How/Why Research? I started my journey with research in the liberal arts following my first experience abroad during the summer of 2018. I visited Venice, Italy and discovered the rich culture of Burano, a small island off of Venice, and found myself being drawn to their lace making industry. Having a passion for needlework myself, I knew that I wanted to take my interest in the Burano art form further; upon returning to UNC that fall, I applied and received the UNC Robinson Honors Fellowship to pursue research there. Prior to receiving the fellowship, research in the liberal arts had never crossed my mind. Traditionally, STEM fields produce vast amounts of research, so I never considered it to be a potential opportunity for me. After my experience in Burano this summer, I realized how important it is for all fields to consistently ask new questions and to dig deeper in order to progress. As an ambassador for the Romance Languages Department, I hope that I can instill a spark of excitement in undergrads to pursue their questions and to discover the endless research possibilities within the liberal arts!
Research Experiences: I spent six weeks in Burano, Italy researching the lace making art form and industry. Specifically, I explored the changes over time to the art form and the effects of these changes to both the durability of the trade and the artists themselves. I even had the opportunity to take lace making classes myself! During my time in Burano, I developed relationships with my teachers and interviewed them along with other artists on the island about their personal experiences with lace. I spent the weekends traveling around Italy to Milan, Rome, Lake Trasimeno, and later to Brussels, Belgium in order to visit fashion museums and lace exhibitions. After returning and reflecting on my findings, I am currently working on developing a document that both shares my interviewees’ stories and suggestions on how to improve the viability of lace within these communities for years to come!