Changing the Narrative for the Twenty-first Century

Conceptualized as a rich learning experience, the Redefining Canadian Art History Fellowship Program is grounded in research and mentorship, and includes multiple opportunities for dialogue and networking.

Mentorship and Support

Once the Fellowship is awarded, each Fellow will be assigned an academic mentor and they will be introduced to the program’s directors, who will play critical roles in supporting Fellows during their research.


Mentors will meet with Fellows four times during the Fellowship to discuss the parameters of their project, the direction of the research, the significance of their findings, and the questions and arguments they intend to present through their work. The program directors will check in with Fellows once a month and will support them through the Fellowship event program, presentations of their projects, and the preparation of a manuscript for publication.



Fellows will be expected to take part in a program of in-person and virtual events throughout the year. This part of the program includes:


  • A two-day orientation session organized by the ACI that will include guidance on best practices in archives, working with artists, navigating research ethics, and principles of oral history, among other topics.
  • Two in-person networking events, where Fellows will have the opportunity to hear presentations from and interact with leading Canadian and Indigenous art curators, archivists, educators, and museum professionals; and to discuss career opportunities in curatorial work, art history research, and other related fields.
  • A public symposium held at Massey College in Toronto, where Fellows will share their research.



During the Fellowship, Fellows will be responsible for preparing oral presentations of their research projects as follows:


  • Two informal presentations for their peers about their progress, to be delivered in the remote cohort meetings.
  • One formal presentation of their research as part of a public symposium that ACI will organize in conjunction with the Fellowship cohort. The symposium will be a critical opportunity for Fellows to share their work with a wider audience, and to position their research to make a transformative impact. Mentors will also be invited to participate in this event.


Written Research Project for Publication

During the Fellowship, Fellows will be responsible for writing up their research as a working draft manuscript that they will continue to revise and fine-tune with the support of ACI after the Fellowship has ended. The general format for the manuscript is as follows:


  • A 5,500-word biographical introduction to the key artist(s) at the centre of the project.
  • A 5,500-word discussion of eight to twelve key artworks and/or objects. The intention of this section is to illustrate the breadth and scope of the materials involved in the research. The selected artworks or objects should be analyzed in a way that exposes their critical relevance to the life and work of the artist in the information they provide and/or stories that they tell, and they should have the potential to inspire further inquiries and/or research in this field.
  • A 3,000-word discussion that situates the artist and/or topic within the broader art historical context. This text should engage with existing scholarship in order to make a strong case for the key critical issues relevant for understanding the topic/artist’s work and its significance to the history of art in Canada.
  • A 3,000-word discussion engaging with processes of making. For projects centred on a specific artist or artist collective, this section should consider material processes and methods used by the artist(s) and discuss any technical or stylistic innovations developed throughout their career(s). For projects focused on an overlooked topic in Canadian art history, this section might examine important media or genres of art.


Publication of Online Art Book

At the conclusion of the Fellowship, Fellows will receive a separate author contract to develop their draft manuscripts for publication as an addition to ACI’s open-access art library. Fellows will continue to develop their manuscripts with the support of ACI editors, designers, translators, and image research associates.



Banner image: Daxhiigang (Charles Edenshaw), Basketry Hat, late 19th century, spruce root, paint, width: 37.8 cm, acquired by the Audain Foundation, now at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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