PhD student commissioned for “50 Jewish Objects” project

Kremena Dimitrova, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Visualising History in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth, was commissioned by The Centre for Jewish Studies at The University of Manchester and The John Rylands Library. This consisted of her work as an artist and research for the public history project 50 Jewish Objects.


At the end of 2019, Kremena was commissioned by Prof Alex Samely and Dr Stefania Silvestri to work on the project, and her artwork was recently published and can be viewed here. The commission involved researching and visually investigating one or more of the objects, while employing a graphic narrative format. She focused on a 13C compendium of Jewish law – a manuscript of Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil’s Sefer Mitzvot Katan (Semak) and produced seven comic strip pillars to become part of The University of Manchester’s permanent collections in The John Rylands Library.


Kremena is organising and delivering outreach activities comprising of graphic storytelling demonstrations and workshops in Manchester Jewish community sites to showcase the project, captivate public’s interest and widen understanding of artefacts, Jewish history, and Jewish studies. Also part of the same commission, the PhD student is designing merchandise which will soon be available in The John Rylands Library’s shop, and has been writing blog entries to communicate her research, design decisions, and approaches when visually responding to the manuscript.


In addition, Kremena is hosting a series of illustration workshops for VJ-Day 75 between 22-27 June, exploring the end of the Second World War and teaching how to illustrate histories. Throughout the week, she will be producing brand-new illustrations which will be exhibited on the National Memorial Arboretum website. Spaces are limited and pre-registering here is essential.