January 26, 2011

University presses receive collaborative grant to support Art History Publishing Initiative

News and Information

The University of Washington Press, in collaboration with Duke University Press, the Pennsylvania State University Press, and the University of Pennsylvania Press, has been awarded a collaborative publishing grant of $1.257 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to publish first books by scholars in the field of art history. The Art History Publishing Initiative (AHPI) will assist in the publication of 40 books over five years through an innovative collaboration.

AHPI aims to make art historical scholarship more widely accessible in both print and electronic forms. Authors whose projects are selected for inclusion in AHPI will receive financial assistance and guided support to acquire illustrations and secure permissions. All books published with AHPI support will appear in both print and digital editions. Once published, AHPI books will have an ongoing web presence on a shared website housing electronic enhancements to standard print publication, including but not limited to audio, video, illustrative material, animation, and podcasts, and will benefit from a robust print and digital marketing program.

“Publishing art-historical scholarship poses special challenges: acquiring the rights to publish high-quality images and the images themselves can easily add thousands of dollars to overall publication costs,” said Patricia Failing, chair of the UW Division of Art History. “This collaborative grant provides especially well-targeted support for the visual resources integral to top-tier publications in the field.”

The AHPI collaboration will streamline procedures for illustration and permission management, reduce costs to first-time authors, and utilize new media to increase the flexibility and appeal of heavily illustrated works of art historical scholarship.

“This initiative is especially significant for the University of Washington Division of Art History,” Failing added,  ”not only for our current junior faculty but also for our ongoing and future efforts to recruit outstanding new scholars.”

Collectively, the consortium represents a comprehensive range of sub-fields within art history, ensuring that the benefits of the collaboration serve scholars across the discipline. Each participating publisher will continue to maintain a distinctive acquisitions program by managing projects independently through the stages of manuscript selection, peer review, revision, and formal approval. The grant will be administered by the UW Press, which organized the cooperative effort and presented the proposal to the foundation.

“Mellon’s generous support will enable these leaders in art history publishing to work together over the next five years to help art historians publish their first books, and at a high standard of quality, while they develop more efficient and effective processes that respond to the opportunities and demands of the rapidly evolving world of publishing,” said Interim President Phyllis Wise. “We look forward to supporting scholars and to seeing the contributions their publications will make to a broad community of general cultural interest, as well as to the scholarly community and to the future of the field.”