Every year the Getty welcomes dozens of visiting scholars—art historians, anthropologists, economists, architects, historians, artists, and intellectuals from a range of other fields. They come from around the world to be part of the Getty Research Institute’s Scholars Program, which since 1985 has served as an interdisciplinary forum for intensive study and scholarly exchange.
We’re proud to announce the names and research projects of all 38 scholars for the 2015–16 year, running September 21, 2015, to June 30, 2016.
Art and Materiality, Egypt in Context
Each year the Scholars Program focuses on specific research themes; for the 2015–16 year, the themes are Art and Materiality and The Classical World in Context: Egypt.
The Getty Research Institute is particularly well situated for studies of the material nature of art. Scholars can consult the rich resources of our special collections holdings, delving into such archives as the Experiments in Art and Technology records and The Kitchen videos and records, amongst others. They can also benefit from cross-disciplinary opportunities with the Getty Conservation Institute, which pursues scientific research on works of art and cultural heritage as part of conservation projects such as Modern and Contemporary Art and Wall Paintings at Mogao Grottoes.
The Getty Villa supports scholarship both through its library and vast collection, and through the expertise of its curators, conservators, and visiting speakers.
Chosen from 548 applications, the 38 scholars and fellows for the 2015–16 scholar year will undertake a wide range of topics and approaches.
Art and Materiality—Projects devoted to this theme seek to gain insight into the ways in which materials inform not only the ritual and symbolic meaning of art objects, but also their social, political, and economic functions. Projects range from The Material Nature of Buddhist Art (Robert L. Brown, UCLA) to The Bowels of the Sacred (Gabriela Siracusano, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina), which will look at the strategic deployment of materials for their aesthetic qualities and power to signify.
The Classical World in Context: Egypt—Projects exploring this topic at the Getty Villa include Embodiment and Learning in a Transcultural Perspective (Constance von Rüden, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany), focusing on the so-called “Aegean” relief paintings from Tell del Dab’a, Egypt, and Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt (Henry Colburn, Harvard University), which will look at the interconnections between the cultures of the classical world and Egypt from prehistory to the coming of Islam.
In addition, Bert Winther-Tamaki (University of California, Irvine) is this year’s Consortium Professor, pursuing his own research project on Japanese art while also teaching a winter course open to students from southern California universities.
Why a Scholars Program?
The Scholars Program is structured to broaden opportunities for scholarly discourse in the humanities. Getty Scholars use the collections and library resources of the Getty to conduct focused research for periods from three to nine months. Just as importantly, they live and work in close proximity, forming a community where conversations and exchanges move research forward.
Scholars and fellows present research-in-progress to their fellow scholars and Getty staff each week, followed by a group discussion. These thoughtful conversations enable senior scholars to benefit from peer critique, while junior scholars and fellows in turn receive feedback from their more seasoned counterparts. Interactions with notable artists-in-residence further enrich the scholarly experience—alumni of the program include Tacita Dean, Richard Tuttle, Matthew Ritchie, Thomas Demand, Orlan, Frida Kahlo of Guerilla Girls, Ken Gonzales-Day, and Bill Viola. Indeed, junior and senior scholars frequently form mentoring partnerships while in residence, which continue well beyond their time at the Getty.
The Scholars Program is highly competitive, with each scholar’s time here supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation, or postdoctoral fellowship support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Volkswagen Foundation. Candidates are selected both on their contributions to research in their fields, and on their proposed project and its bearing on the annual research theme. Through this process, the Scholars Program brings together an intellectual community composed of some of the best minds studying the visual arts today.
Over the last three decades the Scholars Program has hosted a distinguished roster of more than 1,000 international scholars, pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellows, and visiting artists. Collectively these scholars represent the intellectual diversity of over 41 Western and non-Western countries in the Americas, Western Europe, the former Eastern Bloc, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
We look forward to welcoming the first group of 2015–16 scholars and fellows to the Getty Research Institute in September!