Related Projects


Sensory Impairment and Disability in Medieval Europe:
Inclusive Approaches for Studying the Experience of Art

This five-year multidisciplinary project (SIDME) aims to generate an innovative interpretive framework and novel inclusive analytical strategies to investigate paradigms of the experience of art lived by individuals with sensory and physical disabilities in medieval Europe. To achieve this ambitious goal, SIDME will develop a fresh combined approach, incorporating methods and tools derived from different disciplines, including Disability Studies, Sensory Studies, and Material Culture Studies.

The project is devoted to three cores of investigation, which correspond to three sub-objectives of the research: 1) SIDME examines paradigms of therapeutic agency of artworks, with reference to healing objects and practices specifically intended for individuals with sensory and/or physical disabilities. These individuals will therefore be addressed as primary actors of the perceptual process, according to sensory and bodily modalities tuned to their different conditions and expectations. 2) The project analyses artworks, material objects and contexts conceived, produced and intended for people with disabilities and/or disabling diseases, in particular charitable institutions and hospices with their related works, and places and objects linked to confraternities. Through the study of these material testimonies, and of the related historical documentation, SIDME will reconstruct daily experiences of interaction with artworks and material objects (as well as with the values and meanings associated with them) lived by individuals with disabilities and invalidating conditions. 3) The project investigates the active role as performers and primary actors of paraliturgical plays of individuals with sensory, physical and/or cognitive impairments, who were often involved in rituals because of their acknowledged capability to embody Christian ideals of life modelled on biblical and hagiographic narratives. It will thus be possible to investigate from a fresh perspective otherwise elusive phenomena, related to matters of inclusion and exclusion or marginalisation.

To achieve its objectives, SIDME will establish a multidisciplinary research team consisting of Art historians, Historians, and Musicologists. In addition, it will foster collaboration with the Host Institution’s research staff and centres. The project will examine and compare a multidisciplinary corpus of material and textual sources. It will produce a number of publications and a final exhibition, and will disseminate the results to the general public in a series of events.

The basic assumption, methods, objectives, team and materials of analysis are synergistic and complementary to those of the ERC SenSArt project. At the same time, SIDME will fuel SenSArt with fresh, creative approaches.


Funded under: FARE Ricerca in Italia scheme (Framework per l’Attrazione ed il Rafforzamento delle Eccellenze per la Ricerca in Italia)
P.I.: Zuleika Murat
Project number: R20NN8BKES
Start date: 7 December 2022
End date: 6 December 2027


SIDME Post-Doctoral Researcher

SIDME Post-Doctoral Researcher

SIDME Ph.D. Candidate