The Centre for Design History is pleased to announce that Caroline Hamilton successfully defended her doctoral thesis on 30 May 2022. Caroline’s PhD was entitled “A Successful Failure? Les Ballets 1933: An Object-Based Approach to an Avant-Garde Ballet Company”.
Caroline, a dance historian and costume curator now based in the USA, undertook this major study rooted in the collections of Brighton Museum, who hold costumes, props, sets and ephemera relating to the shortlived but pioneering ballet company, which was financed by major arts patron Edward James and employed many of the major names in interwar avant-garde art and design including André Derain and Pavel Tchelitchew. As Caroline argued, through meticulous research into the extensive surviving materials, Les Ballets 1933 developed a range of innovations that influenced the development of 20th century ballet internationally, including launching the careers of celebrated choreographer and co-founder of New York City Ballet, George Balanchine, and costume designer Barbara Karinska.
As a collaborative project between University of Brighton and Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove, funded by AHRC Techne, Caroline’s study was supervised by Prof Jeremy Aynsley, Dr Annebella Pollen and Martin Pel, Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the museum. Caroline was examined by Dr Charlotte Nicklas and Donatella Barbieri of University of the Arts London.
For more about Caroline’s research, please see her website and Instagram: @_travellinghistorian
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