Evan A. Gatti, associate professor of art history, co-presented a paper on Feb. 18, 2017 as part of special advocacy session called "Interventions in the Future of Art History" at the annual meeting of the College Art Association in New York.
Evan A. Gatti, associate professor of art history, co-presented a paper with Jennifer Germann of Ithaca College and Alexa Sand of Utah State University as part of special advocacy session called “Interventions in the Future of Art History” at the annual meeting of the College Art Association in New York.
“What Can I Do with a Degree in Art History?: Crowdsourcing a Shared Space of Our Own” was included in the session “What Have You Done for Art History Lately: 2017 Edition.” This session was one of four held during a day-long symposium dedicated to “Interventions in the Future of Art History.” These Saturday symposia were designed as an extension to the original conference and were on subjects of importance to the membership of the College Art Association, the flagship organization for college art and art history programs.
In the paper, Gatti, Germann and Sand discuss a need for a shared response to the “crisis” narrative in art history. From small liberal arts schools to mid-size universities and large state school systems, students, faculty and alumni are asked again and again to explain to anxious parents or skeptical administrators why art history classes, or degrees, have value. In using the term value, Gatti, Germann and Sand meant both a utility to markets as well as the value that the study of the humanities broadly, but also art history specifically, offers in support of a civil society.
The paper concluded with a call for participation in a crowdsourced coalition called “Advocating for Art History” with the aim of creating a dynamic yet sustainable shared space where we describe and delineate what we do and can do better, in art history. This new narrative would be a direct challenge to public and political narratives of art history’s uselessness and its elitism. In order to accomplish this, we must describe the ways in which art history prepares students for jobs that require specific skills, for jobs that develop from applied knowledge, for jobs that don’t yet exist, and for their lives beyond jobs; for lives that encourage and develop our civil society.
The first of the monthly crowdsourcing events took place on Feb. 24 and was dedicated to advocating for and with arts and humanities organizations. The second event will be held on March 31 and will be dedicated to why art history matters. Regular events will follow on the final Friday of each month.