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Published: March 1999.
Art History Webmasters, As a listserv and OrganizationRobert Derome, University of Quebec - Montreal, Canada
Who are we? In February 1999.
A wide range of associations have joined us.primarily le Comité international d'histoire de l'art (CIHA), which is the most important international organisation in our Art History; national associations in the United States (Association for Art History), in England (Association of Art Historians) and in France (Mission pour l'Institut national d'histoire de l'art) are also members, as is the Société des musées québécois which comprises most of the museums and specialists in museology in Québec, and the Visual Resources Associations.
Originally, only webmasters could join our group. In the fall of 1998 we have opened our membership to several new members' categories:
Our members come from 22 countries.Afrique, Argentina, Australia, Belgique, Brasil, Canada, China, Deutschland, France, Finlande, Greece, México, Nederland, Russia, Spain, Suisse, Sverige, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Our members representOur members mainly come from universities, colleges, museums (some national museums, of which one is entirely virtual), libraries, discussion lists, private enterprises, as well as independent art historians.
The AHWA-AWHA is bilingual (English, French)Because our members share different languages, each page heading attaches our disciplinary name in several languages:
Where do we come from?The AHWA, the UQÀM Art History site, and Robert Derome's personal site came together in response to two complementary needs. When the Art History Department of the UQÀM asked Robert Derome to make the departmental website, he took the opportunity also to meet the growing demand for a collection of research methodologies and tools which the new technologies could make available to B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. students.
A preliminary investigation was carried out in order to evaluate the existing resources on the web. After visiting many sites, several facts emerged:
Who are we?
Existing tools we have developedThese facts led to the creation of the following research and communication tools:
Where are we going? AHWA and the History of Art
We are working to encourage critical analysis of the intellectual and social contribution of research, and research training in the Humanities (including projects and events).Constructing a universal communications structure between the art history webmasters at different universities remains the heart of the educational project for the foreseeable future. The gap between the humanities is inevitably closing, and the exchange between them is increasing, both within Academe and among the general public. The new technologies have established increasingly close co-operation between research and communication, which forces new global modes of thinking on us. AHWA wishes to participate to this movement.
We are working to establish the state of research as well as specific projects and strengths (including conceptual and methodological approaches).The AHWA is the best way to direct common international goals stimulated by the new technologies. Thanks to its many high caliber members, the AHWA has the capacity to focus relevantly on communications problems and to meet professional needs collectively. Copyright permissions, exchanges of ideas, and setting up flexible and specialised services, are among the facilities that an association like our own can organise.
We are considering the purposes and future challenges of research and of the spread of information relative to it (including the definition of intellectual enterprise and research priorities, innovative methods and structures, the sharing of findings, and training of researchers).Annual meetings of art history webmasters could establish exciting initiative concerning technological possibilities and their uses in the field. The history of art is at the center of a multitude of activities,whether educational, cultural, museological, social or touristic, each with its idiosyncracies of research and presentation. Future consideration and initiatives around these aspects of human life will demand a flexibility that an association like the AHWA already envisages and for which it has a determining role to play.
Where are we going? AHWA and research development.
PragmaticIn passing from print to electronics as principle source of communication, Academe has been enriched by a medium which had previously been limited to a few pure scientists. This communications revolution is especially relevant to the History of Art whose visual and intellectual materials are among the most dispersed in the world. In this respect, one has only to think of the collections in world museums with each his own separate fragment of the work of an Old Master, for example. This real-world museum practice is a major constraint against the intellectual completeness which our science requires. The integration of the new technologies can become, in this fragmented world, a natural means of development which not only corrects this state of affairs but increases the possible exploitation of these intellectual resources.
QualitativeBy redefining those who are already part of the great community of technologically interested people as Art History Webmasters, we can make their real needs clear while working on the most productive methods of exchange. The webmaster thus becomes the keystone of the whole communications structure between the institutions he or she represents and the interested person, and hence a world resource. The webmaster is, properly speaking, the intelligent interface who will make the full consolidation of Art Historical approaches possible. Moreover, technological development is so rapid that a collective vigilance and punctual exchange is becoming a constant necessity. Information and communication thus come together to create a new interactive structure in the worldwide intellectual heritage of Art History.
Where are we going? Several issues.These issues related to art history were edited from members' emails.
Professional recognition of web workby peers and juries, relating to maintenance of a web site and for professional publications in art history.
Art History Departments
Links to websites
CollaborationExchange of suggestions, informations and comments on: bibliographies organizations collections archives funding
AssociationsMembership, promotion, communication: Association for Art History (USA) Association of Art Historians (UK) Comité international d'histoire de l'art
Discussion listsCreation, animation and maintenance.
Where are we going? Working plan and deadline, 1999-2002.We plan to set up organisational action in our disciplinary field in the following ways:
Where are we going? Plans for dissemination.All the tools already set up are intended to allow the construction and dissemination of the results of work and research in the History of Art through new technologies of information and communication.
Our association already includes several research and communication tools in its portfolio:
"Issues in Humanities Computing will offer a forum for the discussion of the manifold ways in which computers enhance humanists' capabilities in our two prime functions -- as researchers and as instructors -- and even create capabilities that have never existed."Robert Derome sits on an important new committee in his university since November 1998, concerned with innovation in electronic and technological teaching applications.
Where are we going? Struggles for life and for growth.AHWA is in the process of defining its statutes in matter to have a legal existence.
AHWA-AWHA is still the product of a few individuals. We need more implication from an enlarge membership.
AHWA-AWHA has yet no financing, any help on this matter will be welcome.
AHWA-AWHA has no permanent staff. His actions are thus still limited, based only on the spared times from volunteer members. Since most of our members are in universities, having several obligations, the time they can spare to this activity is minimal. Since several of our members are already webmasters, they already have several obligations.
The Art History on the Web is mainly an individual practice. We need to develop sharing through organized structures.
We are still looking for financing. Few grants have been asked. Any project to funding institutions could be studied to be supported by our executive committee under the name of AHWA-AWHA.
Relevant related websitesART HISTORY WEBMASTERS
Webmestres en histoire de l'art
INDEX OF ART HISTORY DEPARTMENTS' WEBSITES AROUND THE WORLD
INDEX OF ART HISTORY COURSES ON THE WEB