A limited number of summer internships at I Tatti are available for Harvard undergraduate students. The primary goal is to allow students to spend two months (June-July) at the Florence center to carry out a project that contributes to their academic development.
Between the end of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth, Bernard and Mary Berenson acquired a vast array of artworks. Best known today are the Italian panel paintings from the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, but the Villa also houses valuable pre-Columbian, Islamic, and Asian sculptures, objects, and scrolls, including a gilded bronze Buddhist altar dated 529 CE, precious Persian illuminated manuscripts, and stunning examples of Renaissance-era textiles. Interns will help to prepare entries for the forthcoming catalogue of our important but little-studied collection of non-Western art; this includes Chinese, Thai, and Japanese works (paintings, bronzes, stone and terracotta sculpture) described in our summary catalogue, The Bernard Berenson Collection of Oriental at Villa I Tatti, from 1991. Interns will push this research forward through a study of the works themselves, in conjunction with Berenson’s correspondence, photographs, archival material, and scholarly resources in the library. This project offers interns the opportunity to work closely with artworks housed in the Villa itself, and provides a foundation in provenance research and collection history, a valuable skillset for future work in academia and museums.
Archibald Creswell photographs of Islamic Architecture
Interns will work with rare vintage photographs of Islamic architecture from the extraordinary collection of images shot by Sir K.A.C. Creswell (1879-1974), a pioneer in the study of Islamic architecture who travelled extensively in the Middle East from around 1919 to the 1960s measuring and photographing monuments. Of great documentary value generally, the importance of the collection is enhanced even more due to the presence of images of numerous sites that have been destroyed or are now altered through excavation and/or restoration.
Photography & Visual Content
The Photography and Visual Content Intern will help I Tatti produce and reorganize shareable communications-related content. Beginning with an in-depth review of pre-existing photo and video content, the intern will then be in charge of refreshing and reorganizing this material so that it can be easily located and utilized for communications purposes. The intern will utilize their photography skills and editing abilities to produce material to add to this database, and will be tasked with photographing not only academic events and scholars at work, but also social occasions, I Tatti’s art collection, the Villa, the formal gardens, working farm, and surrounding ground and properties. Finally, the intern will be in charge of a review of photography used on I Tatti’s public website. The internship requires a high level of creativity, photography skills, attention to detail, and project management skills. Interns will become familiar with the communications strategies and media output of an international research institution, preparing them for future work in non-profit cultural organizations, museums, and universities.
Mediterranean Cookery and Produce
The intern working on Mediterranean cookery and produce will gain experience in the production and preparation of seasonal ingredients and dishes. Interns will assist I Tatti's experienced team of Italian chefs in food preparation and the art of pasticceria (pastry-making.) I Tatti relies on its organic garden to produce a colorful selection of herbs, fruit, and vegetables, and interns will learn about the correct preparation of these ingredients while helping to create innovative and fresh Italian and Mediterranean recipes for the scholarly community. The internship also involves the preparation of written content concerning the history of I Tatti's olive oil and wine, soon to be sold at Harvard, and assisting with the production of an upcoming booklet of recipes from I Tatti's kitchen. Applicants must be proficient in Italian. Some experience in the basics of food preparation is desirable.
Digital Humanities: Online Portal to the Berenson Art Collection
Drawing from the two catalogs of the Berenson Art Collection (The Bernard and Mary Berenson Collection of European Paintings at I Tatti and The Bernard Berenson Collection of Oriental Art at Villa I Tatti) as well as records from Hollis Images, the intern will produce short entries for each artwork aimed at broad, non-specialized audiences (i.e. similarly to wall texts). This content will be made available online through an interactive map of the Berenson house, allowing users to view how objects were put on display by Bernard Berenson. The spatial visualization of the collection will allow users to acquire focused information on specific objects, while also conveying how artworks interact visually with each other in Berenson’s historic display. Eventually, this information will be organized not only spatially but also temporally, along a timeline of Berenson’s acquisitions, allowing users to intuitively trace certain trends and switches in taste. Art History majors are particularly encouraged to apply.
Digital Humanities: Visual Search for artworks
Leveraging cutting-edge computer vision tools, interns will collaborate on building a platform that allows for the exploration of artworks through visual search. Aggregating images and metadata from various open-access museum collections and archives, interns will use these images to build computer vision models to classify groups of images and identify features that are visually similar. The resulting tool will serve to programmatically match artworks across collections, archives, and libraries across the world, as well as assist scholars when conducting research on artworks. Applicants should have some prior experience with machine learning/computer vision tools and have a declared major/minor in Computer Science.
Digital Humanities: Web Development for the Digital Humanities
Digital Humanities: Named Entity Recognition tools for historical documents
As part of a scholarly digital publishing initiative aiming to create a research infrastructure allowing for the integration of scholarly articles and historical documents, interns will work on a component to integrate Named Entity Recognition (NER) tools to extract entities (persons, places, institutions, etc) from textual documents. These entities will be published as annotations within the platform, allowing users to seamlessly navigate between documents and metadata. This toolset will automate the process of textual annotations by leveraging several existing open source NER tools, grouping then together to obtain more accurate results. During the two months, interns will gain experience in working with Natural Language Processing (NLP), Semantic Web technologies, and publishing the results in a semantic web research environment. Interns will work closely with members of the Digital Humanities research group and are expected to have good working knowledge of more than one programming language.
Applicants must be currently enrolled as full-time students at Harvard University. Priority will be given to rising juniors and seniors at Harvard College. Familiarity with Italian is recommended but not required. Unfortunately, graduating seniors are not eligible.
Interns receive $5000 to offset the cost of living and airfare. They are required to reside in Florence from June 1 through July 30, and are responsible for arranging their own travel. Housing is offered on Villa I Tatti property. Interns are required to spend at least four full days a week at the Villa and to attend all academic events. Interns may not take on any other obligations, even part-time ones, during any part of their internship. Interns enjoy all the privileges of the Harvard Center, including use of the Biblioteca Berenson and lunch from Monday through Friday.
Applicants will need to provide a cover letter, C.V. (including knowledge of languages), and a list of courses taken at Harvard (including grades and names of professors.) In the cover letter, please list two projects in which you would most like to take part, in order of preference. A professor familiar with the applicant’s studies must supply a letter of recommendation. To give the referee adequate time to submit a letter of recommendation, click the reference tab and register them as early as possible. Referees will receive an email explaining how to access the system and submit their letters electronically. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2020 by midnight (Cambridge, MA time).