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VIU Summer Schools Digital Art History Summer Institute June 5-16, 2023

CFP: Visualizing Cities Summer Institute

January 13, 2023

Exhibiting Hidden Histories: Bringing Art History Projects to Publics through Digital Exhibitions and XR

June 5-16, 2023 | 7th Edition

Call for applications: December 21, 2022 – January 31, 2023 | Learn more & apply

With the generous support of the Getty Foundation, Duke University’s Digital Art History & Visual Culture Research Lab (DAHVCR Lab), in partnership with colleagues from the Università degli Studi di Padova, the University of Exeter, and Venice International University, will be offering a two-year Advanced Topics in Digital Art History Summer Institute on the topic “Exhibiting Hidden Histories: Bringing Art History Projects to Publics through Digital Exhibitions and XR.” Led by representatives from Duke University and the partner institutions, interdisciplinary teams consisting of faculty and staff leaders, graduate students, postdocs, and other project collaborators will gather from June 5-16, 2023, in Venice, Italy at Venice International University, with follow-up activities taking place over the course of the 2023-24 academic year, and leading into a follow-on gathering in Summer of 2024.

After six editions of two-week summer workshops introducing concepts and methods for digital art and architectural history through hands-on tutorials and collaborative project development, this Institute draws upon several years of research-institute development collaboration within the Visualizing Cities consortium, most recently with a Summer Institute in Venice June 2018-19, an international Symposium at Duke University in 2020, followed by a collective gathering at the Università degli Studi di Padova in June 2022.

Institute Co-Directors:
Paul Jaskot, Duke University
Mark Olson, Duke University
Victoria Szabo, Duke University

Additional Faculty:
Andrea Giordano, Università degli Studi di Padova
Hannah Jacobs, Duke University
Cosimo Monteleone, Università degli Studi di Padova
Fabrizio Nevola, University of Exeter
Luca Pes, Venice International University
David Rosenthal, University of Exeter
Ed Triplett, Duke University
Augustus Wendell, Duke University (Year 2 only)

Course Description and Focus
Questions of how classed, racialized, and gendered individuals and social groups are erased in standard art histories or dealt with as difficult topics have become all the more urgent and central to our scholarly concerns. By engaging with the topic of Exhibiting Hidden Histories, the Institute will take a critical approach to cultural heritage and memory. The Institute leaders will draw upon examples from prior work in the Visualizing Cities Consortium (the Venetian Ghetto, Nazi-occupied Krakow, Black Charlotte, NC communities under urban renewal). In particular, all participants will begin by collaboratively modeling the issues of difficult art histories through the case study of the island of San Servolo itself, whose history encompasses its transition from a convent in early-modern Venice to a mental asylum through the Fascist period. They will be expected to take these lessons learned into developing their own individual team projects. This theme is central to current concerns in shifting art historical questions to a broader and more critical range of historical and cultural subjects.

Participant teams will bring their own examples into the conversation, and we will also discuss other examples from Digital Art History (DAH). As a group, we will consider how to work with, and convey, difficult and hidden histories, and how we might thoughtfully incorporate experiential, affective, and contradictory evidence into geospatial, immersive, and interactive narrative practices (XR) for analytic and interpretive scholarship (including public humanities). We will also consider questions of scalability, sustainability, and community engagement in relation to our digital practices. In keeping with these commitments, we will consider how to bring Digital Art Historical scholarship to public audiences. Part of our discussions in the workshop will focus on the stakes and consequences of defining and engaging one or more “publics” through work in museums, exhibitions, websites, apps, and other materials that are available to a broader public than the scholarly community.

Who is it for?
The target audience for the workshop will be established teams working in the field of digital art history or cultural heritage. We anticipate approximately 6 – 7 teams of 2 – 3 persons each, for a total of 16 – 18 participants (depending on travel costs of participants in relation to budget). Proposed teams should include senior project team leaders (PI’s) as well as other partners. Applicants are expected to be leading a Digital Art History project and to have a key set of research questions identified, as well as to have demonstrated some progress in developing their research program. Groups with difficult historical topics or those that deal with bringing to the fore often overlooked cultural actors and art historical communities are especially encouraged to apply as are those teams interested in extending their work into public digital environments. Alumni of past Visualizing Venice Summer Workshops will be especially encouraged to apply on behalf of their research teams, but all parties may respond to this open call. Ideal teams will reflect the following expertise, collectively:

1. Art Historical or Cultural Heritage Expertise
2. Demonstrated interest in public-facing scholarship or translating digital scholarship to broader publics
3. Expertise in spatial analysis, 3D modeling and representation, or similar conceptual areas relevant for seminar themes
4. Developer/Programmer Expertise
5. Project Management Expertise

We ask that each team identify, on application, how their team embodies these different key components of a viable DAH collaboration. Multiple configurations, including teams that integrate graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, will be considered.

Program Structure and Schedule

June 5-16, 2023
Participants should expect to be engaged full time and should plan to arrive June 4 and depart June 18 (14 nights).

(subject to change)
Day 1: Introductions and Scoping the Challenge
Day 2: State of the Field and Rubrics Development
Day 3: Difficult and Hidden Histories: The Case of San Servolo
Day 4: Deeper Dive: XR and Digital Storytelling
Day 5: Hands on Authoring for XR – Case Study: San Servolo
WEEKEND: small group meetings; project work; optional Venice museum visit
Day 6: State of the Art in Padua (at Università degli Studi di Padova)
Day 7: Participant Project Discussions and Reflections
Day 8: Accessibility, Sustainability, Outreach
Day 9: Integrating Insights
Day 10: Final Reflections

June 2023 – June 2024
**QUARTERLY CHECK-INS – 2 teams per session as leads**

June 2024
Day 1: Reconnections and the Road Ahead
Day 2: Digital Storytelling in XR Focus
Day 3: 3DVR and Games Focus
Day 4: Infrastructure, Accessibility, and Sustainability
Day 5: Public Symposium and Wrap-up

Number of ECTS credits equivalent: 5
A Duke University/Venice International University joint Certificate will be issued at the end of the course.

Venice International University on the island of San Servolo in the Venetian Lagoon is an ideal setting for onsite study.

Tuition and Scholarships
Scholarships are available in order to support tuition, travel, board and accommodation expenses.

For further information, please view the brochure or write to:

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, VIU will continue to monitor the situation; should it prevent international travel or the confirmation of the program on campus as scheduled, other practicable solutions will be evaluated. Applicants and confirmed participants will be informed of any changes.

Visualizing Cities Summer Institute is organized by Venice International University and jointly promoted by: 

getty foundation logo univiu
DAHVC Logo2020
uniPD logo univiu

Historical photo from the archives of  

San Servolo Servizi Metropolitani