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full curriculum vitae at Donna Bilak

Donna Bilak


2003 – 2013   
PhD, Cultural History
Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture – New York NY, USA
Dissertation: “The Chymical Cleric: John Allin, Puritan Alchemist in England and America (1623-1683).”
Supervisor: Peter N. Miller
External Examiner: Mordechai Feingold
Degree Conferred: May 2014

MPhil, Cultural History
Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture – New York NY, USA
Degree Conferred: May 2008

2002 – 2003     
MA, History
York University – Toronto ON, Canada
Major Research Paper: “The Emergence of Botany and the Knowledge of Plants: Nature and Creation in the Sixteenth Century.”
Supervisor: Richard C. Hoffmann
Second Reader: Thomas V. Cohen
Degree Conferred: May 2004

2001 – 2002  
Special Student, Masters Programme History
York University – Toronto ON, Canada

1991 – 1994 
Jewellery Arts Diploma
George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology – Toronto ON, Canada
Gold- and Metalsmithing, Gemmology, Metallurgy, Enamelling, Jewellery Design
Degree Conferred: May 1994


2018 – Present
Director and Founder – Twelve Keys Consultancy & Design, LLC

2018 – 2019
Adjunct Course Director – New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study; Nunavut Arctic College; Bard Graduate Center

2017 – 2018     
Associate Research Scholar – The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University

2014 – 2017 
History of Science and Technology Postdoctoral Scholar – “The Making and Knowing Project” Department of History, Columbia University

2013 – 2014
Edelstein Postdoctoral Fellow – Chemical Heritage Foundation

2001 – 2018  
Jewelry industry educator, history of jewelry design and technology – Antique Jewelry and Art Conference (New York)

2001 – 2008
ROMLife Public Lecture Series Course Director and ROMLife Program Co-ordinator – Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)

1994 – 2000
Jewelry Industry Production (Toronto) – 1994-2000 freelance designer and wax model-maker, private commissions; 1998-1999 jewelry designer for Design Model Services/DMS Group (firm specializing in wax jewelry models and gold, platinum, and gemstone designs for international jewelry manufacturers); 1997-1998 jewelry designer and wax model-maker, and retail services for Secrett Jewel Salon; 1996-1997 jewelry designer and wax model-maker for Dianna Rhodes Accessories (firm specializing in electroformed jewelry)


2017 – 2018     
Associate Research Scholar – The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University. Project: playful humanism and Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618)

2014 – 2017 
History of Science and Technology Postdoctoral Scholar – Department of History, Columbia University. “The Making and Knowing Project”

2013 – 2014
Edelstein Postdoctoral Fellow – Chemical Heritage Foundation. Project: “The Allegorical Laboratory: Michael Maier’s Alchemical Emblem Book Atalanta fugiens (1618)”

Dibner Research Fellow in the History of Science and Technology – The Huntington Library. Project: “The Sight and Sound of Early Modern Alchemy: Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618)”

Visiting Scholar Appointments

2018 – 2019
Visiting Scholar, The Center for Science and Society – Columbia University. One-year appointment in support of Project Atalanta completion

2017 – 2019 
Visiting Scholar, History Department – Brown University. Two-year appointment in support of Project Atalanta development and completion

Visiting Scholar, Department of Cultural Studies – National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine

Grants and Awards

Salomon Award, “Project Atalanta” – Brown University
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation (GR5290518), “Project Atalanta”
Humanities Research Fund (HRF 18), “Project Atalanta” – Brown University
Social Science Research Institute, “Project Atalanta” – Brown University

2016 – 2019   
Andrew W. Mellon Digital Scholarship Initiative – Brown University. Awarded to “Project Atalanta” by the Library at Brown University. Co-edited with Tara Nummedal (Brown, History Department) and in collaboration with musicologist Dr. Loren Ludwig (Director, LeStrange Viols). Funds in support of project development and completion of the born-digital edition of Atalanta fugiens (1618) at Brown University.

Betty Irene Moore Library Fund – Chemical Heritage Foundation. Awarded for the workshop, “Interplay: Rethinking Music, Mathematics, and Alchemical Praxis in the Atalanta fugiens (1618).”

American Members of CINOA Award for Outstanding Dissertation – Bard Graduate Center. Awarded for “The Chymical Cleric: John Allin, Puritan Alchemist in England and America (1623-1683).”


2018 – 2010     
Advisory Board, “Age of Alchemy: The Goldsmith’s Daughter” NEH Digital Projects for the Public  – The Science History Institute (formerly Chemical Heritage Foundation). National Endowment for the Humanities grant to develop a history of alchemy video game prototype in collaboration with Drexel University’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio and Gossamer Games.

Detailed here

Academic – Museum Outreach & Public Education – Jewellery Industry Educator


2019 Spring
Course Director: “Jewelry History and Technology: Training of the Artisan”
Graduate seminar
Bard Graduate Center

2018 Fall
Course Director: “Library and Laboratory: Trans-Atlantic Histories of Early Modern Science” (IDSEM-UG 1876)
Undergraduate seminar, Historical and Cultural Requirement
Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University

2018 Oct
Course Director: “Inuit Craft Technology” (434-120)
First Year, Jewellery and Metalwork Program
Nunavut Arctic College

2014 – 2017
Lecturer in History: “Craft and Science in the Early Modern World” (HIST G8906)
Graduate seminar, Department of History
Columbia University

2016 Summer
Course Director: “Material World of Jewelry” (HIST S3535)
Undergraduate lecture, Department of History
Columbia University

2014-15 & 2016-17
Lecturer in History: “Contemporary Civilization” (CC 1101-2)
Undergraduate seminar, Core Curriculum
Columbia University

2015 May
Workshop Director: “Imitation Coral”
Two-day hands-on history of science and craft technology workshop based on examination of a 16th-century imitation coral recipe (folio 3r, Ms. Fr. 640), integrating lectures and hands-on practical historical reconstruction.
Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit Canada

2016 January
Workshop Director: The Frozen Museum: A Metal Arts Jewellery History Workshop
Two-week hands-on jewellery history workshop and knowledge exchange between Inuit craft traditions and Western jewellery technologies.
Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit Canada

2012 Fall
Course Director: “Cultural History of Computers and Information Technology”
Masters seminar, Department of Cultural Studies (4.5 ECTS)
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv Ukraine

Workshop Director: “Doing History in the Digital Age: Research, Methodology, Interpretation”
Doctoral Workshop, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Doctoral School
(2.5 ECTS)
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv Ukraine

1999 Fall
Course Director: “History of Jewellery and Design” (JEWL 9035)
Continuing Education
George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology
Toronto Canada

Museum Outreach & Public Education

2018 Nov
New-York Historical Society
Event: “Alchemy.” Special Projects, Education Division
Lecture in conjunction with feature exhibition, “Harry Potter: A History of Magic.”
New York NY, USA

2017 Nov
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Event: “Alchemy and Faith.” Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Atalanta fugiens lecture and performance with Les Canards Chantants.
Hartford CT, USA

2015 April
Event: “The Alchemist’s Cookbook”
Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) *First Friday Event Co-ordinator, co-presented with Ryan Whibbs, Professor, Culinary Arts School at George Brown College. Presented in conjunction with the CHF feature exhibit Books of Secrets: Writing and Reading Alchemy and hosted by the Museum at CHF.
Philadelphia PA, USA

2014 April
Event: “Night at the Alchemical Laboratory”
Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) *First Friday Event Co-ordinator, co-presented with Elisabeth Berry Drago, CHF Fellow, hosted by the Museum at CHF.
Philadelphia PA, USA

(*First Fridays are a monthly city-wide public open house with over 40 Philadelphia museum and gallery participants)

2008 January
Course Director: “Stink, Stank, Stunk: A Cultural History of Smell in Early Modern Europe” (three week lecture series)
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto ON, Canada

2008 November
Event: “The Oyster Considered”
ROMLife Event Program Co-ordinator
A trans-disciplinary event at Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill about oysters in Western culture featuring talks on oysters in 17th-century Dutch still life paintings (Donna Bilak); aqua culture and environmental issues impacting today’s North American oyster industry (Patrick McMurray, proprietor and 2002 World Champion Oyster Opener); socio-economic history of Toronto’s 19th-century oyster industry (Lawrence David, professional shucker and oyster historian); historic culinary recreations from 19th-century British and Canadian oyster recipes (Kyle Deming, Starfish Chef de cuisine).
Toronto ON, Canada

Jewellery Industry Educator

2018 Oct
Invited Lecturer: “Matters of Form: Jewelry Styles and Motifs”
2018 Antique Jewelry & Art Conference, hosted by Newark Museum
Newark NJ, USA

2014 July
Keynote Speaker: “Diamonds, Death, and Flowers: Jewelry Genres in Renaissance Portraits”
37th Annual Antique Jewelry and Art Conference
West Harrison NY, USA

2014 April
Invited Lecturer: “Blast from the Past: 1950s Atomic Age Jewelry”
Christie’s Education
New York NY, USA

2012 April
Invited Lecturer: “No.115 Piccadilly, London: The Revivalist Jewelry of Carlo Giuliano and the Victorian Culture of Curiosity”
Christie’s Education
New York NY, USA

2011 July
Keynote Speaker: “Flora Bejewelled: Horticulture, Jewelry, and the Victorian Language of Flowers”
34th Annual Antique Jewelry and Art Conference
Tarrytown, NY, USA

2011 January
Invited Lecturer: “The Rise and Fall of the French Crown Jewels: A Biography of an Auction”
The Antique Jewelry and Art Conference
Fashion Institute of Technology
New York NY, USA

Conference Papers & Invited Lectures
Abstracts in Presentations

2018 Nov
Panelist: “An Arctic Case Study: Humanism in Realtime.”
History of Science Society Annual Meeting
Seattle WA, USA

2018 May
Presenter: “The Afterlife of Atalanta fugiens
Scientiae, 6th Annual conference, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis MN, USA

2018 March
Panelist and Session Co-Organizer (with Tara Nummedal), sponsored by the New England Renaissance Conference
Panel: “‘Tear the Books Apart’ — Digitizing Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618)”
Chair: Allison Levy (Brown University, Digital Scholarship Editor). Panelists: Tara Nummedal (Brown University) “Training the Mind and Body: Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens”; Loren Ludwig (Director, LeStrange  Viols) “Digitizing Maier’s ‘Triple–Voiced Musical Echo’”; Donna Bilak (Italian Academy, Columbia University) “‘Publish or Perish’: The Digital Edition in Academia.”
Renaissance Society of America 64th Annual Meeting
New Orleans LA, USA

2017 April    
Co-Presenter (with Jennifer D. Miglus): “Chymistry in the Archives: The Gershom Bulkeley Alchemical Notebook Collection at the Hartford Medical Society Historical Library (1635-1713)”
Cain Conference, “Chemistry in the Early Americas.” Organized by John R. R. Christie (Oxford University) and Carin Berkowitz (Chemical Heritage Foundation)
Chemical Heritage Foundation
Philadelphia PA, USA

2016 March
Co-Presenter (with Ann-Sophie Barwich): “Vials and Vinaigrettes: The Manipulation of Odour in 18th-Century French Science and Society”
Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (DBSECS)
Brussels, Belgium

2015 May
Invited Lecturer: “Possum Tales: Inside the Story of a Painted Puzzle by Australian Artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932-2002)”
Nunavut Arctic College
Iqaluit NU, Canada

2014 December & 2015 April
Lecture-Performance: “The Art of Encryption: Music-Image-Text in Michael Maier’s Alchemical Emblem Book, Atalanta fugiens (1618)”
Presented by Donna Bilak (Columbia University, History) with musical examples performed by solo-voice ensemble Les Canards Chantants, directed by Robin and Graham Bier, with special guest Loren Ludwig (Director, LeStrange Viols).
Columbia University (December 2014) and Bard Graduate Center (April 2015)
New York NY, USA

2014 March
Panelist: “The Art of Encryption: Music-Image-Text in the Atalanta fugiens (1617)”
Renaissance Society of America 60th Annual Meeting
New York NY, USA

2013 November
Invited Lecturer: “Plague, Death, and the Transit of Mars: An Astrological Analysis of John Allin’s November 1665 Letters from London to Rye”
Rye Castle Museum
East Sussex, UK

2010 January
Presenter, Toronto Botanical Garden “History of the Garden” lecture series
“Petals and Metals: Floral Jewellery in France, England and America, 1600 – 1960”
“Reconfiguring Eden: European Garden Design, 1500 – 1800”
“Plant vs. Plant: John Evelyn, Joseph Paxton and Urban Planning in the (Pre)Industrial Age”
Toronto ON, Canada

2008 February
Presenter: “Effect of Plague in 17th-century Dutch Culture”
Royal Ontario Museum event in co-operation with Penguin Group (Canada), “Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World.” Trans-disciplinary panel including: Timothy Brook, “Vermeer’s Hat” (author, Oxford University); Ross Fox, “Canadian Beavers, Traders and Hatters” (ROM curator Canadian Decorative Arts); Brian Musselwhite, “The Influence of Chinese Porcelain on Delftware” (ROM assistant curator European Decorative Arts)
Toronto ON, Canada

2007 May
Presenter: “Stewards of Nature: An Analysis of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Seasons
10th Annual Mediterranean Studies Association International Congress
Évora, Portugal

2007 March
Panelist: “Bronzino’s Portrait of Lodovico Capponi, and the Case of the Missing Codpiece”
Renaissance Society of America 53rd Annual Meeting
Miami FL, USA

2005 April
Panelist: “Emblematic Jewellery in Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo”
Renaissance Society of America 51st Annual Meeting
Cambridge, UK

2005 March
Panelist: “Analysis of Bronzino’s Portrait of a Young Man
Exploring the Renaissance 2005 International Conference, The Huntington Library
San Marino CA, USA





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