Jennifer Way is an art historian specializing in modern and contemporary art. Previously, she worked in the curatorial departments of art museums in Philadelphia and Detroit and in not for profit organizations. Her research and teaching explore the social meanings and uses people make of art–visual art, craft, design, material culture,  relationships of the art world and society, the politics of exhibitions, methodology, and historiography.

book jacket July 2019

Way’s recent publications examine how Americans engaged with a foreign art form in programs that intersected diplomatic agendas with domestic life and linked the United States and South Vietnam on questions of belonging in the Free World from about 1955 to 1961. Supported by a Smithsonian Terra Foundation Senior Fellowship and grants from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design and the Design History Society, among other resources, this research generated a monograph with Bloomsbury Academic Press, two journal guest editorships, numerous refereed journal essays, encyclopedia essays, and conference sessions and presentations, including the 34th International Congress of Art History held in Beijing.

Course topics Way taught in relation to this research encompasses visual and material culture, refugees and migrants; art and suffering; objects of diplomacy; heritage and memory; politics of exhibitions; and artists as citizens.

Way has also published on the work of British, Irish, and American artists active since 1945 and on the topic of art and technology with emphasis on gender. Her research has been supported by Trinity College, Dublin (Fulbright); Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin; National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Institute of International Visual Arts, London; Smithsonian National American Art Museum (Terra Foundation Senior Fellowship); Lemelson Center for Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; and the Newberry Library, Chicago.

She is developing research projects on therapeutic uses of craft making in contexts of war; discourses of shaping in the mid twentieth century American art world; and the art world and its subjects, a historiography.


Way has developed collaborative, interdisciplinary academic projects in partnership with members of her college and university, and with the greater DFW community as well as organizations outside region. Selected examples include the series Conversations: Art, Politics & North Texas; Leadership Perspectives on Technology and Art; the Virtual Senior Center, NYC; and Collections Cultures and Collaborations, a student-research, collections-based project collaborating with local museums and collecting organizations, that ran for 12 years

She has supervised over 50 MA art history projects and created and taught over 28 seminar topics and 15 upper-level art history courses. Over 50 scholars and artists have visited with students enrolled in her courses. Way received a university award for mentoring students in research, and a university award for teaching.  She served as PI and Co-PI for numerous external and internal grants and fellowships.

Way has served in university leadership roles promoting diversity and gender equity, graduate studies, and the accessibility of information concerning the workplace environment. Working across her university she developed a cohort group to report on the status of women faculty, and she serves as a members of the Women’s Faculty Network Advocacy and Mentoring Initiative Team. Also, she developed the 4+1 BA/MA degree track for the art history program. She oversaw merit, promotion and tenure processes for her college and program and mentored numerous probationary faculty through tenure. Way served as program coordinator for art history , chaired academic search committees, and supervised college academic, gallery, and ad hoc policy and grievance committees, among others.