The 2021 Awardees

The 2021 Jack Medal

Dr Bryony Coombs is a Teaching Fellow at The University of Edinburgh. Her research is principally concerned with the transfer of ideas, visual and literary, between Scotland and the continent. She is currently working on her first monograph entitled: Visual Arts and the Auld Alliance: Scotland, France and National Identity c.1420-1550, under contract with Edinburgh University Press. She has several other research projects underway. These include a chapter in the forthcoming book: 'Writing Scottishness: literature and the shaping of Scottish national identities' to be published with the Association for Scottish Literature. This chapter is entitled ‘Translating Identities: Tracing the Transfer of a Scottish Origin Myth from Scotland to France c. 1519.’ She is also contributing two chapters to the forthcoming text The History of the Book in Scotland volume I (Edinburgh University Press). These chapters focus on: 'Illuminations and Miniatures,' looking at the process of illuminating and decorating manuscripts in Scotland, and 'Imported Manuscripts,' focussing on the Scottish appetite for imported books during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
She is also a member of the Reviving the Trinity Research Group, who are working to raise awareness for the Trinity Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes, and Trinity Collegiate Church and Hospital. For a forthcoming publication stemming from the work of this group, she will be contributing a chapter on Scottish patrons of Netherlandish manuscripts, provisionally entitled ‘Repetition and Innovation: Scottish Patrons and Netherlandish Artist’s, Visual and Archival Evidence.’

Statement:

I am delighted to be the recipient of the 2021 Jack Medal. The medal has been awarded for my work ‘Albany and the Poets: John Stuart, Duke of Albany, and the Transfer of Ideas Between Scotland and the Continent 1509-1536.’ This was a work that brought together a series of manuscripts connected to an important Franco-Scottish figure, John Stuart, Duke of Albany. My intention in writing this piece was to encourage more research into these, and other manuscripts, that survive in continental collections, but which are often unknown to Scottish historians and Scottish literary historians. Cultural connections between Scotland and the continent, in terms of both visual and literary material, form the basis of much of my work and are the focus of my forthcoming monograph, Visual Arts and the Auld Alliance: Scotland, France and National Identity c.1420-1550. This award is hugely important to me as it provides recognition that this is an area of research worth pursuing, and an area of interest to a multi-disciplinary field of scholars. I hope very much that this will encourage more work to be undertaken in this field, and that it will highlight the importance of cross- disciplinary research in relation to late-medieval and early modern Scotland.

Honourable Mention

Emilio Amideo, PhD in English, is a Researcher in English Language and Translation at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”. His research interests include English language and translation studies, Black diasporic Anglophone literature (especially Black Canadian, African American, Caribbean, Black British and Black Scottish), cultural and postcolonial studies, gender studies, ecocriticism, and body studies. He was a visiting scholar at Northwestern University (Department of African American Studies, 2015) and Goldsmiths University of London (Department of Media and Communication Studies, 2016). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Gender Studies and the advisory board of JAm It! – Journal of American Studies in Italy. He has published essays on James Baldwin, Isaac Julien, Essex Hemphill, Austin Clarke, Lawrence Hill, Thomas Glave, Jackie Kay, Keith Jarrett and Dean Atta, and is the co-editor of the volume L’immagine nel mondo, il mondo nell’immagine: nuove prospettive per un approccio pluridisciplinare alla rappresentazione testuale ed extra-testuale ([The Image in the World, The World in the Image: New Perspectives for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Textual and Extra-textual Representation] UniorPress, 2016). His most recent publications include the monographs Queer Tidalectics: Linguistic and Sexual Fluidity in Contemporary Black Diasporic Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2021) and Il corpo dell’altro. Articolazioni queer della maschilità nera in diaspora ([The Body of the Other: Queer Articulations of Black Diasporic Masculinities] ETS, 2021).

Statement:

The chapter “Waves of Sound, Gender Fluidity, and Shifting Kinships in Jackie Kay's Trumpet” is part of a wider project (the monograph Queer Tidalectics: Linguistic and Sexual Fluidity in Contemporary Black Diasporic Literature, NUP: 2021) that, by drawing on the idiom of fluidity and by bringing together the theoretical and experiential traditions of both queerness and blackness, explores the articulation of a Black queer diasporic aesthetics. The essay focuses on the 1998 novel Trumpet by the 2016-2020 Scots Makar Jackie Kay and explores the way in which the author advances a fluid conception of affiliations and relationality around gender, race, kinships, identity, and national/cultural belonging, by drawing on the structure, rhythm and polyphonic aspect of jazz (which traditionally bears a strong connection with the Black diaspora and, to a lesser extent, queerness).

I am glad and honoured to have received an honourable mention in the Jack Medal 2021 competition and even more so to have received it for an essay exploring the work of Jackie Kay whose interest in giving voice to often marginalised and/or silenced experiences I share. Kay has in fact always tried to give equal visibility both to her Scottish and Nigerian heritage in her oeuvre and in her role as Scots Makar, highlighting the multi-ethnic and multi-language character of contemporary Scottish society and the rich cultural manifestations of often marginalised diasporic communities in Scotland. The Jack Medal honourable mention means a great deal to me inasmuch as it represents a further and necessary recognition of these experiences.