Building Bridges with the University of Poitiers
In April 2019, the Marco Institute played host to Eric Palazzo, professor of medieval art history at the University of Poitiers, France, as part of the Institute’s Lindsay Young Distinguished Visiting Senior Scholars program. During his time on campus, Professor Palazzo gave a public talk on “The Conception of Energy in the Middle Ages: A Pre-Newtonian Exploration” and led a lunch seminar for faculty and graduate students on the subject of art and liturgy in the Middle Ages. He also consulted with graduate students and faculty during his visit.
Professor Palazzo’s visit continues Marco’s goal to develop a more permanent partnership with the Centre d’Études Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale at the University of Poitiers. He is the second Lindsay Young Scholar from Poitiers, joining the ranks of this program’s alumni with Professor Martin Aurell, who directs the above-mentioned center. In addition, Marco faculty and graduate students have visited the University of Poitiers and participated in scholarly medieval programs there. Looking to the future, we hope to create an official exchange program for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to pursue their research at both Poitiers and the University of Tennessee. This project has taken a further step forward through the award of a Global Catalyst Program grant from the UT Center for Global Engagement, which will allow Interim Director Gregor Kalas and Professor of French Anne-Hélène Miller to travel to Poitiers in the summer of 2020 to formalize this partnership.
The Marco Institute began its life in the early 2000s as the Medieval and Renaissance Curriculum and Outreach project (MARCO). We have dropped the acronym, but we still believe in those foundational goals of engagement with our broader communities on campus, in the greater Knoxville area, and beyond. In 2016 we introduced the public humanities graduate research assistantship, which employs one student per year to work part-time in the institute’s research, teaching, outreach, and educational programming for the public. We also began working with teachers at local middle and high schools. This relationship has grown into the annual Medieval Day program, which for 2020 we are combining with McClung Museum’s Family Day as part of the Visions of the End programming. In 2019, the Marco Institute welcomed Kristina Bone, a senior journalism major with a minor in medieval and Renaissance studies (MRST), as our first social media ambassador. The ambassador program in the College of Arts and Sciences brings student voices and perspectives to the university’s communications and outreach efforts. Drawing on her experiences living abroad as well as her coursework and activities at UT, Kristina has done an outstanding job helping to run Marco’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages (@marcoinstitute).