Celebrating 25 Years in the Research and Academic Program

June 26–28, 2025

Over three days, from June 26 to 28 in 2025, we are going to celebrate the 25th (ish!) anniversary of RAP, and we are inviting you back for four days of programming that will include lectures, roundtables, mini colloquia, film screenings, and casual lunchtime talks. This is not your typical art history conference. No stacked sessions of 20-minute papers. No keynote lectures. More hikes, s’mores, swag, and hanging out on the porch of the Visiting Scholars Residence drinking wine and sampling our beloved Berkshires cheeses. Shorts welcome. Wild swimming encouraged. 

We are coming together under a theme, writing art history, to think together over four days about the ways in which writing art history is changing rapidly. The introduction of positionality and autobiography into art-historical writing and inquiry remains relatively unexamined.  Since the formative leadership of Michael Ann Holly and the introduction of the Clark Studies in the Visual Arts, RAP has been dedicated to examining the various modes by which the writing of art history unfolds, its rhetorical strategies, the impossible divide between the object and beholder, and the ways in which we cross this divide through our words, attempting to articulate the division between, and intertwining, of language and being. The recent inventions of ChatGPT and other modes of artificial intelligence offer fascinating (if not sometimes terrifying) models by which to think about making “everything accessible online,” the role of human and non-human forms of intelligence, the hallucinatory aspects of all processes of writing, and where the complicated category of the “human” exists in our decolonial-turn.

This is an exciting time to come together to think about writing art history, and we want to involve you in shaping these conversations. So to convene this gathering, we are offering alumni (both former fellows and graduate students) the opportunity to bring together panels, workshops, lectures, or anything else that might strike your fancy that we find interesting, too.

Proposals & Call for Papers

This is a two-part process. As an alumnus, you are invited to propose sessions: a lecture, a roundtable, a mini-colloquia, or some new format that helps us imagine how we write art history anew. While the opportunity to propose and convene is only open to alumni like yourself, the speakers participating in these sessions need not be alumni of the program (either RAP or the Williams/Clark M.A. program).

Once we have selected the collection of panels and colloquia, we will issue a Call for Papers in early spring 2024, for those of you seeking speakers for your gatherings (be it a thematic roundtable, a half-day mini-workshop, or a session of talks). Free coffee and mini pastries will be provided to fuel the flow of conversation. 

Alternately, you may skip the open CFP and submit to us from the outset a fully-baked event, with the speakers already designated. 

Read more details below about the three types of sessions for which we are soliciting proposals, and it should become clearer.

  1. Apply to convene a panel in our auditorium, consisting of three 40-minute papers, followed by conversation. The panel session will be 2.5 hours in total. A single convener (or convener team) may convene one or two panels (on a single topic) within our auditorium. In the application, please write 250 words describing the panel that you would like to convene, its reason for being, and why you think it’s important. Please include either a list of speakers whom you would ideally invite or indicate that you would like us to issue a CFP for the proposed panel. These panels will be open to the general public, advertised on the Clark’s website, and will be held in the Clark auditorium. These sessions offer opportunities for more formal research presentations with discussion.

  2. Apply to convene a mini-colloquia in our Scholars’ Seminar Room. We hope that most of you remember our colloquia, which we envision as closed-door seminars bringing together scholars to discuss a shared question over a few days. Typically, these are structured around shared readings, short talks with extended discussion, and sometimes pre-circulated papers. We are offering the opportunity to convene a mini-colloquia (a single day from 10 AM to 3 PM), bringing together six scholars around a shared set of concerns. If you would like to apply for a mini-colloquia please provide a 500-word abstract describing the topic, how you would structure your time, and the five other people whom you would like to invite; or if you would like to be included in the CFP. As a note, the colloquia will not be advertised to the general public, but they will be open to registered attendees of the RAP 25 event, who will be allowed to sit in on the presentations and discussion, but these attendees will have to sign-up in advance and we will cap the room at 20 people total.

  3. Are you a recent graduate-student alum, still working on your PhD, and don’t feel quite ready for either of these options, but would like to share your research and get feedback on your work? We are also offering a series of casual graduate student lunchtime talks (aim for 25 minutes) with plenty of time for discussion. If you would like to present your research in a lunchtime talk, please send us a 250-word abstract.

  4. If there is something else that you think would be really interesting that we have not articulated here, please let us know.

How To Apply

Applicants are required to send abstracts and a list of speakers, if relevant, by November 1, 2023. Please send materials to [email protected]. CVs are not required. 

There will be no registration fee to present or attend this event.

Travel & Accomodations

We will offer travel and accommodation stipends for all conveners and speakers. For scholars based domestically, we will offer a $1200 stipend, and for scholars based internationally, we will offer a $2000 stipend. 

We will not book or organize your accommodation or travel for you—on this you are on your own. But we will circulate some helpful pointers (such as details for car service to get to Williamstown from the Albany airport or Hudson train station, for instance) closer to the event, and we are working with Williams College conference services to provide you with reasonably-priced dorm accommodations on campus. There will also be a conference rate at the Williams Inn and the Fairfield Marriott on the edge of town. We also encourage Airbnb, crashing with friends, or camping.