Welcome

… to my electronic repository of professional enterprise.

I am an academic and a goldsmith. I received my PhD from the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. I specialize in the study of 17th-century medico-alchemical laboratory technologies, materials, and sensory experiences, and the production and trade of chemical medicine in the British Atlantic world. My research extends to the cross-cultural examination of jewellery, artisanal technologies, and meaning-making with materials.

I direct the collaborative research project “Gold & Mercury: Amalgamated Histories in Chemistry, Culture and Environment” (forthcoming 2023 as a Special Issue in AMBIX: The Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Early Chemistry). This interdisciplinary project examines the impact of gold and mercury—chemically interrelated metals brought together by human ingenuity—as they have worked their way through cultures, environments, and bodies as materials and pollutants.

I co-edited Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary with Tara Nummedal. This born-digital publication and its multi-disciplinary community of scholars and performers stems from my postdoctoral research at the Science History Institute (2013-14). The project was developed by Brown University Library’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative and published by the University of Virginia Press as an open-access edition.

I teach students at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as adult learners, I am a history educator to jewelry industry professionals, and I lecture for museum outreach programs. My teaching practice combines the study of texts, images, and objects with hands-on work using tools and materials.

I co-founded the academic editing company Proofread Hero with Adam Fix. I am the Creative Director and founder of 12 Keys Consultancy & Design, a sustainable jewelry startup. These ventures alloy who I am as a scholar and a maker. 

Please direct enquiries to bilak12keys[at]gmail[dot]com

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© Donna Bilak and dbilakpraxis.com (2012–2021)

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