Mia Trentin | Interview
Can you tell us few words about your academic background?
I studied Medieval History and Archaeology at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice where I obtained also my PhD in European Social History from the Middle Ages to the Present times, focusing my research on written and epigraphic sources.
What about your research at the Cyprus Institute and STARC?
Since September 2017, I have joined STARC as a postdoc in the joint post-doctoral program between the Cyprus Institute and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. My research focuses on the study of Medieval and Modern graffiti along the sea routes in the Eastern Mediterranean with a particular interest in the utilization of technological tools and applications. My work develops along two main research paths: the implementation of digital tools to document, catalogue, analyse and study graffiti, and the broader analysis of the phenomenon in the eastern Mediterranean region.
Do you think the advanced technological and scientific framework of CyI and STARC has enriched your research?
Overall, the interdisciplinary and multicultural environment of CyI is helping and supporting me my work by offering new research perspectives and solutions. Thanks to the expertise of STARC and CyI staff as well as of our NCSA partners, I have been able to define new digital tools that can enhance the approach and the research in the field of graffiti studies. In addition, the establishment of the Andreas Pittas Art Characterization at STARC promoting the digital and analytical study of works of art and archaeological with a particular focus on medieval and early modern art and architecture provides a perfect research environment for my work on medieval graffiti. A recognition of the value and importance of interdisciplinarity in my research has been the award of a Research Promotion Foundation “2nd Opportunity Programme” grant that will allow me to realize the Marie Curie research project I proposed two years ago to study graffiti in Cyprus and the broader Eastern Mediterranean.
Can you describe a bit more about your Marie Curie- 2nd Opportunity project?
The GRAFMEDIA project will investigate the presence and distribution of graffiti along the pilgrimage routes from Venice to Jerusalem considering key cities and monuments such as the Saint Mark Basilica in Venice, the churches of Zara and Dubrovnik, Iraklion in Crete, Famagusta and Nicosia in Cyprus, the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The main aim of the project is to identify the presence of graffiti and through their study define common models and peculiar ways of communication used by people living and travelling across the Eastern Mediterranean.
Where do you see the future of research in graffiti studies?
The further study and analysis of graffiti can allow us to recover an important yet unappreciated source of information about past societies. I see graffiti as the personal testimony of past people, an intimate expression of beliefs, messages and symbols that goes beyond geographical, social, cultural and religious borders reflecting the inner need of people to communicate and to relate with the surrounding space, in the past as well as today.