Imagine Fulbright: Preserving fashion history in Munich
Peter Sproule ’16 has been able to pursue his passion for art history in Germany with a Fulbright research grant.
After being introduced to the work of Bavarian artist Hans Fischach (1922-2008) during his junior year internships at multiple museums, including the Von Parish Costume Library at the Munich Stadtmuseum in 2015, Mr. Sproule has been fascinated by twentieth-century German fashion illustration. He returned to Munich through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals program to continue working in museums and studying the work of Fischach and his role in a community of post-war artists.
Now that Mr. Sproule has been given the opportunity to focus on this research through a Fulbright grant, his project will extend his study of Fischach’s life and works, with the ultimate goal of producing a monograph for publication and curating an exhibit.
Mr. Sproule graduated from Carthage with majors in German and studio art and a minor in art history. His time at Carthage put him in a unique position for the research he is doing with Fulbright, as the liberal arts structure allowed for him to build a niche for himself in the theatre program’s costume shop, which led him to the topic of fashion illustration.
He attributes his ability to combine disciplines in his work to the small-school atmosphere and interdisciplinary learning values of Carthage.
“While my project falls under the general field of art history, I have constantly drawn from outside of my art history classes,” said Mr. Sproule.
As the capital of the German state of Bavaria and the third largest city in Germany, Munich is a cultural hub and home to rich history and many museums. Mr. Sproule says the amazing collections are his favorite part of living in the city.
“There are more than 10 major museum collections within a 30 minute walk from my apartment in Munich!”
He has also enjoyed collecting anecdotes and learning the local history of the city. There are many speakers of the Bavarian dialect in the area, including some of the authors of the documents Mr. Sproule uses for his research. His growing ability in both the German language and the Bavarian dialect has surprised him.
His success with Fulbright is no surprise, however, to Professor Gregory Baer, who guided Mr. Sproule in his study of German language and culture.
“Mr. Sproule will bring an interesting and unique set of interdisciplinary skills and expertise to his graduate studies. His academic work as an undergraduate in the areas of language study, textual analysis, and research, and his practical experiences in Carthage’s costume shop and in archives and cultural institutions in Germany and the U.S. have prepared him extremely well to excel in graduate school,” said Prof. Baer. “Mr. Sproule also brings with him a very strong and ever-growing sense of curiosity and a desire to engage in the kinds of investigative work we call scholarship. I know that he will be successful.”
Mr. Sproule’s advice for college students aspiring to go to Germany for study, research, or internships is to consider both CBYX and Fulbright. He also warns that time flies abroad, saying “I am about halfway through my grant year, but I certainly don’t feel like I am halfway through my project yet.”
After Fulbright, Mr. Sproule would like to pursue graduate school back in North America, although he is sure he will be returning to Germany before long.
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Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. It is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, and teaching in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools worldwide. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and fellowships are available to American students wishing to spend a year or more abroad after college to teach, conduct scholarly research, or engage in creative projects.
Carthage students interested in Fulbright opportunities should contact Professor Dan Choffnes, Fulbright Program Adviser.