CFP: “Beyond Tidy Data: Critical Use of Museum Collections Information” (Digital Art History Society – Session at CAA, New York, 15-18 February 2023)

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Call for Papers
August 31, 2022
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Archaeology, Archival Science, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Digital Humanities, Library and Information Science

Beyond Tidy Data: Critical Use of Museum Collections Information

College Art Association conference session sponsored by the Digital Art History Society, New York City, 15-18 February 2023

Co-Chairs: Lindsay Dupertuis, independent scholar, and Kelly Davis, Yale University

Digital art historians frequently use collections information as data to inform their studies. Many cultural institutions, such as the British Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum, allow scholars to easily access and download their collections data through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It is necessary to “tidy” or “clean” this data, i.e. standardizing the format and terminology, before performing computational analysis or creating visualizations. However, proponents of critical museology increasingly acknowledge that “museums are not neutral,” to borrow a motto from La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski. What does this exhortation mean for digital art historians?

This session, sponsored by the Digital Art History Society, seeks participants from across academia, museums, libraries, and archives to interrogate the implications of institutional history for collections data and its usage. Topics may include collecting practices and provenance; curatorial bias; institutional neglect; selective or asymmetrical digitization; misidentification; and solutions for counteracting tendentiousness within museum data. We welcome contributions that address marginalized communities, regions, and media.

Proposals should include:

  • An abstract of your paper (250 words maximum)
  • A shortened CV (close to 2 pages).
  • Access needs, if applicable.
  • Completed proposal form (available at the CAA conference website, linked below)

This session is currently slated to proceed in-person. For more information, including conference participation rules, please visit the College Art Association’s conference website at:

Contact Info: 

Please send your proposal by 31 August 2022 to Lindsay Dupertuis and Kelly Davis ( and with the subject line: “CAA 2023 – Beyond Tidy Data – Paper Proposal”. Applicants will be notified by mid-September 2022.