This week @wethehumanities welcomes practitioner-turned-researcher Melanie Cooper-Dobbins, who is based in South Australia. Her work again demonstrates how very hard it is to fit to keep within these subject boundaries that we’re all negotiating: her art history reseach spans science, philosophy, history and literature.
My name is Melanie Cooper-Dobbin, and my Twitter handle is @dustbunny14. I am currently working towards completing my PhD thesis in Art History, and as like-minded others have already confessed, I have great trouble limiting myself to just one thing or subject at a time. My field of academic specialisation lies within the eighteenth-century, but my research and curiosity often lead me back a little further into the late seventeenth. My current research interests are primarily focused on visual representations of classical mythology and constructions of gender, and I have found that I am very much drawn to interdisciplinary scholarship, probably because I can’t help myself! As an art historian, I have been led by my research into terrain I had never thought I would cross – eighteenth-century naturalism, philosophy, atomism, medical history, literature and the history of sexuality. Despite the great challenges and humbling experience of producing a thesis, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been granted the opportunity to explore such fascinating lines of enquiry.
I am also a practicing visual artist with formal qualifications, and the urge to create is in constant conflict with my research and writing. Indeed, perhaps the biggest challenge has been learning to be a writer, which is something I had not thought to pursue – beyond my teenage ramblings, that is! Again, as previous curators have commented before me, I suffer from ‘Impostor syndrome’, too! Recently, I have also taken great comfort in discovering that so many of you out there are knitters, and the gentle art of knitting and crochet has begun to impose itself on my creative practice, extending beyond the comforts of my lounge room. As in academia, so in art – my practice is driven by an enthusiasm for a variety of subjects and mediums, some of which I am very pleased to share with you this coming week.
Thank you for joining me!