Amelia Rosenberg

Amelia Rosenberg, MFA student, ceramics

Celebrates Jewish lineage through ceramics

“I find Amelia’s work to be deeply moving, ripe with contemporary and historic cultural significance, and worthy of celebration by the University of Iowa.” -Andrew Casto, associate professor

Columbus, Ohio

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Andrew Casto, MFA, associate professor and area head of ceramics, School of Art and Art History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
Ceramics MFA, May 2024

Please describe your research:
My artwork and corresponding research are primarily inspired by my Jewish family’s artistic presence in Germany pre-World War II and subsequent personal and creative upheaval post-Holocaust. In the late 1890s, my great-grandfather Moritz Wallach and his two brothers created a vibrant collection of German and European fabrics, costumes, folk art, and interiors. I am interested in the way this Jewish craft and the Wallach story aids in the understanding of personal and familial narratives through a tumultuous history.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
This work recontextualizes Jewish craft history within the greater German cultural history. Much of what we recognize as quintessentially German, for example the Dirndl, a traditional dress commonly seen at Oktoberfest, was popularized by the Wallach family. Understanding Jewish history as an integral part of German culture aids in the greater understanding of German Jewish life and community before WWII and its silencing after.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I received a Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio fellowship through the UI Library for the summer of 2022, after my first two semesters at UI. This fellowship allowed me to create a digital platform for the Wallach Project, a nonprofit developed based on my research.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Through research and funding opportunities at the University of Iowa, I have been able to focus time and resources on developing the Wallach Project. This development has been fundamental to the success of the organization and allowed the project to host our first event in Munich, Germany, in July 2023. I have been dedicated to this research and the Wallach Project since my start at the University of Iowa and have felt fully supported in my goals.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
After graduation, I intend to continue my work with the Wallach Project and develop our relations with museums and educational institutions within central Europe. I will also continue my ceramic practice and remain in creative dialogue with my German Jewish lineage through my work.

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