Annual Undergraduate Art History Symposium

Image credit: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press. The Order of Chivalry, 1892. Stanford Libraries Digital Repository (CC license:

The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art (AKMA) continues its collaboration with the Missouri Western State University (MWSU) School of Fine Arts for the sixth year. The annual refereed AKMA / MWSU Undergraduate Art History Symposium offers the opportunity for students from across the United States to present original research papers on various topics advancing the field of art history. Presentations will be made by students selected by a panel of art historians based on original research and academic rigor.

The Symposium will take place on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri (40 minutes north of Kansas City International Airport). This is currently planned as an in-person event. The museum will continue to monitor and observe state and national safety guidelines as the date approaches.

Out of a national call for proposals, eleven students were selected by a panel of art historians based on original research and academic rigor. Participating students represent eleven universities in eight states. In addition to the speakers, a musical response to the presentations will be performed by undergraduate music students at the MWSU School of Fine Arts led by associate professor Dr. David McIntire. MWSU assistant professor Toby Lawrence and undergraduate cinema students, also in the School of Fine Arts, will provide additional technical support and recording expertise. Presentations will be recorded and made available on the Albrecht-Kemper’s YouTube channel. 

This year’s keynote presentation will be given by Dr. Larisa Grollemond, titled “The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: Medievalisms and the Museum.”

The 2022 keynote address is supported by the Missouri Western Arts Society. Thank you!

How to Participate

Symposium date: Saturday, April 9, 2022

The Symposium is FREE and open to the public.

Thanks to the success of the 2021 virtual Symposium format, the 2022 Symposium will be a hybrid experience. This was not only the perfect way for peers, professors, and family members to access the presentations, but also opened the research to a more global audience. You can see past presentations on our YouTube Channel.

Lunch will be available for in-person attendees upon reservation ($20 per person). Reservations are now closed.

Masks are requested for all visitors in the museum while they are not actively eating or drinking.

Meet the Presenters

9:00 am: Morning sessions moderated by Julia Bishop, MWSU

Sarah Reiser, Missouri Western State University (St. Joseph, Missouri) 

“Warning Through Tragedy: A Semiotic Analysis of Russian Artist Karl Bryullov’s The Last Day of Pompeii (1830-33)” 

About Sarah: Sarah Reiser is 23 years old and resides in Kansas City, Missouri. She is a senior at Missouri Western State University and will be graduating this Spring with a Bachelor’s in General Studies with a focus in photography and art history. She would like to thank her professor, Dr. Rislow, and her parents for their encouragement and help in finding her passion for art history. 

Aidan Miles-Jamison, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) 

“Queering the Label: Three Works of Contemporary Art from Thailand, Everywhere, and Nowhere” 

About Aidan: Aidan Miles-Jamison is an undergraduate student majoring in art history at the University of Alabama with a focus on the arts of Asia. His research interests are modern and contemporary art from East Asia with a focus on marginalized communities’ visual production and its intersections with Euramerica. He is currently a gallery attendant at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center and Paul R Jones Museum, a volunteer research assistant for the Global Makers project, and has curated the show Napoleon: The Man and The Myth Through Art at the Berman Museum in Anniston, Alabama. 

Maya Virdell, Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio) 

“The Rebellious Iconography of Female Rule in Byzantium” 

About Maya: Maya Virdell is a sophomore from Seattle majoring in Classics and Art History at Kenyon College. She is interested in numismatics and visual expressions of female rulership. Her research focuses on the period of Late Antiquity and the ways in which iconography was used for propagandistic and political purposes. 

Jingxian Jin, Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri) 

“Framing the Flowers: A View on the Copper Square Dish in Painted Enamels from Kangxi’s Reign”  

About Jingxian: Jingxian Jin is a junior majoring in Art History at Washington University in St. Louis. She is originally from Nanjing, China. Her fields of research and interest are centered in East Asian art, Buddhist art and artifacts, cross-cultural encounters, and global Baroque art. 

Caitlyn Martin, University of Missouri-Kansas City (Kansas City, Missouri) 

“The Power of Storytelling in Art: 20 Odd by Sara Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin” 

About Caitlyn: Caitlyn Martin is a returning student majoring in art history at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, graduating this fall. Her research interests have focused recently on the use of traditionally feminine handcrafts in art. She plans on pursuing a career in museum collection management after attending graduate school. 

Jacqueline Schwartz, University of California, Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, California) 

“Displaying the Dark Ages: The Medieval Galleries at the British Museum and the V&A” 

About Jacqueline: Jacqueline Schwartz is a fourth year art history student at UC Santa Barbara specializing in museum studies. She is currently writing her senior honors thesis on the commercialization of Huichol art in the tourist market while working as the chief content curator at Entheoscope Magazine. Following an influential semester abroad in London, Jacqueline plans on pursuing a career in curation based in the UK after she graduates. 

Lunch Break from 12:30 – 2:00 pm (CST)

2:00 pm: Keynote Presentation  

Dr. Larisa Grollemond, Assistant Curator, Manuscripts Department, J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA)

The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: Medievalisms and the Museum” 

About Dr. Grollemond: Dr. Larisa Grollemond is the Assistant Curator in the Manuscripts Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, specializing in French manuscript illumination and early print culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. She completed her Ph.D in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania (2016). In her dissertation, she examined several aspects of late medieval manuscript culture at the French courts to provide an account of the material and ideological significance of the manuscript book during a time of major political and artistic restructuring. Her upcoming exhibition projects include “Painted Prophecy: The Hebrew Bible through Medieval Eyes” (2022, remounted from 2020) and “The Fantasy of the Middle Ages” with Bryan C. Keene (2022).

The 2022 keynote address is supported by the Missouri Western Arts Society. Thank you!

3:00 pm: Afternoon sessions moderated by April Cowan, MWSU

Makayla Fuemmeler, University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg, Missouri) 

“Culture, Class, and Connections: Women Artists in the Seventeenth Century” 

About Makayla: Makayla Fuemmeler is a senior pursuing degrees in both Graphic Design (BFA) and Art History (Individualized Major – BS) at the University of Central Missouri. She has taken various courses in art history and developed a particular interest in women artists and their roles in history. Makayla was also able to gain first-hand experience in art history by studying abroad in Italy. After graduation, Makayla intends to apply to graduate school to further her studies in both anthropology and art history and progress toward a career in museum work. 

Wang (Sophie) Xi, Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts)  

“Transitioning from This World to the Netherworld: Tomb Gates in Eastern Han (25-220 CE) Shaanxi” 

About Wang: Wang (Sophie) Xi is a senior student at Smith College, majoring in Art History and minoring in Biological Sciences. Her primary research interest lies in the art and architecture of early imperial China with a focus on the visual interpretations of afterlife. Her current research project probes into the iconological transformation of animal motifs on pre-Qin bronze vessels. In addition, Xi’s identity as an Asian woman in the West has made her particularly responsive to cross-cultural interaction between China and other cultures as well as the intersection of race and gender. 

Molli Banks, Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kansas) 

“Histories of Hosteen (Hastiin) Klah and We’Wha: Tales of Native North American Two Spirits” 

About Molli: A Kansas native, Molli Banks is a senior at Fort Hays State University obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in the field of art history. Her research explores the symbolism accompanying or signifying women in 18th-19th century European art and the feminist movements. She has recently begun the exploration of studying Native North American cultures and arts. While attending Fort Hays State University she assists in cataloging efforts within the Moss-Thorns & Patricia Schmidt Gallery as well as curating exhibitions and gallery design for visiting artists. 

Nell Roberts, University of Colorado, Denver (Denver, Colorado) 

“Mohammed’s Journey with Burāq’s to the Heavens: Diverging Depictions of the Prophet and his Steed Over the Centuries” 

About Nell: Nell Roberts holds a B.F.A from Indiana University with studio concentration in drawing and minors in Art History and Italian. After assorted positions within galleries and museums, Nell began a fundraising and event planning consulting company working for museums and nonprofits, including the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as well as managed an event venue in Downtown Denver. Nell is now pursuing a second B.A. in Art History from the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) and works with Fanning Art Advisory in research and curatorial positions as well as research for an Art History Instructor at UCD. 

Kate Noelle Hodgson, University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas) 

“A Mirror of Conscience: The Hours of Joanna Castile I” 

About Kate: Kate Hodgson is a third-year undergraduate art history student in the Honors College at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR). She has held internships with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Art Bridges Foundation, and the Museum of Native American History. Currently, she is a member of Dr. Kathryn Rudy’s (University of St. Andrew’s, Scotland) Digital Dirty Books research project and plans to pursue graduate work studying French medieval manuscripts. 

Additional support for the 2022 Undergraduate Art History Symposium is provided by:

Dr. Madeline Rislow, Assistant Chair of the MWSU School of Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Art History

Missouri Western State University’s Arts Society

Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art Members. Support programs like this one by becoming a member.