Meg Bernstein

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Meg Bernstein

Samuel H. Kress Pre-Doctoral Institutional Fellow, 2015-2017; Associate Lecturer

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14 Oct

Thesis: Civil Service: English Parish Church Architecture, 1150-1300

Supervised by Professor Meredith Cohen (UCLA)

My thesis examines the typological changes that occur in English parish churches over the course of the thirteenth century, particularly in the spaces associated with the laity. In particular, I aim to counter the assumption that parish church architecture in this period derives dominantly from friary churches, and argue instead for a change in architectural typology driven by social and economic factors, as well as from civic architecture and competition. Additionally, I engage with scholarly dialogues that position parish church architecture in this period along the hall church type as well as their relationship with the so-called “great church,” arguing for a separate morphology of the parish church stemming from civic and vernacular architecture. My thesis is concerned with the quotidian—the daily life of the “average” medieval person, rather than the kings and prelates the occupy much of the scholarship on the period. As such, I rely on theories of space and the everyday to centralize the laity in the dynamic space of the parish church and medieval village.



  • AB Smith College 2008 (History of Art & English)
  • MA University of Massachusetts, Amherst 2011 (Art History)
  • MAR Yale Divinity School/Institute of Sacred Music, 2013 (Religion & Visual Art)
  • PhD University of California, Los Angeles (Art History) – in progress

Research interests

  • English gothic architecture
  • Norman architecture
  • parish churches
  • mendicant architecture
  • historiography
  • urbanism


  • 2016-17 Associate Lecturer, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, BA1 Topic: Westminster Abbey
  • Summer 2016 Instructor of Record, Department of Art History, UCLA, C117B: The Art of Death in the Middle Ages
  • Summers 2015 & 2016 Teaching Fellow, Department of Art History, Paris Past and Present (combination of lower-division Medieval Art and upper-division Gothic Art courses)
  • 2014-15 Teaching Associate, Department of Art History, UCLA (Medieval Art, Renaissance and Baroque in Europe and the Americas, Indian Art)
  • Summer 2012 Teaching Assistant, Summer Institute of Art Museum Studies, Smith College Museum of Art
  • 2010-11 Teaching Assistant, Department of Art History, UMass Amherst (Twentieth Century Architecture, Modern Art, Junior Year Writing for Art History)
  • 2008-9 Teaching Assistant, Department of Art History, University of Kansas (Ancient-Medieval Survey, Renaissance to Modern Survey, Gothic Art and Architecture)

Fellowships and honours

  • 2017 Conference Scholarship, British Archaeological Association, York
  • 2015 Dissertation travel award, Department of Art History, UCLA
  • 2015 Patricia McCarron McGinn Memorial Award, Department of Art History, UCLA
  • 2015 Conference Scholarship, British Archaeological Association, Peterborough
  • 2014 Conference Scholarship, British Archaeological Association, Aberdeen
  • 2013-2015 Graduate Dean’s Scholar Award, Graduate Division, UCLA
  • 2013 Edwin Stanley Seder Prize, Yale Institute of Sacred Music
  • 2012-2013 Dominique de Menil Scholar for the Visual Arts, Yale Institute of Sacred Music
  • 2011-2013 Merit Scholarship, Yale Institute of Sacred Music

Other academic activity

  • 2019. Co-organiser (with Dr Catherine E. Hundley) of Yours, Mine, Ours: Multi-use Spaces in the Middle Ages, session at the Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians (Providence, RI)
  • 2017. Co-convenor (with Dr James Alexander Cameron) of Towards an Art History of the Parish Church, 1200-1399, two-day conference at The Courtauld Institute of Art sponsored by the Sackler Research Forum and the Paul Mellon Centre
  • 2017. Tour guide, Courtauld Friends visit to Westminster Abbey
  • 2017. Co-convenor (with Imogen Tedbury) of Medieval Collaborations, The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 22nd Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium
  • 2016. Co-organiser (with Dr Fern Insh) of CAD for Architectural History workshop, Digital Art History Research Group (#DAHRG), The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • 2015-2018. Board Member, Graduate Student Committee, International Center for Medieval Art (ICMA)
  • 2015. Contributor, Medieval Art Research Blog
  • 2015. Graduate Student Liaison, Renaissance/Early Modern Faculty Search, Department of Art History, UCLA
  • 2014-2015. Editorial Board, Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA
  • 2014-15. Graduate Research Assistant/3D Modeler, Paris Past and Present, UCLA Art History & Center for Digital Humanities
  • 2014. Co-Chair, (Re)mediation, UCLA 49th Annual Art History Graduate Student Association Symposium
  • Member of: Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art; British Archaeological Association; College Art Association; International Center of Medieval Art

Conference papers & Invited Talks

  • 2018. “The Parochial Nave in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Cambridgeshire,” British Archaeological Association 2018 Annual Conference, Cambridge
  • 2018. “Local Memory: Remembering and Being Remembered in the English Parish Church,” Architectural Memory- Remembering an Empire, Religious Communities and Patrons through Buildings, International Medieval Congress, Leeds
  • 2018. “Echoing Aisles: The Development of Mural Altar Niches in the English Parish Church,” New Research on Parish Church Art and Architecture in England and on the Continent, 1100-1600, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo 
  • 2017. “Show some decorum: elevation and the ‘parish church mode,'” Towards an Art History of the Parish Church, 1200-1399, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UK
  • 2017. “Power, Display, and Agency in the Thirteenth-Century English Parish Church,” Medieval Settlement Research Group Spring Conference, University of Newcastle, UK
  • 2017. “The British Aisles: Lateral Expansion in English Parish Churches, 1150-1250,” Ecclesiastical History Society Postgraduate Colloquium, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2016.“Diagnosing Jean Bony’s ‘Friar-Parish-Church Syndrome,’” Art History Works in Progress Seminar, University of Cambridge, UK (invited)
  • 2015. “A Stone’s Throw: Durham’s Late Eleventh-Century Building Projects,” International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • 2014. “Localizing Sanctity: Paris, Louis IX’s Sainte-Chapelle, and The Reliquary of Saints Maxian, Lucian, and Julian,” International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • 2013. “The Development of Blackfriars Architecture in England,” Southeastern College Art Conference, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
  • 2013. “Le Corbusier’s Chapelle de Notre-Dame-du-Haut and The Philips Pavilion: Musical Intersections in Post Modern Aesthetic,” Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (presented with Scott Mello, invited)
  • 2012. “Spinning Chartres: Interpreting Images of Textile Labor on the Transept Sculpture of Chartres Cathedral,” Vagantes Medieval Graduate Student Conference, Indiana University, Bloomington

Book and Exhibition Reviews

  • Seeking Salvation: Commemorating the Dead in the Late-Medieval English Parish in Journal of the British Archaeological Association 170, 220-222 (2017)
  • ‘”Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of Medieval English Embroidery,” Victoria & Albert Museum,’ International Center of Medieval Art Newsletter, 19-21 (2016)
  • Arts of the Medieval Cathedrals: Studies on Architecture, Stained Glass, and Sculpture in Honor of Anne Prache in Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies, in volume 12, number 2 (2016)
  • Reviews in Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies:
    • Urban Bodies: Communal Health in Late Medieval English Towns and Cities in volume 46 (2015)
    • The Medieval Salento: Art and Identity in Southern Italy, Linda Safran in volume 46 (2015)
    • The Ancestors of Christ Windows at Canterbury Cathedral in volume 45 (2014)

Blog Posts

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