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Research

Introducing Danai Thomaidis as the 2021/2022 Hellenisms Past and Present, Local and Global Postdoctoral Fellow

October 19, 2021
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We are pleased to welcome Danai Thomaidis to the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies as our 2021/2022 Hellenisms Past and Present, Local and Global Postdoctoral Fellow. 

Thomaidis' research interests include the reception of Byzantine icons in the West, Marian studies, the materiality of the sacred and artistic and cultural interactions in the Mediterranean. During her time at the Centre, she will finalize her book manuscript, The Life of Icons in Venice, which realizes the power of icons as social agents, challenging the traditional methods of art history research. Using a methodology that merges art history approaches with religious anthropology, sociology and theology, her research reevaluates the visual and artistic merits of icons with their potential to express meanings.

She will also spend time working on a separate project titled "Iconic Montages as Bearers of Meaning from Constantinople to Venice (13th-15th Centuries)." For this project, she will explore the techniques utilized for the exhibition of icons in Byzantium and Venice to understand how these visual ensembles created new meanings for viewers and write a survey on the methods of icon exposition. In addition, she will collaborate with her supervisor, assistant professor Sabrina Higgins, on the Digital Mary project to collect and digitize all known visual materials relating to the Virgin from the Mediterranean in the Late Antique and Early Medieval periods.

Thomaidis studied cultural heritage at Statale University of Milan and earned her MA in medieval and Byzantine art history at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. During her time at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and Fribourg University for her PhD, she analyzed the introduction, cult and exposition of Byzantine icons in the churches, streets and houses of Venice and of the Venetian-ruled colonies of the Mediterranean.

When asked what she is looking forward to during her time Simon Fraser University, Thomaidis remarked:

I look forward to becoming part of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies community, sharing interests and projects, and establishing a creative dialogue with the colleagues and students of the Centre. The multi-disciplinary environment of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies will certainly fit my academic profile and will contribute in defining the lines of my project.

Thomaidis joins the Centre with a wealth of experience in public scholarship. In addition to her involvement in various universities, she has collaborated with museum institutions (Byzantine Museum of Athens) as well as with contemporary art exhibitions (Venice Biennale). While developing her technical skills for organizing complex exhibitions, she gained strategies for transmitting the results of academic research to lay audiences. This makes her an especially valuable asset to the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, whose outreach program regularly caters to diverse local, international and global audiences.

Thomaidis will participate in the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies Fall Seminar Series on Friday, November 5th, 2021. Registration is now open.

Learn more about Thomaidis and her work on the contact page of our website.

For more information about the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies and its programs, please visit our Media page or subscribe to our email list so you never miss an update!