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Short Term Research Assistant Job Opportunity

4 May 2018

We are looking for a post-graduate or postdoctoral level research assistant, with specialism in dress history, to assist us full time for two months in building our database, in August and September 2018. The work will consist of working with our transcriptions and other data, and will focus especially on working with Italian-English dress and textile terminology and glossary relating to the data.  

The research assistant will work within the ERC funded research project Refashioning the Renaissance: Popular Groups, Fashion and the Material and Cultural Significance of Clothing in Europe, 1550-1650, led by Paula Hohti. This project studies the meanings and dissemination of western fashion in early modern Europe, especially at the lower social levels, and develops new material-based experimental and scientific research methods in dress history.

The work can be carried out either remotely from any country, or at Aalto University in Finland. We will pay a monthly salary according to the Aalto University salary system, based on the level and qualifications and experience (c. 2.300–4.000 euros/month before taxes, depending on qualifications and experience).

The requirements are:

  • excellent knowledge of early modern dress and textile terminology, both in English and Italian  
  • background in early modern material culture studies, or related field
  • basic knowledge of using Microsoft Excel

If you are interested in applying for the position, please send an email to Paula Hohti at, with a short description of your background and a short CV.

Object Biographies Conference in Helsinki

Jane presenting her paper at the Object Biographies conference.

On 2–3 March our researchers participated in Object Biographies conference, organised by Artefacta, the Finnish Network for Artefact Studies in collaboration with the Finnish Antiquarian Society and Nordic Association of Conservators in Finland at the House of Science and Letters. The two-day conference discussed the varied lives of objects, and how their meanings and interpretations change over time.

Paula Hohti had the honour of chairing several sessions, on collective and forged biographies, on textile biographies, and on costumes and reconstructions. Interesting and thought-provoking papers varied from the presentation of power through civic uniforms, to recreating a medieval luxury textile with 16 volunteers, and to the representation of objects that are later given problematic meanings. Jane-Malcolm Davies gave her paper on knitted caps, called “Knitting virtual tribes together: new chapters in object biographies”.

The conference as well as the evening programme offered the opportunity to connect with especially Finnish researchers, makers, and museum professionals, and to promote our project.

Fulling Fun: Presenting Our Project to YLE News

Paula and Jane at work.

Last week we had the opportunity to present Refashioning the Renaissance project to YLE, Finnish broadcasting agency. We hosted the film crew at Aalto University, where Paula was interviewed for the TV news and web article, and Jane and Paula organised a mini-workshop on knitted caps. They showed how 16th century knitted caps were made, and processed to resemble velvet hats. The process includes fulling the caps by treading them in a soap water or beating them with wooden mallets, after which the nap is raised with tinsels.

Paula being interviewed.

After thew workshop Paula sat down with journalist Jonni Aromaa to chat about our project. She discussed renaissance dress, growing desire for new products and fashions, and our aims to develop new methods and experimental practices for research.

We are thrilled that YLE is interested in our project, and did – not one – but two thoughtful and well-made news stories about it. Unfortunately for international audience both the TV clip and web article are in Finnish, but at least you can all enjoy seeing Paula and Jane fulling.

Article published (in Finnish) at the YLE website.

To see what other media outlets have written about our project, have a look at the Media page.