Changing the Narrative for the Twenty-first Century

The Redefining Canadian Art History Fellowship Program at the Art Canada Institute (ACI) is intended to be a rich learning experience that is grounded in research and includes multiple opportunities for dialogue and collaboration. Every Fellow will be expected to fully participate in the following elements of the program.

Mentorship and Support

Once the Fellowship is awarded, each Fellow will be assigned a mentor from the Fellowship Advisory Committee and they will be introduced to the ACI staff, both of whom will play critical roles in supporting Fellows during their research.


Mentors will meet with Fellows four times during the Fellowship (at the beginning and the end and two midway points) 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. ACI staff will check in with Fellows once a month and will be responsible for supporting them with the Fellowship event program, presentations of their projects, and the preparation of their research for publication.



Fellows will be expected to take part in a program of in-person and virtual events throughout the year with their cohort. This part of the program takes the following form:


  • A two-day initial orientation session organized by the ACI that will include guidance on best practices in archives, working with artists, research ethics, and principles of oral history, as well as other topics.


  • Virtual meetings with their cohort and ACI staff every month. These meetings are informal opportunities to share progress with each other, and Fellows will be asked to take turns giving short, informal presentations about their projects and the critical topics that they are investigating.


  • Two formal Mentorship events, where Fellows will have the opportunity to network with members of the Fellowship Advisory Committee; 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 final symposium, which is a critical opportunity for Fellows to share the transformative impact of their work with a wider audience across the country and position their research within or against the Art History canon (see below for further details about this event).



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


  • Two informal presentations (ten minutes maximum) for their peers about their progress, to be delivered in the remote cohort meetings.


  • One formal presentation (twenty minutes maximum) of their research as part of a national symposium that ACI will organize in conjunction with the Fellowship cohort. This symposium will be a critical opportunity for Fellows to share their work with a wider audience across the country and position their research to make a transformative impact. Mentors will also be invited to participate in this event.


  • One presentation to a community group, the format of which will be determined by the Fellow in discussion with their advisor and their hosts.


Written Research Project for Publication

During the Fellowship, Fellows will be responsible for preparing a written research project that will be published on the ACI website (with the publication process and costs supported by ACI). The general format for the project is as follows; however, it is acknowledged that all research projects are different, and Fellows and their advisors may propose adaptations of this structure as long as the overall scope/word count remains the same (If you determine your project benefits from a change in this format, you must clearly articulate the changes you propose, demonstrate the rationale, and create a workplan to show that you can still accomplish the goals in the given year).


  • A 500-word preface introducing the project and the Fellow’s relation to it.


  • A 7500-word introduction to the artist and/or topic. The intention of this text is to introduce the artist/topic and project with key information.


  • A 4000-word discussion of eight significant primary sources identified through the research (8 x approximately 500 words each). The intention of this section is to introduce readers to critical sources – be they documents, objects, or interviews – that have been identified through the project. The sources 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 7500-word critical essay that presents a specific argument about the research material and findings of the project.


  • A 2500-word conclusion that presents questions and recommendations for future research, and, in addition, a comprehensive bibliography.


  • An image list for the publication, including both images essential to the argument and optional additional images (100 in total).


Fellows will be asked to submit the different elements of their project in parts and in draft form for discussion in advance of publication on the ACI website. They are strongly encouraged to discuss the project with their Mentors, and to seek feedback from their Mentors (particularly on the primary sources and critical essay sections). Furthermore, while all Fellows must prepare projects broadly along the lines of this structure, Fellows are encouraged to approach it creatively, strategically, and responsibly, and to discuss with the ACI team how it might be best adapted to their own project’s requirements and findings.


Final Report

At the conclusion of the Fellowship, Fellows will be required to submit a brief written report to ACI concerning their experiences with the program and their intentions concerning next steps with their work after the Fellowship.



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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