- UC Santa Cruz
- Visual Studies PhD
Rachel Nelson served as UCSC's Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) graduate assistant from the program's inception in 2014 until Spring 2016. In that position, she co-curated Collective Museum, an innovative and campus-wide participatory public art installation that opened at UC Santa Cruz in February 2016. Created by the Portland-based art group, Public Doors and Windows, Collective Museum spans the university’s 2001 acres and, as the artists explain, “takes the campus from having no museum to having one of the largest museums in the world."
To re-envision the university as a museum, the artists, Nolan Calisch, Harrell Fletcher, and Molly Sherman worked with Rachel Nelson and John Weber, IAS director, to collect stories from faculty, staff, students, and alumni about 50 sites on campus. They then assembled these stories and sites into a creative, experiential, and unusual museum through signage, a photo exhibition dispersed through five university buildings, and a mobile website featuring a museum tour: iascollectivemuseum.com.
The Collective Museum tour and installations will remain on campus until 2021. The catalogue, co-edited by Rachel, features writing by Miranda July, a conversation between the artists and renowned cultural theorist James Clifford, as well as an essay and foreword by Rachel and John for the IAS. It is available here.