General Meeting and Conference, which was held in San Diego for 2014. This was my first international conference, and also the first time I presented a paper to an international audience. My paper was well-accepted, generated a lot of interest, and kind as well as stimulating feedback, which I very much appreciated, and there were around 40 to 50 people who attended my presentation. I feel that this world has really opened up to me, and I very much look forward to participating in more such rewarding collegial and scholarly life in the future. I would not have been able to attend if not for the support and encouragement of my Supervisors, at the University of Melbourne, as well as AWAWS.
I am currently working on my dissertation in Bronze Age Aegean Archaeology, encompassing Egyptology and Art History. For my PhD, I am conducting comparative analyses of portrayals of human representations, which will inform my conclusions in order to further our understanding of cultural, social, economic and political developments in the Late Bronze Age. My methodology includes detailed art historical analyses of sixteen selected artefacts from the iconographies of ancient Egypt’s Amarna period, the Minoan, and the Mycenaean cultures. I am closely examining the roles of these representations in the constructions of socio-economic, gender identity, and cultural and political conclusions. My methodology is somewhat diffusionist and interconnections and regular interactions between these neighbouring societies are recognized through the archaeological evidence, including seasonal trade and gift exchange, and resulting in a broad range of communications. My analyses of the iconographic evidence will also demonstrate the transfers of artistic and cultural exchanges and influences.
In order to improve and validate my close comparative analyses of the stylistic, anatomical, artistic and material details of these artefacts, and to add legitimacy to my conclusions, it is very beneficial to my studies to examine the statues and paintings in-person. To be in the physical presence of these sculptures, paintings, statues and statuettes allows immense artistic and analytical insight into visual investigations and resulting conclusions. Of those that I have already had the opportunity to study in person, the academic contribution and influence on my analyses has been inestimable: after the hundreds of hours I have spent considering these artefacts from two-dimensional written and photographic viewpoints, to experience being in their physical presence and to study them in three dimensions has been immeasurably expansive, academically and intellectually as well as artistically and spatially, to my work.
I made private appointments and met with the Curator of Egyptian Antiquities, Monsieur Christophe Barbotin, at the Musée du Louvre, who generously gave me his time and his wisdom in discussions and allowed me his personal introductions and study of the Henry Salt statue of King Akhenaten, as well as several other artefacts of the Louvre, ranging from the Colossi to significant statues, reliefs, and statuettes from the Amarna era such as that of the Lady Touy. I also visited and studied, amongst other artefacts, the Princess Fresco, and the sculpted portrayal of the Amarna Royal Family known as AN1893.1-41.75 in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. I still plan to visit, amongst others, the statuette of Queen Nefertiti known as DDR 21263 in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and the frescoes at the Minoan site of Akrotiri on Thera (Santorini), as well as the Ivory Triad 7711 in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, and the Palaikastro Kouros in the Siteia Museum, eastern Crete. During 2015, I plan to complete my dissertation, and I am currently in the writing-up stage, and continue to work on my conclusions, to which these in-person analyses and three dimensional studies will contribute immensely.
I did not come to university until the age of 30, after quite some tragic detours, including having been a victim of serious crimes twice-over, and continuing to suffer debilitating symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder amongst other injuries. In addition to graduating with first class honours, and currently working on my dissertation, my university journey and experiences have changed my life, transformed me and, indeed, helped me to survive those traumas. I very much hope that others, in future, who have been victims, or those vulnerable in our society, will continue to be able to access such educational opportunities