James Ackerman Award and Summer School in Applied Palaeography
Part of the second half of the Balzan Prize received by James Sloss Ackerman in 2001 went to the creation of a James Ackerman Award in the history of architecture, made possible by Ackerman’s donation to the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura “Andrea Palladio”, the centre for Palladio studies in Vicenza, for which Ackerman has been a driving force throughout the years.
The James Ackerman Award has been conferred since 2005 for the publication of an important, original work in any period in the history of architecture by one or two scholars of any nationality who have not yet published.
The first James Ackerman Award was awarded to Leo Schubert for his book La villa Jeanneret-Perret di Le Corbusier, 1912: la prima opera autonoma, which was published in May 2006. The 2006 award went to Valeria Cafà for her book Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, il capolavoro di Baldassarre Peruzzi, which was published in May 2007. The winner of the 2007 award was Angela Dressen. Her book Pavimenti decorati del Quattrocento in Italia was published in May 2008. In 2008 the Prize was awarded to Federica Rossi for her book Tradurre Palladio: Nikolaj L'vov, architetto e intellettuale russo al tramonto dei Lumi, which was published in 2010.
The 2010 prize was won by Daniel McReynolds, for his book Becoming Palladio: Palladian Polemics and the Making of a Master in the Late Enlightenment, published in May 2011. Applications for the James Ackerman Award must be sent directly to the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura “Andrea Palladio”. Further details may be found at (http://www.premioackerman.it/bando2.htm)
The rest of the second half of the Balzan prize awarded to Ackerman was destined for the creation of a summer school in Latin palaeography at the American Academy in Rome. The program focused on the analysis of texts from Roman antiquity to the Renaissance in Europe, and was consistent not only with reference to humanistic studies, but also with his way of studying Renaissance architecture “based on a systematic critical examination of written and visual sources”, as the motivation for the award reads.
Directed by Christopher S. Celenza, Professor of European history at the University of Michigan, the summer courses in Applied Palaeography took place in 2002, 2003 and 2005. They were offered (free of charge) to graduates and scholars, who did not necessarily have to be Americans. They were chosen according to their curricula, and for six weeks they were the guests of the American Academy in Rome, one of the oldest American institutions abroad.
Besides learning about western “alphabets” and their transformations, or taking notice of palaeography as a discipline both from the point of view of tradition and its practical aspects, the purpose of the course was to provide firsthand experience with the vast array of manuscripts and other archival sources, offered for a variety of historical types of research.