Grad Students at School of the Art Institute Launch Scholarly Journal

Graduate students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are launching a first-of-its-kind academic journal on topics related to contemporary art and public policy.

The project started as something for a class but quickly gained the support of Wellington Reiter, the president of the school, says graduate student Ania Szremski, who is one of the journal’s editors. The other editor is graduate student Dorota Nelson.

“This will be the first of its kind, which will be really exciting,” Szremski says.

“Studies in Arts Administration and Policy” will publish its first issue at the end of April – online only, possibly with a few hundred printed copies – followed by a second issue in May. After that, editions will come out twice a year.

The undertaking is unique because while there are no shortages of peer-reviewed journals backed by graduate schools, most of those are edited by professors, not students. The few student-driven scholarly journals that exist focus on topics like philosophy and economics.

The Institute’s new journal will gather submissions from people such as  museum directors, heads of arts-oriented non-profits and others working on the business side of the arts, Szremski says.

Adelheid Mers, an associate professor at the Art Institute who is advising students working on the new journal, says the publication will fill a niche in scholarly writing that no one else is doing right now.

“It’s not a general art journal, but it’s specific to our topic and our department,” Mers says. “But it’s going to seek submissions from throughout the field.”

Aside from providing an authoritative forum for discussions in the arts world, Mers says the journal will give students a chance to network.

“Students are learning, they are in need of networking and they are developing their own standards,” Mers says.

Szremski says she’s already gotten submissions from as far as Puerto Rico, Dubai and China for the May issue, which will focus on how arts organizations are reacting to the global recession.

The journal’s Web site is not up yet, Szremski says, but it will eventually be available through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Web site.

“With the weight of the school behind us, that’s a prestigious name, at least in the States,” Szremski says. “Since that stamp is going to be on the journal, that has already opened doors.”  (Chi-Town Daily News)

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