University of Houston Partnership

Digital Humanities and Object-Based Learning in the Museum and University Context

Digital Humanities and Object-Based Learning in the Museum and University Context is an innovative long-term partnership between the ICAA-MFAH and the University of Houston (UH). The collaboration, begun in 2018 and initially aided by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, promises to create an internationally recognized environment for the study of Latin American and Latinx art and culture. As part of the multifaceted learning process, students have the opportunity to participate in year-long, paid internships with the ICAA. UH students benefit from access to previously restricted resources from the Latin American and Latino art collections and digital archival holdings of the ICAA. 

UH students also participate in annual graduate and undergraduate seminars focused on object-based learning. Team-taught by UH faculty and MFAH curators, conservators, museum educators, and ICAA staff, the classes focus on the Latin American and Latinx collections at the MFAH as well as the digital resources and research activities of the ICAA, such as the ICAA Documents Project. The Object-Based Learning faculty include: Dr. Arden Decker (ICAA); Dr. Liz Donato (ICAA); Jane Gillies (Conservation); Dr. Caroline Goeser (Learning & Interpretation); Per Knutås (Conservation); Dr. Rex Koontz (University of Houston);  Dr. Mari Carmen Ramírez (Latin American Art-ICAA); and Dr. Corina Rogge (Conservation).

The fall 2021 course offers the first opportunity for students to engage directly with the recently inaugurated permanent collection galleries in the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building. Sessions focus on formal and conceptual themes, including: “Lines” (the Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art); “Line into Space” (Gego); and the “Instability of Color” (Carlos Cruz-Diez and Hélio Oiticica) as well as processes, materials, and techniques, including “Postwar Developments in the Modern Paint Industry” (David Alfaro Siqueiros ); “Assemblage” (Antonio Berni, Elsa Gramcko); and “Decay and Degradation” (Grupo Mondongo, Teresa Margolles). Other topics include “Making an Exhibition” and “Spanish Colonial Paintings from the Thoma Collection.”   

In addition to close object-based study of the collections, students also engage with primary sources and rare materials in Hirsch Library, the Museum Archives, and digitized documents in Documents Project of Latin American and Latino art. 

For more insights into the class, see recent Papelitos blog posts featuring faculty spotlights and commentary by students. 


UH/ICAA Object-Based Learning Classes and Workshops

Forthcoming: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute 2022: Engaging Latinx Art: Methodological and Pedagogical Approaches

Fall 2021 Seminar (ARTH 3314/6394): Latin American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Fall 2019 Seminar (ARTH 3344): Latin American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

Spring 2019 Workshop: Object-Based Learning and Collections-Based Research