Current Fellows

Eloisa Morra

Summer 2018



Eloisa Morra is Assistant Professor of Italian and Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. She earned a Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Harvard University, completed her B.A. and M.A. at the Scuola Normale Superiore, and was a Visiting Scholar Researcher at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon.

In her research, she explores interdisciplinary issues at the crossroad of textual criticism and art history, Modernism, translation, the Renaissance and its reception in the twentieth century (a list can be found here). Eloisa’s book “Un allegro fischiettare nelle tenebre. Ritratto di Toti Scialoja” traced the first intellectual biography of painter-poet Toti Scialoja; it was published by Quodlibet in 2014 and received a special mention at the Edinburgh Gadda Prize 2015. Also, Eloisa discovered and published an unknown illustrated book by Scialoja, Tre per un topo (Quodlibet 2014). Her essays have appeared in Lettere ItalianeItalianistica, Ermeneutica letterariaForum Italicum, among others. Eloisa is the editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on the formation of the literary canon in Renaissance Italy. At Harvard, she collaborated with the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and worked as a research curatorial assistant at the Harvard Art Museums, co-curating the exhibition, “In Africa is another Story: Looking Back at Italian Colonialism” (Pusey Library, 2014). She is a regular contributor to Flash Art and alias-il manifesto.

For her CIMA Affiliated Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation she will work on her manuscript, “Beyond the page. Gadda and the visual arts.”

Elena Salza

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

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Elena Salza is a doctoral candidate in History of the Arts at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. Her thesis focuses on the development and peculiarities of Italian art, seen through the lens of the literary and artistic activity of Mario Diacono from the 1960s to the 1980s. She examines in an interdisciplinary way artistic literature and visual culture, and investigates the cultural exchanges between Italy and the United States by studying the role that a revisitation of the historical avant-gardes has played in fostering artistic experiments during those decades.

Salza studied at the University Roma Tre in Rome and at the School of the Vatican Library. She has degrees in both the humanities and art history, with a postgraduate qualification in Library Science. She has worked at the Fondazione Alighiero e Boetti in Rome, and been a member of the research team for the National Research Project The Multiplication of Art/Visual Culture in Italy, and a member of the cataloguing team of the Harald Szeemann Archive at the Getty Research Institute. She also studied at the École de Printemps in Paris in 2012, and at the Digital Humanities Fall School, Venice in 2015. In 2016 she was a recipient of the Branca Research Scholarship at Fondazione Giorgio Cini, also in Venice. Her articles have appeared in L’Uomo Nero (2011); “Arte moltiplicata. L’immagine del Novecento italiano nello specchio dei rotocalchi” in Studi di Memofonte (2013); and Arte a Firenze 1970-2015 (2016).

For her CIMA Fellowship, she will be evaluating the historical circumstances leading to Alberto Savinio’s re-appraisal in the 1970s and 1980s. In this context, she will investigate the terms and modalities of the reception of Savinio’s visual and literary imagery as a source for Francesco Clemente’s painting, placing Savinio’s rediscovery within the framework of the growing critical attention given to some of the new positions in the field of contemporary art.



Alice Ensabella

Spring 2018


Alice Ensabella received her Ph.D. from the University La Sapienza of Rome, in co-direction with the University of Grenoble, in 2017. Her research, supervised by Alain Bonnet and Ilaria Schiaffini, focuses on the rise of an art market around early Surrealist art (1919-1930).

She began this work during her BA and MA in Art History at the University of Florence, analyzing the activity of Parisian art dealers in the 1920s and 1930s. Since 2012, she has been collaborating with the Archivio dell’Arte Metafisica in Milan and since 2013 with the Magnani Rocca Foundation in Parma (working on exhibitions on Campigli, Gino Severini, Giacomo Manzù, Marino Marini, and Paul Delvaux). In 2015 she became a member of the International Network for Young Scholars of the Forum of Art and Market (Berlin, Technische Universität).

In 2016, she assumed charge of documentation at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris and research engineer for the Labex “Le surréalisme au regard des galeries, des collectionneurs et des médiateurs, 1924-1959”. At present, she is an assistant professor at the University of Grenoble teaching Contemporary Art History and running a seminar on the Contemporary Art Market.

Alice has published articles and essays on Surrealist art market (Ricerche di Storia dell’xArte, 2017 – Studi Online, 2015 – 2016) and on the relationship between dealers and artists (Gino Severini. L’emozione, la regola, 2016).

 During her fellowship at CIMA, Alice will reconsider Savinio’s second Parisian period (1926-1933) in a new light, trying to explore in depth his relationships with André Breton and others group’s members, the influences of artists as Max Ernst on his painting, as well as the circulation of his works in the Parisian artistic environment (in private collections or auctions).


Valeria Federici

Travel Fellow


Valeria Federici is a PhD candidate In Italian Studies as well as an MA student in History of Art and Architecture at Brown University, Providence, RI. Her interdisciplinary PhD thesis project, entitled “Network culture in Italy in the 1990s and the making of a place for art and activism,” explores how contemporary art practices, political activism, and information technology intertwine. In particular, her project focuses on political activism in Italy after 1989 and the use of information as an artistic medium. Valeria’s research interests revolve around themes of sovereignty, space, social movements, cultural identity, technology, and art. She graduated in Letters with a concentration in History of Art from the Università Roma Tre in Rome, Italy, with a thesis that explored the role of local and central government in controlling the cultural representation through the Museo Artistico Industriale (Applied Art School) and through initiatives such as the Universal Exposition held in Rome in 1911 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of the Italian kingdom. She has curated independent art projects and participated in several guest lectures and roundtables about arts management, art and activism, and the role of cultural institutions in place-making and community-building in post-industrial cities. As an independent art editor she published exhibition reviews, book reviews, and artist interviews for different magazines and online publications including The Oxford Art Journal. Her recent research projects include a study of the representation of women in Italian TV and cinema in the 1950s to be published in the volume Female Identity and Its Representations in the Arts and Humanities: Neoclassic to Twenty-first Century (Cambridge Scholars), and an investigation over the possibilities of exploring, displaying, and interacting with old and new digital artworks and artifacts. With the collaboration of the Center for Digital Scholarship at Brown University, she has completed a digital interface that explores the relationships between the Garibaldi Panorama (a painting, two hundred sixty feet in length, which has been digitized at Brown University) and the visual and textual materials collected in the Harvard Risorgimento Preservation Collection. She is a Research Team Associate for the project The Garibaldi Panorama and The Risorgimento at Brown University.

For her CIMA travel fellowship, Valeria will conduct research related to her dissertation in archives and other sources in Florence, Prato, Rome, and Venice. In particular, she is focused on studying the transformation of a former military fort located in Rome into a site for art and activism, through three spatial narratives—geographical, political, and relational.

Giulia Tulino

Fall 2017

Foto Giulia Tulino

Giulia Tulino is a Ph.D. candidate in contemporary art history at the University La Sapienza of Rome. Her thesis project, “La galleria dell’Obelisco e il surrealismo a Roma 1940-1960,” emerges from her interest in surrealism and the fantastic in Italian art during the first half of the 20th century, with a special focus on the contacts between Rome and New York. She is also currently an assistant professor for academic activities at the University La Sapienza of Rome. She has published two essays on the Obelisk Gallery in Rome: Dalla Margherita all’Obelisco: arte fantastica italiana tra Roma e New York negli anni ’40 (in the proceedings of the Irene Brin e l’Obelisco conference organized by Vittoria Caterina Caratozzolo, Ilaria Schiaffini e Claudio Zambianchi) and La galleria dell’Obelisco e il surrealismo a Roma 1944/1961: gli anni ’50, i rapporti con l’estero, le nuove generazioni post surrealiste (in the proceedings of In Corso d’Opera 2. Giornate di studio dei dottorandi di ricerca in storia dell’arte della Sapienza Università di Roma conference, Rome, 2016). As an independent curator, she has worked for both private galleries and public institutions including the MLAC (Laboratory Museum of Contemporary Art at La Sapienza University of Rome). From March 2015 she has served as the managing director and curator for the Jacorossi Collection in Rome, which holds some three thousand art works of Italian contemporary art, dating between the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. 

At CIMA her research will examine the relation between Savinio the writer/critic and Savinio the painter, in connection with the legitimacy of an Italian “fantastic art.” Beginning from the art scene in Rome between 1943 and 1946 and the friendship between Savino and the artists who gravitated around the Obelisk Gallery, she aims to reconstruct a history of fantastical art in Italy and its promotion in the United States, particularly at the Julien Levy Gallery and later at the Hugo Gallery.



Serena Alessi

Fall 2017

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Serena Alessi is a researcher in Italian Studies. In 2015 she received her PhD from Royal Holloway University of London, where she also taught Italian language and culture; her thesis From Silence to Voice: Penelope’s Feminist Odyssey in Italian Literature focused on the myth of Penelope in the Italian literary tradition.  She has recently been a postdoctoral Rome Fellow at The British School at Rome (2016-17) and Benno Geiger Fellow at the Fondazione Cini in Venice (2017).  Her research interests include contemporary Italian literature, feminism, and postcolonial studies. She has published on the figure of Penelope, Luigi Malerba, and Alberto Savinio; she has taken part in many international conferences and organized various panels, seminars, and colloquia. In addition to her academic experiences, she is a contributor to the RaiUno TV Program Mille e un libro and to the literary blog

For her CIMA Fellowship she examined Alberto Savinio’s representation of mythological characters in both his literary and artistic production, with a special focus on female characters.