Niall Atkinson’s teaching and scholarship focus on public space, urban history, soundscapes, geography and travel as well as the architecture and urbanism of late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. His research has concerned the relationship between sound, space, and architecture and their role in the construction of pre-modern urban societies. His current projects explore digital visualizations of early modern urban soundscapes through GIS technology, as well as the visual and sonic cultures of the Indian Ocean. He is also currently collaborating on a new book project with Susanna Caviglia (Duke University) that is tentatively entitled Wandering in Rome: French travelers and the image of the early modern city, which investigates the aesthetics and the mechanics of urban mobility that constituted the experience and representation of Rome for Early Modern French travelers.
In 2019, Atkinson was the Geddes Visiting Fellow at the School of Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. He received the President’s Citation for creative and curatorial work representing Chicago in 2018 as one of the curators of the US Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale (American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 2018, he was also awarded a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring at the University of Chicago. In 2017-18, he was appointed a fellow at the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti, and has received research grants from the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (University of Chicago). He has also held fellowships from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut).
Atkinson’s publications include a monograph entitled The Noisy Renaissance: Sound, Architecture, and Florentine Urban Life (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2016). His articles include “Making Sense Of Rome in the Eighteenth-Century: Walking and the French Aesthetic Imagination,” Word and image, 34:3, 216-236 (with Susanna Caviglia); “Seeing Sound: Mapping the Florentine Soundscape,” in Mapping Space, Sense, and Movement in Florence: Historical GIS and the Early Modem City, eds. Nicholas Terpstra, Colin Rose (Routledge, 2016), and “Thinking Through Noise, Building Toward Silence: Creating a Sound Mind and Sound Architecture in the Premodern City,” Grey Room 60 (2015). Elements of his current project on architecture and early modern geography has been published as “Getting Lost in the Italian Renaissance,” I Tatti Studies in the Renaissance 19, 1 (2016). Forthcoming articles on travel, urban mobility, and architectural experience will appear in Routledge and the Journal of Early Modern History.
“Early Modern Rome on the Move: Ecological Contradictions in the Representation of a reemerging City,” with Susanna Caviglia, RES 77-78 (2023): 1-20
“Neighborhood Demographics at the Foundation of the Innocenti: A Test Case in Mapping the Florentine Catasto of 1427,” with Carmen Caswell, I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance (2023): 165-197
“Theses on Social Art History in the Age of Computational Methods,” co-authored article for the Clarke Institute Newsletter. Authors: Anne Helmreich (The Getty Foundation), Paul B. Jaskot (Duke University), Niall Atkinson (University of Chicago), Koenraad Brosens (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), André Dombrowski (University of Pennsylvania), Jacqueline Francis (California College of the Arts), Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi (Emory University), Hubertus Kohle (Ludwig Maximilian University), Min Kyung Lee (Bryn Mawr College), Barbara McCloskey (University of Pittsburgh), Emily Pugh (The Getty Research Institute), Blake Stimson (University of Illinois, Chicago). https://www.clarkart.edu/research-academic/publications/dialogue-and-new-directions-(2022)
Florence, 1494: Politics in Motion in the Streets of Florence,” Journal of Early Modern History, 25, 1-2, (March 2021): 61-95
“Taking Architectural Theory on the Road: The Sliding Scales of the Florentine Traveler, in Florence in the Early Modern World: New Perspectives. Nicholas Baker and Brian J. Maxon, eds. Routledge, 2019
“Making Sense of Rome in the Eighteenth-Century: Walking and the French Aesthetic Imagination” (with Susanna Caviglia), Word and Image34, no 3 (Sept 2018): 216-36.
The Noisy Renaissance: Sound, Architecture, and Florentine Urban Life Penn State University Press (2016)
“Getting Lost in the Italian Renaissance,” I Tatti Studies in the Renaissance 19, 1 (2016)
“Seeing Sound: Mapping the Florentine Soundscape,” in Mapping Space, Sense, and Movement in Florence: Historical GIS and the Early Modem City, eds. Nicholas Terpstra, Colin Rose (Routledge, 2016)
“Thinking Through Noise, Building Toward Silence: Creating a Sound Mind and Sound Architecture in the Premodern City,” Grey Room 60 (2015)
“The Social Life of the Senses: Architecture, Food, and Manners in the Renaissance,” in A Cultural History Of The Senses, Vol. 3: Renaissance, ed. Herman Roodenburg (London, New York: Bloomsbury, 2014)
“The Republic of Sound: Listening to Florence at the Threshold of the Renaissance,” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance Vol. 16, No. 1/2 (September 2013)
“The Italian Piazza: From Gothic Footnote to Baroque Theater,” in A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque art, ed. Babette Bohn and James M. Saslow (Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2013)
“A Guide to Listening to Renaissance Florence,” in On Listening, ed. Angus Carlyle and Cathy Lane (London: RGAP, 2013)
“Sonic Armatures: Constructing an Acoustic Regime in Renaissance Florence,” Senses and Society 7 no.1 (2012)
AWARDS AND GRANTS
Provost’s Global Faculty Awards for “Passage through the Place of Peace: Interwoven Histories of Bengali Modernism” with Philip Bohlman, Ronit Gosh, Tomal Hossein, James Nye, Anna Schultz, Anna Seastrand, 2022
International Grant Program for University of Chicago and University of Vienna faculty, October 2021 (with Gabriel Byng, Vienna), 2022
Geddes Visiting Fellow for 2019, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh, March 2019
President’s Citation for creative and curatorial work representing Chicago and the United States at the Venice Biennale’s US Pavilion, Catherine Baker, Board President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Chicago, 2018
Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring, University of Chicago
Rush H. Kress Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies | 2017-18
Charles Rufus Morey Book Award finalist, College Art Association (CAA) | 2017
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Research Grant, “Interwoven: Sonic, Visual, and Textual Histories of the Indian Ocean World” | 2017-2020 (with Philip Bohlman, James Nye, Laura Ring, Anna Seastrand)
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Faculty Research Grant, “Visualizing the Changing Spatial and Social Ecology of Renaissance Florence,” 2016-17 (with John Padgett)
U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale (co-curator)