The Serena Medal is awarded annually for eminent services towards the furtherance of the study of Italian history, philosophy or music, literature, art, or economics.
History of the prize
It was endowed by Mr Arthur Serena after Great Britain’s alliance with Italy in the First World War. The medal was first awarded in 1920.
In 2024 eligible nominations are for scholars in Italian History.
In 2025 eligible nominations are for scholars in Italian Philosophy.
How to nominate
Nominations for this award are open from 1 December to 31 January and may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy. Entries should be submitted electronically to [email protected].
In the body of the email, clearly state:
- Name of the prize or medal
- Name of nominee
- Nominee’s position/institution and email address
- Nominee’s principal area of academic distinction
- Supporting statement (250 words)
- Nominator’s name and your British Academy section
- Declaration of any institutional or personal interest
The deadline for submissions is 31 January each year. Nominations will be reviewed, and the winner selected, by the relevant panel.
If you have any queries submitting a nomination please email [email protected].
2023 winner (Italian Music)
Dr Bonnie J. Blackburn FBA has been awarded the 2023 Serena Medal, for her outstanding contributions to the study of Italian Renaissance music through the discovery, study and interpretation of musical, theorical and archival sources.
Bonnie J. Blackburn, elected to the British Academy in 2005, is a musicologist specialising in the music and music theory of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. She taught briefly in the United States before moving to the UK in 1990, where she developed a second career as a freelance editor and copy-editor. Much of her scholarly career has been devoted to archival research, beginning in Milan in 1970 and widening to Rome, Venice, Brescia, Mantua, and most recently Modena, where the records of the Este family of Ferrara are located. She gave the Serena Lecture in 2011: ‘Myself when Young: Becoming a Musician in Renaissance Italy—or Not’. Together with Edward Lowinsky and Clement Miller she edited and translated a collection of 110 letters by sixteenth-century Italian music theorists, published as A Correspondence of Renaissance Musicians (Oxford University Press, 1991).
"The awarding of the Serena Medal came as a complete surprise to me, especially since I have not followed an ordinary career path. Perhaps that is why the lives of musicians under difficult circumstances have particularly appealed to me and are traced in numerous of my articles."
- Dr Bonnie J. Blackburn FBA, August 2023.
2022 Professor Zygmunt Barański, University of Cambridge
2021 Professor Lucrezia Reichlin FBA, London Business School
2020 Professor Jill Kraye, University of London and the Warburg Institute
2019 Professor John Foot, University of Bristol
2018 Professor Roger Parker, King's College London
2017 Professor Martin McLaughlin, University of Oxford
2016 Professor Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Queen Mary University of London
2015 Dr Brian A’Hearn, University of Oxford
2014 Professor Chris Wickham FBA, University of Oxford
2013 Professor Pier Vincenzo Mengaldo, University of Padua
2012 Professor Richard Bellamy, University College London
2011 Professor Patricia Fortini Brown, Princeton University
2010 Professor Anna Lepschy, University College London
2009 Professor Giorgio Chittolini, University of Milan
2008 Professor Philip Gossett, University of Chicago Università “La Sapienza” Rome
2007 Professor Conor Fahy
2006 Professor Paul Ginsborg
2005 Mr Ronald Lightbown
2004 Professor William Weaver
2003 Professor Stuart Woolf
2002 Professor John Woodhouse
2001 Professor Michael Hirst FBA