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As we start another term and prepare another newsletter, the doors of the Warburg Institute in Woburn Square have been closed for more than a month in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Looking back at last term’s newsletter, it is shocking how many of the events and initiatives it featured ended up being postponed or cancelled, including the opening of the Bilderatlas exhibitions in Berlin, our Spring Open Day for prospective students and the entire annual conference of the Renaissance Society of America. But I have been relieved to hear that the Warburg’s staff and students are safe, and amazed to see how quickly we have all adjusted to working from home.
I have also been heartened to learn that thanks to this swift adjustment, most of what we had planned is now able to go ahead in one form or another. The lavish new facsimile of Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne was published on time by Hatje Cantz, and it is a monumental achievement in every sense of the word (weighing in at more than six kilos!). The exhibitions for which it was produced are being rescheduled for the Autumn; and, as you will see in the rest of this newsletter, many of our events and courses have already shifted to online platforms, including the Open Day which is now scheduled for 18 May. Indeed, we have used the lockdown to launch the Warburg Institute’s Virtual Community, a one-stop-shop for digital resources to hold us over—and bring us together—while our physical spaces and collections are closed. It’s clear that once we open again we will have developed powerful new platforms for exploring the interface of images, ideas and society.
There are some changes that will be more difficult to manage, and the personal and financial challenges caused by the pandemic should not be underestimated. The University of London—like all academic and cultural institutions—is taking a cautious approach with its budgets for the coming months. Capital projects around the country are being suspended, and our own Warburg Renaissance building project is now on pause while we take stock of our situation. But we have made great progress on both the architectural design and the fundraising, and we are poised to make a final push as soon as possible. Our Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wendy Thomson, has written to reassure us that the University remains ‘fully committed to the Warburg Renaissance project and as soon as the position becomes more clear, and resources permit, we will proceed as planned with the transformation of the Warburg Institute.’
I want to thank my colleagues, our students and our families for their goodwill in adjusting to difficult circumstances. And I want to thank the Institute’s friends around the world for their many messages of support. As I said when we gathered for a final (social distanced) drink before our temporary closure, the Warburg has been through worse in its long history, and it will emerge with an even stronger sense of its past and future.
Professor Bill Sherman


We're delighted to be hosting our first-ever virtual open day this month.

On Monday 18 May 2020, join us online to learn about the programmes we offer, meet our staff and current students, discover the Institute’s collections and find out what it’s like to study at the Warburg Institute.

Find out more and register


The Warburg is a place with an extraordinary environment, one filled with complex conversation, inter-disciplinary discovery, and constant engagement.

Terra Smith, MA student 2018-19
Funding Opportunities
We're pleased to be offering a number of scholarships for the upcoming academic year. Take a look at the funding we have available for our MA/MRes and MPhil/PhD programmes:
MA/MRes Funding

Peltz Scholarships

Thanks to an increase in support from Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz, we are now able to offer four scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year. We are extremely grateful for their continued generosity and Daniel Peltz OBE said: “Our aim is to give something back to the next generation of postgraduate students and enable them to access the amazing opportunities offered by the Warburg Institute’s academic programmes.

American Friends of the Warburg Institute Scholarships

Thanks to The American Friends of the Warburg Institute, we are once again able to offer two scholarships which will cover the fees for a student from North America to study on one of our MA programmes/MRes programmes in 2020-21.

Find out more and how to apply for an MA/MRes scholarship here

Mphil/PhD Funding

Gombrich-Saxl Scholarship


The Gombrich-Saxl Scholarship is open to Home/EU students who have been offered a place on the Institute’s MPhil/PhD Programme. It will cover international fees and provide an annual £15,000 maintenance payment for a maximum of three years.

JB Trapp Scholarship

The JB Trapp Scholarship is open to international students who have been offered a place on the Institute’s MPhil/PhD Programme. It will cover international fees and provide an annual £15k maintenance payment for a maximum of three years.

Find out more and how to apply for an MPhil/PhD scholarship here


Our programme of lectures, conferences, seminars, reading groups, talks and short courses goes online from May 2020


View the full events programme


During the physical closure of the Institute, we have created a space to highlight the online events and resources available from the Warburg as well as other academic and cultural organisations making them more easily accessible for everyone whilst at home.

From podcast recordings of previous Warburg events to virtual tours of museums, there's a whole host of online content to explore. 

Explore the virtual community


The 1958 Warburg Institute building – personal observations


The current Warburg Institute building in Woburn Square, designed by Charles Holden, was completed in 1958. In this blog post, historian Mark Amies, who also works as the Warburg Library's Scanner Operator, takes us through his personal observations of the building whilst sharing some of its history.
Copyright © 2020 School of Advanced Study, University of London, All rights reserved.

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