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The Smithsonian American Art Museum has established a new professional development program to foster excellence and diversity in the field of American art scholarship. “Toward Equity in Publishing” is a two-year pilot program that will provide critical support to early-career art historians. Through editorial mentorship and workshops, the program will demystify scholarly publication processes and help scholars revise manuscripts for submission and publication. The initiative is supported by a $64,000 grant from the Dedalus Foundation.

The museum is well positioned to offer this guidance through its critically acclaimed, peer-reviewed journal for new scholarship, American Art. The journal is known for publishing original research written in clear prose, and it has a reputation for providing authors with the most extensive peer-review and editorial support in journal publishing.

“With this program, the journal aims to remediate the inequitable conditions that precede publication,” said Robin Veder, executive editor of American Art. “When academic institutions provide their students, faculty and staff with research and publishing grants, paid leave and structured writing support, the recipients often achieve increased publication acceptance rates, which improves overall career success. Such perquisites are not afforded to all scholars. American Art seeks to bridge this gap by supporting those who have not had the same institutional support or have experienced obstacles to academic publishing and career success.”

The program will provide editorial support and training in all aspects of preparing and revising a manuscript, including guidance about argument, evidence, structure and prose, as well as instruction on how to acquire images and clear rights. Participants will also receive constructive criticism about the manuscript content and readiness for publication, with advice on how to respond to the expectations of editors and peer reviewers. In addition, the program will facilitate building supportive communities among the participants, like those created by the museum’s fellowship program.

There is no obligation for the participants to publish with American Art or for the journal to publish their work. 

This program is open to applications from unpublished graduate students, untenured faculty, junior museum staff and independent scholars. Participants will be selected by members of the journal’s editorial board and will be awarded on a six-month cycle. This process will be repeated four times over a two-year period, for a total of 24 participants. Each awardee will be eligible for program support for up to 12 months. Priority will be given to applicants whose experiences will broaden diversity in the field, including those with a personal history of overcoming adversity, first-generation college or graduate school attendees, and those who have not received institutional funding in the past two years. The first deadline is Sept. 15. For more information, email AmericanArtJournal@si.edu.

American Art is published three times a year in partnership with the University of Chicago Press. It is accessible online to more than 11,000 institutions in the United States and in 57 other countries. The journal is part of the museum’s extensive support of new scholarship in American art. Since 1970, the museum has provided 732 scholars with financial aid, unparalleled research resources and a world-class network of colleagues. Resources include access to in-house experts; hosting regular convenings of scholars and symposia; offering three publication prizes for outstanding scholarship; special collections, including the Joseph Cornell Study Center and the Nam June Paik Archive; six online art-research databases with more than a half-million records, including the Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture that documents more than 400,000 artworks in public and private collections worldwide; and extensive photographic collections documenting American art and artists.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the most significant and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and G streets N.W. and is open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Website: americanart.si.edu.