October 20, 2021


The Board of Directors of the Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) is pleased to announce the Fall 2021 VRAF Professional Development Grant in the amount of $525 to Sureshkrishnan R, MLIS. He is currently continuing his studies at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. He will use the funds to attend a three day workshop on “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” through INFLIBNET in Gandhinagar, India.



Purpose: The purpose of the VRAF Professional Development grant is to support professional development in the field of visual resources and cultural heritage information management. The grant can be used to participate in a professional development opportunity of the grantee’s choosing (such as a conference, symposium, workshop, online education), or to enroll in relevant research activities (such as hands-on field work or a site visit for scholarly purposes). Priority will be given to applications that include participation at a conference (giving a paper, teaching a workshop, chairing a committee, etc.); research that shows promise to lead to publication or contributes to the visual resources and cultural heritage information management community; to applications that can demonstrate that receiving the opportunity will have a broader benefit to an institution or region; and due to the Coronavirus, we encourage applicants to submit proposals that can be accomplished remotely. Applicants that have several professional development opportunities must fill out separate applications per event. Please note that recipients of the award are required to submit a report outlining how the award contributed to his or her professional development within 30 days following the event.
  • Applicants should have a professional interest in visual resources and cultural heritage information management, and may include retirees, the currently unemployed, or students seeking educational and training opportunities in support of broad access to cultural information.
  • Membership in the Visual Resources Association is not required.
  • Statements of financial need will be strongly considered.

Acceptable Uses of Award Money:
  • Transportation costs to and from the event venue
  • Registration fees or tuition
  • Required course materials (e.g., workbooks, DVDs)
  • Lodging
  • Meals – including meals in transit to and from the educational event
  • Research expenses

Grant monies may not be used to cover indirect costs (For example, a percentage of the grant money/funding taken by the grantee’s institution to cover perceived overhead.)
Application Criteria:
  • A goals statement outlining the opportunity, how it will benefit your work, and any potential contributions this opportunity may allow you to make beyond your own professional development.
  • A comprehensive budget and breakdown of your proposed travel, lodging, meal, and other expenses. When costs are estimated, please explain (e.g., “roundtrip airfare on United as determined via Expedia search”; my lodging costs reflect an estimate for a shared room). If your institution requires you to use a specific airline, or has set a corporate airfare rate, please note this in the comments section. Be as clear and complete as possible about other funding support you will receive or are applying for, such as from your home institution, or other grants and awards.
  • Your resume/curriculum vitae


Professional Development Award Recipient

Fall 2021
Sureshkrishnan R, MLIS is continuing his studies at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. He will use the grant funds to attend a three day workshop on “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” through INFLIBNET in Gandhinagar, India.

Spring 2021
Brian Watson, Doctoral Student at the University of British Columbia’s School of Information, used grant funds towards a Certificate in XML and RDF from the Library Juice Academy. These languages are necessary to build compatibility between Homosaurus—an international, community-maintained LGBTQ linked data vocabulary system intended to function as a companion to broad subject term vocabularies, such as the Getty or LCSH—and other major thesauri used in GLAMS cataloguing. After completing the certificate, Brian will work to complete mapping of Homosaurus to LCSH and Getty, as well as expand the number of terms in Homosaurus specifically connected to visual resource description. This work would allow the vocabularies used in the GLAMS sector to more ethically and inclusively represent intersectionality in their holdings, which would have the additional benefit of making intersectional identities more visible within cultural heritage institutions.

Spring 2021
Steffi Terasaki, Curatorial Assistant/Assistant Registrar at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, wishes to gain a foundational knowledge in digital visual resource management, including born digital material; become an active participant in the museum and archives community around digital asset management in order to learn from/collaborate with her colleagues; and gain hands-on experience with managing a project through workshops. To accomplish these goals, Steffi used the grant funds to attend: the Society of American Archivists Basics of Managing Digital Collections Online course, the 2021 Visual Resource Association conference, and the Summer Educational Institute for Digital Stewardship of Visual Information.

Fall 2020
Ashlea Green, Metadata and Cataloging Librarian for Appalachian State University, a branch of the University of North Carolina system, attended the Wikidata Institute November 2020
John Burns, Electronic Resources Librarian for Dixie State University, will be speaking and attending the 2021 VRA Annual virtualChicago Conference.

Spring 2020
Meghan Lyon, a MSLIS Student Graduate Assistant at the Pratt School of Information’s Semantic Lab, and a NYARC Web Archiving Fellow at the Frick Art Reference Library. Co-presented at a session, “Digital Access and preservation in Artists’ Archives: Challenges, Strategies, and Solutions” during the 2020 Society for American Archivists (SAA) National Conference.

Malkia Okech, Augmented Reality Developer for the Penn & Slavery Project, Penn Libraries Digital Scholarship, UPENN, Philadelphia, PA.
Participate and attend a 4 day workshop with African Digital Heritage in Nairobi and Kisumu, Kenya, Africa
Claudy Op den Kamp, Senior Lecturer in Film at the Faculty Member Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University
Attended the Visual Resources Association Conference in Los Angeles, CA

Karly Wildenhaus, Research Assistant, Getty Research Institute
Attended Museum Computer Network Conference in Denver

Sali Underwood, Curator of Natural History, Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas
Attended Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections in Denver

Audrey Sage Lorberfeld, Account Manager, SocialCode
Attended Library and Information Technology Forum, Fort Worth, TX
Chris Strasbaugh, Digital Resource Archivist and Curator, Knowlton School, The Ohio State University
Attended 2+3D Photography — Practice and Prophesies at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Lauren Paustian,
Associate Librarian, Leo Baeck Institute
Lauren used the grant to attend the 2016 ARLIS/NA-VRA Joint Conference
Kanako Iwase,
Visual Resources Librarian, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Kanako used the grant to attend the 2016 ARLIS/NA-VRA Joint Conference

Courtney Baron
, Visual Resources Curator, Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.
Attended and participated at the 2015 Visual Resources Association Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.
Mark Pompelia
, Visual + Material Resource Librarian, Fleet Library, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.
Supported his participation at the October 2014 conference of the Art Libraries Society of Australia and New Zealand in Auckland, NZ.

Sara Piasecki
, Photo Archivist, Bob and Evangeline Atwood Alaska Resource Center, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage, Alaska
Attended Gawain Weaver’s course, Care and Identification of Photographs in Los Angeles, CA.
Vicky Brown
, Curator of the Visual Resources Centre in the History of Art Department, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Attended the 2014 Visual Resources Association Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, WI.

Heather Lowe
, Visual Resources Specialist for the Department of Art, Cal State San Bernardino
Attended the 2013 Visual Resources Association Annual Meeting in Providence, RI.
Anne Young
, Manager of Rights and Reproductions for the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Anne attended the 2013 American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) Legal Issues in Museum Administration course. Her attendance was crucial in the production of Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions, an indispensable resource. About the grant, Anne wrote, “The Grant funded a portion of my course tuition and associated travel costs to attend the program. It is my belief that this Grant was also a contributing factor to my receiving a partial-scholarship, half of the course tuition, from ALI CLE that further supported my attendance… Without my attendance at ALI CLE’s LIMA and the VRAF’s Grant support, I would not have been able to make the vital connections to make the Handbook contributors and legal review panelists as robust as they are today.” The Handbook is now available and can be downloaded from the American Alliance of Museums website.

Amy Bowman
, Photographs Archivist, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Attended Gawain Weaver’s “Care and Identification of Photographs” workshop
Karen Kessel
, Visual Resources Specialist, Sonoma State University
Attended the 2012 VRA Conference and present a workshop on cataloging images of the Art of the Americas

Carrie Salazar
, Art Institute of Boston
Attended the 2010 ACRL Conference

Natalie Milbrodt
, Queen’s College Library Studies Program
Attended the 2010 VRA Conference in Atlanta, GA