CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Visual Studies at the Department of Art and Jackman Humanities Institute

The Department of Art, in collaboration with the Jackman Humanities Institute (JHI) at the University of Toronto, offers a two-year Council of Library and Information Research (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Visual Studies, with a particular focus on premodern visual cultures. The CLIR Fellow will have an established track record in visual studies and digital humanities. He or she will pursue his or her own research at UofT while receiving training and career development opportunities in the area of digital data curation and while building on UofT’s capacity for management of data from projects in visual studies, especially in the premodern period.


UofT is home to a number of innovative digital visual studies projects, including ArtCan, the digital face of the Canadian Art Commons for History of Art Education and Training project, and UofT Art Centre’s digital collections. Premodern visual studies are a particular area of strength. UofT scholars in premodern visual studies are involved as investigators and advisers in major, collaborative digital projects, including ITER; Baptisteria Sacra; FADIS; and the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship. Individual researchers in UofT’s Art Department are involved in developing techniques of digital reconstruction for the preservation of premodern art and in building digital archives of premodern art for pedagogical purposes, among other ventures.

Digital visual studies at UofT are supported by University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) through UTL’s Information Technology Services (ITS). The librarians, developers, and information architects at ITS have two decades’ experience developing and curating projects in the digital humanities. They provide scholars with robust infrastructural support for their projects, assist with digital tool development and repurposing, and manage project data over its lifecycle. UTL is committed to building on its existing capacity to meet the specialized needs of humanist researchers by developing new and more robust connections between academic departments and librarians specializing in digital projects, data creation, and data curation. The CLIR Fellowship is offered to this end.


The CLIR Fellow will be required to draw upon his or her disciplinary expertise and upon on-the-job training provided by UofT’s ITS librarians and IT staff to meet challenges in data curation for digital visual studies. Depending on her or his own skillset and research interests, the CLIR Fellow will:

  • provide assistance, including one-one and group training, for visual studies graduate students and scholars seeking to make use of research infrastructure developed and sustained by UTL: advise on grant applications; help estimate digital project costs; craft data management plans; and suggest software tools and platforms to support research.
  • promote the use of free, open-source, content-agnostic software for  cataloguing, viewing, and annotation; and emerging international standards for image repositories and digital visual studies projects, especially IIIF-conformant image servers.
  • develop and carefully document innovative use cases in visual studies formed by disciplinary concerns and consequential research questions, to help librarians drive future resource and infrastructure development.

More specifically, the fellow may:

  • use a model developed by UofT’s current CLIR Fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies in order to conduct a census of digital visual studies projects and a review of current practices in data curation in visual studies at UofT
  • work with librarians and faculty to strengthen tools for digital pedagogy for visual studies, including FADIS and Artstor;
  • work with the supervisor of this fellowship on a use case for 3-D digital modeling for art preservation and the curation of data from this and similar projects
  • work with visual studies faculty on digital resources to support: an undergraduate textbook on premodern art; study of early modern Netherlandish sculpture; UofT Art Centre’s digital collections; research from field trips associated with the Connecting Art Histories grant supported by the Getty Foundation.
  • deliver workshops through the School of Graduate Studies and Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation focusing on premodern digital visual studies data management.

The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow will also pursue his or her own research in digital visual studies. Suitable projects may include : use cases in digital collection development; digital techniques and tools for the preservation and analysis of art; work on the impact of visual studies of digital technologies, including social media and open access scholarship.

The CLIR Fellow will be supervised by SeungJung Kim, an Assistant Professor in the Art Department, with support from digital project specialists at ITS in UofT Libraries. He or she will have access to equipment and digital working space at JHI; and shared space at ITS when necessary for training purposes. The CLIR Fellowship provides an annual stipend. The successful candidate will also be entitled to additional funding for expenses associated with his or her research; he or she will complete a one- to two-week CLIR training seminar in July or August 2015.

Eligibility and Attributes

Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant discipline within five years of the beginning of the fellowship (1 July 2015). Applicants who will defend their thesis before 1 May 2015 are eligible, but a letter from their Chair may be requested; an award will be conditional on a successful defense. Applicants who received a Ph.D. prior to 1 July 2009 are ineligible.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate excellence in teaching and research and have an established track record in digital humanities. He or she will have understanding of and interest in data curation practices specific to visual studies and data life-cycle management systems generally; the ability to assess institutional processes and policies; willingness to work with a range of scholars in and outside of visual studies; desire to learn and pursue research in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment; and interest in open source development and open access scholarship.

The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Visual Studies is open to citizens of all states. The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may further expand the range of ideas and perspectives.

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