Letter of Intent
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
Letter of Intent: 


As graduate students in the Division of Art History and future educators, researchers, and museum professionals, we believe that we must be attuned to questions of diversity and its implications on our field. The art historical canon encourages prioritization and hierarchies within scholarship and museum displays. We aim to create an inclusive and actively anti-racist art history, by seeking out, researching, and teaching the work of artists and scholars that are often left on the margins. The field of art history is fruitful ground for rethinking how art is shaped by and can shape our world and how we relate to one another within it. Therefore, our proposed reading group will engage with this crucial topic and consider questions including: how do we develop an inclusive art history while also meeting curricular expectations and “standard knowledge” in the discipline? What does it mean to go beyond the canon, which primarily promotes white, male, cis, able-bodied artists from Europe and North America? What are the risks of projecting our contemporary notions of race and diversity onto societies that are many centuries removed? It is our goal to rethink our approach to research and language and to create a space for such conversations in a centuries-old discipline. We are gathering a comprehensive reading list that will engage with issues of diversity from different perspectives, including race, gender, colonization, appropriation, distribution of funds and cultural treasures, iconoclasm as an act of protest, representations of disability, and museums’ attempts at including diverse audiences. This bibliography will prepare the ground for a discussion spanning across time and regions to maintain relevance to our diverse areas of interest, ranging from the Italian Renaissance to Global Contemporary Art. Already a diverse collective that includes several international students, we intend to open our planned guest lectures to graduate students from across the UW to allow for multi and interdisciplinary dialogue. All members of the reading group will add to the collective bibliography based on their specific questions and interests. This initiative is supported by the Art History faculty within the School of Art + Art History + Design (see attached letter) and affiliated to the Graduate Students of Art History organization. We are requesting support from the Campus Sustainability Fund and UW Resilience Lab to assist with compensation for guest speakers including artists, activists, curators, and scholars who are contributing significantly to the current debate on the issues we intend to tackle. Each lecture will be recorded and uploaded onto our project website. Our project website will offer an archive of our collective discussions and activities. It will also house our art history syllabi, emphasizing readings, and resources that decolonize the field. These syllabi will be developed to accompany existing courses offered by the Division of Art History, and thus, will offer current and future TAs materials and assignments that can be incorporated into their teaching to promote values of diversity and inclusion.


We believe that educating ourselves about issues of race, identity, and power will make us better scholars and educators. Our intended website will make public a bibliography with reading concerning the decolonization of art history for the education of the current and future grad community. Along with this bibliography, we intend to make a lasting impact by creating syllabi for TAs sessions for the varied courses offered by the Division of Art History. These syllabi will suggest reading materials and pedagogical activities that graduate students could incorporate into their teaching. By introducing undergraduate students to the questions and problems we are facing as a discipline, we hope to add to their experience at UW and to their becoming active participants in the global fight against racism. We acknowledge that learning from the experience of others is crucial for creating an effect within our community. Therefore, we wish to invite activists and scholars that have made a change in academia, museums, and the broader art world. Our plan is to construct the reading group curriculum as a series of monthly sessions focused on a specific theme, concluded with a talk by a guest speaker at the end of each quarter. We believe that creating this program will contribute to our experience going forward by giving us practical knowledge to promote such initiatives in our future roles. Our tentative list of speakers includes: End of fall quarter speaker: Pamela N Corey, Department of the History of Art & Archaeology, SOAS University of London End of winter quarter speaker: Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, Curator of Italian and Spanish Paintings, National Gallery of Art Washington End of spring quarter speaker: TBD


Award amount requested: 1250

  • Honorarium for a speaker - $250
  • Honorarium for a speaker - $250
  • Honorarium for a speaker - $250
  • A project website - $500
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