School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Sarah Cockram and the Digital Princess

Historian Dr Sarah Cockram has spent a month in California as part of an international research team which aims to create an open-access, online resource for the study of Renaissance Italy’s most consummate female social networker.

The Isabella d'Este Archive (IDEA) project focuses on the voluminous correspondence of Isabella d’Este (1474-1539), marchesa of Mantua.

Dr Cockram, a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, was co-Principal Investigator of the residential research initiative, entitled 'Digital Princess’.

The residency was based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) in Irvine, California.

Expanding public engagement

Dr Cockram says:

“The core research group of the residency was joined for a workshop week by a truly international team of experts, who worked intensively on the IDEA project.

“Using the most advanced technology, the project aims to make available 30,000 of Isabella d'Este's letters, in a state-of-the-art platform, alongside exciting interactive resources for Isabella's celebrated patronage of music and art.

“Exploring ways to expand the potential for public engagement and new research on these precious materials, the team worked with their software developers and visited the Virtual Simulation Lab at UCLA, as well as meeting with specialists in the latest advances in augmented reality”.

Dr Cockram is the author of 'Isabella d'Este and Francesco Gonzaga', the first full length scholarly study of the princess and her husband, and the first book systematically to give evidence of conjugal co-rule at an Italian Renaissance court.