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.

For further information, contact Research ( | +1 203 432 2824).


Students from anywhere in the world may apply. Up to ten people 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.


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


In fall 2019, the Center will begin accepting applications for the summer 2020 seminar. Please be sure to check back, as details will be added once the application process opens. 

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

Past 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, concentrated on the examination of color from historic and scientific perspectives, explored its physical definitions and biological responses, and 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

In 2011, the 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 Summer Seminar in 2009 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.