The Junior Research Award, presented together with the Berlin Research Award, is given to young scholars or scientists whose creative approach to research makes a positive contribution to Berlin as a center of research. Both awards were presented for the first time in May 2008.
Vera Beyer, born in 1975 in Aachen, studied art, art history, and German at the universities of Siegen (Germany) and British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). She received graduate scholarships to continue her studies at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and at the DFG Research Training Group “Representation-Rhetoric-Knowledge” at Viadrina University, Frankfurt/Oder. After finishing her doctorate summa cum laude at Universität Hamburg, Beyer was a visiting scholar at New York University and a research associate in Bochum and Basel.
Since 2008 Beyer has headed the DFG-funded Emmy Noether Junior Research Group at Freie Universität Berlin, “Kosmos/Ornatus. Ornament in Persia and France c. 1400 in Comparison.” The research group examines the relationship between ornament and figure in different Islamic and Christian visual cultures, placing them in common traditions and thus countering the frequently recurring contention that there is an opposition between image-friendly Christian and image-hostile Islamic art. With their research Beyer and her colleagues are making a contribution toward more inclusion of non-European visual cultures in art historical research conducted in Europe, as well as toward transcultural and interreligious dialog.