AICA Worldwide: A 70 Years’ Commemoration
As many of you will be aware, this year marks the 70th anniversary of AICA’s foundation. Properly speaking, the idea for founding our Association was hatched at an international meeting of art critics convoked by UNESCO, in Paris, in June 1948; and a Congress in June-July 1949 led to the formal creation of AICA, with its own statutes, elected President and Bureau. Since then, the number of National Sections belonging to AICA, which has always been a federated organisation, has grown from thirteen to well over sixty, in addition to an ‘Open Section’, with members from a further dozen or so unaffiliated countries; and the membership has grown from as few as fifty-three, as late as in 1953, to around 5,000 today.
All this, and much more, is recounted in the aica press publication, in English and French, Histoire de 50 ans de l'Association internationale des critiques d’art AICA / Histories of 50 Years of the International Association of Art Critics AICA (n.d.) and the more recent English language publication, AICA in the Age of Globalisation (2010), which incorporates some of the earlier material and brings the account up to around ten years ago. The background information about AICA’s history has been further supplemented under the three-year PRISME project (https://acaprisme.hypotheses.org/), financed by the Fondation de France and completed last autumn, which undertook the task of digitalising all AICA’s core documentation from 1948 to 2003, including the proceedings and papers of AICA’s ongoing series of Annual Congresses, and has made this available to all internet users through the database “Base des fonds d’archives”, under: https://www.archivesdelacritiquedart.org/isadg_fondsdarchives/fr-aca-aicai?r=true
The above documentation, all of it publicly available, places a great deal of AICA’s international history at the disposal of users and researchers. However, there are very large gaps in the institutional memory of what kind of activities – publications, conferences, meetings, prizes, debates – have been organised, or taken place, under the aegis of the National Sections. In an attempt to start plugging this gap, AICA under its new International President, Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves, proposes to launch a new programme on its website, to capture some of the histories of the National Sections – existing and defunct – and to build a repository of recollections and reflections that will be of value to future historians.
As a first step, we are writing to you, as Chairs of the Publications Committee and the Archives and Living Memory Committee, with an appeal for visual or written material that could be published online, in the first instance, in autumn 2019 and might be considered on a selective basis for publication in hard copy at some point, one year later.
You are, therefore, asked to invite your individual members to contribute to this proposed publication by 15 July 2019, in the first instance, for contributions to be eligible for online publication in the second half of September 2019. Contributions, which may be accompanied by duly labelled photographs of individuals and activities, may seek to cover the historical achievements of a section or spotlight a single individual or event of particular significance. Longer, and more general, analyses or descriptive accounts might be in the region of from 3,000 to 4,000 words in length; spotlights focusing on a single individual or topic might run to some 1,000 to 1,500 words. Submissions may be in any of AICA’s three working languages (English, French, Spanish) and will be published in that language. The initial selection of material and any editorial process that may be necessary will be carried out by the undersigned, with the help of colleagues from one or other of our two Committees. The editors reserve the right also to approach individuals proactively, with a request for a contribution on a given theme. Material arriving after 15 July 2019 will still be accepted, but its online publication is likely to be deferred until end 2019 / early 2020. We hope to attract a maximum variety of geographical and thematic material, to reflect the international history and global aspirations of AICA itself.
We are writing to you all with the authority and blessing of the Board and Secretariat, and hope that you will do everything within your power, please, to get this information out to your individual members quickly, and encourage them to contribute.
All enquiries and submissions should be directed, in the first instance, please, to one of the two signatories of this email, with a copy to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much, in advance, for your cooperation!
With best wishes,
Chair, Publication Committee
Henry Meyric Hughes
Chair, Archives and Living Memory Committee
President, Archives de la critique d’art
Hon. International President, AICA