Congratulations to Sanchita Balachandran, who has been awarded the annual Iris Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar by the Bard Graduate Center. The Iris Awards honor outstanding individuals who have contributed to the study and appreciation of the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. As this year’s Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar, Balachandran will present a lecture at the award luncheon entitled “Marked in Clay: Interdisciplinary Methods to Re-imagine Ancient Greek Potters at Work.”
Sanchita Balachandran is associate director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and senior lecturer in the department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Trained as an objects conservator specializing in archaeological materials, she uncovers traces of past peoples and cultural practices on objects. She teaches courses on the technical study of ancient objects and the history and ethics of museum conservation. Balachandran is a fellow of the American Institute for Conservation and founder and director of Untold Stories, a nonprofit organization that represents and preserves a fuller spectrum of human cultural heritage in art conversation.
Balachandran’s current research seeks to document the work of the diverse practitioners—immigrant and migrant workers, enslaved people, women entrepreneurs—involved in the production of ceramics in ancient Athens between the sixth to the fourth century BCE. She uses a variety of means to have a more embodied understanding of these ancient peoples’ experiences including experimental archaeological approaches, sensory observations of the production process, and Reflectance Transformation Imaging of the drawings still present on these surfaces.