Established in 2019 to celebrate a quarter century of SHARP successes, this annual research fellowship is designed to enhance SHARP’s global scope as an academic society. The fellowship provides support for SHARP members to conduct research anywhere in the world, whether to visit archives or libraries, to interview authors or publishers, to collaborate on projects that cannot be managed digitally, or to collect oral histories.
The grant will be for up to US$3,000 and may be used for travel, accommodation and direct research costs, such as photography. While it is anticipated that the recipient will most likely be an individual scholar, proposals that share the grant among two or more scholars are also acceptable.
Awardees will be expected to provide a report of approximately 1,000 words within a month of completing their fellowship. The report will be published in SHARP News.
We are currently accepting applications for awards to be used starting on July 1, 2024. The deadline for all applications is February 26, 2024.
Criteria for selection include:
- relevance of the proposed research to the aims of SHARP
- overall quality of the proposal
- the contribution that the fellowship support will make to the project
- current membership in SHARP
Priority will be given to applications for research at locations that do not offer other research grants, and, all other things being equal, for research outside the OECD, as part of SHARP’s aim of enhancing internationalization.
All applications should go through our online application form. In addition to supplying contact details and a research proposal, applicants will be asked to upload a CV and to procure a letter of reference; applicants are responsible for ensuring that referees email their reference to the Director of Awards before the closing date for applications. Applicants must be a current member of SHARP at the time of application.
The selection panel is chaired by the Director of Awards and two representatives from the Board of Directors (to be nominated annually by the Board). Applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision by the end of the calendar year.
The 2023 awardee
Sarah Pyke (Anglia Ruskin University)
Pyke’s current research project focuses on “Operation Tiger,” the early 1980s raids by HM Customs and Excise on Gay’s the Word bookshop. Thousands of pounds’ worth of books were seized, staff homes searched and nine employees charged with importing indecent or obscene titles. Despite the scale and severity of the case, “Operation Tiger” is missing from most accounts of 20th-century literary censorship. Through primary archival research, Pyke is working to reconstruct the raids, subsequent trial, and Defend Gay’s the Word Campaign, drawing on recently deposited judicial documents, campaign materials, and related media coverage.
The fellowship will facilitate the second stage of this project: the creation of a new collection of oral histories relating to “Operation Tiger.” Sarah will speak to those in the bookselling and publishing industries who were directly affected by or involved in the customs raids, the campaign, and other associated acts of censorship in the 1980s and 1990s. This new archive will be fully transcribed and summarized and deposited at Bishopsgate Institute where it will be accessible for future research and to the public. Together with archival research and a digital map showing how and when books and other printed materials were prevented from entering the country, these oral histories will help build up a rich picture of this overlooked episode in queer book culture.
Chiara Betti (Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and the Bodleian Libraries)
This fellowship will support research on the manufacture and use of 17th- and 18th-century printing plates and the production of books during that time. The fellowship will allow Betti to conduct material analyses and high-resolution imaging at the Engineering Department at Oxford. Using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Betti will map the crystallography of the plates (i.e., the structure of the metal), showing for the first time in print studies how the composition of copper plates changed throughout the centuries. By X-raying the plates, this project will also identify potential conservation issues such as crack and corrosion causes that might go otherwise unnoticed.
Dipanjan Maitra (The State University of New York at Buffalo)
This award will support researching into the role of press-cutting agencies in building a transnational information network that contributed to the composition, production and distribution of literary modernism. Press-cutting agencies were private media-monitoring agencies that emerged in Paris in the late 1870s and rapidly spread to Britain, Europe, and the United States. They employed readers (mostly female clerks) to manually speed-read hundreds of newspapers for keywords (such as clients’ names) in order to identify valuable news and reviews for subscribers. This project argues that these agencies also acted as surveillance tools in the hands of colonial institutions, such as the India Office in London, or organizations like the British Sexological Society. Maitra will be examining various holdings at primarily three institutions: (1) the British Library, (2) University College London Special Collections, and (3) the National Library of Ireland.
Jane Raisch (University of York)
Raisch’s research project examines the pre-history of the facsimile during the letterpress period. Focusing on techniques for visual reproduction that predate the advent of lithography (facsimile types, woodblocks, engraving, and mezzotint), she will consider how and why early scholars and printers harnessed the technology of print to imitate the physical features of textual artifacts. Dr Raisch’s research will be undertaken primarily at the Rare Books and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, where she will attempt to discern how methodologies of facsimile production were tied to particular printing techniques, how the limitations of pre-lithographic reproduction informed the principles which govern practice, and what purpose these expensive and time-consuming editions served in the wider print market.
Trude Dijkstra (University of Amsterdam)
Dijkstra’s research project examines the early modern medical contacts between China and Europe by way of print culture, in two complementary ways. The first is by analyzing the manner in which Dutch producers of printed materials facilitated and influenced the transmission of medical knowledge from China to Europe. The second is then by studying how early modern European readers received and applied this medical knowledge. The research will be undertaken at the Wellcome Collection and Library in London (UK).