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Academic and Public Programs

SITSA

The Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art is an inten­sive two-week workshop for a cohort of 15 pre-doctoral art historians from diverse backgrounds and research areas whose education to date has given them limited access to object-focused technical inquiry, methodologies, and instruction.

As the field of art history continues to evolve toward a more interdisciplinary and inclusive practice, the role of scientific inquiry and technical study is increasingly valued and sought out. And as art history students look towards careers not only in academia, but in the museum field as well, they will appreciate the important role that the interdisciplinary, dynamic dialogue with conservation professionals and artists plays in fostering a fuller understanding of the physical nature and life story of objects, and informing decisions about their preservation and stewardship.

This course aims to expose participants to the interdisciplin­ary approach and tools that are core to technical studies while fostering relationships that further collaboration, enrich research, and enhance scholarship across the field of art history and beyond. Participants will engage in close looking, art making, and scientific investigation of works of art guided by – and in dialogue with — conservators, conservation scien­tists, curators, art historians, artists, and other experts, under the direction of Francesca Bewer, Research Curator for Conservation and Technical Study Programs. Throughout the workshop students will take part in peer-to-peer teaching, discuss technical art history writing, and have opportunities to question their assumptions about the physical realties and lives of objects. Together, the cohort will explore ways in which the skills and knowledge they acquire during the course can meaningfully contribute to their research, be applied in teaching, and be communicated in different museum contexts.

SITSA builds on a long institutional history of museum training and relies on the strong relationship between the Harvard Art Museums’ conservation, curatorial, and education departments and academic partnerships across campus. The workshop will take place in the interdisciplinary, collaborative environment of the Art Museums and benefit from resources of the neighboring Department of History of Art and Architecture as well as other academic and cul­tural venues in the greater Boston area.

The workshop is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each participant will be provided with housing and a stipend of $1,500 to help cover roundtrip travel costs, food, and inci­dental expenses for the duration of the program.

Check back in Spring 2023 for application details.

Past Programs
2022 course description (rescheduled from 2020)
2019 course description
2018 course description
2017 course description

2012-2016 course topics and information are available through the NYU Institute of Fine Arts.

Other Resources
Index Magazine: Summer School for Scholars in Training
Watch on Vimeo: SITSA: The Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art

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