The African American Art History Initiative (AAAHI) from The Getty Research Institute is a transformational research initiative focusing on the postwar art and cultural legacy of artists of African American and African diasporic heritage. The Getty Research Institute's objective is to provide a more robust and accurate history of American art, one that will have a decisive impact on the narrative of global culture. Cherise Smith, Chair of the African & African Diaspora Studies department and Professor of African & African Diaspora Studies and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin is one of two scholars, alongside Tobias Wofford of Virginia Commonwealth University, in the initiative's inaugural cohort.
The nine-month residencies awarded to Smith and Wofford will provide financial support and housing to scholars undertaking research projects that speak to the goals of the initiative. As part of the larger scholar year cohort, AAAHI fellows will have opportunities to present their research and receive feedback from an interdisciplinary group of peers.
The AAAHI iniative recognizes the extraordinary contributions that have already been made to the field, intending to partner with institutions and individuals locally and nationally on projects that support their work. From the Research Institute: "These collaborations will make the archival and published record of African American art history freely accessible, both nationally and internationally, in physical and digital form.
Building on its strengths as a world leader in art history research, the Institute will document and preserve important records; build its collection of relevant archives and related collections; support scholars; generate new research; and disseminate its results through digitization, exhibitions, publications, and public programs. The Getty's extensive experience with conservation, material science, and photography will also inform this approach.
Smith's residency began this September.