CAA News Today

The International Foundation for Art Research will host its next IFAR Evenings event, “Artists Resale Rights in the US: Overdue or Shouldn’t Do?” in New York on Monday, November 25, 2013, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM. A Q&A session and a reception will follow the presentations.

Unlike many countries, the United States does not provide for resale royalties for visual artists (also known as droit de suite) by statute. A California royalty right, enacted in 1976, was recently ruled unconstitutional, a decision currently on appeal. In December 2011, Congressman Jerrold Nadler sponsored H.R. 3688, the Equity for Visual Artists Act, recommending a federal resale royalty. While the Judiciary Committee failed to act on the bill in the 112th Congress, a new version of the bill is expected to be reintroduced in this Congress. On Nadler’s request, the US Copyright Office has been reviewing the implications of enacting a federal resale royalty law. Its report is expected soon.

Please join the following distinguished speakers as they discuss this important and often divisive issue:

  • Karyn Temple Claggett, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, US Copyright Office
  • Sandra L. Cobden, General Counsel, Dispute Resolution and Legal Public Affairs, Christie’s
  • Theodore H. Feder, Founder and President, Artists Rights Society
  • Philippa S. Loengard, Assistant Director and Lecturer in Law, Kernochan Center, Columbia Law School
  • Jerrold L. Nadler, Congressman, Tenth Congressional District, New York

Space is limited; advance reservations with payment are essential. The program is free to IFAR members and supporters, with a reduced rate for IFAR Journal subscribers and full-time students with ID. Tickets are $25 each for the general public.

About IFAR

Established in 1969, the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) is a nonprofit educational and research organization dedicated to integrity in the visual arts. It works at the intersection of art scholarship, art law, and the public interest. IFAR has hosted IFAR Evenings since 1981. These are informal lectures and panels on topics related to IFAR’s core areas, including art attribution and authenticity, ownership, theft, looting, and other legal, ethical and scholarly issues concerning art objects. Several IFAR Evenings are usually scheduled each year. IFAR also organizes conferences and symposia; publishes the award-winning IFAR Journal, offers an Art Authentication Research Service and provenance research services; serves as an information resource; and has recently launched an expanded website with several new research tools, including the Art Law & Cultural Property Database and the Catalogue Raisonné Database.

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags:

The panel discussion on the sale of the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presented on October 24th in New York City and organized by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) raised many of the issues that characteristically surround a major art museum situated and owned by an economically ailing major city: economic necessity and the economic divide; the professional responsibilities of the state, the city, and the museum staff and board; the test of the concept of works of art held in the public trust; the politics of a Republican governor and a liberal African American city; moral responsibilities of museums and their communities; the nature of the intent of art donors and the future of gifts to museums; and the expectation that major donors and foundations should solve the city’s bankrupt state.  The speakers were Graham Beal, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts; Sam Sachs, former director of the Detroit Institute of Arts and President of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Frank Robinson, retired Director, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; and Richard Levin, Partner & Head of Restructuring Practice, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

The DIA has become the central issue in the media of the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy. The museum’s rocky economic history with the city and the state was presented by past director Sam Sachs. The museum was founded in 1885 by a group of private citizens called the Founders Society. As early as 1919 the Founders merged with the City by ceding the collections in return for city-supported maintenance. Over the years the city support decreased and the Founders sought assistance from the state. That support reached a high point of $17 million in 1985. By 1991 the state support was cut in half. In 1997 the museum was reprivatized so that the city retained the collections that were supported through city funds but most other support was provided by the Founders Society.

The irony of this present controversy is that the DIA has never been in better fiscal shape nor has its audience, thanks to new educational initiatives, been so diverse. The DIA raised $360 million in the past few years and in 2012 three suburban counties adjacent to Detroit approved a tax to support the operating costs of the museum for the next 10 years. However, the counties have already publicly stated that they would withdraw this support if the DIA’s collection is sold. According to Beal, this would essentially cause the closure of the museum.

The museum director, board members, administrative staff and lawyer have been prevented from meeting with the governor, the emergency manager or the attorney general of Michigan, who has already issued the decision that the DIA is a public trust and cannot be sold. A proposal to shift the ownership of the DIA from the city to the state has been blocked by the state legislature. Thus, the DIA leaders have been, as Beal said, “treated with disdain” by those in political power and have had to rely on the media and hearsay for information. The only contact they have had with the emergency manager’s office was his request for an inventory of the collections. When the DIA complied with a 1,640-page list of objects in the collection (using 10-point type and single-spaced formatting) the emergency manager’s office realized the complexity of the issue.

The DIA legal counsel, Richard Levin, made it clear that, according to municipal bankruptcy law, the state, not the federal government, has authority. In this case, the governor of Michigan appointed an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to oversee the city’s finances; he is the sole decision-maker on the preparation of a plan to sell assets, pay creditors and bring the city back to solvency. The current court case in the Eastern District Court of Michigan that was brought by the unions and pension fund managers questions the validity of declaring bankruptcy in the first place. The governor, attorney general and emergency manager will be called to testify. Levin emphasized that municipal bankruptcy proceedings usually go into settlements and that the settlements take so long that, “the patient usually dies on the operating table,” and as Beal stated, “a dead DIA is exactly the opposite of putting the city back on a good course.” The Oakland County manager, Brooks Patterson, told Beal that in order to attract corporations and investors to their county in competition with other major cities like Boston and Chicago, he talks about the one asset that downtown has, which is the DIA.

In the meantime, Christie’s appraisers continue to assign dollar values to works of art at the DIA. Their work will be completed soon. The accuracy of their valuation was questioned by an audience member, given the fact that many of the masterworks have not changed hands in many generations and there are no comparable figures to rely on. And the concept of a swift auction of hundreds, if not thousands, of works of art is unrealistic. Ultimately, the proceeds from such a sale would satisfy only a small percentage of the city’s debt.

Audience members asked what they could do to assist the situation. The petition that originated with Jeffrey Hamburger at Harvard University still is being circulated and IFAR asked that people sign it. CAA has circulated this electronic petition to members and it remains on the CAA website for those interested in signing it. Beal would prefer to absent the DIA from the center of this controversy since there are several other possibilities of relieving the city’s debt. The last rumor that Beal heard was that the emergency manager has taken the collections off the bankruptcy table.  Meanwhile the work of a great museum continues.

Correction

Graham W. J. Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, wrote that Gene Gargaro, the DIA’s chair of the board, has had three meetings with the emergency manager’s lawyer and the restructuring specialist. The first meeting was with Gargaro alone, the second with Beal and the museum’s top attorney, and the third with the DIA’s chief operating officer, top lawyer, and bankruptcy adviser (panelist Rich Levin). The tenor of the meetings was driven by the emergency manager’s people’s persistent demand that DIA come up with about $500 million.

John Greyson Arrest in Egypt

posted by August 27, 2013

The College Art Association joins colleagues around the world in expressing its hope for the swift release of John Greyson, Associate Professor at York University and Director of York’s graduate program in film, who was recently detained in Egypt, together with Tarek Loubani, a physician, while working on a film project. More information about John Greyson’s arrest has been provided by his home institution, York University: http://news.yorku.ca/2013/08/19/statement-from-york-university-president-and-vice-chancellor-mamdouh-shoukri-on-professor-john-greyson/.

Further information regarding the campaign to free John Greyson, can be found here:
http://www.podur.org/node/1019

Messages of support seeking his release can be directed to the following authorities:

Canadian Embassy in Egypt: cairo@dfait-maeci.gc.ca
Egyptian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada
Phone:
+1-613-234-4931
+1-613-234-4935
Email:
egyptemb@sympatico.ca

Egyptian Consulate General, Montreal, Canada
Phone:
+1-514-8668455
+1-514-8668456
+1-514-8668457
Email:
egypt.consulate@videotron.ca

John Baird – Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada
Phone
613-990-7720
Email
bairdj@parl.gc.ca
Twitter: John Baird @honjohnbaird
Twitter: Department of Foreign Affairs Canada: @DFATDCanada

Stephen Harper – Prime Minister of Canada
Phone [Ottawa office]
613-992-4211
Email
stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca

For the US:

Egyptian Embassy in the US: embassy@egyptembassy.net

Filed under: Advocacy, Legal Issues — Tags:

Anitra Haendel: In Memoriam

posted by August 05, 2013

CAA staff mourns the loss of its dear friend and colleague, Anita Haendel. Anitra was CAA’s office services and purchasing coordinator (2004–10) and brightened the lives of all of us every day with her presence and her work. She received her BA from Brown University and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2012.

Projekt Papier Interview

Watch Anitra Haendel’s video interview with Projekt Papier, posted in 2012.

Filed under: Obituaries

The more information that is made available on critical issues in the field, the greater a case can be made for advocacy to promote change. One of the major challenges for the visual-arts field is ensuring that all faculty are properly supported so that they may provide outstanding teaching, research and creative work. It is estimated that over 70% of faculty at colleges and universities in the United States are now hired on a contingent bases. This upward trend began in the 1970s and appears to dominate the future.

Data on working conditions of part-time faculty is not easily available since the funding for the National Study on Postsecondary Faculty at the Department of Education was discontinued in 2003. Data on art history, studio art, and art education faculty is even more difficult to obtain since visual arts and performing arts faculty were historically aggregated together by the Department of Education.

In response to the lack of data, the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, http://www.academicworkforce.org/  comprising twenty six academic associations including CAA, organized an extensive survey. The report on this survey was published in June 2012 http://www.academicworkforce.org/CAW_portrait_2012.pdf.  Of the 20,000 part-time faculty participating in the survey, 1,034 were CAA members. The data they contributed has been compiled and is now available [http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/CAA-CAWContingentFacultySurvey.pdf].

Some of the major findings from the art historians, artists and art educators indicate that: 1) part-time faculty in the visual arts field have a slightly higher salary rate than the median; 2) there are gender disparities in salaries within the visual arts; and 3) resources and benefits provided by institutions are two to three times lower for visual-arts faculty than the full sample of respondents.

What is CAA doing to address these issues? The Board adopted the Guidelines for Part-Time Faculty in 2004. The Professional Practices Committee under the chairmanship of Jim Hopfensperger and an ad hoc committee led by Tom Berding and CAA board member, John Richardson are working to update these guidelines to respond to present needs in order to provide standards for the field.

Several CAA annual conference sessions have been devoted to resources for administrators and part-time faculty. At the 2013 New York Annual Conference, a panel which included John Curtis from the American Association of University Professors and Rosemary Feal from the Modern Language Association, among others, provided valuable resources for networking among part-time faculty. An example is organizations such as CAW that are actively addressing workforce issues and state and national government advocacy. These resources can be found at http://www.collegeart.org/resources/contingentfaculty.

The CAA Board has organized a planning task force of members to address critical issues in the field over the next five years. The profound changes in the structure of faculty, teaching formats, digital research, publishing and creative work are some of the greatest challenges identified. The members of the task force welcome your comments in shaping how CAA can address these and other major issues of our profession. Please send your ideas and comments to CAA at nyoffice@collegeart.org.

I would like to thank Peter Bucchianeri at Harvard University for compiling the data and writing the report on the responses of CAA member respondents to the contingent faculty survey.

 

An Open Letter to:

Mr. Kevyn Orr, Emergency Manager
City of Detroit
2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226

Dear Mr. Orr:

On behalf of the College Art Association that represents over 14,000 art historians, artists, curators, art educators and art conservators we express our shock and concern upon reading The Detroit Free Press article today, “DIA’s Collection Could Face Sell-Off to Satisfy Detroit’s Creditors.”

The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the greatest art museums in the country that represents the finest creative achievements throughout the history of the world. The DIA is not only a great treasure but one of the very few places in Detroit where all people can enjoy, contemplate and study art and its many related concepts. The DIA has developed itself as a public educational institution and has been a leader in the profession at engaging with all segments of the community.

The CAA adheres to the principle that public art museums are held in the public trust and as such are to be protected for the public good. It also supports the Alliance of Museums Code of Ethics and the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Policy on Deaccessioning that states that the sale of art museum collections to support operating expenses is unethical.

We appeal to your higher judgment in assessing the true value of the DIA and its critical role for the public good of the city, state and the country in deliberating on the future of this great collection.

Sincerely yours,

Anne Collins Goodyear
President


Linda Downs
Executive Director

August Update

On August 26, 2013, the Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors has agreed to promote this petition, initiated by Jeffrey Hamburger of Harvard University, regarding the potential sale of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The following document, called “Promoting Creativity and Public Access to the Arts,” contains talking points to help American citizens to advocate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

National Endowment for the Arts: Promoting Creativity and Public Access to the Arts

We urge Congress to support a budget of $155 million for the NEA in the fiscal year 2014 (FY 2014) Interior Appropriations bill to preserve citizen access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States.

NEA Annual Appropriations, FY 1992 to present (in millions of dollars)

 

FY

’92

’93

’94

’95

’96/’97

’98/’99

’00

’01

’02

’03

’04

’05

’06/’07

’08

’09

’10

’11

’12

’13

$

176

174.5

170.2

162.3

99.5

98

97.6

104.8

115.2

115.7

121

121.3

124.4

144.7

155

167.5

155

146

138.4*

* FY13 reflects a 5 percent cut mandated by sequestration, applied to the CR budget from FY12. The figures above are not adjusted for inflation. (Source: NEA)

Talking Points

The NEA budget has been reduced in previous years to a level that threatens the agency’s ability to make grants in every congressional district.

  • Due to recent congressional budget cuts, the NEA had to decrease funding to state arts agencies and cut more than 175 direct grants to arts organizations
  • Restoring the NEA to $155 million will help maintain grant support to arts organizations and partnerships in communities across the country

The NEA contributes to the economic growth and development of communities nationwide.

  • The arts put people to work. More than 905,000 US businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, employing 3.35 million people: visual artists, performing artists, managers, marketers, technicians, teachers, designers, carpenters, and a variety of other trades and professions—jobs that pay mortgages and send children to college. Artists are a larger workforce group than the legal profession, medical doctors, or agricultural workers. (Sources: Americans for the Arts, Creative Industries, 2012; NEA, Artists in the Workforce, 2008)
  • The arts are a business magnet. A strong arts sector stimulates business activity, attracting companies that want to offer employees and clients a creative climate and a community with high amenity value. The arts are a successful strategy for revitalizing rural areas and inner cities. Arts organizations purchase goods and services that help local merchants thrive. Arts organizations spend money—more than $61 billion—on salaries, local products, and professional and skilled trade services that boost local economies. (Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity IV (AEPIV) study, 2012). In 2013, the American creative sector will be measured by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The BEA and NEA will develop an “Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account,” which will identify and calculate the arts and culture sector’s contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP)
  • The arts help communities prosper in a diversified twenty-first-century economy. Nonprofit arts organizations, along with creative enterprises, contribute to state and local economies, generating employment and tax revenues and providing goods and services demanded by the public. The nonprofit arts industry generates $135.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 4.13 million full-time equivalent jobs in the arts and related industries, and returns $9.59 billion in federal income taxes. (Source: AEPIV study)
  • The arts attract tourism revenue. Cultural tourism accounts for 78 percent of US travelers—some 118 million tourists—who include arts and heritage in their trips each year. They stay longer and spend 36 percent more money than other kinds of travelers do, contributing more than $192 billion annually to the US economy. (Source: US Cultural and Heritage Tourism Marketing Council, US Department of Commerce, Cultural and Heritage Traveler Research, 2009)
  • Federal funding for the arts leverages private funding. The NEA requires at least a one-to-one match of federal funds from all grant recipients—a match far exceeded by most grantees. On average, each NEA grant leverages at least $8 from other state, local, and private sources. Private support cannot match the leveraging role of government cultural funding

Talking Points (Continued)

The NEA improves access to the arts; supports artistic excellence; and fosters lifelong learning in the arts through grants, partnerships, research, and national initiatives.

  • NEA funds spread across the country and expand arts access. Every US congressional district benefits from an NEA grant, leveraging additional support from a diverse range of private sources to combine funding from government, business, foundation, and individual donors. The NEA awarded more than 2,200 grants in 2012, totaling more than $108 million in appropriated funds. A listing of these grants is online at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/go/NEAgrants
  • State arts agencies extend the reach of federal arts dollars. Forty percent of all NEA program funds—approximately $46 million in FY 2013—are regranted through state arts agencies. In partnership with the NEA, state arts agencies awarded more than 22,000 grants to organizations, schools, and artists in 5,000 communities across the US (Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Summary Report: 2011 Funding and Grant Making, 2011)
  • NEA grants support a range of educational projects. Arts education in school and participation in arts lessons are the most significant predictors of arts participation later in life. The NEA funds school- and community-based programs that help children and youth acquire knowledge and skills in the arts. The NEA also supports educational programs for adults, collaborations between state arts agencies and state education agencies, and partnerships between arts institutions and K–12 and college/university educators. (Source: NEA, Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation, 2011)
  • Rural and underserved communities benefit from the Challenge America Fast-Track category, which offers support to small and midsized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. The Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra in Lawton, Oklahoma, for instance, received funding for an original work paying tribute to Native American themes in a concert that drew 250 Native American guests from the surrounding tribal nations
  • The NEA has supported military families by partnering with Blue Star Families to present Blue Star Museums, offering free admission to active-duty military and their families, and a similar effort to launch Blue Star Theatres. Other NEA programs for the military have included Operation Homecoming; Great American Voices Military Base Tour; and Shakespeare in American Communities Military Base Tour.
  • When public arts funding is lost, private dollars do not reliably pick up the slack. Tough economic conditions mean less revenue from public, private, and corporate sources. Loss of support to arts organizations across the country during the recent recession has meant cuts in administrative costs and cuts to programs. Programs for lower‐income populations and at‐risk children are typically hit hard because a larger majority of their funding comes from public sources

Background

America’s arts infrastructure, supported by a combination of government, business, foundation, and individual donors, is critical to the nation’s well-being and economic vitality. In a striking example of federal/state partnership, the NEA distributes 40 percent of its program dollars to state arts agencies, with each state devoting its own appropriated funds to support arts programs throughout the state. This partnership ensures that each state has a stable source of arts funding and policy. These grants, combined with state legislative appropriations and other dollars, are distributed widely to strengthen arts infrastructures and ensure broad access to the arts.

For close to fifty years, the NEA has provided strategic leadership and investment in the arts through its core programs, including those for dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, local arts agencies, media arts, multidisciplinary arts, music, theater, visual arts, and other programs. Among the proudest accomplishments of the NEA is the growth of arts activity in areas of the nation that were previously underserved or not served at all, especially in rural and inner-city communities. Americans can now see professional productions and exhibitions of high quality in their own hometowns.

The FY 2013 NEA appropriation reflects a 5 percent cut mandated by sequestration, applied to the continuing resolution budget allocation of $146 million from FY 2012, despite the president requesting an increase to $154.3 million and the Senate Appropriations Committee proposing an equal amount. The administration’s FY 2014 budget proposes $154.466 million for the NEA, which would nearly restore the agency to FY 2011 funding levels and would provide support to a healthy nonprofit arts sector in communities nationwide. Current funding amounts to just 47 cents per capita, as compared to 70 cents per capita in 1992.

ITHAKA S + R has surveyed U.S. faculty members at four-year colleges and universities every three years since 2000 to determine practices and attitudes related to faculty research methods, teaching, and opinions about resource providers—libraries, archives and scholarly societies. The latest survey was presented April 8, 2013 at the Coalition for Networked Information. ITHAKA S + R: http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/us-faculty-survey-2012.

CAA sent the survey to its members who are art historians. In the past ITHAKA concentrated only on humanities, social science and science faculty. Thus, artists are unfortunately not represented in this survey since it is the government’s definition of the humanities that places artistic practice in the arts only, even though in reality it is part of the concept of the humanities.

Research Practices: The survey shows that there is increasing reliance on specific electronic research resources and general purpose search engines on the internet as compared to the online catalog of libraries and use of the library building. Yet, 78% of the journals and books routinely used are found in local college and university libraries. The majority of respondents also seek out freely available online resources.

Audiences for Faculty Research: 90% of humanities faculty and 95% of art historians believe that the audience for their research is scholars in their subdisciplines. Only 35% indicated that there is a public audience for their research. And yet 52% believe their research is important for a general public audience. 50% of art historians also believe that their research is important for an undergraduate audience.

Need for Scholarly Societies: The primary way that 71% of the respondents “keep up” with current scholarship in their field is by attending conferences and workshops.

Academic Publishing: The three most important characteristics of an academic journal that are important to art historians are 1) the journal has a high impact factor (85%); 2) the current issues of the journal are circulated widely, and are well read by scholars in the field (80%); 3) the journal’s area of coverage is close to the immediate area of research (75%); and 4) the journal permits scholars to publish articles for free, without paying page or article charges (72%).

The most highly valued activities performed by academic publishers by humanities faculty are 1) associating work with a reputable brand that signals its quality (70%); 2) providing professional copy-editing and lay-out of the work (65%); and 3) managing the peer review process to provide high-quality feedback to vet and improve the work (70%). Art historians in particular see the greatest value in 1) associating the work with a reputable brand (71%); 2) managing the peer review process; and 3) providing professional copy-editing and lay-out (all at 65%). The humanities faculty in general continues to rely on scholarly publishers as opposed to those in the sciences. Only 11% of art historians agreed with the statement: “Scholarly publishers have been rendered less important to my process of communicating scholarly knowledge by my increasing ability to share my work directly with peers online.”

Role of the Library: Faculty perceives the role of the library primarily as a buyer and repository of resources and less as a teaching facilitator. When asked whose responsibility it is to teach undergraduates how to locate and evaluate scholarly information, 42% of faculty believe it is their responsibility and 24% believe it is the library’s responsibility.

Transition to Online Journals: The increased interest on the part of humanities faculty in online journals declined from 60% in 2009 to 55% in 2012. There were also slight declines in the social sciences and sciences in this regard. 30% of humanities faculty are “…happy to see hard copy collections discarded and replaced entirely by electronic collections,” compared to 48% of social sciences and 47% of sciences. With regard to repositories of hard copy journals, 68% of humanities faculty agree that “…it will always be crucial for some libraries to maintain hard-copy collections of journals.” As CAA begins the transition to online journals, it will be important to stay informed on how faculty utilizes journals online and the value placed on online and print journals.

Scholarly Societies: Scholarly societies remain important to humanities faculty. 80% of art historians who responded to the survey were members of the primary society for their field and 72% were also members of other scholarly societies.

The most highly valued functions of scholarly societies are conferences, information on fellowships and jobs, peer-reviewed publications and advocacy for the field’s values and policy priorities. The conference is important as a source of hearing about new research by peers, socializing and networking, learning about new technologies and engaging in broad discussion about the state of the discipline (in that order). This information confirms the findings of CAA membership surveys.

Filed under: Research, Surveys

Flying over the Grand Canyon after a meeting at the University of Washington with digital humanities faculty and marveling at the fractal-like patterns that moving water has sculpted out of solid rock, made me think of the slow but steady impact digital humanities centers and institutes are having on academic structure of research and evaluation. Project by project new research tools, interdisciplinary and collaborative research and new approaches to problems at these centers are altering the once rock-solid academic structures of research, peer review and evaluation.

The Scholarly Communications Institute (SCI) http://uvasci.org/ called a meeting on March 11 and 12 in partnership with the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) http://chcinetwork.org/ and centerNet http://digitalhumanities.org/centernet/ an international organization of digital humanities centers with a focus on the topic of “Rethinking Humanities Graduate Education.” The meeting focused on developing pilot projects that would leverage the specific strengths of CHCI and center Net. Possible consortial courses and cross-institutional cohorts of scholars were two of the many ideas presented. Individuals from 15 universities and the American Association of Museum Directors, the New York Council for the Humanities and College Art Association. (For a summary of the meetings and a participants list see: http://uvasci.org/)

Digital humanities centers, institutes and computing centers have been an important presence at universities since the 1990’s first as resources to provide technical assistance to students and faculty and now as strong academic centers of intellectual activity unto themselves offering courses, research products, developing frameworks and digital tools, fellowships, and public programs. Each center has a different disciplinary and technological focus depending on their original mission and purpose. Many of the centers grew out of language, literature and history disciplines. Now the commonality is in method and approach rather than specific disciplinary content or theory. Visual arts projects are being developed in DH centers by graduate students and faculty who have been working on cross-disciplinary research projects.

Computing centers such as the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Center offer digital tools, one-on-one assistance in developing a project and introductory courses on organizing collaborative digitalinitiatives. The University of Virginia’s Scholar’s Lab http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/scholarslab/ offers students technical assistance on digital research to advanced students and faculty, graduate fellowships, workshops, and the opportunity to work on collaborative digital projects. The programs at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University are targeted to teachers and faculty of history with a huge number of online resources as well as sponsoring dozens of digital history projects as well as free tools such as Zotero, a research tool to help gather, organize and analyze data and images. The concept for THAT Camp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) held at the College Art Association Annual Conference in New York which focused on digital tools, data bases and collaborative projects in art history this past February, originated with Columbia University Libraries and Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Plans are to offer THAT Camps at the CAA Annual Conference again in Chicago next February 2014. The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture grew out of film and media studies. Their multimedia research and publishing platform, Scalar has been utilized for the anniversary projects of  CAA’s The Art Bulletin (“Publishing The Art Bulletin: http://scalar.usc.edu/anvc/the-art-bulletin/index developed by Thelma Thomas at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and of caa.reviews by Sheryl Reiss at the University of Southern California.

Other well established digital humanities centers offer digital resources, publications, programs and tools. The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities http://mith.umd.edu/, as their website indicates, “ is jointly supported by the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities and the University of Maryland Libraries, MITH engages in collaborative, interdisciplinary work at the intersection of technology and humanistic inquiry. MITH specializes in text and image analytics for cultural heritage collections, data curation, digital preservation, linked data applications, and data publishing.” (While I was attending the SCI Anne Collins Goodyear, CAA President was presenting at MITH on her digital curatorial work at the National Portrait Gallery.)

The wide-ranging discussions touched upon collaborating on introductory courses for first year graduate students; changing standards to assist in evaluating collaborative digital projects and dissertations and promotion and tenure; how DH can contribute to lowering the time-to-degree; interdisciplinary collaboration; developing shared meaning between humanities researchers and technologists unfamiliar with the humanities; teaching basic skills required for digital research and analysis in either keystone or capstone courses;  and assessing the role that DH centers provide to graduate students who are considering non-faculty career alternatives.  Ideas came forward on how the academy can introduce non-faculty career options to graduate students from shadowing professionals to internships at museum and non-profit public service institutions where they can apply the knowledge gained in graduate school.

There was general agreement on offering keystone courses on basic programming, how to approach a collaborative digital research project, and database organization and analysis. The University of Victoria Computing Center offers introductory courses in utilizing digital tools to entry level graduate students and to students who sign up for summer courses, or 5 day courses at learned society conferences.

The new standards mentioned at the meeting for evaluation of digital scholarship included the Modern Language Association’s Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media http://www.mla.org/guidelines_evaluation_digital and the digital dissertation guidelines at George Mason University http://historyarthistory.gmu.edu/graduate/rules-guidelines that were established in 2000. Tara McPherson, Associate Professor, School of Cinematic Arts at USC indicated that her graduate students are submitting digital dissertations but still feel compelled to provide approximately 120 pages of written and printed documentation on the process of building the digital tools that they used for research and analysis to the dissertation review committees. Tara also emphasized that her students, enter her program highly skilled in the use of digital technology and are able to devote greater effort in content study.

According to the Humanities Indicators statistics on time-to-degree for tertiary degrees in the humanities in the US is 10.93 years. The United States is ranked fifth internationally (behind Germany at 17 years, Japan, Hungary and Korea) http://www.humanitiesindicators.org/content/hrcoIIB.aspx#topII14 . Todd  Presner, Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies and Chair of the Digital Humanities Program at UCLA floated a concept which became shortened throughout the day and a half meeting as “the twenty-year dissertation.” The idea is not to lengthen the time-to-degree average but to develop one collaborative digital project that several graduate students would work on in part. Each student could develop facets of a major problem that could encompass several disciplines and they could also contribute to enhancing the digital tools that could expand research, analysis and construction of databases.

The time-to-degree issue also raised the question of what is expected of DH graduate students. Are faculty expecting new knowledge or is the expectation that graduate students master problem solving, project organization and leadership qualities to prepare them for faculty positions or for non-academic positions where they can apply their academic knowledge on a daily basis? The reality check was the question as to how many current dissertations actually produce new knowledge.

Kevin Franklin, Executive  Director, Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed cross-disciplinary projects where shared meaning is developed between programmers and framework and platform builders who are coming from STEM and humanities disciplines.  I-CHASS is also reaching out to governmental policy makers in the Americas to provide collaborative projects that address major global challenges related to the environment, educations and cultural preservation where STEM and humanities researchers are collaborating with international government entities. Two projects that involve image recognition will be presented at future CAA Annual Conferences.

CAA will be seeking opportunities to bring DH courses, workshops and presentations of new digital tools and visual arts research projects to future annual conferences. We hope to find support for more open access publications such as The Art Bulletin and caa.reviews digital projects on the Scalar open access publishing platform.  In the meantime, for those who are unfamiliar with the offerings of DH centers, I would recommend visiting the DH centers at your colleges and universities or reading up on DH in the latest issue of Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation (29:1-2) and Debates in the Digital Humanities, Ed. Matthew Gold, University of Minnesota Press, 2012 (and check out the review of this book by Paul Jaskot also in the latest issue of Visual  Resources).

Filed under: Publications, Research — Tags:

Board of Directors’ Meeting

posted by March 05, 2013

Anne Collins Goodyear and Linda Downs
Sunday, February 17, 2013

The CAA Board of Directors convened its regularly scheduled meeting after the conference and welcomed Abigail Van Slyck, President, Society of Architectural Historians and Dayton Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the Faculty, Connecticut College; and Pauline Saliga, Executive Director, Society of Architectural Historians as guests. Van Slyck presented the latest initiatives of the SAH and extended an invitation to CAA to explore projects of mutual interest. The latest collaboration was on the development of the CAA authors’ grants funded for one year by the A.W. Mellon Foundation.

President, Anne Collin Goodyear, announced the election results for the new CAA Board members—Constance Cortez, Jennifer Milam, Sheila Pepe and John Richardson—and thanked everyone who ran for these positions. She also thanked Board members rotating off: Patricia Matthews, Barbara Nesin, Past President; and Randall Griffin, outgoing Vice President for Publications. She then congratulated staff and Board members on the Annual Conference, and presented her annual report, providing updates on major Board initiatives and CAA accomplishments. (See, in this issue of CAA News, Goodyear’s “Reflections on the Annual Conference, the Year Past, and the Year to Come,” https://www.collegeart.org/news/2013/03/05/reflections-on-the-annual-conference-the-year-past-and-the-year-to-come/.

The officers of the Board of Directors and the Senior Staff presented their annual reports to the Board (coming soon).

Jeffrey P. Cunard, CAA Counsel and cochair of the Task Force on Fair Use, presented the method and procedure being followed in this four-year project to develop a code of fair use in creative work and scholarly publishing in the visual arts.

The Executive Director, the Senior Staff, and officers of the Board of Directors presented their annual report to the Board (coming soon).

Consistent with CAA practice, the Vice President for Committees presented three triennial reviews of three of the nine Professional Interests, Practices, and Standards Committees (PIPS). This year the Diversity Practices Committee, Education Committee, and Museum Committees were reviewed and renewed.

The Professional Practices Committee updated and submitted for adoption by the board, the Standards for Sculptural Reproduction and Preventive Measures to Combat Unethical Casting in Bronze. It was adopted with one abstention. See: http://www.collegeart.org/guidelines/sculpture.

Jacqueline Francis, Vice President for Annual Conference, presented the final report of the Task Force on Annual Conference Technologies and announced that many of the recommendations will be implemented at the 2014 Annual Conference in Chicago. See: https://www.collegeart.org/news/2013/03/05/final-report-of-the-task-force-on-annual-conference-technologies/.

Francis reported on the success of THAT Camp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) held in conjunction with the CAA Annual Conference in New York and coorganized by Columbia University Libraries, Smarthistory at Khan Academy, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Macaulay Honors College, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Seventy five people attended and shared their online publications, discussed issues in online publishing, constructed an online survey textbook in one hour, and exchanged ideas for networking and gathering information on art history databases. Plans are to hold THATCamp at the 2014 Annual Conference in Chicago.

The annual election of officers took place. The new officers are:

Vice President for External Affairs – Maria Ann Conelli

Vice President for Committees – DeWitt Godfrey

Vice President for Annual Conference – Jacqueline Francis

Vice President for Publications – Suzanne Preston Blier

Secretary – Patricia McDonnell

The following Board members were elected to the Nominating Committee: Leslie Bellevance, Denise Mullen, and Sabina Ott.

The subject of fees charged by universities to apply for university faculty positions was discussed. CAA has posted a comment on the Online Career Center stating that the association does not condone this practice.

Filed under: Board of Directors, Governance