Dr Wendy Wiertz is assistant professor of Applied Arts, Design and Material Cultures at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on the relations between textile history, identity, and material cultures.
Wendy obtained her PhD in Art History at KU Leuven in 2018. In her PhD, she investigated how the amateur arts were a powerful instrument to create one’s own identity, a place in a network and tangible memories. Aristocratic amateur women artists in Belgium in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries served as a case study. The resulting book Adellijk en artistiek. Amateurkunstenaressen met blauw bloed in België (1815-1914) was awarded the 2021 Prize of the Fonds Keingiaert the Gheluvelt and is published by University Press Leuven in 2023.
After completing her PhD research, Wendy started a multidisciplinary and transnational research project, in which she focused on humanitarian organisations, which saved the renowned Belgian lace industry in the First World War, while simultaneously ensuring the wartime employment of Belgian lacemakers in German-occupied Belgium and among Belgian refugees in Holland, France and the United Kingdom. The produced lace became known as war lace, as its unique iconography referred directly to the conflict.
For this project, Wendy received a Fulbright fellowship, an honorary Belgian American Educational Foundation fellowship, a one-year KU Leuven postdoctoral mandate and a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship. Through these fellowships, she was consecutively affiliated with Columbia University, the University of Oxford and the University of Huddersfield.
Besides her academic research, Wendy curated the exhibitions Vrouwen met stijl. Penseelprinsessen in Hingene (Belgium, Hingene, Kasteel d’Ursel, 2013) and Romantic Landscapes. Marie de Flandre (Belgium, Brussels, Royal Palace, 2015).
Wendy is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) and of Advance HE (formerly known as the Higher Education Academy, FHEA). She is a member of the professional networks The Occupation Studies Research Network, Military Welfare History Network and Dynastie et Patrimoine Culturel.