Dr Allison Kidd
Home institution: New York University, Institute of Fine Arts
Postdoctoral Fellow September 2018 - June 2019.
Project: Architectural Ornamentation in Late Antiquity: Classical Antecedents, Contemporary Aesthetics & Economics from the 3rd–7th centuries AD
Allison Kidd is a Classical archaeologist who holds a BA in History (Clemson University), a MSt in Classical Archaeology (University of Oxford), and a PhD in Art History and Archaeology (New York University). While she is interested broadly in the investigation of ancient social history through the lens of material culture, her research focuses on art, architecture, and topography in the ancient Roman world, from the Republican period to Late Antiquity.
The IASH Postdoctoral Fellowship supports Allison's examination of newly produced, late antique architectural ornamentation in the cities of Asia Minor, Italy, and Greece and the Balkans, as well as the writing of corresponding chapters for a monograph publication and the development of an open-access database. By tracing how and where this material evolved, and in what social spaces such financial investment was deemed appropriate, this work assesses the extent to which late antique populations were motivated by classical ideals, contemporary aesthetics, and/or economic determinants in the shaping of their urban environment. As a fundamentally interdisciplinary project, Allison's work employs a phenomenological methodology that recontextualises elements of architectural ornamentation within their primary historical setting and views them as artefacts closely connected to patrons, artisans, and audiences. Importantly, it accepts architectural decor for its multiplicity, with the ultimate aim of better understanding late antique urban aesthetics and further shifting our interpretation of late antique cities from the negative perspective of decline and degradation to a more neutral, if not positive view of transformation, intentionality, and creativity.