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A portrait of University of Birmingham Alumna Chloe Church

University of Birmingham alumna, Chloe Church has been awarded the 2020 Society of Biblical Literature - De Gruyter Prize in Biblical Studies. Chloe writes on her response to the news and the role of the University of Birmingham in her journey.

"I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded the 2020 Society of Biblical Literature – De Gruyter Prize for Biblical Studies and Reception History, in the category of Material and Visual Culture. It is an honour to have my work recognised by such notable authorities in the field and to have been given the opportunity to be published in theJournal of the Bible and Its Reception.

I was a student at the University of Birmingham for four years between 2013-2017 and obtained a First Class degree in Theology and Religion and a Masters by Research with Biblical Studies Specialism. My experience at Birmingham was exceptionally formative, particularly with regard to my research interests and career prospects. It was through the variety of biblical methodologies being taught during the undergraduate course that I was able to determine the specific area of research I wanted to invest in; that being the interpretation of the Bible in visual images. I was able to take this interest further by completing a Masters by Research that straddled biblical studies and art history. This interdisciplinary study was made possible by the close, collaborative relationships maintained between departments at the University. I was fortunate enough to receive the College of Arts and Law Masters-Level Scholarship, which funded my studies and enhanced my application for further postgraduate research.

I am so grateful for the opportunities the University of Birmingham provided me with. Through the support of my supervisors there (and the wonderful students I studied with!),  I have been able to execute AHRC-funded doctoral research at the University of Exeter and University of Bristol, into the visual biblical interpretation of the Annunciation to Mary (Lk 1:26-38) in Counter-Reformation paintings. I hope to continue researching this area in postdoctoral study, and have no doubt that my experiences at the University of Birmingham will play a considerable role in establishing my future steps in academia."