The Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art History (STITAH) is an intensive week-long professional development program for college and university instructors in the history of art, studio art, and the sciences from colleges and universities in North America. The program is co-organized by the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art and generously funded by the Kress Foundation. Conservators, conservation scientists and curators, along with featured guest lecturers from peer institutions, both national and international, present case studies in technical art history and lead practical sessions that allow participants to closely observe original works of art, both in the gallery as well as the conservation laboratory. Hands-on studio exercises replicate traditional artists’ studio practices and demonstrations of analytical equipment illustrate how technical studies are connected and inform art historical research and the creation of new artworks. Structured discussions, small-group breakout sessions, and opportunities for informal conversations about the topics covered in the course are encouraged throughout the week, and post-course assistance is offered in the form of case studies adapted expressly for the use of STITAH participants and ongoing networking opportunities. Please see Prior STITAHs for descriptions of previous years’ courses.

STITAH 2021-2022

Summer Teachers Institute In Technical Art History

A Brush with the Artist

The Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art are pleased to announce the 2021-2022 Summer Teachers Institute in Technical Art History (STITAH) for college and university instructors in the history of art, studio art, and sciences. The next offering, “A Brush with the Artist,” will combine close-looking in Yale’s galleries and conservation studios with hands-on experimentation to explore methods of paint application, mark-making, and the manipulation of mediums. Participants will engage, close-up and as a group, in the visual and technical unpacking of various painted and decorative surfaces from across Yale’s collections, encompassing ancient painted surfaces, scroll painting, egg tempera and oil mediums, tubed and modern paints, non-traditional materials, and the effect of surface coatings. Tools of the trade (with an emphasis on brushes, palette knives and texturing implements), studio conventions, painterly experimentation and current states of condition will be recurring topics of discussion. Some of the analytical tools used to examine the materials found in cultural heritage objects will also be demonstrated and discussed. 
Guided by Yale conservators and conservation scientists, the group will spend a portion of each day making and applying paint in different mediums and experimenting with the rules and tools associated with each genre. The goal of these hands-on sessions is to introduce various methods of paint handling based on documentary and analytical evidence derived from real objects that participants can observe closely; the process of making and replicating will aid the understanding of artists’ working process and shed light on surfaces compromised by age and restoration. The three-part day—comprised of making, looking, and discussing—will provide the group time to practice techniques that have sustained and punctuated the history of painting, and to consider how practical experimentation, analytical exploration and visual analysis can inform each other.  
Our conception of STITAH as an in-person experience – built upon close-looking, proximity to objects, and group studio activity – has prompted us to postpone the course for yet another summer (July 10 – 15, 2022). However, we plan to use this delay as an opportunity to introduce a new aspect of the program. Participants selected for the 2022 course will be asked to join us for a 1-day virtual workshop on September 18, 2021, to discuss the objective of STITAH, review past themes and available resources, as well as introduce our goals for the forthcoming course. We shall invite past participants to present on how they have implemented STITAH principles in their teaching and encourage the incoming group to voice specific questions or topics they would like to explore together. It is our hope that this will provide a networking opportunity for new and returning STITAH participants and will allow for a richer, more informed in-person experience next summer. 
ELIGIBILITY: Faculty and instructors in history of art and related fields of study at North American colleges and universities are eligible to apply. No background in science or conservation is required. Consideration will be given to dual applications from history of art and science instructors who teach collaboratively at the same institution. Fifteen faculty members will be admitted to the program, and applicants will be evaluated based largely on their expressed commitment to integrating technical art history into their own teaching curricula. 
STIPEND AND FEES: Thanks to the generous support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, participants will receive accommodations in downtown New Haven, as well as a per diem (at Connecticut’s current daily rate) for six days, July 10 – 15. Travel expenses are not included in this stipend.  
APPLICATIONS: Applicants must submit a 500-word statement of purpose describing both the courses they teach and their interest in integrating technical art history into their teaching. An academic / professional CV is also required. Please confirm that you are able to attend both the virtual event on September 18, 2021 and the in-person course from July 10 – 15, 2022. 
Applications and inquiries can be submitted to Dr. Richard Hark (richard.hark@yale.edu). Review of applications will begin on July 18, 2021. Notifications will be sent out on a rolling basis, but no later than mid-August.