Supported by the AHRC Digital Transformations Theme Leader Fellowship

The Future of the Art History Book

From Lives of the Artists, to The Story of Art, and Differencing the Canon, the discipline of art history has been defined by its books (Hyde Minor 1994; Macartney 2011; Shone and Stonnard, 2013). The art history book remains the standard of professional validation and knowledge transfer within the discipline. Yet, with the arrival of the internet and digital publishing technologies, the limiting nature of traditional academic publishing and the potential for alternative models have been exposed (Hall, 2008; Fitzpatrick, 2011; Frosio, 2014). Academic presses have sought to augment and re-engineer the academic text by exploring new systems for aggregation, annotation, collaborative writing, data visualisation, open access and peer review.  But art history is seriously behind in developing robust publishing models for the future (Ballon and Westermann, 2006; Evans, Thomson and Watkins, 2011; Zorich, 2012). In this talk, Charlotte Frost regards the art history book as the site of contention in the quest to historicise emerging (and often technologically-rich) art forms. She asks ‘what should the art history book of the future look like and what should it do differently for the discipline to evolve?’

This event is part of Academic Book Week, taking place 9-16 November


Dr Charlotte Frost is a contemporary art historian and experimental scholar of the digital humanities. She holds an interdisciplinary position with School of Creative Media and the English Department. Her work focuses on the history of internet art, online art critical communities, publishing, literary materiality and emerging digital literacies. She conducts practice-based research into the future of arts and humanities scholarship as a producer of open, hybrid and participatory platforms. She is the founder of Arts Future a set of projects exploring new approaches to publishing and education in the arts. In 2013 Arts Future Book published its first twice-blind-peer-reviewed, multi-format publication Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body by Nathaniel Stern. This was followed by an experimental journal-style article ‘Is Art History Too Bookish’ and artwork ‘#arthistory’ exploring the materiality of art historical literature by Frost. Her own forthcoming book Art Criticism Online: A History (Gylphi Limited: 2016) will provide a history of online art critical networks from BSS to YouTube and is accompanied by a web-based archive of collaborative research into online art discussion communities. This research was supported by post-doctoral research fellowships at the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2011-12) and HUMlab at Umeå University, Sweden (2010). Frost is also the founder of PhD2Published an online resource and community investigating early career publishing strategies, and the off-shoot project Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo). Dr Frost has a Twitter following of over 11,000, ano her projects have been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Guardian and Inside Higher Education.

This event has passed.

4:00pm, 11 Nov 2015

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK