Summer Seminar

The Yale Center for British Art offers a biennial Graduate Student Summer Seminar, which takes the form of a weeklong intensive course taught by a team of scholars from the Center and other institutions. At the heart of these seminars is an immersion in the collections of the Center and elsewhere at Yale University. Each seminar takes as its focus a specific topic that draws upon the strengths of the collections, and sessions are taught primarily in the Center’s galleries and Study Room.


Students from Yale and anywhere in the world may apply. Up to ten students will be selected. Students working in any discipline are eligible to apply, but applicants must articulate the ways in which the theme of the course relates to their doctoral research. It is anticipated that the seminar will contribute to their research historically, conceptually, and methodologically, and it is expected that the students’ own research, in turn, will cast light on the collections.


Students are assigned tasks in advance of the seminar, including readings and the preparation of presentations, so that each participant arrives at the seminar prepared for informed and high-level discussion.


Participants are expected to reside in New Haven for the duration of the seminar. Successful applicants will be provided with round-trip travel to New Haven, as well as accommodation and meals for the duration of the seminar.

The Summer Seminar program is made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Applications for the Summer Seminar on The Tudor Image, June 20–25, 2016, are currently closed. For questions regarding future opportunities, please contact Research ( | +1 203 432 2824).

Past Summer Seminars

Coloring Color: The history, science, and materiality of paint (2013)

Instructors: Mark Aronson and Jessica David, Yale Center for British Art

In 2013, the Center convened its third Graduate Student Summer Seminar. Titled “Coloring Color: The history, science, and materiality of paint,” the seminar, which was organized by the Center’s Department of Conservation, concentrated on the physical materials of color. It examined color from historic and scientific perspectives, explored its physical definitions and biological responses, and helped students gain a familiarity with the language of color as it evolved historically. The aim of the seminar was to equip students with a fundamental understanding of the history and theory of color, and to develop an understanding of the appearance of color in paintings and works on paper.

Making Art, Picturing Practice: The Artist’s Studio in Britain, ca. 1700–1900 (2011)

Instructors: Martina Droth, Yale Center for British Art, and Mark Hallett, University of York

The 2011 Summer Seminar examined the artist’s studio as both a site and idea, by exploring the processes of learning, teaching, training, and production that take place there, as well as the ways in which the self-image of the artist is mediated therein. Ranging across a wide spectrum of studio environments, the seminar sought to open up exciting new approaches to the study of this central arena of artistic practice, collaboration, and display.

Visual Cultures of British India (2009)

Instructors: Gillian Forrester, Yale Center for British Art, and Timothy Barringer, Yale University

The 2009 Summer Seminar brought together students working in the area of visual culture in the British Empire, with particular focus on India. Ranging in chronological scope from Mughal culture and British expansionism to the contemporary art of India and the Indian diaspora, the seminar drew upon the rich array of visual materials in the Center’s collections, including maps, broadsides, panoramas, drawings, and prints intended for specialist and popular markets, as well as paintings, photographs, sculpture, and documents relating to the history of collecting.