Award-winning arts duo

Monday 1 December 2008

Two academics at the University of St Andrews have been awarded top UK prizes for their world-leading contributions to the arts.

Dr Alexander Marr, from the School of Art History, and Dr Simon MacLean, a lecturer in the department of Mediaeval History, have both won prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prizes.

With a value of £70,000 each, the prizes are awarded to outstanding young scholars who have made a substantial contribution to their particular field of study and whose future shows great promise.

Dr Alexander Marr (30) joined the University in January 2005 as a lecturer in Art History.  His research interests include the cultural and intellectual history of Europe, from around 1400 -1800.

His forthcoming monograph, ‘Mathematics and Material Culture in Late Renaissance Italy’ examines the social, intellectual, and artistic contexts of the mathematical arts in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy.

Dr Marr plans to use the Philip Leverhulme Prize to research and write a book called ‘Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe’.

According to the Leverhulme Trust, “Dr Marr’s work on art and material culture illustrates the enormous potential value of scholarship that is prepared to challenge conventional subject boundaries.

“Over-arching all these studies is his attempt to re-examine the broad question about the relationship between the arts and the sciences. Alexander Marr’s is a highly imaginative and thought-provoking contribution to the historical understanding of visual culture.”

Dr Simon MacLean (35) received an MA and MPhil from Glasgow, PhD from London (2000), and worked as a Research Fellow at Cambridge University before coming to St Andrews as Lecturer in the School of History in 2002.

An historian of early medieval Europe, Dr MacLean specialises in the history of the Carolingian Empire and its successor kingdoms in the 8th-10th centuries. He is currently researching the political role of queens in tenth-century Europe.

In an announcement the Leverhulme Trust commented, “Dr MacLean is an outstanding and very productive early mediaevalist who combines intellectual power and integrity with mastery of the technical aspects of his field to an impressive degree.

“He has won international recognition for his work on political history, queenship, and history-writing in the early Middle Ages.

“He has also brought much needed freshness to the discussion of queenship. Dr MacLean offers an analysis in particular of how queens, many of them foreigners, sought to gain leverage in political cultures that were suspicious of female power. It is this that he will be exploring further in his comparative project on queens and politics in tenth and eleventh century Europe.”



Dr Alexander Marr is available for interview on Tel: 01334 462404 or E-mail: [email protected]
Dr Simon MacLean is available for interview on Tel: 01334 463313 or E-mail: [email protected]

Philip Leverhulme Prize Winners 2008: The Leverhulme Prizes commemorate the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of the Founder.  For further details visit:

The broad fields of research covered by this year’s awards were:
Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, History of Art, Medieval, Early Modern, And Modern History, Mathematics and Statistics, and Zoology.


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref:  Leverhulme 281108
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