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Report on the CAA International Travel Grant Program

posted by Janet Landay, Program Manager, Fair Use Initiative — Apr 18, 2012

Janet Landay is project manager of the CAA International Travel Grant Program.

Last February, twenty art historians and curators from eighteen countries around the world attended the 2012 Annual Conference in Los Angeles through the CAA International Travel Grant Program, a new initiative that was generously funded by the Getty Foundation. For many grant recipients, this visit was their first to the United States, and for most of them it was their first time at the CAA conference.

By coincidence, on the conference’s opening day, the Los Angeles Convention Center held two swearing-in ceremonies for twenty thousand new citizens and their guests, welcoming people from several nations to the US. Indeed, the CAA group felt like a miniature United Nations, and it was equally moving to see colleagues arrive at the conference from countries around the world. Participants included: Ganna Rudyck (Ukraine), Irena Kossowska (Poland), Pavlina Morganová (Czech Republic), Dóra Sallay and Gyöngyvér Horváth (Hungary), Cristian Nae (Romania), Daniel Premerl (Croatia), Malvina Rousseva (Bulgaria), Salam Atta Sabri (Iraq), Angela Harutyunyan (Lebanon), Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem Khan (Pakistan), Parul Pandya Dhar (India), Jageth Weerasinghe (Sri Lanka), Shao-Chien Tseng (Taiwan), Olabisi Silva (Nigeria), Didier Houenoude (Benin), Jean Celestin Ky (Burkina Faso), Federico Freschi and Judy Peter (South Africa), and Rosa Gabriella de Castro Gonçalves (Brazil). Read more about the recipients, their home institutions, and their areas of interest.

The purpose of this initiative was to encourage greater participation from countries not well represented at CAA’s Annual Conference in order to bring a more diverse and global perspective to the study of art history. The Getty travel-grant participants, as they became known, were selected by a jury of CAA members from among 150 applicants based on three general criteria: all had to be professors of art history, artists who teach art history, or museum curators with advanced degrees in art or art history; they had to work in a country where art history is an emerging discipline; and they needed to explain how attending the conference would significantly support or strengthen their work.

To welcome the participants and to ensure that they got the most out of the conference’s abundant offerings, members of CAA’s International Committee and representatives from the National Committee for the History of Art (NCHA) volunteered to act as hosts. CAA warmly thanks these members for their service as hosts: Ann Albritton, Frederick M. Asher (NCHA chair), Kathryn Brown, Nicola M. Courtright, Diane Derr, Stephanie Dickey, Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Paul B. Jaskot, Geraldine A. Johnson, Jennifer Milam (International Committee chair), Steven Nelson, Nada Shabout, and Beth A. Steffel.

This wonderful aspect of the program revolved around informal dinners, lunches, and drinks, in which both participants and hosts could trade stories and share information about the ins and outs of practicing art history in their respective countries. Two roundtable meetings brought everyone together to meet CAA staff, providing opportunities for assessment and reflection on the various aspects of the conference program. Equally stimulating were the friendships made among the participants, as they learned about each other and discovered shared interests and challenges. Now, nearly two months later, a number of grant recipients have already begun to collaborate on research and teaching projects, with ambitious plans in the works.

In the coming months, CAA will publish online interviews with several participants and report on their collaborative work as it unfolds. Stay tuned to future issues of CAA News for these special announcements.

Top image: Participants in the CAA International Travel Grant Programs (from left): Shao-Chien Tseng, Salam Atta Sabri, Olabisi Silva, Jean Celestin Ky, Pavlina Morganová, Dóra Sallay, Federico Freschi, Judy Peter, Didier Houenoude, Rosa Gabriella de Castro Gonçalves, Daniel Premerl, Angela Harutyunyan, Malvina Rousseva, Cristian Nae, Ganna Rudyck, Irena Kossowska, Parul Pandya Dhar, Jageth Weerasinghe, and Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem Khan; Gyöngyvér Horváth is not pictured (photograph by Katie Underwood and provided by the Getty Foundation)

Middle image: Ganna Rudyck from Ukraine introduces herself to fellow grant recipients (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Bottom image: Among the grant recipients were (from left): Shao-Chien Tseng from Taiwan, Didier Houenoude from Benin, and Jean Celestin Ky from Burkina Faso (photograph by Bradley Marks)