Serena Dyer, University of York 2012 The Conference Student Bursary
My current research focuses on the experience of purchasing clothing for elite and aristocratic women in the eighteenth century, and the ‘Making of a Monarchy for the Modern World’ conference provided me with the ideal opportunity to be exposed to the wealth of background information which is necessary to contextualise this study. Attending this conference would have been impossible for me without the bursary, and I am extremely grateful to the Costume Society and to Maney publishing for making my attendance viable.
Although I generally attended the strand of the conference which focussed on dress history and material culture, I found the opportunity to hear such a variety of speakers talk about their research really broadened my contextual awareness. In relation to my own research, I found Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset’s paper particularly interesting, as it brought to my attention a network and method of fashion exchange which had previously been unknown to me. The panel who spoke about the Helen Larson Historic Fashion Collection was also fascinating, and has left me eager to continue my research to answer some of the questions raised. Many of the papers also related to my wider interests in history and in dress history, and to the topic of my PhD, a study of the afterlife of eighteenth century garments, which I will be commencing in October.
Not only did the conference provide me with the opportunity to hear about some fascinating current research in the field, it also enabled me to meet numerous people both within dress history circles and beyond. I am very grateful to the members of the Costume Society committee present who were so welcoming and encouraging, and I hope to be able to participate in further Costume Society events in the future.