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Otsego Institute call for applicants

Submitted on Friday, November 02, 2018


A four day workshop for graduate students and junior professionals

Remediation: Collections, Connections, Communities

Organized by the Otsego Institute for Native American Art History,
and sponsored by Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York

May 19-24, 2019

In 2019, the Otsego Institute Workshop will explore the concepts of media, mediation and remediation as tools for thinking about the complex legacies of historic Native North American art in the past as well as in current communities, museums, and academic research.

Through close hands-on examination of objects in the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art—as well as lectures, readings, group discussions, and exercises in making—participants will be introduced to skills and techniques used in the study of Indigenous North American visual and material culture, including the identification of materials, styles, and modes of production in both historic and current artworks. Approaching art as “media” entails close attention to its materiality, to its status as a vehicle for communication across disparate ways of knowing, and to its capacity to mediate relations between multiple communities. We will also discuss decolonizing methodologies by which museums are re-organizing knowledge of historic collections in dialogue with Indigenous peoples.

Participants will present informally on their own current and prospective dissertations or curatorial projects, and will develop a short research essay on a single object of their choice from the Thaw Collection for posting to the online Otsego Alumni Review

Seminar/Workshop Leaders and Resource Faculty
Eva Fognell (Fenimore Art Museum), Aaron Glass (Bard Graduate Center), Jonathan Holstein (art dealer), Emil Her Many Horses (National Museum of the American Indian), Heather Igloliorte (Concordia University), Aldona Jonaitis (Director, University of Alaska Museum), David Penney (National Museum of the American Indian ), Sherry Farrell Racette (University of Manitoba), Ruth Phillips (Carleton University), Jolene Rickard (Cornell University).

Guest Faculty 2019: Sven Haakanson (Burke Museum/University of Washington) and Victor Masayesva Jr. (photographer/filmmaker)

The workshop is open to graduate students and beginning professionals specializing in or considering specialization in Native American Art History, whether in Art, Anthropology, or Native Studies Departments or Museums.

The Otsego Institute for Native American Art History
The Otsego Institute for Native American Art History was founded in 1996 to support and promote the highest standards in the field of Native American art history. 1997 – 2002 the Otsego Institute symposium, planned by the institute and sponsored by Fenimore Art Museum, brought together Native and non-Native artists, museum professionals and scholars, to address the theoretical issues in the study of Native American art. In 2002, the format of Otsego Institute activities was modified from an academic conference to an advanced workshop for graduate students who examined Native American art history within a framework of formal lectures, hands-on workshops, and informal discussion of contemporary research and scholarly practices with co-participants and faculty.

The Fenimore Art Museum, which houses the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art is in the historic village of Cooperstown, in central New York State, on the shore of Lake Otsego.

Application Process:
Up to twelve participants will be chosen on the basis of competitive application. Their travel and living expenses will be paid for by the Otsego Institute for Native American Art History.

Note: We do not make accommodations for spouses or children. Participants may be assigned a roommate.

A. Application form

1. Name

2. Mailing address

3. Email

4. Phone

5. Briefly state your current work/educational status

6. Briefly state your career goals or plans for the future

7. Please list relevant courses you have taken in the fields of Native Studies, Art History, Visual/Cultural Studies, Museum Studies, Visual or Cultural Anthropology, History

8. Please describe any museum experience or teaching experience you have had relevant to the workshop

9. State tribal affiliation (if any)

10. Statement: 500 word statement about the relationship of your own work to the discipline of Native American art history, your own regional and/or theoretical areas of interest, and how you think this workshop might contribute to your professional development. Students or scholars working in the field of contemporary art are encouraged to apply, but should make clear how the close study of historic collections is relevant to your scholarship and/or to the work of the artists you focus on.

The complete application should consist of:

1. This application form
2. Curriculum vitae
3. Recommendation from a professor, museum/cultural center supervisor or other relevant professional. This is to be sent separately by the recommender to

Application deadline: January 15, 2019

Applicants will be notified of their status by March 15, 2019


Eva Fognell, Curator
Thaw Collection of American Indian Art
Otsego Institute for Native American Art History
Fenimore Art Museum
Lake Road / P.O. Box 800
Cooperstown, New York 13326

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