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Report on the 104th Annual CAA Conference

Report on the 104th Annual CAA Conference

Prepared by Francesca Albrezzi as part of a Getty Foundation Grant Extension




I served as Graduate Research Associate and Logistics Coordinator for two digital art history summer institutes that were hosted at UCLA. (Learn more about them here.) As part of an extension of the Getty Foundation grant, I was sent as a representative to the College Art Association annual conference to provide a short report on the state of digital art history in relation to the rest of the field and meet with past participants from the institute. The following is the report that I shared with the Getty Foundation.




In preparing for the 104th annual CAA conference in Washington, DC from February 3- 6, 2016, I was concerned when I first discovered that a THATCamp on art history was not being held prior to the main conference. The “unconference” format that THATCamp offered had been a way to address a growing level of methodological experimentation and questioning as digital tools were shifting in the field of art history. The proliferation of websites, wikis, databases, and data analysis and visualization tools was causing many scholars to feel the need to find out more about the way they could be used in art historical research and pedagogy. This workshop space offered the community of around 100 that would attend CAA a dedicated space for addressing the changing landscape in what constituted art historical work.


Having attended and benefitted from several of the CAA sponsored THATCamps, I was concerned that one was not being offered in 2016. I wondered if this meant that CAA believed digital art history was a passing phase. When registering for the conference and looking through the schedule, I was encouraged to find so many events dedicated to digital art history projects and pedagogies (see Appendix). The conference also had its own app this year, along with dedicated hashtags and social media channels. In the end, I was convinced that THATCamp was no longer needed because the issues and work had been assumed into the mainstream of the CAA conference. It was powerful to see the alumni of our event leading or participating in many of the panels and spreading the word about their digital art history practice.


The Event


Over the four-day conference, I attended about 25 panels and sessions on digital art history, which was almost all that were offered. I archived my twitter feed of the event, which can be found at . I also participated in the CAA app activity feed, which was helpful in making connections with others in attendance and for getting news regarding other panels that I could not attend but was interested in what was being presented. The application and the coordinated social media presence demonstrated to me that the field was taking the taking the embrace of digital technologies very seriously. There were several pay-to-attend workshops that were similar to the ones offered at THATCamp for free. However, I do not believe that these could ever take the place of what we are able to do in the Institute. In the Institutes, instructors assisted participants in applying the technical tools introduced in workshops to hands-on project work, whereas workshops introduced participants to the basic functionality and general applications of those tools. We were able to offer participants much more personal one-on-one attention and provide the informational scaffolding in terms of institutional support needs so that they could continue to work at their respective institutions. On Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 9 AM, I met with a group of participants from both UCLA Digital Art History Summer institutes that were also attending CAA. We shared updates on projects and discussed what role digital art history was playing in their continued research and practice. While most admitted that their digital art history practice waxed and waned, they all felt that they would continue to use what they had learned and share it with others in their field. Many have incorporated more technical tools in their classroom in particular. This was the first time that people across the two institutes had a chance to meet together. They requested a combine alumni group be put together, so that they could continue to share information. In discussing various platform for posing DAH questions, everyone agreed that they would really benefit from more information on how to open up channels within organizations for digital art history work. Each participant agreed that they benefitted from our critical thinking panels on establishing support structures for conducting digital art historical research and wished that there were more gatherings that addressed the issue of organizational support for applying technical methods in research, publication, and pedagogy.



Appendix 6: 2016 CAA Sessions Involving Digital Art History

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cultivating an Ecology of Networked Knowledge and Innovation through Collaborations among Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Design
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Chairs: Roger F. Malina, SEAD / Leonardo / University of Texas Dallas; Carol Strohecker, SEAD Co-PI / Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Culture and Economic Development
Nickolay Hristov, Biological Sciences, Winston-Salem State University

Research and Creative Work
Jichen Zhu, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Drexel University

Learning and Education
Nettrice Gaskins, STEAM Lab, Boston Arts Academy

Collaboration and Partnership
Laurie Baefsky, ArtsEngine / a2ru / University of Michigan

Discussants: Carol LaFayette, SEAD PI / Department of Visualization, Texas A&M University; Robert Thill, SEAD / The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

A Signature Pedagogy for Art History in the Twenty-First Century 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Art Historians Interested in Pedagogy and Technology
Chairs: Nathalie N. Hager, University of British Columbia Okanagan; Sarah Jarmer Scott, Wagner College

Demonstration: Using a Neatline Syllabus in the Introductory Art History Survey Caroline Bruzelius, Duke University; Hannah Jacobs, Duke University

Challenging the Canon: Using a Digital Platform for a Survey of World Architectures Solmaz Mohammadzadeh Kive, University of Colorado Denver

The Implications of Augmented Reality in the Art History Curriculum: The Future of the Next Generation of Art Historians
R. Dean Turner, The Art Institute of Austin

Between the Ephemeral and the Virtual: Reactivating Art Installations through Digital Reconstructions
2:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Chairs: Laura Moure Cecchini, Duke University; Chiara Di Stefano, Independent Scholar

Blank Walls and Jarring Gaps: Reconstructing the Paris Salon du Louvre Ryan L. Whyte, OCAD University

Virtual Histories: Reconstructing Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery Heather A. McPherson, University of Alabama at Birmingham

'Re-construct them with the materials of your epoch': 3D Printing Futurist Sculpture Rosalind McKever, Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Demonstrationsraum": Re-/Activating the Past and Present of El Lissitzky's "Abstract Cabinet" Yvonne Bialek, Braunschweig University of Art

Digitally Reactivating Museums for Expanded Disability Access Michael Tymkiw, University of Essex

Discussant: Kristin Love Huffman, Duke University

Thursday Februrary 4, 2016

Student and Emerging Professionals Committee Welcome Breakfast 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM

Digital Art History: New Projects, New Questions 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Chair: Nancy Micklewright, Freer|Sackler Smithsonian Institution

Old Art Historical Questions and New Digital Tools: Investigating Iconographic Change in Italo- Byzantine Panel Painting
Gretchen K. Mckay, McDaniel College

Using Digital Platforms to Generate New Research: The Illinois Women Artists Project Sarah R. Glover, Bradley University

Discussant 1: Megan Brett

Updates on "Mapping Paris: Social and Artistic Networks, 1855-1889" Claire L Kovacs, Augustana College

Digital Art History and the Spatial Turn Meet the Maya: Mapping the City of Chichén Itzá Cynthia B. Kristan-Graham, Auburn University

Discussant 2: Matthew Lincoln, University of Maryland

The Eye of the Map
Daniela Sandler, University of Minnesota

Crossing Divides/Creating Communities: Integrating Digital Humanities into a Multi-institutional Course Polly R. Hoover, Wright College

Discussant 3: Celeste Tuong Vy Sharpe
Full Session Discussants: Gretchen K. Mckay, McDaniel College; Pamela Fletcher

Introduction to Omeka for Art Historians 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Presenter: Sharon M. Leon
Limit: 35 Participants
Price: $45 for members and $60 for non-members

Omeka, an open-source web publishing platform, offers art historians a flexible tool to build digital collections and contextualize them with interpretive content. The platform is ideal for teaching and for designing non-essay culminating student project assignments. While the software itself is free and open source, the system offers a hosting solution for individuals or institutions that do not have access to web hosting. This workshop will introduce participants to Omeka basics, including:

•   building digital collections,

•   describing those collections with Dublin Core Metadata,

•   configuring site settings and appearance,

•   building digital exhibits,

•    and adding functionality through popular web 2.0 plugins, including Shared-Shelf Link.

Advocacy in the Arts: Charting a New Course 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Co-Sponsored by the Task Force on Advocacy 
Join members of the CAA Task Force on Advocacy to share your concerns and hear about the current state of advocacy in the arts.

Media Lounge Program: Post-Internet and How Digital Technologies Influence Artistic Practices 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Roundtable Discussion and Video Screening 
Discussants: Stacy Miller, Parsons School of Design, The New School; Jenny Marketou, Artist

Working on the theme of visible/invisible, this session explores how digital technologies affect the process of artistic production and creativity potentially transforming traditional disciplines. This roundtable discussion invites artists using different mediums to present and discuss their work in relation to the traditions of their materials as well as the current digital options offered to them. If we indeed have entered a post-medium era, does it really make sense to think in formal media related categories?

Participating artists include: Rosana Liang, photographer and performance artist; Magali Duzant, photographer and videographer; and John Mignualt, painter and digital drafts-person.

Digital Artists’ Books: New Critical Vocabularies 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Chairs: Kathryn J. Brown, Tilburg University, Netherlands; Anna S. Arnar, Minnesota State University Moorhead

The "Values" of Digital Artists' Books Philippe Kaenel, University of Lausanne

Yoko Ono and the Dematerialising and Re-materialising of the Artist's Book Nicole Sully, University of Queensland

Encoding the Codex: Reimagining Digital Literature through Quantum Poetics Abraham Avnisan, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Different by Design: The Unique Challenges of Creating Engaging and Culturally Relevant Digital Artists' Books
Brita d'Agostino, Daemen College, New York

Screen Life and Shelf Life
David Senior, Museum of Modern Art Library, New York

Discussant: Kathryn J. Brown, Tilburg University, Netherlands

Digital Cultural Heritage as Public Humanities Collaboration 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Chair: Victoria E. Szabo, Duke University

The Regium Lepidi Project 2200
Maurizio Forte, Duke University; Nevio Danelon, Duke University

Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Bombs. Restoring the Monumental Landscape of South Italy (The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database)

Caroline A. Bruzelius, Duke University

Experimenting with 3D Visualizations of the Lost 17th Century Labyrinth of Versailles Copper Frances Giloth, University of Massachusetts

Mapping Ararat and Beyond: Augmented Reality Walking Tours for Imagined Jewish Homelands Louis P. Kaplan, University of Toronto; Melissa Shiff, York University

MQUADRO: a Platform Model for Cultural Heritage
Stefania Zardini Lacedelli, Regole of Ampezzo, Cortina; Giacomo Pompanin, ADOMultimedia, Cortina

Playing the Scales: the Human Scale in Digital Data Visualization
Radu Leon, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, UniversitÀ Iuav di Venezia

Program in Interactive Cultural Technology (PICT): a Partnership between New Mexico Highlands University and the New Mexico State Department of Cultural Affairs
Kerry Loewen, New Mexico Highlands University

The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style, and Identity Diana Ndiaye, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian

Discussant: Mark J.V. Olson, Duke University

Neatline for the Art Historian 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Presenter: Lisa Reilly, University of Virginia; and Ronda Grizzle, Scholars' Lab, University of Virginia Library
Limit: 25 Participants
Price: $45 for members and $60 for non-members

Using Neatline, anyone can create beautiful, interactive maps, timelines, and narrative sequences from collections of objects, architectural models, archives and artifacts, which tell scholarly stories in a whole new way. Neatline is a remarkable digital presentation tool that allows art & architectural historians to show change over time. Art historians can use it to create visual presentations which reveal building sequences, mapping of artistic influences and patterns of historic change. Join us for this hands-on introduction to Neatline which will also discuss applications for our discipline. See for more information. This will be a hands-on workshop; attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptops to participate.

Digital Collaborations: Successful Partnerships between Librarians and Faculty in the Digital Humanities
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Art Libraries Society of North America  

Chairs: Eumie Imm Stroukoff, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum; Sarah Falls, the Ohio University Annie Johnson, Lehigh University
Sarah Falls, the Ohio State University
Donald Juedes, Johns Hopkins University

Jennifer Rinalducci, George Mason University

Narratives by the Numbers: Employing Data and Analytics to Tell Compelling Stories 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

National Council of Arts Administrators

Chairs: Jim Hopfensperger, Western Michigan University; Nan Goggin, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign

Obedient Numbers, Dictatorial Data: When to Make Analytics Do Your Bidding and When to Sit Back and Listen to What the Numbers are Trying to Tell You
Colin Blakely, University of Arizona

Threshold Concepts: Deep Understanding of Critical Ideas
Alison Gates, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; Jennifer Mokren, State University of New York at New Paltz

Collaboration and Culling Data: How Studying Student Engagement with the Arts on Campus Led to an Unusual Partnership and Uncovered Important Findings
Amanda J. Nelson, Virginia Tech

Using HEADS Data and NASAD Visitors' Reports to Leverage Unit-Level Improvements from the College/University
Andrew Graciano, School of Visual Art & Design, University of South Carolina


Friday, February 5, 2016

Media Lounge Program: Intersections: Cinema, Performance, Networked Media, and Politics 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Chair: Darren Douglas Floyd, Independent Artist/Filmmaker

This morning session includes a juried set of presentations by artists and filmmakers that consider the impact that networked media, interactivity, and digital culture have had on cinema and performance. In particular, recent historical examples demonstrate that new uses of technology facilitate political

communication, organization, resistance, protest, and overthrow. Projects featured coalesce around the following concepts:

•   Groupthink and Mob Mentality as Public Performance

•   Use of Social Networks as Public Protest, Ethics of Twitter and Tactical Social Media

•   Standards of Decency, Body Policing, YouTube as Theater, Persona and Celebrity

•   Duration, Endurance and Persistence in Performance and Cinema

•   Expanded or Exploded Cinemas that Incorporate Crowdsourced and Networked Footage

•   The Bleeding of Cinema Into Theater, Performance Art, Sculpture, Installation

•   Fictive Documentary as a Means for Constructing Truth

Organizers: Sid Branca, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Lydia Grey, Raritan Valley Community College; and Mat Rappaport, Columbia College, Chicago

Participants: Nathan Halverson, Tulane University
Marc Tasman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Hello Velocity, LLC (Kevin Wiesner, Jian Shen Tan, and Lukas Bentel) Laura Nova, Bloomfield College
Belit Sağ, Independent artist
Sanaz Sohrabi, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Technology and Women Artists 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Coalition of Women in the Arts Organization Chair: Kyra Belan, Broward College

Making Visible: Political Mappings by Laura Kurgan, Carol LaFayette, and Amy Balkin Susanneh Bieber, Texas A&M University

The Digital and Social of Net.Art
Carrie Ida Edinger, Independent Scholar

Integrating 3D Software In Fine Art Lauren Carr, Montclair State University

Transformation to Thinspiration: Female Body Size, Art, and the Internet Emily L. Newman, Texas A&M University

Introduction to Scalar 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Presenter: Curtis Fletcher, University of Southern California Limit: 50 Participants
Price: $45 for members and $60 for non-members

This workshop will serve as an introduction to Scalar, a free, open source authoring and publishing platform designed for scholars writing media-rich, long-form, born-digital scholarship. Developed by The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at the University of Southern California, Scalar allows scholars to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose that media with their own writing in a variety of ways; to annotate video, audio, images, source code, and text using the platform's built-in media annotation tools; and to structure essay- and book-length works in ways that take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital writing, including nested, recursive, and non-linear formats. The workshop will first cover basic features of the platform, including a review of existing Scalar books and a hands-on introduction to paths, tags, annotations, and importing media, and then move onto more advanced topics including the effective use of visualizations, annotating with media, and a primer on customizing appearances in Scalar.

Introduction to Sketchup 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Presenter: Chris Coleman, University of Denver Limit: 20 Participants
Price: $45 for members and $60 for non-members

This workshop will offer a short introduction to the digital modeling tool Sketchup, specifically the free for non-commercial use version called Sketchup Make. Sketchup is one of the most intuitive 3D modeling tools for those not used to working in 3D space and basic fluency can be achieved very quickly relative to most other programs. This allows for easy creation of architectural spaces most notably, but can also be used to create models for 3D printing and other digital fabrication processes. The workshop will focus on creating spaces to scale for various mockup and diagramming purposes. Use cases include: museum spatial planning, art proposals, installation mockups, providing "walkthru"s of lost historical spaces, giving a sense of scale and comparing interiors or exteriors for diagrams or educational purposes, and much more.

Augmented Reality – Invention/ Reinvention 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

New Media Caucus
Chair: Renate Ferro, Cornell University

Renate Ferro, Cornell University

Living on the border between online and offline: exploring augmented reality and artificial life in the cultural setting of SE Asia
Jane Prophet, School of Creative Media at City University, Hong Kong

Art for Spooks
Claudia Costa Pederson, Wichita State University; Nicholas Knouf, Wellesley College

Assemblage and Décollage in Virtual Public Space

Will Pappemheimer, Pace University; Tamiko Thiel, Independent Artist

AR, Alaska and Augmenting the Circumpolar
Nathan Shafer, Independent Artist; Patrick M. Lichty, American University of Sharjah


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Forum Discussion: Rethinking Online Pedagogies for Art History 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Chairs: Anne L. McClanan, Portland State University; Virginia G. Hall, Johns Hopkins University

The Language of Art History: Building Students' Fluency through Digital Tools Alicia Wilcox Walker

Closing the Loop with
Virginia B. Spivey; Parme P. Giuntini, Otis College of Art and Design

Collaborative Learning within the LMS Thomas Harbison

Flip the Flip: Student Authored Lecture Replacement for Online, Hybrid and Traditional Classrooms Walter J. Meyer, Santa Monica College

Going Medieval: An On-site Seminar's Experiential Approach to Website Design Kathryn Starkey

Electronic Portfolio Projects in the Art History Survey Shalon D. Parker, Gonzaga University

Teaching Art History Online with Omeka and Neatline Nicole Riesenberger

Discussant: Marian H. Feldman, Johns Hopkins University

Digital Humanities in the Classroom: An Exchange 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Visual Resources Association
Chair: Jeannine Keefer, University of Richmond

Changing Pedagogy and the Unexpected: Mapping the Classroom of the Future Kathe Hicks Albrecht, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts

Themes and Digressions in African Art: Explorations in Linear and Non-Linear Organization Using Scalar for Student Projects
Steve Tatum, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Upping the Exchange: Why Students and Professors Alike Love Them Some Digital Humanities Tracy Chapman Hamilton, University of Richmond

Mapping Discourses: Integrating Visual Histories and Practice-Rich Assignments Gretta Tritch Roman, Bard College

Doing Digital Art History: Learning Digital Humanities Tools in a Workshop Environment Kristen Gallant, Binghamton University

Session Facilitator: Mark Pompelia, Rhode Island School of Design, Visual Resources Association Liaison

Old Country in the New Country: Exhibitions, Museums, and Early Twentieth-Century American Immigration
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Radical Art Caucus
Chairs: Heidi A. Cook, Truman State University; Diana Greenwold, University of California, Berkeley

Joy in Labor: The Material Culture and Performance of the "Homelands" in Rochester, New York A. Joan Saab, University of Rochester

Crafting Americans: Visual Depictions of Immigrant Craftsmanship at the Hull-House Labor Museum Kate Swisher, DuSable Museum of African American History

"For the Education and Enjoyment of the Public Forever": Immigration and Idealism in Isabella Stewart Gardner's Curatorial Agenda, 1901-1924
Casey K. Riley, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 


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