© Proartibus

The International Consortium on Art History

Origins, Founding Partners

The idea of the Consortium's founders (Ségolène Le Men, professor at Université de Paris X and Director of Literary Studies at the École Normale Supérieure; Salvatore Settis and Enrico Castelnuovo of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa; Johanne Lamoureux and Todd Porterfield, Canada Research Chair, of the Université de Montréal; Iris Lauterbach of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich; Thomas Kirchner of the University of Frankfurt; Serena Romano and Michael F. Zimmermann of the Université de Lausanne; and Henri Zerner of Harvard University) was to create an ambitious, international consortium devoted to the training of master's and doctoral students of art history. The aim was to foster collaboration across dynamic research institutions--European and North American universities (Paris X, Frankfurt, Lausanne, Montreal, and Harvard), grandes écoles (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and École Normale Supérieure, Paris), and art history research centres (France's INHA and Munich's Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich), as well as to organise an annual Springtime Academy, a focused, international meeting for graduate students and professors.

The first International Springtime Academy brought together sixty people at the École Normale Supérieure in April 2003 - outstanding graduate students at an advanced stage of their master's theses and doctoral dissertations, their professors, and invited researchers from a range of countries. This Academy was dedicated to a theme around which the history of art, as a university discipline, was born in the nineteenth century: "Style." The INHA supported this meeting by offering competitive grants for French partners, by participating in the scholarly publication of the program, and by contributing to the preparation and execution of the program.

At a meeting on 29 April 2003, the Consortium officially constituted itself in its current form. It elected to serve for a period of four years a steering committee (Ségolène LeMen, Iris Lauterbach, Todd Porterfield, Thomas Kirchner and Michael F. Zimmermann) as well as a president, Henri Zerner.

In April 2004, the Consortium's second Springtime Academy addressed the theme of "Art and Its Audience," this time in Frankfurt and Munich. In its annual business meeting, the Consortium's members established the requirements for its International Master's in the History of Art, and it more clearly defined its institutional status as a network of individuals acting in the name of the institutions they represent. New members were inducted into the Consortium: colleagues from the Universities of Edinburgh (Richard Thomson), Geneva (Mauro Natale), Freiburg (Victor Stoichita), Munich (Hubertus Kohle), and Eichstätt (Michael F. Zimmermann who left Lausanne).

In August 2004, a Summertime Academy was organised in Canada by the Université de Montréal, to coincide with the CIHA Congress. It addressed the issue of the "Sites and Territories of Art History."

In May 2005, the third Springtime Academy was organised in Italy by the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. It took place in Cortona and investigated the subject of "The Geography of Art."

In May 2006, the fourth Springtime Academy was held in Lausanne and Geneva, where the subject was "Art and Technique."

Aims of the Consortium

In establishing the Consortium, the founding partners's driving aim was to encourage and support advanced training in scholarly research in art history. The members of the Consortium share the same concern for interdisciplinarity in the study of art and images. Paying particular attention to the history of their discipline, they engage in a dialogue between the various institutional and national traditions, and between the different art historical methodologies in Europe, North America, and elsewhere.

They are committed to deepening international exchange and to cultivating students who will contribute to this dialogue now and in the future. The aim is to create an ongoing conversation between students and professionals, one that will be international and interdisciplinary, and, rather than being unusual, will be a regular and enriching part of their scholarly lives.

Member, Languages, Addresses

Professors working in higher education and leaders in research institutes can become members of the Consortium. It is open to art historians and specialists in all aspects of visual culture. 

The members of the Consortium act to the extent possible in the name of the institutions they represent.

The languages of the Consortium are French, English, German, and Italian. Contributors are invited to express themselves in any one of these languages.

International Springtime Academies

The International Springtime Academies in the history of art constitute the central meeting of Consortium members and students. It is an annual meeting and brings together a limited number of selected participants -- masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students -- within a rigorous context of research, exchange, and instruction. The Academy's location rotates to different cities each year. 
The purpose of the Academies is not that of a conference but of training. It also reinforces links amongst professors, while fostering collaboration in the teaching, training, and advising of students; in some cases joint collaborations lead to cotutelles.


International Academy of Post-Graduate Studies in Art History (Master's and Ph.D.)

The aim of the International Academy of Post-Graduate Studies in Art History will be to offer high-level training in the history of art, taking into account the different traditions and methodologies of the discipline, as well as its recent developments. It will address students who want to go into research and higher education, as well as positions in conservation and heritage. 

The goal is to structure a course on two levels (Master's and Ph.D.), with the possibility of preparing a level L (Bachelor of Arts). It will be possible to follow them successively, or to follow only one.


At the Bachelor level, student mobility must be encouraged by reinforcing Erasmus agreements amongst the participating institutions. Training in foreign languages, interest in different international traditions, and interdisciplinary methodologies will be encouraged.

International Consortium on Art History - Statutes

The aim of the International Consortium on Art History is to ensure high-level training in the study of the history of art, taking into account the different traditions of art history, as well as recent developments in the discipline. It addresses students who want to go into research and higher education, and those who will work in conservation and heritage. The members of the Consortium share the same concern for interdisciplinarity in their study of works of art and images. The Consortium sets out to structure a course on two levels (Master's and Ph.D.), through, among other things, the organisation of an annual Springtime Academy. 

The structure is a free association (consortium) of members belonging to institutions from different countries. These members join with the approval of the institutions they represent. They agree to participate in the Consortium's activities. The association is administered by its board. The Consortium's headquarters are at the Institut national d'histoire de l'art (INHA) in Paris. 

The network's board includes a president, two vice-presidents from different countries, a secretary, and a fifth member who will eventually be treasurer. The mandates of the board members are renewed by vote during the members' general assembly, following a proposition by the existing board. The board members' mandate is for four years, renewable for another two years. The president calls the annual general assembly and establishes the agenda with the rest of the board.

The Springtime Academy in Art History is the central point of the project. It is an annual meeting, with limited participants, bringing together masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students, within a strong teaching framework. Every year, the Consortium organises at least one Springtime Academy which takes place, by rotation, in a different member country. The theme is chosen so that it can interest participants from all different fields, regardless of the period or cultural area in which they specialize. 

The annual general assembly usually takes place at the end of the Springtime Academy. 

Other activities can be added to the Consortium's program, on an occasional basis. 

The Consortium seeks to create an international Master's degree in the history of art and an international doctorate in the history of art.