We award Fellowships to promising and established art historians working in the academy or in museums, to critics and other art writers, and to practitioners in other disciplines who are pursuing work that exhibits a critical commitment to inquiry in the analysis, history, theory, or interpretation of visual phenomena.

International Initiatives

The Clark, with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, holds a variety of colloquia, workshops, and seminars focused on issues critical to the discipline of art history: the pressing intellectual issues with which art historians must deal, what they teach and publish, and the ways in which their work drives and responds to histories of art produced by museums. A critical goal of this initiative has been to expand the geographies of art history by cultivating international collaborations.

Alternative Histories 2016–2020

Alternative Histories


“Alternative Histories” is a research initiative supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This initiative was conceived to bring together scholars working on Latin American art “Across the Americas” and to produce new networks of exchange around art historical matters both material and methodological. The initiative also supports research in the digital humanities and conversations on global art history.

Academic Forms Across the Americas
  • Hosted by Instituto de Alos Estudios Sociales, Universidad Nacional de San Martin
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 11–13, 2016
  • Convened by George Flaherty (University of Texas at Austin) and Robin Adèle Greeley (University of Connecticut)
  • Williamstown, Massachusetts, October 19–20, 2018

  • Convened by Marisa Baldasarre (Universidad Nacional de San Martín) and Fernanda Pitta (Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo)
  • Williamstown, Massachusetts, April 5–6, 2019

  • Convened by Anne Helmreich (Getty Research Institute) and Paul B. Jaskot (Duke University)
  • Williamstown, Massachusetts, April 26–27, 2019

  • Convened by Claudia Mattos (Campinas) and Yukio Lippit (Harvard University)
  • Williamstown, Massachusetts, September 13–14, 2019

Academic Programs

Clark Conferences (and the corresponding volumes published as Clark Studies in the Visual Arts), Symposia, Colloquia, Conversations, and Lectures address vital topics in the field and nurture a broader public understanding of visual art’s role in culture.

Clark Studies in the Visual Arts

The Clark Studies in the Visual Arts series provides an international forum for scholars and museum professionals to confront the philosophical and political questions provoked by the study of the visual arts in culture. Based on the proceedings of the annual Clark Conferences, these important publications encourage an interdisciplinary exploration of issues that are timely, relevant, and even controversial.

Graduate Program in the History of Art

With Williams College, the Clark co-sponsors a Graduate Program in the History of Art, whose specialized course of study prepares students for professions in the academic and museum worlds.

About RAP

The Clark offers an independent Research and Academic Program (RAP) designed to encourage fresh approaches to the production of knowledge about all periods and genres of art, and particularly the objects, conditions, and issues they comprise.

RAP Leadership

Caroline Fowler is the Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program at the Clark and teaches in the Graduate Program in Art History at Williams College. She is the author of Drawing and the Senses: An Early Modern History (Harvey Miller Series in Baroque Art, 2016) and The Art of Paper: From the Holy Lands to the Americas (Yale University Press, 2019). She has published extensively on intersections between early modern intellectual history and works on paper. She also focuses on the history and philosophy of conservation and has recently published an article in Art Bulletin, “Technical Art History as Method?” Her research has been supported by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Getty Research Institute, the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Historians of Netherlandish Art, and the Renaissance Society of America. She is currently working on a book about the emergence of surface as an epistemological category in the context of the maritime imaginary.

History of RAP

A commitment to academic research and scholarly study has been an integral part of the Clark’s mission since its founding in 1950, with the institution’s original charter directly stipulating “facilities for study and research in the fine arts.” The Clark library and the Graduate Program in the History of Art were founded over the ensuing decades. In the 1990s, the Clark’s Board of Trustees authorized the development of a fellowship program for visiting scholars as well as a series of conferences and symposia. These programs expanded and coalesced into the Research and Academic Program that exists today.

RAP has received generous support from a broad range of foundations and institutions. The Manton Foundation established an endowment in support of the program in 2007. The program’s directorship was endowed by the Starr Foundation in 2008. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Getty Foundation have both provided integral support for RAP’s international events and innovative programming.