Lyndsay Bratton: Approaching Research from All Angles

Lyndsay Bratton is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in Central and Eastern European modernism. Her dissertation, “The Artěl Cooperative (1908-1934): Crafting Czech Modernity” concerns this avant-garde group’s construction and promotion of a distinctively Czech visual culture for the international stage at a transformative moment in Czech history.

But Lyndsay’s expertise doesn’t stop there. In 2012, while also working on her Ph.D., she completed an M.L.S. degree in Academic Libraries and Art Librarianship at the University of Maryland. Now she serves in two complementary positions at Connecticut College: Digital Scholarship and Visual Resource Librarian, and Associate Fellow for Information/Research at the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, Connecticut College.  

“My job keeps me on my toes!” says Lyndsay. “As the only coordinator for digital scholarship initiatives at Connecticut College, I often work with faculty well outside the field of art history. This can be intimidating at times, but I enjoy the intersections we find in our research interests and our methodological and pedagogical approaches. Last year, for example, I collaborated on a mapping project carried out by a professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, a group of local high school students, and a food security organization. Currently, I am beginning a grant-funded multi-year digital scholarship project in experimental archaeology with an anthropologist and his undergraduate students."

She adds, “That variety is exactly what I sought when I decided to become an art librarian.” She also teaches a first-year seminar in art history at Connecticut College, covering such exciting topics as “Forgery, Plunder, Destruction: Art Crimes and the Value of Art."

She finds that her art-historical research background is invaluable as she works with the diverse academic community at Connecticut College. “So much of librarianship, especially within the realm of digital scholarship, involves collaborating with faculty on research and pedagogical projects and teaching students how to do research. It was my experiences as a Ph.D. student, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant in the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture, and Maryland Museum Fellow that provided me with the vital skills I use every day as a librarian.”

Lyndsay has presented at a number of conferences on her dissertation topic as well as her professional responsibilities. She highlighted her Czech project at the CAA 2016 annual conference, participating in the panel “Exploring Native Traditions in Eastern Europe and Russia: National Traditions and the Formation of Modernism.” Most recently, she discussed “Digital Humanities Assignments for Undergraduates: A Case Study in Architectural Studies” at the ARLIS annual conference in February 2017. As an instructional technology specialist and an art historian, Lyndsay stays at the forefront of digital humanities pedagogy. Her advice for keeping up with this emerging and evolving field?

“I have found regular participation in the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, as well as other DH-training workshops and annual conferences of the Art Libraries Society of North America, to be very valuable experiences for skills-acquisition and incubation of ideas.”

As a new generation of art historians emerges, Lyndsay Bratton demonstrates that flexible skill sets and technology know-how bring new and exciting opportunities.