Stefano Nicastro is an RHS Marshall Fellow, held jointly with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Stefano studied History at the University of Milan and spent a semester abroad in Istanbul at the Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi via the Erasmus programme. Subsequently, he completed an MSc in Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic at the University of Edinburgh and I further studied Arabic in Egypt at the International House Cairo – ILI.

Stefano is currently a History PhD Student at the University of Edinburgh, working on a thesis entitled, ‘Genoa in the Islamicate Mediterranean: Diplomatic and Economic Relationships between the Genoese and the Qalawunid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria, 1279-1382′. Stefano’s research looks at cross-cultural and trans-regional interactions in the Mediterranean during the later Middle Ages. Specifically, it studies the diplomatic and commercial relationships between the commune of Genoa and the Mamluk sultanate with a focus on the practices and the modality of these trans-Mediterranean exchanges.


John Marshall is an RHS Centenary Fellow, held jointly with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. John is a fourth year PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin, having previously obtained a BA and MA from Dublin City University.

John’s research analyses transnational lordship and politics in thirteenth-century Britain and Ireland. John’s thesis focuses on the Marshal earls of Pembroke and lords of Leinster, in particular how their influence on the ‘peripheries’ of the Plantagenet empire in Ireland and Wales brought them influence and patronage at the core. His thesis will also provide the first edition of the partition of the Marshal estates in 1247 after the male line of the family died out.

In addition to his membership with the RHS, John is also an associate member of the AHRC-funded Noblesse Oblige research network and has published on aspects of his research in History: The Journal of the Historical Association (108:382) and Irish Historical Studies (2023).


Helena Neimann Erikstrup is an RHS Marshall Fellow, held jointly with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Helena is a fourth-year DPhil student in History of Art at the University of Oxford. Her thesis ‘The Colours of Martinique: The (Re)making of the Modern Subject in French-Caribbean Art, 1847-1930’ focuses on visual representations of race and ecology made in Martinique as vital sites in which French national identity was negotiated in the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century, a period in which the definition of being, and not being, French was redefined. It looks at understudied visual material of lesser-known or completely unknown, sometimes ‘amateur’, artists alongside work of a canonical artist such as Paul Gauguin.

Considering these artists in a relational, non-hierarchical way, Helena’s research examines their experimentation with different colour palettes to reassert racial and environmental control of Martinique in the decades following the abolition of slavery in 1848. The thesis uses colour (as a pigment, a racial marker and visual effect) as the main prism through which engage with the work and the questions they ask.


Clare V. Church, is an RHS Centenary Fellow held jointly with the Institute of Research, University of London. Clare is a fourth-year PhD researcher at Aberystwyth University, studying within the Department of History and Welsh History under the supervision of Dr Siân Nicholas and Dr Miguel Hernandez. Originally from Canada, Clare completed her Master of Arts at New York University and attained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo.

The subject of her doctoral research focuses on the cultural representations of women celebrities, and their subsequent influence on gender roles and national morale during the Second World War. Specifically, the project applies the concept of ‘patriotic femininity’ – originally developed by Phil Goodman within the context of British Second World War studies – transnationally, exploring celebrity case studies in the UK, US, and France. Studying the mediated depictions of celebrities such as Vera Lynn, the Andrews Sisters, and Joséphine Baker, the project endeavours to understand how the ‘ideal woman’ was framed within these distinct national wartime contexts.