Despina Papacaralampous | Interview

Despina Papacharalambous

PhD Candidate

Can you tell us few words about your academic background?

My love for Byzantine art impelled me to dedicate my studies and career plans to it. It was during my undergraduate studies in archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki that I became immersed in the captivating heritage of Byzantine culture. My passion for the topic and my curiosity to explore the Byzantine world of Cyprus were strong incentives to apply to the University of Cyprus’ inter-departmental postgraduate program on Byzantine studies. My eagerness to continue my research on Byzantine and medieval art and to benefit from innovative technological methods and applications, encouraged me to apply for the doctoral program in Digital Cultural Heritage offered by the Cyprus Institute.

Can you tell us few words about your academic background?

I joined the STARC family back in 2014 and since then I have been working on several research projects but focusing on my PhD thesis. My doctoral thesis concerns a monument of major importance for the Post-Byzantine art in Cyprus, the orthodox cathedral of Saint John the Theologian in Nicosia. The iconographic program of the church dates from the 18th century and is the only complete program of this period on the island. The church preserves an impressive and animated post-byzantine iconographic program that encapsulates the historic scenery of the island during that time. My interest concerns the analysis of the visual experience in this monument. Important wall-paintings in the church, including scenes, inscriptions and hagiographical portraits, are being studied with the support of the Reflectance Transformation Imaging and Infrared Reflectography methods, while a three-dimensional reconstruction and photogrammetry of the monument in whole complete the digital preservation of one of the most important, central and historic monuments of the Cypriot cultural heritage.

Do you think the advanced technological and scientific framework of CyI and STARC has enriched your research?

The combination of the theoretical approach with the technology in the process of documenting and preserving byzantine art works is an extremely useful approach in archaeological documentation and preservation. The significant role of visualization and advanced imaging is being reflected in my research questions, which could not be answered in bare eye. The digital documentation of the cultural heritage is a contemporary valuable tool which could certainly not be skipped from the island’s historic cathedral, which has unfortunately been suffering by humidity during the last years.