Society of Architectural Historians – News

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards CAA and SAH a Grant to Develop
Evaluation Guidelines for Digital Art and Architectural History
October 28, 2014 — The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the College Art Association (CAA) a $90,000 grant to partner with the Society for Architectural Historians (SAH) in the development of guidelines for the evaluation of digital scholarship in art and architectural history for promotion and tenure. CAA and SAH will convene a task force, hire a researcher to examine evaluative practices in departments of art and architectural history, develop a survey to seek current practices from CAA and SAH members, and provide evaluative guidelines. CAA President DeWitt Godfrey said, “Since its founding in 1911, CAA has regularly issued Standards and Guidelines for the fields of art and art history. These guidelines will encompass projects in art and architectural history that use digital technologies in research, production, publication, and/or exhibition. These growing forms of scholarship are in critical need of support and recognition, and this grant will allow CAA and SAH to provide standardized guidelines for those evaluating digital art and architectural history.”

This project will mark the first time that CAA and SAH will collaborate on professional practice guidelines, although the two associations have worked closely in other areas in the past. Pauline Saliga, SAH executive director announced, “The Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to collaborate with our sister organization, the College Art Association, on this important endeavor. Because art and architectural historians are increasingly working collaboratively and using digital tools and data to construct their arguments, it is very important that we develop a set of guidelines for universities to recognize this innovative work.”
The ten-person task force will be chaired by CAA President DeWitt Godfrey and SAH President Ken Breisch. In addition to the chairs, the task force will comprise eight members with substantial experience in traditional and digital scholarship: 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 or architectural history.
The need for evaluative guidelines has been expressed by professors of art and architectural history who have developed research and/or publications using digital technologies, have created new digital tools for interpretation and understanding of art-historical and place-based subjects, or have collaborated with other scholars to develop digital archives and resources; by professors and administrators who have responsibility for dissertations and promotion and tenure committees but lack the necessary tools to assess digital scholarship; by CAA’s and SAH’s editorial boards and advisory committees, whose journals and online academic resources now require guidelines to facilitate critical reviews of digital scholarship; by CAA and SAH publication and award juries who need protocols for judging the quality of digital scholarship to determine awards; by academic publishers; and by other disciplines and their learned societies. CAA and SAH anticipate that the guidelines will address different types of scholarly digital contributions: those that provide new resources, such as archives and new research tools (examples include SAH Archipedia and SAHARA); those that create scholarship in art and architectural history using publishing platforms such as Scalar and the JSTOR Current Scholarship program; those that create scholarship based on spatial and visualization technologies; and those that engage in new computational technologies.
CAA and SAH anticipate that shared guidelines will reassure art and architectural historians that new forms of digital research and scholarship will be evaluated and credentialed; provide tenure committees with specific criteria for evaluating digital projects in art and architectural history; and ensure that digital scholarship can be evaluated and supported through juries and grants, thereby increasing awareness and participation of scholars in the digital realm.

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
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
For more information, please contact Hillary Bliss, CAA development and marketing manager, at hbliss[at] or 212-392-4436.

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