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ARIAH’s East Asia Fellowship Program

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 15, 2015

The Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH), a consortium of museums and research centers based in North America or affiliated with North American institutions, has established a new program that will strengthen intellectual connections among art-history disciplines in different regions of the world. With generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Getty Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, ARIAH’s East Asia Fellowship Program will enable twelve scholars from countries in East Asia to conduct research at ARIAH member institutes on any topic in the visual arts. The project is funded for a three-year period, beginning in 2016, with four fellowships offered each year.

The East Asia Fellowship Program is open to scholars of art history from Japan, Mongolia, the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Taiwan, and South Korea. Each fellow will be hosted by an ARIAH member institute and have the opportunity to travel to other research centers during the three- to four-month fellowship period. Fellowships will be awarded through an open, competitive application process. One fellowship per year, supported specifically by the Terra Foundation, will focus on research topics related to the art of the United States before 1980. Topics for all other fellowships will be open, as long as they can be supported by research on the collections of the host institute. The deadline for the first of three rounds of fellowships is December 31, 2015.

“It’s impossible to overstate how important material support, not to mention encouragement, from the Mellon, Getty, and Terra foundations has been for launching this program,” said Jon Mogul, chair of ARIAH and assistant director for research and academic initiatives at the Wolfsonian–Florida International University in Miami Beach, Florida. “Art history and visual studies, like other academic fields, thrive when scholars who come from different traditions and view their subject through different lenses have the chance to learn from one another. The birth of this program really underscores just how essential these three foundations are to sustaining an ecosystem in which such intellectual interchange among art historians from different regions of the world can happen more and more routinely.”

The East Asia Fellowship Program grew out of a successful project that ARIAH designed in the late 1990s which brought art historians from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean to ARIAH member institutes. The Latin American program was part of larger process that yielded longer-term results and fostered increased collaboration and intellectual exchange among academic disciplines in Latin American countries.

ARIAH conceived of and developed the new program to encourage a similar intellectual, cross-cultural exchange between scholars and to establish lasting professional connections. The fellows will work side by side with curators, librarians, and fellows from other areas of research. Among the twenty-seven member organizations of ARIAH are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty Research Institute. The largest concentration of members can be found in the Smithsonian museums in the Washington, DC, area.

Peter Lukehart, associate dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, said that East Asia is “a geographic region from which, historically, there have been fewer applications” to the programs of ARIAH’s member institutes. “Consequently, the rich resources of these institutes are not known or available to scholars who might otherwise benefit from them. ARIAH hopes that encounters between scholars and administrators at ARIAH institutes will lead to future collaboration and interchange between fellows and their hosts. “Given the increasingly global nature of the discipline of art history,” Lukehart said, “these goals seem especially urgent.”