Project Proposer/s: Dr Kate Nichols and Dr Sophie Hatchwell
Midlands Art Papers (MAP) is an online open access journal hosted by the University of Birmingham. The CAL UGRS has an essential role in making sure MAP is a success; undertaking research, producing resources for museums, blogging, proof reading, and sharing our work on social media.
MAP works with 11 partner museums and art galleries in the Midlands to enable and initiate new, collaborative research into the objects in these collections, undertaken by academic staff, students, and curators.
The first two issues, and more information about MAP, is available at: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/historyofart/research/projects/map/index.aspx
MAP is accompanied by a blog, set up and currently maintained by previous CAL UGRS students: https://blog.bham.ac.uk/map/ . This keeps MAP ‘live’ and consists of exhibition reviews and news about art events in the region.
An annual launch event brings together curatorial staff from across the region to discuss and plan future collaborative undertakings with academics from the University.
What the researcher will do
The researcher will have 3 interrelated roles. Taken together, these roles will offer invaluable insight into the connections between research, publishing, and curating which form a significant part of academic research:
- In collaboration with all 11 partner collections, identify key objects in each collection related to the issue’s theme (in 2019 this will be disability). Put together a cross-institutional trail of objects to be published in MAP 2019, accompanied by c.100 words of explanation each.
- They will act as an editorial assistant in the weeks leading up to the publication of the third (2019) issue. They will be responsible for proof-reading submissions, preparing manuscripts in house style, and corresponding with authors.
- They will write content for and maintain the MAP blog, and promote MAP on social media (twitter and Instagram). This involves interviewing curators, artists, and visiting and reviewing exhibitions in the region.
Skills required by the Scholarship holder
- Ability to conduct independent research
- Excellent standards of academic writing, including experience of visual analysis
- Attention to detail and precision
- Blogging (e.g. exhibition reviews) and use of social media
- An enthusiasm for art history, curating, and the history of collections
How will your Project benefit the Scholarship holder?
The project will provide the Scholarship holder with experience of archival research in a museum context, academic publishing on a digital platform, and editorial skills. It offers them the opportunity to network with curatorial staff in the Birmingham region, and to become familiar with collections in the Midlands; for history of art students in particular this may help with identifying possible dissertation topics. Putting together a cross institutional trail will develop their research, visual analysis, and writing skills. The editorial aspects of the project will enhance their knowledge of academic referencing and copyright procedures, which should help the student in the presentation of their own written work. It will develop their digital communication skills. Overall, the project will offer the Scholarship holder the opportunity to see how academic publishing works from the perspectives of both researcher and editor.
Previous MAP UGRS scholars have enjoyed running the blog and social media so much that they have continued to maintain this after the project officially ends. The independent study skills, and range of contacts in the museum sector around the region that MAP UGRS scholars develop has been very helpful in helping them to decide on future career options. The first MAP UGRS student is now a College of Arts and Law-funded MA student in Art History and Curating. All previous scholars continue to blog about exhibitions for the MAP blog, and have commented on the ways in which blogging has improved their written communication.