WATN – Katerina Korola

Katerina Korola: Editor-in-Chief, Volume X (2013-2014)

After completing her BFA in Art History and Film Studies at Concordia, Katerina Korola continued directly into her PhD at the University of Chicago. She is currently in her fourth year of studies, where she is pursuing a joint degree in Cinema and Media Studies and Art History and is preparing to propose her dissertation at the end of this academic year.

Her research interests are wide-ranging, but they converge in the German interwar period. One avenue of research she has explored within this period is the design of atmosphere, an interest which came out of research she had done in set design and special effects used in cinema with a particular focus on artificial clouds. She recounts how she is interested “particularly [in] how smoke and clouds were used to manipulate and sculpt light within those films, an important  part of the German silent film aesthetic, but then became more interested in the technical apparatus behind it and how this ambition to produce the most nebulus phenomenon in nature related to society as a whole. For example, in contemporaneous experiments in architecture, not only light architecture, but also the ambition for architecture to expand to an urban scale and to take up aspects of geo-engineering to some extent.” Another interest of hers is in ambient media and the Avant-Garde in that period, such as the Dada and Constructivist interest in  radio and light projection and its relationship to national and socialist spectacles. She is “interested in that moment (interwar, into post war) as a place suffused with different ideas about designing atmospheric spaces and the power atmosphere can have on the subject.” As she delves into her own research she hopes to also incorporate curatorial projects.

At the University of Chicago, she has worked as a  teaching assistant and does administrative/academic work as well. This year she was in charge of planning professionalization events for undergraduates, such as how to get entry level jobs within academic publishing, and organizing an applying to grad school workshop. Many of these events are similar to those she helped organize during her time with CUJAH.

Korola started as a Copy Editor for volume VIII, and was interested in CUJAH as a way of exercising her love of writing, but also as a way of getting to know people within the university and her department. She served as Managing Editor for volume IX, where she worked closely with the then Editor-in-Chief, Katrina Caruso, to help digitize all of the previous volumes online, to initiate the obtaining of an annual fee-levy from the faculty, and to secure an office for CUJAH to help create a site of institutional memory. In her year as Editor-in-Chief for volume X, CUJAH took on the undergraduate art history conference, where they brought in Kent Monkman as their keynote speaker. In addition, they developed the initiative to start hosting events oriented towards the undergraduate community surrounding issues of writing, such as an undergraduate editing workshop with Dr. Kristina Huneault, and the annual applying to grad school workshop with Dr. Cynthia Hammond.

“We worked to make the fee-levy support a departmental culture and some resources for students rather than just going to the publication itself”

She believes that CUJAH developed her skills as a writer through reading numerous papers written by her peers, engaging in the editing process, and attending organized workshops, in addition to gaining skills in constructive criticism, which proved to be crucial in her post-undergraduate studies.

“Actually all of the events we organized, the conference, the workshops, for example, are the type of activity you’ll probably be called on to do in the future, whether going on to grad school or not. When I organized by first conference here [at the University of Chicago], I felt really prepared and comfortable in the role because of my experience organizing similar events with CUJAH.”

Katerina considers journals at the undergraduate level to offer invaluable experience in what she believes is art history’s central medium of research dissemination: “Journals are often the venue where the newest research comes out. Books are important, but your path to publishing a book is publishing an article, so they are the venue where you really see what the latest scholarship looks like. So they are hugely important. Each field is somewhat different, even within art history, I can’t really imagine the discipline without journals.”

She is proud of the time she spent with CUJAH and excited to see where it continues to go. At the time she joined there was almost no institutional or archival memory and due to her efforts the beginning processes of instituting this memory, and through the development of the “Where Are They now Series,’ getting in touch with past editors-in-chief and archiving, expands on the aims focused on during her time spent at CUJAH.

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