Dr. Heather Shirey, Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, received a Fulbright-Terra Foundation Award to teach at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China, in the spring of 2016.
Dr. Heather Shirey, Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, received a Fulbright-Terra Foundation Award to teach at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China, in the spring of 2016.

Terra Foundation Announces Recipients of 2015 International Academic Awards & Fellowships

October 15th, 2015

Chicago, IL—The Terra Foundation for American Art announced today the recipients of its 2015 international academic awards and fellowships, including Dr. Heather Shirey, associate professor of art history at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, who received a Fulbright-Terra Foundation Award in the History of American Art to teach at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China, during the spring 2016 semester. (View the complete list of 2015 academic award and fellowship recipients.)

“Since 2005, our wide range of academic awards and fellowships have helped to foster the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States in countries across the globe,” said Terra Foundation for American Art President & CEO Elizabeth Glassman. “Additionally, they engender a robust network of engaged international scholars who are actively shaping the field of American art history.”

During her time at Tsinghua University, Dr. Shirey will work with faculty to develop a curriculum focusing on American art situated in broad social and historical contexts. A core element of this curriculum will be the critical consideration of race, ethnicity, and social class. She also plans to teach a more specialized course on African American art from the early colonial period to the 1980s.

According to Dr. Shirey, “These perspectives are crucial to a deeper comprehension of the complexities of American culture and identity. Studying the history of art can stimulate a richer and more nuanced cross-cultural understanding, and for this reason in particular I’m looking forward to teaching undergraduate and graduate students in China.”

Other academic awards and fellowships offered by the Terra Foundation include:

There has been significant growth in the number of Terra Foundation academic awards and fellowships: in early 2009 only three programs—TSR, fellowships at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and research travel grants—were offered compared to the current nine.

“Overarchingly, we’re seeing an increased level of engagement—both quantitatively and qualitatively—in the field of American art as a result of our efforts,” explained John Davis, Executive Director for Europe and Global Academic Programs at the Terra Foundation. “Today, there are more than 250 alumni from the TSR program alone, and 90 research travel grants have been awarded to doctoral and postdoctoral scholars.”

Alex Taylor, who won the essay prize in 2011 and attended TSR in 2013, is now leading a three-year research initiative at Tate, where he’s developing new scholarship on the museum’s holdings of modern American art before 1980,” added Davis. “There are numerous examples of Terra Foundation alumni making a notable impact in the field.”

Dr. Sarah Monks, lecturer in art history at the University of East Anglia and a senior advisor at the 2015 TSR, stated “Through its fellowships, the Terra Foundation supports an impressive range of excellent scholarship on American art and enables international scholars to connect and collaborate with each other in an extraordinary way. As a result, the foundation has helped make American art one of the most exciting and innovative fields in art history today.”

Terra Foundation for American Art

Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With financial resources of more than $350 million, an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial period to 1945, and an expansive grant program, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, supporting exhibitions, academic programs, and research worldwide.