The Clark Conference has remained the intellectual cornerstone of academic programming. The past twelve conferences have addressed a wide range of subjects—including photography, the anthropologies of art, the role of the art historian, and emerging methodologies in Asian art—while providing an international forum for the discussion raised by the study, presentation, and exploration of art. The conferences culminate in the publication of a volume in the ongoing series Clark Studies in the Visual Arts, published by the Clark Art Institute and distributed by Yale University Press. 

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. By partnering with institutions and scholars in southern Africa, East-Central Europe, and the Indian Ocean region, the Research and Academic Program is engaging with approaches to the discipline that have challenged comfortable notions about how art history is written, with the goal of illuminating the variety of ways in which visual topics are addressed around the globe. This initiative is an ongoing activity, and new collaborations among regional partners have begun to take shape as a result of the Clark’s involvement.

The Trade Routes of Art History


“Trade Routes” is a research initiative supported by a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This initiative was conceptualized around waterways and maritime routes in order to investigate different modes of art and architectural production, reception, and dissemination in regions connected through the Indian Ocean.


All at Sea: Piracy and the Trade Routes of Art History
Sydney, Australia, March 21–23, 2012
In partnership with the Power Institute at the University of Sydney


Histories of Art History in South East Asia 

Manila, Philippines, March 21–23, 2013
Hosted by the University of the Philippines, Manila


Continuing Collaborations:


Fields of Legibility: Anthology Workshop III
Williamstown, MA, September 13–14, 2013
Organized in collaboration with partners from the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong


Unfolding Narratives: Art Histories in East-Central Europe after 1989


The Clark’s Research and Academic Program, together with regional partners, organized this series of three travelling seminars in 2010 and 2011. The seminars were linked thematically as well as by the presence of a core group of participants. The discussion in each location, however, was influenced primarily by the particular intellectual, cultural, and political interests and issues of the specific region and its audiences. Discussions revolved around the extraordinary intellectual energies and innovations that mark the best of the East-Central European intellectual life and sought to continue the facilitation of open dialogue and contact between those working in the US and Western Europe with those in East-Central Europe. This initiative came to Williamstown in 2011, for a two-day workshop to continue the discussion. Additional support for this workshop series was provided by the Getty Foundation.


Thinking Art History in East-Central Europe
Tallinn, Estonia, May 14–15, 2010
With the Institute of Art History at the Estonian Academy of Arts.


Art History on the Disciplinary Map in East-Central Europe
Brno, Czech Republic, November 18–19, 2010
Organized in collaboration with partners from the Moravian Gallery and Masaryk University


Art History Meets Art Theory in East-Central Europe
Bucharest, Romania, May 20–21, 2011 - video
With New Europe College, Bucharest.


Continuing Collaborations:


Workshop: International Initiatives and Regional Collaboration
Williamstown, MA, November 2–3, 2011
Additional funding provided by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories Initiative


Workshop: Reshuffling the Keywords 

Tallinn, Estonia, May 25–26, 2012
With the Institute of Art History at the Estonian Academy of Arts


Contemporary African Art: History, Theory, and Practice


This workshop was organized by the Research and Academic Program of the Clark and the Wits School of the Arts at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg, South Africa. This project, undertaken with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, examined more than forty years of art historical scholarship about modern and contemporary African art. The two components of the workshop, international gatherings of distinguished scholars and artists, took place in 2007 and 2008. The initial phase of the workshop was held at WITS (October 25–28, 2007), and the second phase at the Clark in Williamstown, Massachusetts (May 22–25, 2008). This was followed by a Getty-funded residency for African participants in Williamstown and New York City from May 25–30, 2008.

"Contemporary African Art: History, Theory, and Practice"

2007, 2008

Continuing Collaborations:


Seminar: The Archive: Static, Embodied, Practiced
Accra, Ghana, May 24–25, 2013
Organized in collaboration with Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos and the Foundation for Contemporary Art, Ghana



Clark Lectures, offered by Clark Fellows, present recent research to members of the academic community. Interested members of the public are welcome to attend. In addition, the Clark regularly offers public lectures on a variety of art-related subjects for general audiences.

During the academic year, Clark Lectures take place on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm. Refreshments are served.


Clark Symposia offer scholars the opportunity to gather with other experts to discuss a topic, theme, or artist's work. Symposia bring together international panels for intense discussion and debate in a public forum.


The Clark sponsors invitational colloquia—small, semi-private gatherings of researchers who wish to discuss topics of mutual interest, perhaps in preparation for a book. Colloquia focus on an array of themes spanning the history and historiography of art.


Clark Conversations add an intimate dimension to scholarly life at the Institute. In some conversations, Clark Fellows or short-term visiting scholars discuss their personal intellectual histories and commitments to the profession in a relaxed setting. In others, scholars debate current issues in art history without a prescribed script, before an informal audience.

Curator Roundtables

Curator Roundtables bring together curators and their collaborators who are in the early stages of developing an innovative and ambitious exhibition project. We invite groups to spend two days at the Clark discussing and shaping the conceptual and intellectual agenda of the exhibition and the catalogue.

Roundtables are supported by the Clark's grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


The Research and Academic Program often collaborates with several other institutions by mounting joint seminars that address many of the crucial questions confronting the field of art history that are of interest to both their scholars and the Clark's.

Workshops are typically devoted to intensive discussion of topical readings and presentations, as well as to critical responses to new papers by the participants on the chosen issue. Most of the workshops have been the result of collaborations with other research institutes, including the Council on Library and Information Services (CLIR), Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), Institut national d’histoire d’lart (Paris), and the Pulitzer Foundation (St. Louis).

CLIR Colloquia

In collaboration with the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), these colloquia sought to explore the current issues in history, theory, and criticism in the visual arts.

Prospects for Digital Humanities and the Arts
April 10-11, 2015

Preservation and Its Intellectual Framework
January 30–31, 2013

Who Are We? Where Have We Come From? Where Are We Going?
September 25–26, 2009

The Work of Art History in the Digital Age
June 27–28, 2008

INHA Workshops

Since 2007, the Institut national d'histoire de l'art (INHA) in Paris has worked collaboratively with the Research and Academic Program to sponsor week-long workshops held at the Foundation Hartung-Bergmann in Antibes, France, or at the Clark in Williamstown. The idea of each workshop is to bring scholars at all stages of their careers and from around the world to work intensively on a topic of broad methodological interest to the field of art history. The workshop extends the successful format of Clark colloquia that bring together groups of scholars for extended conversation out of the public glare. The first event was sponsored by the Florence Gould Foundation.

When Images Meet New Media
July 15–19, 2013

Looking at Contemporary Art Through Eyes Trained on the Past
June 27–July 2, 2011

August 17–21, 2009

What is Connoisseurship?
August 17–23, 2008

Iconography and Iconology Today
August 19–25, 2007

Pulitzer Workshops

In partnership with the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri, scholars, architects, curators, and directors of museums were brought together for a two-venue weekend, which started in St. Louis and continued in Williamstown.

Thinking Museums: What Do We Do With the Old Masters?
October 25–26, 2008

Getty Workshops

These workshops on "Art History and..." explored contemporary cultural concerns and their effects on the practice of art history from a number of different points of view. The workshops were designed to bring together fellows from the Clark and Getty to address collectively the political, theoretical, and methodological topics that connect art history to a variety of issues in the humanities and social sciences. Taking place both in Williamstown in autumn and the Getty in Los Angeles in the spring, these workshops were devoted to intensive discussion of topical readings and presentations, as well as to critical responses to new papers by the participants on the year's chosen issue.

Contemporaneity in the History of Art

Art History and Environment

Art History and the Present

Art History and Anti-Art

Art History and the Unseen

Art History and the Moving Image

Art History and Biography

Art History and Art Criticism

Art History and Identity


In addition to its fellowship program, the Clark organizes year-round scholarly programs, including Clark Conferences, Lectures, International Initiatives, Symposia, Conversations, Colloquia, Curatorial Roundtables, and Workshops, which focus on vital topics in the field. These enrich the intellectual life of the Clark and contribute to a broader understanding of the role of visual art in culture.


Propose an Event

Proposals for Clark Conferences, Symposia, Colloquia, and Exhibition Workshops are received at [email protected] We particularly seek ideas for multidisciplinary events that bring to public notice innovative work and research.

Please include with your submission a description and a roster of potential participants (including a few participants that have already agreed to the proposal). Proposals are considered on an ongoing basis, but depending on the type of event, it may take up to two years to implement.