SAH Latrobe Chapter Student Annual Meeting Fellowship Report

posted Oct 14, 2013, 5:40 PM by Bill Marzella
Katie M. Schank 
Report: SAH Annual Meeting,
April 2013, Buffalo, NY

I was honored to receive the Latrobe Chapter Student Annual Meeting Fellowship and to be afforded the opportunity to attend the Society of Architectural Historians 66th Annual Meeting in Buffalo, NY this past April. By attending the SAH conference, I was able to broaden my knowledge of what’s being done in the field, I had an opportunity to meet my graduate student peers and scholars in the field, I reconnected with former colleagues and advisors from my time as a student at the University of Virginia, and I learned about Buffalo’s rich architectural history.

Listening to a variety of papers exposed me to many exciting ideas and the most current work that is being done in Architectural History. In addition to exposure new topics, I also learned about the numerous methodologies that scholars are applying to their work. In my own dissertation work on Atlanta’s public housing, I use both archival research and close readings of visual images to study how these built environments were represented to the public. Thus, I was particularly interested in listening to papers that engaged with similar methodological approaches. “Ugly America & the Shopping Mall: A Time-Life View of the 50s & 60s,” by Gabrielle Esperdy; “American Haunts: Walker Evans’s Vernacular Architecture Photographs,” by Kristen Oehlrich; and “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin: The Convergence of Cinema and Architecture,” by Merrill Scleier were each fascinating papers in their own right but also interesting to me because of the methodology each scholar used.

I was also able to learn more about the rich architectural history of Buffalo by attending two walking tours – the first, a walking tour of downtown and the second, a walking tour of the city’s Allentown Neighborhood. The Allentown tour was especially fascinating. Over the course of a few hours and miles, our very knowledgeable guide, Martin Wachadlo, taught our group an astounding amount about the neighborhood and the city. Latrobe chapter member Elizabeth Milnarik, a friend of Mr. Wachadlo’s, told me that I should introduce myself. What a lucky connection to have had! After we finished the Allentown tour, Mr. Wachadlo brought me on a personal tour of Buffalo’s public housing projects.

While in attendance at SAH, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with others in the field – both established scholars as well as fellow graduate students – and hope that these meetings will lead to future collaborations on conference panels. Most of my interaction with fellow graduate students happened during a Graduate Student Roundtable in which I was able to join a group of about twenty graduate students in an interesting and lively discussion about the ideas of vernacular and avant-garde as they related to building types, research methods, and even teaching. I also attended the Graduate Student Lightning Talks, a forum for graduate students to present their work in five-minute talks. Inspired by my attendance at the meeting in Buffalo, I submitted a proposal to give a lightning talk at the 67th Annual Meeting in Austin, TX and recently found out that my proposal was accepted.

I am thankful that I was able to attend the meeting in Buffalo and look forward with great anticipation to the next meeting in Austin, TX.