Charlotte Ribeyrol, associate professor in 19th Century British Literature at the Sorbonne University faculty of Letters, Winner of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship at Oxford University (2016-2018) and a researcher in the VALE* laboratory, has been awarded a Consolidator Grant from European Research Council (ERC)** for her CHROMOTOPE project.
What is the CHROMOTOPE project?
Charlotte Ribeyrol : This project is the study of the "chromatic turn" in the 1850s that has changed the way of thinking about color in literature, art, science, culture and technology throughout Europe, particularly in Germany, France and in England. There is often a tendency to associate the industrial revolution with the darkness of coal pollution, whereas this period notably had a number of major innovations, such as the invention in 1856 of the first aniline-based dye produce new colors such as mauve. This “revolution” of color generated new discussions on its production and perception, particularly among painters and poets. Some saw this turning point as an artistic opportunity, others rejected it, preferring the pigments of the past. The CHROMOTOPE project will not only give insight into theses somewhat forgotten aspects of nineteenth-century cultural history, but will also reveal the role played by color in the literary and artistic practices of this key period.
The ERC rewards innovative projects. What is the main innovation or originality of your project?
C. R. : CHROMOTOPE is innovative because it is interdisciplinary. It combines literature, visual culture, the history of technical sciences and the chemistry of pigments and dyes. It is also multi-institutional, with collaborations planned between several prestigious institutions, such as the Sorbonne University’s English Department and Trinity College at Oxford University. We also want to create an exhibition on Victorian colors with the Ashmolean Museum, which will be presented in 2022 at Oxford and at the Yale Center for British Art the following year. We will also collaborate with the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, which has a large collection of pigment samples from the nineteenth century.
What does this highly coveted ERC funding mean for you?
C. R. : This is a recognition of my work in an exciting field of research: color studies. This grant will support this research with the support of my multidisciplinary team that will be recruited in the next academic year.
* ERC: The European Research Council is a body of the European Union responsible for coordinating research efforts between EU Member States and the first pan-European funding agency for 'research at the frontier of knowledge'
The ERC program offers four types of individual fellowships, one of which is the Consolidator Grant, for young researchers seven to twelve years after graduation; the amount of the scholarship can reach up to 2 M € for 5 years.
** English speaking voices, literature and aesthetics