Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars in the Department of Art History

Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars in the Department of Art History

July 16, 2021

Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars in the Department of Art History

In the academic year 2020-21 when Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars in the Department of Art History were temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, the Visual Resources Center took the chance to review photographs from the past traveling seminars to better support future ones. The VRC hired and trained graduate student Yifan ZOU as the Research Associate to oversee the project to process photographs from three past Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars:

  • Professor Niall Atkinson’s Spring 2017 course, “Florentine Topographies: Art, Architecture, and Urban Life,”
  • Professor Niall Atkinson’s Autumn 2018 course, “Dimensions of Citizenship: The Venice Architecture Biennale 2018,”
  • Professor Christine Mehring’s Autumn 2017 course, “Before the Global: The Emergence of an International Art World.”

Yifan’s past archival experience in both library special collections and museum exhibition histories as well as her previous work with the VRC in Ph.D. Student Research Photo Collaboration contributed to this project. The VRC workshop series on Managing Personal Image Archives and weekly meetings to touch base with VRC staff aided Yifan to getting familiarized with the digital project management lifecycle. Supported by these trainings, Yifan designed a timeline and workflow for processing this important image archive.

This project also received great help from participants of these three seminars. Since subjects of these photographs range widely from Renaissance art and architecture, to contemporary art and architecture, students and faculty offered insights to complement the information from academic references and official websites in order to create an accurate and robust record in the archival collection. As Yifan researched the sites, events, and artistic identities related to the photographs to describe them fully, she found that many contemporary artworks offered critical examples and asked us to rethink artistic genres and categories, to be more inclusive and respectful when documenting artists’ multiple cultural identities.

After the conclusion of this archiving project, the VRC accessioned 136 photographs and
one video from students and faculty according to the VRA Core 4 digital library metadata standard and incorporated the images and data into our LUNA database. The images can be accessed here (CNetID required). In Autumn 2019, the VRC began collaborating with Gold- Gorvy Traveling Seminars to guide students in documenting travel sites with Professor Claudia Brittenham’s Autumn 2019 course, “Chichen Itza.” This retrospective archiving project works toward the VRC’s long-term goal to augment the Department of Art History’s image collections for teaching and research, and has enabled the VRC to form clearer ideas for training and supporting students in personal image archiving in the future.

The VRC is excited for these opportunities to collaborate with students to build the image collection based on the opportunities for object-driven and original research that the Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminars create. This archiving project not only updated LUNA’s existing corpus of images and data of Italian Renaissance art and urban environment, but also added an entirely new corpus of materials from the recent Venice Biennale of Architecture, and internationally ambitious exhibitions like the Documenta and Skulptur Projekte Münster. It is hoped with the launch of past Gold-Gorvy Traveling Seminar photographs in LUNA, this basic framework will invite inputs from future participants of the Traveling Seminar, helping students sharpen their own skills in documenting in the field and maintaining personal research image collections.