The College of Arts and Law has secured two European Commission Marie Curie Individual Fellowships, totalling £150,000.

The Individual Fellowships scheme provides funding for researchers looking to enhance their career development and prospects by working abroad. The grants mean that they can undertake two-year research project at universities in the EU.

The first Fellow is Katherine Smoak, who is currently completing her PhD at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Her project at Birmingham will provide the first comprehensive history of counterfeiting as an imperial crime. It will investigate the wide-ranging implications counterfeiting had for market development, cultures of money and the market, and imperial authority in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world.

Combining methods from social, cultural, and political history with analysis of material and visual culture, Katherine will engage with interdisciplinary issues, including the dynamics between crime and economic development, the relationship of money to the state, and the evolution of money in the modern world. Katherine will be supervised by Dr Tom Cutterham, a Lecturer in United States History.

The second Fellow is Dr Vendula Hnídková of the Art History department of the Czech Academy of Sciences. She will undertake a comparative analysis of British and Czech urban design in the early 20th century, focusing on the factory and workers’ town built by the Czech shoe manufacturer Baťa in East Tilbury in 1934.

While the factory and houses reflected the functionalist architecture of interwar Czechoslovakia, they were also interpretations of British ideas, particularly Ebenezer Howard’s concept of the ‘Garden City’.

Looking at the rich exchange of ideas between Britain and Central Europe in the early 20th Century and the impact British urban design in the region, especially Czechoslovakia, Dr Hnídková will question traditional narratives of interwar architecture and urbanism. These have tended to concentrate on the technologically-focused, masculine and avant-garde, at the expense of other kinds of practice exemplified by the reception of the garden city movement.

Dr Hnídková will be supervised by Professor Matthew Rampley, the Chair of Art History at the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies.