The Studio Seminar in Visual Studies is a multidisciplinary team-taught course that will help motivated students understand the ways in which images function in the world.  As core offerings of the Institute for Visual Studies, these classes are designed to create conditions for innovation, and to forge a committed learning community in which students and faculty from different disciplines work closely together on significant projects.

To generate this new kind of educational experience, one that is more intense, independent, and collaborative, class size is set at sixteen, with enrollment by permission of the two instructors.

Each studio seminar explores a topical focus determined by the instructors. Two studio seminars are offered each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, in order to create an active learning community that will make full use of the IVS laboratory studio. Semester courses also ensure that selective year-long learning experiences can be offered.


SPRING 2018: ARTH 489/ARCD 470: Visions of the City

INSTRUCTORS: David Ehrenpreis and Ronn Daniel

DAYS/ TIME: T/TH 11:00AM - 1:00PM
LOCATION: Institute for Visual Studies, Roop 208


In the early 1960s, the Federal government’s Urban Renewal program gave grants to cities and towns to replace substandard housing and redevelop their downtown areas. In Harrisonburg, the program demolished and reorganized a large section of the downtown, including much of its African-American neighborhood, radically changing how many citizens thought about and experienced the city. Today these events have been largely forgotten. In this course, we will investigate this history, reflect upon its meanings and consequences, study the history of monuments and memorials as tools used to shape collective memory, and propose new forms and processes through which we might understand our own complicated urban past.

This seminar is taught by an art historian and an architect and will be limited to 15 students from disciplines including art history, history, design, geographic sciences and others. Following a theory and practice model, the course first examines the language of monuments and memorials and the history of postwar urban planning. Then, student teams will invent new forms to commemorate this history. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with community members and city planning officials, and collaborate with renowned architect Julian Bonder, who co-designed the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes, France.

See the syllabus HERE.

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