We are the only Italian Department in the new Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) London Research Consortium. There is a strong recognition for PhD achievement via AHRC Block Grant Partnerships, comprising annual PhD and two-yearly MA funding. We also hold lively research seminars, with frequent contributions from international scholars based in Europe and the USA.
Exciting research makes for inspiring tuition
Our staff are among the leading researchers in many areas of Italian Studies, including linguistics, Dante, the Renaissance, modern and contemporary literature, modern historical and cultural studies, cinema, art and design history. UCL Italian students are the first beneficiaries of all that expertise, through courses that reflect cutting-edge thinking on a host of different subjects.
Our students quickly sense that they are in a hive of research activity. We hold lively research seminars, open to all, with frequent contributions from international scholars based in Italy, the rest of Europe, and the USA. We have a high profile in the UK and world media. Several members of staff appear regularly on radio and TV in the UK, Italy and beyond as experts in their discipline; members of staff have also written frequently for the press. Professor Robert Lumley has collaborated closely with Tate Modern and other galleries, curating and writing on Italian contemporary art. In 2015, Dr Catherine Keen and Professor John Took were involved in a series of events at the Italian Cultural Institute to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Dante's birth. In 2016, Professor John Dickie's history of Italian food was turned into a six-part series on Italian television, which Prof Dickie presented himself. We are the only UK Italian department with a writer-in-residence, Enrico Palandri. Several members of staff have been awarded civil honours (the equivalent of the British MBE or OBE) for their research by the President of the Italian Republic.
UCL has an unrivalled range of research resources on its doorstep. There is nowhere in Britain that affords students such wonderful facilities for private study, and such rich opportunities to work on first-hand Italian source material for their essays and dissertations.
UCL Library is the largest and oldest college library in the University of London. It has four special collections that include early Italian books: the Rotton and Ogden collections (roughly 80,000 volumes), as well as the Castiglione and Dante collections. All told, UCL library has a better holding of pre-twentieth century Italian books than any other higher education institution in the UK.
Students also have access to the 14 million books in the nearby British Library (not forgetting an astonishing 164 million other items, ranging from manuscripts to sound recordings). As well as being a copyright library, entitled by law to a copy of every book published in the UK, the British Library has the largest collection of early printed books anywhere in the world. The number of Italian publications is particularly large owing to influence of Antonio Panizzi, founder of the library in its modern form and the first Professor of Italian at UCL nearly two hundred years ago.
The British Newspaper Library at Colindale contains many Italian newspapers. The library of the British Film Institute is a short walk away; it holds most of the major Italian film periodicals published since the 1930s and many books on Italian cinema. In addition, students have easy access to the libraries of the Institute of Historical Research, the University of London in Senate House, the Warburg Institute, the LSE, the Courtauld Institute, and the Wellcome Trust.