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CAA continues to stand in support of its members and our larger arts community to create, analyze, teach, and promote art within our higher educational institutions. In its role of responding to members’ concerns, particularly in relation to employment and various professional practices, CAA’s Professional Practices Committee (PPC) has drafted this short guide to existing CAA Standards and Guidelines to provide members with helpful vocabulary or needed disciplinary acknowledgment of standards that they may use as they are faced with institutional and economic challenges in the current environment. The below is not meant as an exhaustive list (and the PPC encourages all members to consult all of the approved Standards and Guidelines as well as the policies of the American Association of University Professors), but rather as a means of highlighting some key areas in which CAA members have come together to promote professional practices of use to us all. All of CAA’s standards are free and accessible to anyone via its website.

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Filed under: Standards and Guidelines

La Salle University. Image: Wikimedia Commons

CAA, the largest professional organization of visual artists and art historians, was disappointed to learn that La Salle University in Philadelphia plans to sell part of its art collection at the university’s museum. The university is currently planning to sell 46 works of art at a Christies’s auction estimated to bring in between $4.8 and $7.3 million.  The university states that the proceeds from the sale will be “invested in the future of our university to help grow and to be financially sustainable. More importantly, we are really looking to enhance student experience and student outcome.” A university spokesperson further points out that the decision to deaccession the works was the result of months of careful consideration by its Board of Trustees, which examined all of the university’s assets and made a decision that select artworks from their art museum could be reallocated for funding the university’s new strategic five-year plan. Read the Artnet News story about the deaccession.

Similar to other cultural professional organizations, CAA has set guidelines for conditions under which items in museums collections are to be divested or deaccessioned. CAA Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian said, “We join our colleagues from the American Alliance of Museums and Association of Art Museum Directors in questioning this sale. CAA’s guidelines make it clear that art held by museums is not to be considered ‘an asset’ in the traditional sense. Museums should sell work from their collection only under very limited circumstances.  And best practices dictate that the sale of the proceeds should only be used to acquire new works of art. We hope that the university Board of Trustees rethinks this position about selling the works that it holds in public trust.”

For many years, CAA’s Annual Conference has been a good place for prospective academic employers and job candidates to meet and talk about working together.

Over the years, CAA has developed standards and guidelines for candidates and interviews. Those guidelines were last updated in 2015.

At the Annual Conference in 2018 and going forward, interviewing will take place in our newly created Cultural and Academic Network Hall. There will be plenty of spaces for interviews to be conducted.

As a supporter of the highest standards in professional practices, CAA does not condone or support employment interviews occurring in hotel guest rooms. If presented with the possibility of a professional interview in a hotel guest room, candidates should feel free to inform prospective employers that CAA has created interview rooms in the Cultural and Academic Network Hall and express their preference that the interview be conducted there.

UPDATE, November 28, 2017: If anyone doesn’t feel comfortable raising the issue with a prospective employer, they can reach out in confidence to Hunter O’Hanian, executive director of CAA, who will contact the employer and let them know that we have received a general concern about a hotel room interview and offer the prospective employer the opportunity to conduct the interview in the Cultural and Academic Network Hall.

The 2018 Annual Conference takes place February 21-24, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA. Click here to explore the conference schedule.

New CAA Standards and Guidelines

posted by December 05, 2016

At the most recent meeting of CAA’s Board of Directors, which took place on October 23, 2016, the following statements and guidelines were revised and approved:

Strong case studies of digital humanities scholarship exist, and compelling resources continue to proliferate. Scholarly societies, including the American Historical Association (AHA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and more recently the College Art Association (CAA), and Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) have developed guidelines for use by institutions and individuals. Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CAA and SAH formed a joint task force that explored existing guidelines and literature, surveyed faculty and administrators, and developed Guidelines for the Evaluation of Digital Scholarship in Art and Architectural History. Adopted by the boards of both societies, the guidelines are available for download on the SAH and CAA websites and we encourage their adoption and use. The task force reviewed many resources in the course of eighteen months. Some of these are described below to provide a context for current digital evaluation in addition to the recently published CAA/SAH guidelines.

Sources such as the Journal of Interactive Pedagogy and Pedagogy and Manifold Scholarship, and sites such as Mapping Gothic France, HyperCities, and are places where digital scholarship is being practiced, peer reviewed, and successfully included in promotion and tenure portfolios. Benchmark portals such as the NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) NEH Summer Institutes (Storify of the proceedings can be found here) offer useful white papers: “Digital Humanities Scholarship: Recommendations for Chairs in Language and Literature Departments“; “Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Committees in Judging Digital Work”; and “Statement on Authorship.” Kristine M. Bartanen’s excellent “Digital Scholarship and the Tenure and Promotion Process“ contains valuable guidance. Published to Academic Commons in July 2014, Bartenan provides a comprehensive literature review and resource portal for the evaluation of digital scholarship. The review contains both model guidelines for promotion and tenure and appendices for a range of resources, literature, and organizations pertinent to understanding and developing evaluation methods.

In the fall of 2012 the Journal of Digital Humanities published their fourth issue, which centered on the “importance of assessment and the scholarly vetting process around digital scholarship.”[1] (The full journal issue can be accessed here.) The issue addresses the need for guidelines and dialogue for assessing digital scholarship in the humanities, offers case studies and examples, and reflects on the successes, issues, and failures of the methods employed. Though much of the content is not art or architectural history-specific, it is still relevant to CAA’s and SAH’s memberships. A broad overview of the contents of this journal issue is provided below so that readers can zero in on the material most germane to their own needs. Readers are encouraged to make use of the excellent bibliographies attached to each of the issue’s essays.

The issue is divided into four major sections: “The Problem Stated,” “Approaches,” “Institutional Guidelines,” and “Resources.” In the introductory section of “Living in a Digital World: Rethinking Peer Review, Collaboration, and Open Access,” Sheila Cavanagh highlights the importance of retraining processes and expectations of evaluation around digital scholarship, including “encouraging faculty who hire, tenure, and mentor junior scholars to acknowledge the complicated factors in the world of digital scholarship . . . for example, faculty often have difficulty identifying appropriate experts to participate in more traditional peer review processes.”[2] In “Evaluating Collaborative Digital Scholarship (or, Where Credit is Due),” Bethany Nowviskie highlights the inability of many humanities evaluative committees to adequately understand and appropriately review and reward the type of collaborative work that digital scholarship is often predicated upon. She contends that “the T&P [tenure and promotion] process is a poor fit to good assessment (or even, really, to acknowledgement) of collaborative work, because it has evolved to focus too much on a particular fiction. That fiction is one of ‘final outputs’ in digital scholarship.”[3]

The “Student Collaborators’ Bill of Rights“ from UCLA’s Digital Humanities program provides important guidance about how to understand, review, and reward collaborative digital humanities scholarship, especially in light of hierarchies of power experienced by student and “alt-ac” collaborators.[4] Nowviskie hails certain aspects of the AHA Guidelines for Evaluation of Digital Scholarship, particularly their underscoring of collaborative digital work as a type of perpetual peer review. At a National Endowment for the Humanities “Off the Tracks” workshop in 2011, Nowviskie, Matt Kirschenbaum, Doug Reside, and Tom Scheinfeldt collaborated on a provocative “Bill of Rights” for collaborators that might serve as a guidepost for promotion and tenure committees to consider. In Nowviskie’s words, “We drew on our experience administering MITH [Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities], the Scholars’ Lab, and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media—three centers that are sites for a great deal of collaboration among people who may have similar backgrounds as scholars and technologists, but whose formal institutional status may vary a great deal. We drafted something we called a ‘Collaborators’ Bill of Rights,’ which was later endorsed by the full workshop assembly and posted for public comment. Basically, it’s an appeal for fair, honest, legible, portable (this is important!), and prominently displayed crediting mechanisms. It also offers a dense expression of underlying requirements for healthy collaboration and adequate assessment from the point of view of practicing digital humanists, with special attention to the vulnerabilities of early-career scholars and staff or non-tenure-track faculty.” Their recommendations are as follows:

  1. Committees must consider not only the products of digital work but the processes by which the work was (and perhaps continues to be) co-created;
  2. Scholars (even while they ask to have their critical agency as individuals taken seriously in tenure and promotion cases) are obligated to make the most generous and inclusive statements possible about the contributions of others;
  3. Credit should be expressed richly and descriptively, but also in increasingly standardized forms, legible within a variety of disciplines and communities of practice;
  4. We must negotiate expressions of shared credit at the outset of projects and continually, as projects evolve;
  5. We must promote fair institutional policies and practices in support of shared assertion of credit, such as those which make collective and individual ownership over intellectual property meaningful and actionable;
  6. And, finally, we must accept that collaborators themselves, regardless of rank or status, have the ultimate authority and responsibility for expressing their contributions and the nature of their roles.

Other relevant literature includes Todd Presner’s essay “How to Evaluate Digital Scholarship,” directed at the audiences within the art and architectural history-specific community: “The document is aimed, foremost, at Academic Review Committees, Chairs, Deans, and Provosts who want to know how to assess and evaluate digital scholarship in the hiring, tenure, and promotion process. Secondarily, the document is intended to inform the development of university-wide policies for supporting and evaluating such scholarship.”[5] Presner offers a succinct and clear checklist for promotion and tenure boards, engaging them in dialogue around initial review, crediting, intellectual rigor, impact, peer review, and experimentation, among other topics.

Geoffrey Rockwell’s “Short Guide to Evaluation of Digital Work” deepens and extends Presner’s checklist in compelling and practicable ways, and Laura Mandell’s essay “Promotion and Tenure for Digital Scholarship” offers a useful and clear coda full of concrete examples such as the HyperCities project and Voyant, a software text analysis tool. It is not overstating the importance of these three essays alone to suggest that every promotion and tenure board member might be asked to read them to educate themselves on the shifting boundaries of their discipline, and the ways in which their analysis of promotion and tenure portfolios must change and adapt. In addition, in the third section of the journal issue, the MLA’s Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media is similarly designed to “help departments and faculty members implement effective evaluation procedures for hiring, reappointment, tenure, and promotion. They apply to scholars working with digital media as their subject matter and to those who use digital methods or whose work takes digital form.”[6]

James Smithies’s essay “Evaluating Scholarly Digital Outputs: The Six Layers Approach” offers a different style of checklist, a bird’s-eye view of the different types of digital scholarship output, but one that is most useful if the reader—part of a promotion and tenure board or otherwise—is already informed about and open to considering digital scholarship on par with analog modes. Katherine D. Harris’s “Explaining Digital Humanities in Promotion Documents” is a comprehensive and fruitful overview of her foray into learning “how best to sell Digital Humanities, scholarly editing, and Digital Pedagogy to my colleagues.”[7] Harris, associate professor of English literature at San Jose State University, shares her statement for promotion and her approach to the practical question of formatting and outlining her digital scholarship as part of her promotion and tenure binder. With few models to consult, she crowdsourced her questions via Twitter and other channels in order to produce her promotion and tenure document, finally settling on a narrative-based approach that outlines her own collaborative and individual contributions to the field, and includes examples of her concrete research and pedagogy projects in progress and completed, publications, conferences, and supporting quotations from the Digital Humanities Community Wiki and Digital Humanities Now.

While every essay in the fall 2012 Journal of Digital Humanities issue is well worth consultation, the final resource to flag is the MLA’s “Evaluation Wiki of the Committee on Information Technology.” This report takes the form of a checklist of documents that digital scholars should amass as part of preparation for promotion and tenure, and it might be used in tandem with Harris’s model statement.

Both CAA and SAH leadership teams encourage the wide dissemination and adoption of the newly published guidelines, as well as a CAA 2017 panel or forum models that facilitate questions, feedback, and discussion around the issues raised.

Michelle Millar Fisher is a doctoral candidate in Architectural History at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art.

[1] Daniel J. Cohen and Joan Fragaszy Troyano, “Closing the Evaluation Gap,” Journal of Digital Humanities vol. 1, no. 4 (Fall 2012): i. They continued: “As digital humanities continues to grow and as more scholars and disciplines become invested in its methods and results, institutions and scholars increasingly have been debating how to maintain academic rigor while accepting new genres and the openness that the web promotes.”

[2] Ibid, 9.

[3] Ibid, 17.

[4] Authored by Haley Di Pressi, Stephanie Gorman, Miriam Posner, Raphael Sasayama, and Tori Schmitt, with contributions from Roderic Crooks, Megan Driscoll, Amy Earhart, Spencer Keralis, Tiffany Naiman, and Todd Presner, this document endorses the Collaborators Bill of Rights, developed during the workshop “Off the Tracks—Laying New Lines for Digital Humanities Scholars” held at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), January 20–21, 2011, and described below. The UCLA document adds principles to safeguard students when working on projects with scholars who are senior to them.

[5] Ibid, 36.

[6] Ibid, 91–94.

[7] Ibid, 71.

The College Art Association (CAA), working jointly with the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), has released its Guidelines for the Evaluation of Digital Scholarship in Art and Architectural History for Promotion and Tenure. The guidelines are the result of a Task Force convened by the two associations of ten members from the academic community with experience in digital research, publication, and/or scholarly communications and administration. Established by the Board of Directors in October 2014 and supported by funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this joint task force of CAA and SAH was co-chaired by DeWitt Godfrey, president, CAA and professor of art and art history, Colgate University; and Kenneth Breisch, SAH president and assistant professor, School of Architecture, University of Southern California.

See the SAH announcement.

The project methodology was developed through a collaborative process involving the Task Force, consultant, researcher, and representatives from CAA and SAH. Research components included results from surveys of CAA and SAH members and department chairs, a similar questionnaire for graduate students, interviews with scholars and administrators, research on existing disciplinary and institutional evaluation guidelines, and a review of relevant literature. Alice Lynn McMichael, PhD candidate in Byzantine art history and digital fellow at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and Raym Crow, principal at Chain Bridge Group served as researcher and consultant.

In addition to a review of current guidelines and current literature on the topic, the researcher was charged with balancing broad survey data with more in-depth discussions of topics that resonate with evaluators of digital work. To this end, interviews were conducted with constituents from sixteen institutions across the United States that produce digital work regularly in art and/or architectural history. Institutions were either public and private and research-intensive or teaching-focused. Interviewees at those institutions had varying academic ranks and included department members, librarians, provosts, deans, chairs, and directors of humanities centers or similar.

Highlights from surveys from CAA and SAH members and interviews include the following:

  • Most CAA respondents, across all professional ranks, have never used data gathering and imaging tools (83%), data analysis and visualization tools (80%), three-dimensional modeling (75%), digital storage and preservation tools (73%), and geospatial analysis tools (65%).
  • Many characteristics of digital resources were generally valued as important, with the highest importance placed on permanent archiving, documentation of the resource, and ease of use; and relatively less importance on the availability of underlying data, financial sustainability, and permanent citation.
  • Graduate students report the highest confidence in evaluating digital scholarship.
  • Less than 4 percent of total respondents knew of existing evaluative criteria for digital scholarship in their departments.
  • The largest barrier to digital scholarship is lack of access to training.

Read the full Guidelines here. An essay, “Case Studies and Examples for Evaluating Digital Scholarship”  by Michelle Millar Fisher, a task force member, provides background information on evaluating digital resources and can be found on the College Art Association website.

Members of the Task Force included:

  • Suzanne Preston Blier, Allen Whitehall Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
  • Kenneth Breisch, SAH President, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, University of Southern California, and Cochair of Task Force
  • Linda Downs (ex officio), Executive Director, College Art Association
  • Gabrielle Esperdy, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Editor of SAH Archipedia
  • Michelle Miller Fisher, PhD Candidate, Art History, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, and Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art
  • Pamela M. Fletcher, Professor of Art History, Chair of Art Department, and Codirector of Digital and Computational Studies Initiative, Bowdoin College
  • DeWitt Godfrey, CAA President, Professor of Art and Art History, Colgate University, and Cochair of Task Force
  • Anne Collins Goodyear, Codirector, Bowdoin College Museum of Art
  • Paul Jaskot, Professor, History of Art and Architecture, DePaul University, and Andrew W. Mellon Professor, CASVA
  • Bruce M. Mackh, Director, Arts and Cultural Management Program, Michigan State University
  • Tara McPherson, Associate Professor, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
  • Abby Smith Rumsey, Former Director, Scholarly Communication Institute, University of Virginia
  • Pauline Saliga (ex officio), Executive Director, Society of Architectural Historians
  • Ann Whiteside, Librarian and Assistant Dean of Information Services, Harvard University

About CAA

The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions nationally and internationally by offering forums to discuss the latest developments in the visual arts and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other programs, services, and events. CAA focuses on a wide range of issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage, preservation, workforce topics in universities and museums, and access to networked information technologies. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching. Learn more at

About SAH

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by vocation or avocation, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs. Learn more at


CAA Update from the President

posted by November 13, 2014

DeWitt Godfrey, professor of art and art history at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, is president of the CAA Board of Directors.

CAA is moving ahead on several strategic goals. After a year of investigation and discussion with over 200 artists, art historians, curators, editors and reproduction rights officers, Professors Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi are drafting the new Code of Best Practices in Fair Use in the Visual Arts which will be reviewed by the Task Force on Fair Use, the Committee on Intellectual Property, the Professional Practices Committee, and an independent Legal Advisory Committee. We anticipate that the code will be presented at the Annual Conference in February 2015.

At the October 26th Board meeting, the formation of two task forces was approved: one to review CAA’s governance structure, and one to review its professional committees. As a greater number of faculty are now part-time, the board and committee requirements have to be adjusted so that the best expertise is brought to CAA within the most economical timeframes. The Board also had a lively discussion on the best directions to be taken regarding advocacy and how CAA can respond quickly and efficiently to issues that affect members’ daily work. We are exploring the creation of a task force on advocacy.

The CAA Board and senior staff held a day-long retreat which focused on a vision for the future of the annual conference—a more flexible structure, greater opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion, serving the needs and interests at each stage of a career in the visual arts, and the ability to quickly address issues that arise in the field, have an international perspective and participation, and reach those members who are not able to attend the conferences.

New, updated volumes of the Directories of Graduate Programs are now available through CAA’s website. From the data published in the directories, CAA will draw statistical information about all the visual-arts subdisciplines, mapping important changes in the field regarding enrollment and employment. We plan to make information from the past four years available to members in the coming months.

The September issue of The Art Bulletin features the third essay in the “Whither Art History?” series, as well as essays on Jan van Eyck and commemorative art, Hans Burgkmair and recognition, Watteau and reverie, and contemporary Indian Art from the 1985-86 Festival of India. The latest issue of Art Journal includes a forum called “Red Conceptualismos del Sur/Southern Conceptualisms Network,” featuring articles printed in their original Spanish and Portuguese alongside new English translations—this is the first foray into multilingual publishing for CAA. Art Journal Open’s first web editor, Gloria Sutton, associate professor at Northeastern University, has commissioned features from the artist Karen Schiff and the new-media historian Mike Maizels, as well as a dialogue between the curator Becky Huff Hunter and the artist Tamarin Norwood. The vision for this website is to provide an online space for artists’ works, experimental scholarship, and conversations among arts practitioners. And, now open access, includes nearly 2,500 reviews of books, exhibition catalogues, and conferences on art, as well as an annual list of completed and in-progress art history dissertations. Thirty-four field editors commission reviewers to address new publications, exhibitions, and exhibition catalogues and videos in every area of the visual arts. The new copublishing relationship between CAA and Taylor & Francis that supports all three CAA journals will complete its first year this month with a marked increase in readership. We are encouraging authors to use the multimedia resources offered at Taylor & Francis Online as well as its citation app.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded CAA and the Society for Architectural Historians a grant to cooperatively carry out research and develop guidelines in digital art and architectural history for promotion and tenure in the workforce. With the increased use of digital platforms in research and publishing there is a need for guidelines that reflect the best practice in evaluating digital art and architectural history. A task force will be formed of two art historians, two architectural historians, a librarian, a museum curator, a scholar from another humanities or social science field with expertise in digital scholarship, and a graduate student or emerging professional in art history or architectural history. CAA will hire a part-time researcher to gather information on current practices from faculty members throughout the country. Please see the Online Career Center for the listing.

CAA, like other learned, membership societies, faces significant challenges and opportunities for the future. The changing landscape of publication, academic workforce issues, advocating for the arts and humanities, serving a changing membership and the field are areas where CAA has and will continue to make a difference, by building on our legacy of leadership and embracing the necessary changes required to meet our mission and vision.

While the College Art Association (CAA) continues to affirm that the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is the terminal degree in visual arts and design practice, a growing number of PhD and other doctoral degree programs in the arts are being offered by institutions within the United States and abroad. Consistent with its commitment to offer guidance to its members, their institutions, and other professional arts organizations, CAA recognizes the need to develop a statement regarding terminal degree programs in the visual arts and design. In February 2013 CAA’s Professional Practices Committee (PPC) outlined a twenty-month course of action to develop a Statement on Terminal Degree Programs in the Visual Arts and Design. This process began with the formation of an ad hoc committee to lead the project.

The committee worked over the past year on collecting and comparing information about terminal degree programs and developing draft statements. The most recent draft was presented to members at the CAA Annual Conference in Chicago in February 2014. The session was extremely well attended and included an open discussion period and a mechanism for collecting post-conference feedback. In addition, the committee presented an earlier draft at the September 2013 National Council of Arts Administrators Annual Conference and many committee members attended an open hearing on the same subject at the October 2013 National Association of Schools of Art and Design Annual Meeting.

The committee continues its work on a timetable to submit a final draft statement for PPC review by June 1, 2014; for CAA staff and legal counsel review by September 1, 2014; and for CAA Board of Directors review in October 2014.

Please review the current draft statement. Members can offer responses, comments, and suggestions at until April 22, 2014. All submissions will be reviewed and considered. Please be aware that the committee will be unable to respond directly to members.




Linda Downs
Executive Director

New and Updated Standards and Guidelines

posted by November 11, 2013

In line with CAA’s practice to update regularly its Standards and Guidelines for professional practices in the visual arts, the Board of Directors approved one new and four revised guidelines at its meeting on October 27, 2013. The Professional Practices Committee, chaired by Jim Hopfensperger of Western Michigan University, worked with subcommittees over the past several years to revise these guidelines. DeWitt Godfrey, CAA vice president for committees and president-elect of CAA, presented the documents to the CAA Board of Directors for approval.

Guidelines for CAA Interviews

Guidelines for CAA Interviews, an updated version of Etiquette for CAA Interviewers, was developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Guidelines for CAA Interviews, chaired by Jim Hopfensperger. It was formulated to protect the interests of applicants and of hiring institutions and to provide both with an awareness of their separate responsibilities during the interview process.

Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment

The intent of Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment is to encourage the fair and equitable treatment of all part-time employees in the visual arts, to advocate for those who may be very modestly compensated for their work, and to ensure that part-time employees are not hired to replace and/or diminish the number of full-time employees at an institution. Thomas Berding of Michigan State University and John Richardson of Wayne State University co-chaired the ad hoc committee that developed these guidelines.

Guidelines for Presenting Works in Digital Format

A new document, Guidelines for Presenting Works in Digital Format, was developed to assist visual-arts professionals with the presentation and review of artistic works using digital technologies. These guidelines aim to provide individuals and institutions with recommendations for formatting, handling, screening, and exhibiting time-based works and still images using digital technology. Dana Clancy of Boston University chaired the task force to create these new guidelines.

Statement Concerning the Deaccession of Works of Art

Developed by the Museum Committee, chaired by N. Elizabeth Schlatter of the University of Richmond, the Statement Concerning the Deaccession of Works of Art addresses the deaccession of artworks of from the collections of museums or other institutions or entities that function as public trusts and suggests best practices for these public trusts when they consider removing works from their collections.

Standards for Professional Placement

Standards for Professional Placement, last updated in 2012, was developed to protect the interests of both applicants and hiring institutions during the placement process and to allow both to know their separate responsibilities. Jim Hopfensperger chaired the ad hoc committee that updated these standards.

Filed under: Standards and Guidelines

CAA Receives Major Mellon Grant

posted by January 14, 2013

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the College Art Association (CAA) a major grant of $630,000 to develop, publish, and disseminate a code of best practices for fair use in the creation and curation of artworks and scholarly publishing in the visual arts. The initiative will examine the intersection of copyright understandings and creative practices of the visual arts community in art production, art scholarship, museum curation, and editing of work on art. The project will be completed over four years, from January 2013 through December 2016. During this period, CAA will produce an issues report documenting the effects of copyright understandings on creative choices and write a code of best practices in fair use for the communities of practice represented by its members.

In noting the importance of this work, Anne Collins Goodyear, CAA board president, observed: “The challenges and uncertainties faced by artists and art historians today in securing rights to reproduce works of art in hardcopy and electronicallyand the difficulties in knowing when the law might require securing such rights—have serious adverse consequences for creative practice. Both scholarly and artistic projects are often compromised or even abandoned because of the arduous and expensive process of clearing permissions. An improved understanding of the scope of fair use and a field-wide agreement on its application will be invaluable to all practitioners in the visual arts.”

By undertaking this critical and timely project, CAA aims to provide much-needed clarification of best practices in the use of third-party copyrighted material, and establish a practicable code of conduct for members of the visual-arts community. In order to create a code that functions across all areas of the visual arts, CAA’s fair use project will involve participants from the fields of art history, studio art, print and online publishing, art museums, and related areas.

Linda Downs, executive director and CEO of the College Art Association emphasized the association’s capacity to lead this effort: “As the premier association in the visual arts, CAA is uniquely positioned to address these challenges. CAA’s membership represents a broad range of stakeholders—including artists, art historians, photographers, curators, writers, and educators, as well as museums, editors, and colleges and universities—who will benefit from the issues report and code of best practices. The organization has a strong record of advocacy on a variety of issues involving intellectual property. Moreover, as a scholarly publisher in the visual arts, CAA is familiar with the challenges associated with the uncertainty surrounding the application of fair use.”

The efforts funded by the Mellon grant will be overseen by a Task Force on Fair Use established by the CAA board in May of last year. The cochairs of the task force are: Jeffrey P. Cunard, long-standing CAA counsel and a managing partner in the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; and Gretchen Wagner, a member of CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property and general counsel of ARTstor. In addition to the cochairs, task force members include: Anne Collins Goodyear, CAA board president and associate curator of prints and drawings at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Linda Downs, CAA executive director and chief executive officer; Randall C. Griffin, CAA vice president for publications and a professor in the department of art history at Southern Methodist University; and other CAA members with professional experience in studio art, art history, curatorial work, and copyright law.

CAA has engaged two principal investigators to lead the four-year project: Patricia Aufderheide, university professor in the School of Communication and co-director of its Center for Social Media; and Peter Jaszi, professor of law and faculty director of the Washington College of Law’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic. Aufderheide and Jaszi, who have significant expertise in successfully developing fair use codes for documentary filmmakers, dance archivists, research librarians, and journalists, will be responsible for conducting the investigatory work that will inform the report and code. Aufderheide and Jaszi will also work with a Community Practices Advisory Committee to review the report and a Legal Advisory Committee to review the code. Two project advisors—Virginia Rutledge, an art advisor, art historian, and lawyer who practices in the areas of both copyright and art law, and Maureen Whalen, associate general counsel for the J. Paul Getty Trust—will contribute expertise during all phases of the project. The task force cochairs, Cunard and Wagner, together with Goodyear, Downs, Aufderheide, and Jaszi will also serve as principal investigators.

CAA approaches this project with an established history of engagement on the issues of copyright and fair use, and gratefully acknowledges the work done in this area by allied scholarly societies including the Visual Resources Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the New York City Bar Association Art Law Committee (ALC). With the assistance of a start-up grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, awarded in September 2012, CAA recently completed a preparatory phase of the fair use project that will inform the activities now funded by the Mellon Foundation. During this preparatory phase, the task force met with Aufderheide, Jaszi, and CAA’s board of directors to discuss the research methodology and select thought leaders to be interviewed about copyright and fair use practices. Additionally, Aufderheide and Jaszi conducted twenty-five exploratory interviews with some of these thought leaders to help identify the key topics that the issues report and code should address. With this work completed, the task force and principal investigators are in a strong position to move forward with the formal investigative phase of the project.

For more information about the fair use project, please contact Janet Landay, project manager, at (212-392-4420) or Virginia Reinhart, CAA marketing and communications associate, at (212-392-4426).