When Art and Academics Collide: UAB and BMA Fellowship
Birmingham, Ala—For the first time, the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham(UAB) are offering a paid fellowship to a qualified art history graduate student for one year. The new program will prepare the student for a career in the museum profession. It was first offered this fall for the academic year 2010/2011 and will provide the student with the opportunity to acquire hands-on curatorial experience in a museum setting.
This year’s recipient, Nicole Jordan, has been doing interesting work at the Museum. “I am co-curating an exhibition of Danish ceramics that will open in the fall of 2011. The project involves a lot of research, writing, and working closely with different departments at the Museum. “Another project involves working on an exhibit of Honore Daumier’s social and political cartoons that will also open in the fall of next year.”
“This type of fellowship is quite rare in the United States, “ says Chief Curator Jeannine O’Grody, PhD. “Opportunities for short-term, unpaid internships are plentiful, but a structured, year-long fellowship, as well as the fact that it was developed in close partnership with the university is not common,” says O’Grody. Together with Dr. Katherine McIver, Director of the Art History Graduate studies program at UAB, O’Grody drew up a plan for the fellowship that has been accepted by the Dean of the Graduate School at UAB. “Most students want to work in a museum environment,” says McIver. O’Grody understands how important a fellowship can be. “I came from a fellowship myself at the Cleveland Museum of Art.” O’Grody also views this partnership with UAB as an opportunity for the university and Museum to take responsibility for “training the next generation.”
The Museum and UAB also work together annually with UAB’s Discussion book as well as multiple times throughout the year when professors bring their classes to the Museum in order for them to gain a better understanding of material they discuss in class.