Gwen manages Penn's print and electronic collections related to the Middle East, both in Middle Eastern and West European languages. In addition to selecting materials, she is available for research consultations and provides library support to Middle East studies classes.
Gwen has done extensive fieldwork in Turkey and across Europe. She also brings a broad range of academic and library experience to leading the Middle East Collection at Penn. Previously she worked in both visual resources and digital humanities. She has curated online and analogue exhibitions of Special Collections in her past appointments. She is completing a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her dissertation concerns the bazaar painters of 17th-18th c. Istanbul and the development of the urban painting market that catered to both Ottomans and foreigners. In a wider scope, she connects these works to global trends of exoticism in Europe and the Persianate world. For example, she considers translations of Ottoman art into the turquerie fashion movement in European states. Previously, she has written on performance and festivity in the Ottoman Empire, particularly on how the green spaces on the waterfront of city became open-air theaters for water spectacles of the early 18th century.