Sarah Beckmann Awarded Rome Prize Fellowship

Sarah Beckmann, assistant professor of Classics and core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute, has been awarded a 2022 Rome Prize Fellowship in ancient studies for her work on “The Villa in Late Antiquity: Roman Ideals and Local Identities.” These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities, according to the April 2022 announcement by the American Academy in Rome, which described the award as providing “the gift of time and space to think and work.”

Each fellow will receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board at the eleven-acre campus of the academy on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, starting in September 2022. “These fellowships are transformative, and we look forward to seeing the ways this experience is translated in the work to come,” according to Mark Robbins, president and chief executive officer of the American Academy in Rome. Beckmann’s award was described as “a stunning achievement” by Alex Purves, professor and chair of the Department of Classics at UCLA.

“I am delighted to be next year’s recipient of the Andrew Heiskell Rome Prize,” Beckmann said, noting that the prize will “allow me to spend the 2022–23 academic year in residence at the American Academy in Rome.” She will be working on her first monograph, focused on late antique villas. Beckmann describes the first part of the book as looking at architecture and decor, focusing on regional variations of so-called elite display traditions. Part two of the book moves beyond villa owners, she explained, analyzing evidence for estate laborers, both as “actors in their own right and as pawns in the promotion of the villa into a status symbol.”

On a more personal level, “I am absolutely delighted to return to Rome,” Beckmann added. “I studied there in college, and it was that experience that started me on my studies towards a PhD in Roman archaeology. Years later, I am incredibly lucky to be returning. I will be writing my first book, but also touring around a bit to gather material for my second book project. And, of course I am excited to revisit my old favorite places and find new ones. I am really looking forward to updating my images of major monuments and sites in and around Rome” for the class on Roman archaeology that she teaches every year at UCLA.

“I cannot wait to work alongside scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds,” she continued. She described the opportunity presented by the Rome Prize as offering “time to think and write in a creatively stimulating environment with others whose work touches on or is in dialogue with Rome as a place or an ideal.”

Beckmann will be joined by her family, including her one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. “I feel very lucky to bring them all, and I am looking forward to time off from writing to watch my son learn to walk on the cobblestones, sharing gelato with my daughter, and watching her Italian surpass my own, as well as spending a year in the magical city where my partner and I spent our honeymoon.”

Rome Prize winners are selected annually by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition. Beckmann continues a tradition of Cotsen Institute awardees, following in the footsteps of core faculty member Ellen Pearlstein, professor in the Department of Information Studies and the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program, who received a Rome Prize in 2021–22.


Published on May 11, 2022.