Graduate Research Assistantships
These research positions enhance the educational experiences provided by academic course work and teaching assistantships at the university, allowing students to extend their range of academic specializations and expertise, and to augment research skills by direct contact with objects in the collections. If necessary, these positions may be offered remotely in accordance with Yale policy.
Archives: Narratives of the Yale Center for British Art: An Oral History Program
Supervised by Jessica Quagliaroli, Chief Archivist
Semester or full academic year
The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) Archives seeks to appoint a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for either one semester or the full academic year to participate in the development of its oral history program. The GRA will have the opportunity to identify significant individuals and topics pertaining to the museum’s history and the history of British art in accordance with the GRA’s interests and expertise; conduct in-depth scholarly research on those subjects in preparation for interviews; and create oral histories.
By gathering firsthand comprehensive testimonies that explore a range of topics, including architecture, art collecting, and scholarship, the GRA will create oral histories that shed light on the museum’s history and contribute to scholarship on British art and modernist architecture. By the end of the project, the successful candidate will create and provide access to video recordings and transcripts of new narratives that reflect the multifaceted experiences of those involved in the museum’s past, present, and potential future. This project is an excellent learning opportunity for graduate students interested in using oral histories as a research method.
Curatorial: Mezzotint—Origins, Practice, Meaning
Supervised by Elizabeth Wyckoff, Curator of Prints and Drawings
Full academic year
The department of Prints and Drawings at the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) seeks to appoint a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for the academic year to assist in the development of a future exhibition exploring the mezzotint printmaking technique, the earliest intaglio method of tonal printing, in which the image emerges from darkness into light. The exhibition will range from the technique’s mid-seventeenth-century origins in the Netherlands and Germany through its flourishing in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. It will highlight key artists such as Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who in the late 1650s was among the earliest to produce mezzotints, and the eighteenth-century painter Joseph Wright of Derby, who worked closely with engravers such as William Pether and Richard Earlom to produce printed versions of his dramatically lit paintings. The technique was also taken up in the early nineteenth century by landscape painters John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, whose collaborations with printmakers resulted in extensive print series.
The successful candidate will work with curatorial staff to research and catalog objects and to develop the exhibition checklist, layout, and themes. Throughout the project, the GRA will gain valuable subject knowledge of early modern printmaking techniques, have the opportunity to collaborate with conservators in the technical examination of YCBA collections material, contribute to the catalogue framework, and be guided in the research and writing of catalogue entries. The assistantship provides an excellent opportunity to work with a curatorial team in the early stages of exhibition research and development and to contribute to the project’s formation, while also gaining hands-on experience working directly with works of art. The successful candidate will have a passionate interest in European art history and an interest in engaging on multiple levels with the history of prints.
Rare Books and Manuscripts: Provenance Research and Women Creators Research
Supervised by Timothy G. Young, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts
Full academic year
The curatorial department of Rare Books and Manuscripts (RB&M) at the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) seeks to appoint a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for the academic year to work on two projects intended to increase the research profile of collection holdings. The first project, working independently and in consultation with YCBA curators and catalogers, will be to contribute to the provenance research campaign currently underway at the museum. The focus will be on the history and ownership of early books and manuscripts (ca. 1450–1600) and contributions will be published on the YCBA’s online collections catalogue. The second project will be to research RB&M holdings to identify authorship by and contributions of women to expand their roles in our understanding of literary, social, and art history. This will include establishing forms of names, writing brief biographies, and suggesting subject tracings to make items discoverable for research and teaching.
The successful candidate will be trained in provenance research. In addition to honing their research skills, the GRA will gain valuable knowledge of the standards related to writing provenance entries; the research tasks of a curator; the ethical and legal nuances of assessing ownership; the museum’s collection information management infrastructure; and the day-to-day administrative tasks within a rare book library. The successful applicant is expected to be familiar with book history or bibliographic research. Experience in historical or art historical research, tools, and methodology, and/or experience in object-focused study, with a demonstrated interest in library or museum work, is preferred. Some knowledge of Latin and of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century paleography skills would be useful but is not required.
GRAs at the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery are open to PhD candidates in all disciplines. The number of assistantships offered may vary each year. GRAs are designed to provide Yale University doctoral students, in their second through sixth year, the opportunity to work as part of an intellectual team on a major scholarly project at one of the museums.
Applications for the 2024–2025 cycle are now closed.