Lauren Van Nest

PhD Candidate

Lauren Van Nest is a doctoral candidate in art and architectural history in the Department of Art at the University of Virginia. Her dissertation is titled “Sacral Performance & Extended Royal Bodies in Ottonian Bamberg: The Case of Henry II & Kunigunde (1002–1024),” and is conducted under the direction of Professor Eric Ramírez-Weaver. Her research focuses on objects of imperial patronage in the Ottonian Empire, with a particular interest in examining the relationships crafted between these objects, their ritual environments, and the bodies of their patrons. Lauren has presented her research at the Leeds International Medieval Congress and the International Congress on Medieval Studies held in Kalamazoo, MI.

While at the University of Virginia, Lauren served as a 2019-2020 Praxis Fellow based in the Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia Library. Over the course of this fellowship she co-created a digital humanities project titled Land and Legacy, which investigates the land development and expansion of the University of Virginia (UVA) and University of Virginia Foundation (UVAF) throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County since the 1980s. The project focuses on how these changes have affected local communities, reshaped city and county topography, and contributed to local inequities. Lauren also co-curated the exhibition Beyond Dreamings: The Rise of Indigenous Australian Art in the United States at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia. This exhibition was on display from Spring 2018 through Summer 2019 and was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue featuring essays written by the graduate student co-curators.

Prior to joining the program at Virginia in the fall of 2017, Lauren completed a Master of Arts at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She currently serves as a committee member of the Graduate Student Committee of the Medieval Academy of America, as well as a student committee member of the International Center of Medieval Art. She served as co-coordinator of the Medieval Colloquium at the University of Virginia from 2018 to mid-2020.