SIMS Affiliates

Cosette Bruhns Alonso, Contemporary Publishing Fellow, Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship

Cosette Bruhns Alonso holds the position of Contemporary Publishing Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. In this role, she spearheads a pilot collaboration between the Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship and the University of Pennsylvania Press to design and develop digital publications through innovative uses of multimodal and interactive digital enhancements. She collaborates with campus partners, including the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts, the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Penn Museum, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies to develop strategic and sustainable digital publications driven by faculty research and archival collections. Beyond the University of Pennsylvania campus, she works to advance collaborative, accessible, and antiracist digital publishing practices as a member of the Library Publishing Coalition’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is the Editorial Assistant of Dante Studies.

Cosette received her PhD in Italian Studies from the University of Chicago, and completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the New School. Her primary area of research and teaching is in 13th-16th century Italian art and literature with a focus on visual culture, manuscript studies, the representation of race and gender, and intersections between literature, media, and technology. Her monograph in progress expands on her dissertation through a sustained critical study of the representation of visual art, through text, in medieval Italian literature and its intersection with Florentine practices for visualizing justice, including the tradition of pittura infamante. Her current digital projects include a born-digital publication and translation of Benedetto Varchi’s Due Lezioni, and a multimodal digital humanities project entitled, Decameron: Technologies of Representation, Medieval to Modern. As a searchable repository for artistic representations of the Decameron, this project will facilitate exploration of the text’s visual reception, from its earliest illustrations to contemporary, COVID-19 era projects.

Prior to joining Penn, Cosette held the position of Diversity in Digital Publishing & Italian Studies Postdoctoral Research Associate at Brown University, where she facilitated the NEH Institute on Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities, Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Roadmaps. She also supported the editorial and digital development of faculty publications and curated an exhibition in Brown University’s Rockefeller Library on Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron and COVID-era viral art.

Alberto Campagnolo, University of Udine

Alberto trained as a book conservator at the European Course for Conservators/Restorers of Book Materials (1998-2001) in Spoleto, Italy and has worked in that capacity in various institutions, amongst which the National Museum Wales, Palace Green Library at Durham University, Guildhall Library London, London Metropolitan Archives, St. Catherine’s Monastery (Egypt), and the Vatican Library. He studied Conservation of Library and Archive Materials (2001-2006) at Ca’ Foscari University Venice, Italy and then read for an MA in Digital Culture and Technology (2007-2009) at King’s College London. He pursued a PhD (2010-2015) on an automated visualization of historical bookbinding structures at the Ligatus Research Centre (University of the Arts, London). He was a CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies (2016-2018) at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC), and is now adjunct professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Udine, Italy.

Since 2013, Alberto has been collaborating with Dot Porter on VisColl, a modelling and visualization tool for the gathering structure of books in codex format.

Barbara Williams Ellertson, Independent Scholar

After four decades as a designer of scholarly books, Barbara Williams Ellertson is now an independent researcher in the history of printing as portrayed in Renaissance art. She is currently the co-PI (along with SIMS curator Nicholas Herman) on the BASIRA (Books as Symbols in Renaissance Art) redevelopment project, which has been funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. This current work is a return to early interests: she earned a B.A. from Duke University with majors in history and religion. BW&A Books, the studio she founded in 1988 continues to provide services to a wide range of publishing clients. Two design projects for Cornell University Press on manuscript studies helped inspire Barbara’s interest in the BASIRA Project: Introduction to Manuscript Studies by Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham, Cornell, 2007; and Opening Up Middle English Manuscripts: Literary and Visual Approaches, by Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, et al., Cornell, 2012.

Andrea Zietlow, Independent Scholar

Dr. Zietlow has been an active collaborator on the BASIRA (Books as Symbols in Renaissance Art) Project, and is part of the project team for the BASIRA redevelopment project being undertaken with SIMS. A native of Bonn, Germany, Andrea earned her PhD in Chemistry from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität. After a career in corporate communications, she began exploring the book arts and has founded a studio where she creates and binds elegant artist’s books. Her connection with the BASIRA Project began with a course in book culture in European history. In the summer of 2019, she continued her studies with courses in the Renaissance book at Rare Books School, University College London. During her frequent travels, Andrea has made hundreds of photographs for the BASIRA Project collection.

Arthur Kiron, Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections, Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Originally from a small town on the Potomac called Washington, D.C.,  Arthur has strong credentials as an ultimate frisbee player.  In addition, he received his undergraduate degrees in political theory and women’s studies, his graduate training in religious studies and his PhD. in Jewish history.  His involvement in  digital humanities at Penn has been shaped by projects that have demonstrated how digital technologies allow us to search and discover meaningful connections among a global diaspora of Judaica primary sources (Penn/Cambridge Genizah Fragment Project, Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project).

Marrianna Shreve Simpson, Independent Scholar

Shreve is an independent scholar of Islamic art, and has published, taught and lectured widely on medieval and early modern Islamic art in general and the arts of the book (especially Persian illustrated manuscripts) in particular. Her professional career has included administrative and curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Art; Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution; and Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, as well as numerous visiting professorships throughout the United States. Most recently, she served as Guest Curator at the Princeton University Art Museum, and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of the History of Art (2012-2019). For the past two summers she has taught an intensive course on Islamic manuscripts at the Free Library of Philadelphia, under the auspices of the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School. She also serves as part of the advisory group for the Manuscripts of the Muslim World digitization project, based at Penn.

University of Pennsylvania Graduate Paleography Group

SIMS supports the Graduate Paleography Group at Penn, graduate students who gather weekly to (attempt to) read a variety of medieval and early modern handwritten texts.

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