The Scott Opler Fellowship in Renaissance Art and Architectural History

The Fellowship is supported through the generosity of the Scott Opler Foundation in Renaissance and Baroque Architecture and Worcester College, University of Oxford. The Fellowship is named in honour of Scott Opler (1956-1993), whose wide ranging interests and own field of research included the art and architectural history of Renaissance Italy. Scott Opler attended Princeton University (AB 1978), Williams College (MA 1987), and was a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at Harvard University in the field of Italian Renaissance architecture. Shortly before his death of AIDS-related illness he created the Scott Opler Foundation Inc., to continue his charitable interests. The Foundation supports the charitable and educational activities in three areas: the scholarly study and preservation of art and architecture, the conservation of nature, and the support and provision of Aids-related services and education.

Dr Emanuela Vai BA, MMus, MPhil, MEd, PGCert (Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies), PhD Lecturer and Research Fellow, Worcester College, University of Oxford. Humanities Representative (Humanities Research Committee/Conference of Colleges) and Research Staff Representative (Faculties of History and Music)

Dr Emanuela Vai is the Scott Opler Fellow at Worcester College and a Lecturer in History of Art and Renaissance Music at the University of Oxford. Previously, she has held positions at the University of Cambridge; at the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York (CREMS); and at the Harvard Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, where she was Hanna Kiel Fellow. She has recently been appointed as visiting professor at the Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance de Tours (CESR).

Her work has received the support of fellowships and grants from the British Academy, the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Royal Historical Society, the Renaissance Society of America, the Kress Foundation, the École Pratique des Hautes Études, the Academia Belgica and the Newton Trust at the University of Cambridge, among others.

Emanuela’s research is located at the intersection of art history, architectural history and musicology and her publications focus on musical instruments, soundscapes, space and the senses in Renaissance social life. Her work combines the analysis of historical materials with 3D virtual modelling, GIS platforms and acoustic analyses, to investigate the relationship between art, music, space and the senses in the Renaissance. She recently joined the TORCH research group ‘(En)coding Heritage‘ ( where she explores the benefits and limitations of digital humanities methods for approaching and understanding historical sources, material objects and cultural heritage.

Emanuela is the founder of the Renaissance Musical Instrument Network (ReMIn) and she also teaches on the Master of Advanced Studies in Renaissance Polyphony Performance at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana and History of Art at Oxford Brookes. She collaborates with the Royal Academy of Music in London and she serves as an advisory board member on a number of international projects.

A complete list of publications, conferences and lectures is available at:

Department Faculty of History: Faculty of Music: Contact details @DrEmanuelaVai