Jennifer Way is an art historian who specializes in modern and contemporary art.

Her current research project examines Americans making craft for therapeutic purposes concerning wellness, coping, and rehabilitation from trauma and injury in relation to times of war, including World War 1, World War 2, the Iraqi War, and the framing of COVID-19 as a war. This research is supported by a Center for Craft Craft Research Fund Project Grant.

Before her academic career, Way worked in the curatorial departments of art museums in Philadelphia and Detroit and in not for profit organizations. Academically, her research and teaching examine the social meanings and uses people make of art, including visual art, craft, design, material culture, and exhibitions, emphasizing the period since the mid twentieth century. Her publications explore late modernism, internationalism, and postindustrial western society in its geographic and neoliberal trajectories, as well as the global contemporary, economy and art, diplomacy and art, and art history 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, 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 has taught in relation to this research encompasses the visual and of refugees and migrants; art and suffering; objects of diplomacy; cultural 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 currently developing publication projects about craft and war including anthology and monograph books that inquire about historical,  therapeutic uses of making craft that emerged in contexts of war. In relation to this research she is teaching new courses about disability and art and about art and healing.


Way has developed collaborative, interdisciplinary academic projects in partnership with members of her college and university, and with the greater Dallas Fort Worth community along with organizations located 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. Way currently serves as a board member for the Visual Arts Society of Texas and as chair of the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award committee.

She has supervised over 55 MA art history projects and created and taught over 30 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 has served as PI and Co-PI for numerous external and internal grants and fellowships.

Way serves 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. She ideated and mapped the 4+1 BA/MA degree track for the art history program that mentors high-achieving undergraduate art history majors to begin their program of graduate art history studies beginning in their senior year. She has overseen 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.