University of Toronto

Using data to tell the History of Art History in Canadian Academia


A Century of Art Education

‘Art History in Canada’ is an ongoing research project conducted by Dr. Evonne Levy, a professor at University of Toronto. It explores how the demographics, origins, specialities, and distribution of art history professors have changed across Canada since 1900. With piles of data and no visual output, Dr Levy asked Goatsocial to digitize her findings and make them accessible to everyone.

Data, with a splash of data

Dr. Levy’s complex work not only focuses on art history in Canada, but provides key insights into the relationships between that data. Whether it be relationships between specific data, the programs they represent or the connections they have to major world events. Goatsocial worked on developing a solution that would pay homage to her findings, both visually and functionally.

Icons for the Ages

The project was first and foremost a visual presentation of Dr. Levy’s data. While we didn’t have a massive budget to develop assets,  we set about developing brand assets which put data visualization at the forefront, using distinct iconography to drive design. The collection of icons above represent the individual disciplines represented across the data – they work to represent data on a chart or graph, but also serve as visual accents throughout the site.

“Art History in Canada aims to provide a useful instrument to our institutions, a basis for discussion about past, present and future, and some facts and figures to support advocacy. The project has also created a framework for a history of the institutions, individual art historians, and intellectual currents of art history in this country. We hope this project continues to stimulate the active collaboration of members of the art historical community in shaping the many components of this history into a series of coherent accounts.”

Dr. Evonne Levy, Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture at the University of Toronto.

Data, with a splash of data

It’s no easy task collecting data and turning into something useful for the everyday person. Calling on Goatsocial, Dr Levy managed to convert 80 years of findings into a tangible digital product. By rethinking everything we knew about public education and art history, we were able to build an invaluable resource that will continue to draw new conclusions and connections in the future.

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