Between 2008 and 2012 IHA’s pertinence and proficiency was enhanced, as continuous growth (25 PhDs up to 42 in 2012) and strategic decisions transformed its structure and scientific orientation. These were the years in which IHA reinforced the levels of refereed scientific activity through competitive projects and publications, reaching a level that puts us today on the threshold of significant internationalization of the research we produce.
This maturation process was led by an internal scientific policy determined to enhance internal cohesion, scientific productivity and internationalization of the research. The opening of FCSH’s R&D building offering IHA’s current installations was a major achievement, as researchers have since 2009 a workspace of their own, and MA and PhD students can became familiar with ongoing projects.
The reorganization of IHA’s structure in 2010 had also a major part in this transformation process, as thematic restructuring and functional adjustment of the former research groups assessed by the 2008 FCT evaluation process, had an instant qualitative impact in teamwork dynamics and productivity. 8 smaller groups were defined by then, assigned to the study of Classical and Late Antiquity, Medieval, Early Modern, Contemporary Art, Decorative arts, Lisbon studies, Museum studies and Art Theory. Although dispersion was recognized as a new potential threat, teamwork became more agile and ready to answer new challenges.
Part of these challenges came from a deliberate internal pressure to answer international calls for congresses, and peer review publications, while IHA structure assured the necessary financial means and English translation support. This primary 2008-12 investment is now giving its first consistent results as the number of refereed publications of IHA’s researchers continuous to growth.
Meanwhile, in 2011 IHA became a full member of RIHA – the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art. This integration was an outcome of IHA’s determination for the international visibility of Portuguese art history, and gave an important contribute to strengthen it. This happened not only because RIHA is a platform for networking and exchanges, but also because 3 IHA’s researchers became part of the RIHA-Journal board of editors.
Toghether with its commitment towards RIHA-Journal , wich is indexed both in Scopus and the Web of Science, IHA maintained and improved the Revista de História da Arte. This improvement had to do with an upgrading of the journal’s resources and format in 2008, but can also be gauged by the 2011-2012 transformation of the journal under in a peer review publication in accordance to RIHA’s 2011 resolution for Measuring Quality in Art History (namely through the launch of call for papers for each thematic number and double blind peer review processes). Between 2008 and 2012 6 numbers of Revista de História da Arte were published: Late Antiquity mosaics, (2008), Portrait (2008), Medieval image (2009), Museums and research (2011), 17th and 18th centuries Architecture and decorative arts (2012) and Practices of theory (2012).
In 2011, IHA has also created an online series of the Revista de História da Arte (W series), which enables the virtual access to research material and a broader diffusion of its activities (namely by publishing proceedings of hosted conferences). W Series follows a specific numbering, however respecting the design and features of its paper edition.
Another major achievement of IHA’s in the period under assessment was the number of competitive projects it applied for and managed to win. 7 IHA’s research projects were approved by the national agency (FCT) between 2008 and 2012. IHA is a partner institution in other 2 ongoing projects.
These projects gave a decisive contribution to the consolidation of IHA’s research groups, as they boosted internal dynamics and opened the considerable number of 15 research fellowships for junior candidates (both PhD and MA students). Smaller projects launched by the IHA in association with museums and heritage institutions involved other 13 research starting grants.
These projects also put forward solid research and institutional relations between IHA and other universities (as is the case of the collaborations established with the Univ. Federal Rio de Janeiro, the Univ. Seville, or the Instituto Superior Técnico, FCT-UNL, Univ. Porto, etc), and between IHA and Portuguese main museums and heritage institutions. Indeed, IHA has been developing projects in close partnerships with the Cultural Heritage National Board (DGPC), as well as with Lisbon’s City Council, Serralves, Culturgest, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, etc. Lastly, in the context of the project on “Documentation of Contemporary Art”, IHA’s researchers gathered an international network NECCAR, an international research network funded by Netherlands Agency for Scientific Research to develop joint research projects and a training curriculum on the topic of theory, methodology and ethics of the conservation of contemporary art.
IHA has been contributing to the PhD in History of Art of FCSH. Particularly relevance must be acknowledge to the fact that the IHA’s research project “Sources for the history of Art Museums in Portugal” gave raise to the new specialization in “Museology and Artistic Heritage” of the Art History PhD. Furthermore, the commitment of IHA towards research might be gauged by the number of PhD students with FCT fellowships it has hosted between 2008 and 2012 (26 theses concluded in this period, and many ongoing), and by the PhDs accomplished during this period (18) in all the research areas that the Institute embraces. A more recent, but no doubt expressive phenomena, is the growing number of IHA’s Post-doctoral fellows. The first post-doc arrived in 2010, and we had 7 newcomers between 2011 (1) and 2012 (6); a number with prospective impact on IHA research indicators from 2013 on. Meanwhile, IHA received one foreign fellow from Univ. Granada in 2012.
IHA encourages the publication in Portuguese of the best PhDs and Master theses produced by affiliated researchers. Between 2008 and 2012 9 theses were published in 2 monographic collections. Other editorial partnerships put forward the publication of relevant conference proceedings: 7 books were edited in the period under assessment.
Finally, IHA has become engaged in the translation of key-art historical texts into Portuguese (from authors such as Warburg, Belting, Stoichita, Didi-Huberman). This worked as joint venture with a publishing house (Ymago). IHA is responsible for the scientific revision of those translations.
All these achievements and all regular activities (regarding seminars, conferences, scientific encounters, master classes, etc) are reported to a wide audience by IHA’s website. This platform was improved during this period and become an active instrument for divulging art historical research.