Abigail Van Slyck

University of York (All Disciplines) Scholar Award, University of York - Architectural History

I have recently completed a four-year term as Dean of the Faculty at Connecticut College, where I have been the Dayton Professor of Art History for 20 years. My discipline is architectural history and my passion is interpreting buildings to understand the priorities, anxieties, and lived experience of the people who commissioned and used them. A study of Carnegie libraries in the U.S. and (thanks to an earlier Fulbright) in New Zealand triggered my interest in the architecture of childhood. After completing a book on children’s summer camps, I have now turned my attention to cottages and playhouses built for the children of elite families. This Fulbright is an excellent fit, both for allowing (relatively) easy access to the Swiss Cottage (constructed for the offspring of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) and also for providing a home-base at the University of York, which boasts one of the largest communities of architectural historians in the U.K. I know these four months (from September through December 2019) will fly by. Architectural history may be my job, but it also enriches my everyday experience; interesting buildings are everywhere. With my husband, Mitch Favreau, I look forward to exploring gardens and cathedral cities of the north.