During the 2014-15 academic year, Rebele funds were used in three capacities: undergraduate grants, fieldtrips, and initiating a new HAVC course focused on “critical praxis.”
The department awarded Rebele Grants to nine undergraduate students. Funds were used to support research in California, New York, Mexico, Taiwan, and Europe. Research projects represented a range of scholarly interests such as contemporary art and performance, muralism, nationalism and art, religious art, and museum studies. Grants also supported students in their academic coursework and preparing for graduate school.
Rebele endownment funds supported three wonderful, well-attended fieldtrips to San Francisco art exhibitions and art institutions during the 2014-15 year. Students attended @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz. This exhibition featured new works created specifically for the Alcatraz site by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The art works explored questions about freedom of expression and human rights (http://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/aiweiwei.htm). The department organized a second fieldtrip to the Museum of the African Diaspora, which focuses on the African Diaspora from the origin of human existence through the contemporary diaspora that has impacted communities and cultures around the world. Rebele support also made possible a fieldtrip to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, an institution devoted to contemporary art, performance, and media representing diverse cultural and artistic perspectives. Fieldtrips such as these provide invaluable first-hand experience with the artworks students are studying in their courses and introduce students to a range of visual cultural forms to which they do not have access in the local community.
New Undergraduate Seminar
In addition to grants and fieldtrips, Rebele support enabled the Rebele chair to develop a new course, “Critical Issues and Professional Practices in Visual Studies” (HAVC 185). The course introduced undergraduate students to a range of professional practices related to art history and visual studies. Topics included: the academy, inter/disciplinarity, pedagogy, museum and communities, cultural property, heritage preservation, art conservation, community arts organizations, digital humanities, public art, art and civic engagement, visual/material culture archives and collections, publishing and open access scholarship, and the vital role of visual studies and the humanities in contemporary life. Rather than simply providing a broad overview of the ways visual studies is applied in a variety of professions, the course aimed to emphasize critical issues and current challenges central to socially-engaged professional practice.
Six guest speakers gave presentations on the current state of their respective fields and participated in dialogue with the students, both in the classroom and during gatherings designed to foster more intimate conversation in which students could reflect on the formal class presentations and ask questions. One of the goals of the course was to build bridges between the HAVC Department and the local community, in addition to inviting speakers from national and international institutions. Speakers included:
• Heather Diamond, curator of the ‘Iolani Palace Historic House Museum in Honolulu and President of the Hawai’i Museums Association: architectural preservation, working with indigenous communities, and redesigning the museum’s permanent exhibition
• Jesica Fernández, Social Psychology, UCSC: public art and civic engagement projects at the Live Oak Elementary School
• Chris Kenney, Director and Principal Art Conservator of MOBIUS: Art Conservation in Santa Cruz: studio art, art historical, and scientific training requirements required for the field of painting conservation
• Christina Duran, Program Director for Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services at California Lawyers for the Arts: art law
• Richard Green, Archivist in the Still Photography Unit of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland: visual archives (i.e., collection, organization, and public access)
• Jenny Reddish, assistant editor for World Art Journal, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Taylor & Francis/Routledge: academic publishing and open-access scholarship.