• Adoration of the Magi :: c.1340
  • Artist: Master of the Blessed Clare of Rimini, Italian
  • Repository: Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Summer Institute on Digital Mapping & Art History, Middlebury College, August 3-15, 2014

Call for Applications

Middlebury College is pleased to invite applications for Fellows to participate in the first Summer Institute on Digital Mapping and Art History (August 3 -15, 2014), sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Co-directed by Paul B. Jaskot (DePaul University) and Anne Kelly Knowles (Middlebury College), the Summer Institute will emphasize how digital mapping of art historical evidence can open up new veins of research in art history as a whole. All art historians of any rank (including graduate students, curators, or independent scholars) with a scholarly problem related to spatial evidence or questions are encouraged to apply.

Large bodies of data used in our discipline almost inevitably have a spatial component and the analysis of this evidence in visual terms plays to the art historical strength in visual analysis. Whether talking about the spreading influence of Rembrandt’s workshop, Haussmann’s Plan of Paris, the Roman Forum, the caves of Dunhuang, the views of Edo, the market for Impressionist painting, the looting of assets by Napoleon, the movement of craftsmen over the medieval pilgrimage road, or the current proliferation of art expos globally, art history is peppered with spaces, both real and imagined. As such, spatial questions are central to many art historical problems, and visualizing spatial questions of different physical and temporal scales is an intellectual and technical problem amendable to the digital environment. Building the capacity to think spatially in geographic terms will carry an art historian a long way towards developing sophisticated questions and answers by exploiting the digital environment.

The Geography Department at Middlebury College has a long history of innovative teaching and research with spatial methods, including the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) across the humanities and social science. Such a center provides the workshop components of the Institute with excellent facilities and expert faculty and support staff. Bolstered with two outside speakers who are specialists in digital art historical and geographic visualization, Middlebury will be an ideal environment for the Institute. Participating Fellows will be trained in GIS and other methods of geovisualization relevant to their particular research interests, and will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various digital spatial platforms.

Within such an amenable environment, the Summer Institute will bring together digital spatial thinkers with art historians and their intellectual problems. At the end of the two-week period, Fellows will have a grounding in the intellectual and historiographic issues central to digital humanities, basic understanding of the conceptual nature of data and the use of a database, an exposure to important examples of digital art history in the field, and a more in-depth study of one particular approach (GIS and the visualization of space). Graduating Fellows will have the vocabulary and intellectual grounding to participate in on-going digital humanities debates or other specialized digital humanities workshops while also gaining important practical and conceptual knowledge in mapping that they can begin to apply to as scholars and teachers.

Given this focus, our Institute will be ideal for those art historians who already have identified a spatial problem in their work. Note, though that no prior knowledge or experience in digital humanities will be necessary or assumed for the application process. Naturally, general awareness of the scholarly potential of the digital environment or mapping will be a plus. We also encourage applications from clusters of two – three fellows who are working in a similar art historical area and who wish to foster their potential collaboration, or professors could apply with one – two graduate or undergraduate students to work as a team. All geographies, time periods, and subareas of art history will be considered.

To apply for a Fellowship, please send the following to the co-directors (Paul B. Jaskot, pjaskot@depaul.edu; Anne Kelly Knowles, aknowles@middlebury.edu):

  •  Statement of interest (750 words), that includes an overview of the project you wish to develop during the Institute, what particular spatial problem is of interest in your project, and the potential spatial evidence you may use to analyze this problem. Spatial evidence may include not only information that has fixed geographic coordinates (e.g., street addresses), but also data about a particular space that changes over time, demographic or other collective data that is regionally located, imagined locations (e.g., from novels), etc. For question about your spatial data while writing your statement, please feel free to contact the co-directors at any time. In addition, your statement should note potential pedagogic applications or any active collaborators at other institutions, if any.
  • 1-page working bibliography for your project
  • 2-3 page CV
  • 1 Letter of Reference (may be submitted separately)

All materials must be sent electronically by March 3, 2014. The co-directors will announce Fellowship winners by March 31, 2014. Note that Fellowships pay for tuition, room, board, and provide a travel stipend for all participants.

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