Temple Rome recently sat down with Barbara Caen, the new associate director and director of the Internship and Community Engagement program. Originally from Antwerp, Belgium, Barbara received her BA and MA in art history from the Catholic University of Leuven and held a one-year Erasmus fellowship at the University Paris IV-Sorbonne. Barbara received her PhD in art history from the University of Zürich in 2012 and held a doctoral fellowship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and two post-doctoral fellowships: one at the Frick Art Reference Library and one at the Academia Belgica in Rome. Prior to her appointment at TUR, Barbara worked as a political advisor in The Parliament of the Brussel-Capital Region, from 2014 until 2017, and as an advisor of the state secretary cabinet in Belgian science policy, from 2017 until coming to Temple Rome.
What do you enjoy most about working at Temple Rome so far?
Temple Rome has amazing staff, faculty and students. The first time I visited the campus, it immediately felt like coming home. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my international experience and knowledge, but mostly enjoy how much the place inspires me and gives me energy.
What do you think makes Temple Rome unique in a city with a lot of other study abroad programs?
First and foremost, Temple Rome is the one of the oldest American university study abroad programs in Rome, established in 1966. Moreover Temple Rome has a unique blend of extremely ambitious, dedicated, funny, inspiring and open-minded staff and faculty. You can tell that this reflects also on our students - which is a wonderful feeling!
What drew you to live and work in Rome?
In 2013 I was elected by the Belgian Academy in Rome for a postdoctoral fellowship, so I had already lived and worked here. And once you get a taste of it - especially as an art historian, it is hard to let go - so I kept on searching and was happy to be welcomed by Temple Rome.
What is your favorite thing to do in Rome when you're not working?
I really love to go around in the city, running or walking with my partner, friends or family talking, discovering new places and learning from the art, the beauty, the history. It is fascinating and remarkable how the layered identity of this city embeds you immediately into history and enriches you as a person - even unintentionally