The Challenge of Emulation: Learning by Rivaling

David Mayernik and bookDavid Mayernik, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, urban designer, architect, artist, and author, gave a talk at the London Global Gateway’s Fischer Hall on February 18.  He presented the theme of emulation in Renaissance and Baroque art, and how it continues today.  This is also the subject of his new book The Challenge of Emulation in Art and Architecture: Between Imitation and Invention, which was launched in London earlier this week.

In the talk entitled “The Challenge of Emulation: Learning by Rivaling”, Mayernik took the audience through the artists’ process from imitation to emulation (mastery), in order to rival other artists with their own techniques and styles, to invention, in which the artist adds his own elements and creates something new and better.

Mayernik discussed Francesco Guardi and Peter Paul Rubens amongst other artists who became great emulators of the Italian masters such as Canaletto and Michelangelo.  He also talked about the stage at which an artist begins to emulate his own work in order to excel himself as in the case of Lorenzo Ghiberti.  Mayernik claimed that emulation is “neither awe nor envy but respect”.

Artists, students, and Notre Dame faculty and staff attended the event.  JoAnn DellaNeva, a Notre Dame professor of Renaissance Literature currently teaching in London said:

“Professor Mayernik’s talk was very accessible to non-specialists and served to remind us that imitation was a time-honored way for artists of all kinds to hone their skills, for we all have a natural inclination to learn by imitation. But, if an artist is to become great, he or she needs to do more than merely copy or reproduce a respected model: aspiring artists need to emulate their master, that is, they need to engage in a combative rivalry with that model, to outdo it in some way that can be discerned and appreciated by the viewer. Prof. Mayernik’s presentation clearly showed us many examples of us such rivalries in art and architecture of the Renaissance period and invited modern artists to engage in a similar process of emulation in their own work.  Imitation in Renaissance literature is my own academic specialty so I very much appreciated the opportunity to hear about how this played out in the different media of art and architecture of the same period.”

Contact: Emily Grassby, Communications and Planning Specialist for London Global Gateway,

Inside London Photo Contest Winner!

Eye on the Bright Blue Sky by Colby Hoyer Big congratulations to Colby Hoyer who is this semester’s winner of the Inside London Photo Contest, with her composition “Eye on the Bright Blue Sky.”

Judged by the London Undergraduate Program staff, including Director Warren von Eschenbach and Director of Student Affairs Judy Hutchinson, and University Photographer Matt Cashore, the competition challenged undergraduate students to capture the relationship between London’s past and present on camera.

Colby says:

“I took this photo on the very first day of orientation while we were walking by the London Eye. I was blown away by the fairytale appearance of this amazing city. I couldn’t believe its beauty or how perfectly the bridge in the middle of the photo linked the Modern London Eye and the 11th century House of Parliament. Both of these structures have become icons of the city of London, a testimony to the combination of rich history and modern achievements that make London what it is today.”

Congratulations also to Matt Zajac and Justin Chen for their contributions “Squeezed Cathedral” (Zajac), “Southwark Cathedral and the Shard” (Zajac), and “Toward Modernity” (Chen), which all received Highly Commended.

Thanks and well done to all the students who entered the competition.

– Emily 

Image ©Colby Hoyer

London Archaeology Class Visit the Thames Foreshore

The London Archaeology class on the Thames foreshore near Vauxhall Bridge with Courtney Nimura and Natalie Cohen by Fay StevensFay Stevens, Adjunct Professor of Archaeology and Ethics and London Archaeology writes:

Our London Archaeology fieldtrips continue with an illuminating excursion on Saturday 2nd February onto the Thames foreshore.  Here, we were fortunate to have the expertise of two experienced field and foreshore archaeologists Dr Courtney Nimura and Nathalie Cohen from the Thames Discovery Programme.  Through the experienced eyes of Courtney and Nathalie, we observed prehistoric features, ancient peat deposits, riverine industrial structures and a host of cultural funds, including a piece of Victorian salt glazed pottery, an exquisite sherd of hand painted 17th century Delft ceramic ware, fragments of clay pipes and a variety of ceramic pieces.  We extended our discussions to consider the social and cultural context of the archaeology we were engaging with as we explored themes of trade, social mobility, cultural identity and the palimpsest of the London Landscape.

Courtney and Nathalie write:

‘The Thames Discovery Programme is a large scale community archaeology project, hosted at Museum of London Archaeology.  When the tide is out, the Thames is the longest open – air archaeological site in London, and much of the foreshore is freely accessible to the public.  However, many of the exposed archaeological sites are often unrecognised and unprotected, and almost all are vulnerable to the twice – daily scouring of the tidal river, and thus require close monitoring.  Building on initiatives pioneered by the Museum of London’s Thames Archaeological Survey that took place from 1993 – 1999, and the Thames Explorer Trust’s innovative education projects, the Thames Discovery Programme aims to communicate an understanding and informed enjoyment of the historic Thames to the widest possible audience. This ambitious project was launched with generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2008, and has been hosted at MOLA since November 2011.  Other partners include the Museum of London, English Heritage and the UCL Institute of Archaeology.  Our roles are twofold: to monitor and record the archaeology of the Thames foreshore with the support of our volunteers, the FROG (Foreshore Recording and Observation Group), and to enable access to the intertidal zone by members of the public, and disseminate information about the archaeology of the foreshore in person, in print and online.  It was a pleasure to show students from University of Notre Dame the site at Vauxhall – one of our key sites – and we hope everyone enjoyed it!’

Olivia Cogan and Jennifer Kalan with their foreshore ceramic finds by Fay StevensFind out more information about exploring the foreshore safely
Find out more information about reporting artefacts
For more information about different kinds of artefacts and structure on the foreshore have a look at the ‘Discover’ page

Information on the Thames Discovery Programme foreshore activities, as well as talks, lectures and online resources can be found at
Facebook: Thames Discovery Programme
Twitter: @ThamesDiscovery

Images: The London Archaeology class on the Thames foreshore near Vauxhall Bridge with Courtney Nimura and Natalie Cohen, and Olivia Cogan and Jennifer Kalan with their foreshore ceramic finds.  ©Fay Stevens

The Brazilian Outlook 2014: Elections, Economy and Mega-Events

AmbassadorIn the run-up to the October 2014 Brazilian general election, the Ambassador of Brazil to the United Kingdom and academic experts from the University of Notre Dame, University of Oxford, and the Fundac?a?o Getu?lio Vargas, Brazilian School of Business and Public Administration analyzed economic, social, and electoral conditions over the coming months and beyond.

Organized by Latin America experts Professor Scott Mainwaring of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute of International Studies and Timothy Power of the University of Oxford, the event took place at the University of Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway last Thursday, January 30.

When he introduced the panel, Scott Mainwaring noted that it would be difficult to assemble speakers with more talent and expertise on Brazil.

The Ambassador, HE Robert Jaguaribe argued that in the last two decades, Brazil has developed over the years from what his father, the well known social scientist Hélio Jaguaribe, described as an “alluvial state” into a stable democratic country with a strong economy and social inclusion. Brazil is the only large emerging country that does not confront challenging national integration issues.

Dr. Carlos Pereira of the Fundac?a?o Getu?lio Vargas analyzed the coalition management strategy of the current Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff.  He questioned her political strategy of awarding the lion’s share of cabinet posts to her own Workers’ Party (PT), and he highlighted the government’s waning legislative support among its alliance partners over the past year. He expects a competitive presidential election this year.

Dr. Daniela Campello and Dr. Cesar Zucco Jr., also of the FGV, analyzed the relationship between international economic conditions, presidential approval ratings, and electoral scenarios for 2014.  Remarkably, commodity prices and international interest rates explain 62% of the variance in Brazilian presidents’ approval ratings. They then discussed the relationship between presidential approval ratings and their electoral prospects. Given President Dilma’s current approval ratings, they project that she is likely to win between 46% and 48% of the first round vote in October.

The final speaker was Dr Timothy Power of the University of Oxford, who focused on the context of Brazil’s 2014 elections.  He took the viewpoint that the protests that rocked Brazil in 2013 did not fundamentally change Brazil’s political and electoral situation. Noting the advantages of incumbency in Brazilian executive elections, he agreed with Campello and Zucco that the scenario for Dilma Rousseff is generally positive. He argued further that, absent any missteps in policing and crowd control, the World Cup is unlikely to have much effect on the electoral outcome.

Mainwaring and Speakers

The talks were followed by a lively Q&A session in which the speakers expanded on their arguments.

The event was well attended by academics from many UK universities, representatives from Brazilian organizations in London, members of the University of Oxford, staff and faculty from the London Global Gateway, and many others interested in Brazil.

Contact: Emily Grassby, Communications and Planning Specialist for London Global Gateway,

New London Archaeology Course Gets Off to an Exciting Start!

 width=Fay Stevens, Adjunct Professor of Archaeology and Ethics and London Archaeology writes:

‘London Archaeology: Local and Global Perspectives’, is a new course in the London Undergraduate Program.  Based predominately around field trips and workshops, the course sets out to explore the archaeology of London and consider local, global, transcultural and intercultural perspectives at play in the sites and museums we visit.

On Tuesday 28th January, we visited the British Museum with an engaging presentation of the Americas Collection by curator Dr Jago Cooper and museum assistant Kate Jarvis.  Dr Cooper gave a fascinating talk on the history of the collection and its context within the museum.  This was followed by a tour of the Americas Galleries.  Here, we engaged with the presentation of the collection and explored the future development and extension of the galleries.

Dr Cooper says:

“The British Museum Americas collection is one of the finest in the world and my role is to ensure the continuing curation, presentation, and development of the collection for future generations.

It was a great pleasure to show such an interesting group of students from University of Notre Dame the galleries and get their thoughts on how to improve them.

The British Museum is a museum of the world for the world and with this in mind it was wonderful to have an opportunity to spend some time with the next generation of Americas’ brightest minds”

Our trip marks an exciting time for the Americas Collection as Dr Cooper starts to update the displays and make plans for a new permanent South American Gallery in the future.

More information on the Americas at the British Museum can be found on the website.


Image: The London Archaeology class with Dr Jago Cooper (Curator of the Americas Collection) and Kate Jarvis (Museum Assistant) in the Americas Galleries, British Museum

©Fay Stevens