2017 Florence Summer Program
Architecture, Art, & Communication Design: May 22-July 29, 2017
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Open to all university students, the 2017 Florence Summer Program provides an interdisciplinary learning environment within the framework of design, art, architecture, and art history in Florence. You begin with a one-week Italian language and cultural immersion workshop on the island of Elba. Once in Florence, you spend two months broadly examining visual culture as a social, political, and aesthetic construct through an art history course and either an architecture, art, or communication design studio.
Collaborative in nature, the studios use drawing as a medium for exploration and visual experimentation, as you study the nuanced layers of Florentine history within the dynamic context of contemporary life. Work in studios extends into the streets of Florence and surrounding cities, allowing you to engage the full cultural landscape of contemporary Europe. The small size of the program allows you to work closely with professors in developing a body of work that is highly personalized, culminating in well-developed final projects
Upon successful completion, you receive a total of 10 credits:
- 6 credits of studio
- 3 credits of art and architecture history
- 1 credit of Italian language
For Sam Fox School students, the studio and history courses count toward your major, including as Sam Fox School Commons or Elective courses. These credits may also count toward a minor in design, art, or architecture, or fulfill the Humanities credit for engineering students.
Offered through a partnership with the Italian language school Centro Fiorenza, this weeklong workshop builds a strong understanding of the Italian language and provides an instant immersion in the culture, giving you the necessary foundation for an authentic experience during your time in Florence. Morning classes focus on developing conversational skills. During the afternoon, you explore the island of Elba and surrounding areas through cultural programs, art history courses, and free time. Activities include a full day of sailing and swimming in the Mediterranean, hiking in the mountains overlooking the sea, visiting Napoleon's fortress in Portoferraio, and enjoying the beach.
Groups of two to six students share fully furnished apartments with equipped kitchens located near the beach in Marciana Marina. You are a 10-minute walk from anywhere in the town and a bus ride away from anywhere on the island.
Rethinking Renaissance Visual Culture
Faculty: Katharina Giraldi-Haller
This course explores the complexities, innovations, and magnificence of two centuries of history through its visual production: architecture, painting, sculpture, etc. It challenges the established understanding of Renaissance Florence as a cohesive phenomenon, instead constructing a more diverse notion of Florence’s aesthetic language. Emphasis is placed on those motifs that permit interdisciplinary connections to drawing, design, and architecture that you explore in your studio courses in Florence. Beyond the assigned textbooks, your visual guide is the city of Florence itself.
Disegno: Encounters in Public Space
Faculty: Igor Marjanovic (firstname.lastname@example.org)
One of the origins of the term "design" is the Florentine word "disegno," which denotes both the drawing of a line and the drawing forth of an idea. Building upon this dual trajectory, the architecture studio engages a diverse set of drawing strategies—from freehand drawing and drafting to printmaking—probing public space as a confluence of architecture, culture, and identity. Projects emphasize craft, experimentation, and the socioeconomic forces that shape architecture, including the role of different cultures in its making.
Each summer Professors Adams and Spector collaborate on a drawing studio that combines technique and critical thinking, using a great work of Italian literature as a basis for explorations in drawing. The selected text for summer 2017 is Carlo Collodi's original serial novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio.
The author was born in Florence on November 24, 1826. Late in life he authored a series of children's books, culminating in one of the greatest classics of the genre, Le avventure di Pinocchio (1880), which was published in weekly installments in Il Giornale per I Bambini, the first Italian periodical for children. While many of us know the Walt Disney animated film based on Collodi's Pinocchio, the original novel is both darker in tone and more satirical in its reflections on the relations between goodness and human nature. Through exercises on the streets of Florence and in the studio, students will develop artistic counterpoints to Pinocchio's 36 chapters.
Drawing & Re-Drawing Conclusions is designed for students whose creative practice is rooted in drawing, and who are seeking new contexts and experiences for developing established practices. Drawing is understood as more than a support or preparation for other disciplines: it is considered to be the work.
Production in the studio is central to the content and structure of the course. Each week, studio sessions will draw upon the individual investigations and questions arising and evolving in the work and the conversation about it, providing students with new critical contexts to test methods, materials, and ideas.
The aim is to explore contemporary and emerging approaches to drawing alongside the continued acquisition and practice of academic skills. Students are expected to explore a convergence rather than opposition of the two.
Every student will bring their drawing practice into dialogue with artists, designers, and creative professionals from other fields. The collaborations are devised according to each student's needs in order to challenge each individual and are expected to provoke expansively different goals for their work.
Interaction Foundations & Curation, Collection, and the Archive
Faculty: James Louis Walker
Prerequisite: Digital Design (F10 243) or Digital Studio (F10 242). Students will need some prior knowledge of the Adobe Suite and a laptop with the Adobe Suite software.
This curriculum includes two courses taught in tandem:
Interaction Foundations focuses on hands-on application of interaction design for digital media (primarily browser-based), and the role digital tools play in occupying and engaging physical space. You explore how user interaction adds bi-directionality to communication, examine the intricacies of seemingly simple digital interactions, and familiarize yourself with the attributes of the digital device as "canvas." Working both independently and collaboratively, you design interactive solutions for various communication challenges, specifically questions of navigation and cultural discovery in unfamiliar environments.
Curation, Collection, and the Archive investigates forms of design media outside of the digital screen. You explore the presentation and organization of complex visual, material, and text-based information by analyzing the design of physical and virtual environments. You examine how design considerations such as dimension, scale, sequence, time, movement, color, and material influence the manner in which people understand content.
Transportation to Florence
Due to varying points of departure and individual travel schedules, students arrange their own transportation. Students must arrive in Florence on May 20, 2017, and must check out of housing on July 31 by 10a. Classes finish on July 28.
Passports & Student Visas
Students obtain their own passports. Students who already have passports should make sure they will be valid at least six months after their last day in Europe. International students should make sure all necessary paperwork is in order and that their country of origin has passport and visa reciprocity with Italy. The School will assist students with the visa application process.
Housing in Florence
Groups of two to six students share furnished apartments with fully equipped kitchens. Students can walk anywhere in the old city within 20 minutes. Apartment costs during the program average about $1,980 for double occupancy rooms, $2,330 for single occupancy rooms—the fee includes utilities. An additional $250 refundable housing deposit is required.
Tuition & Costs
Estimated tuition for the 10-credit, nine-week summer program is $12,200. In addition, students should budget approximately $1,300 in fees to cover Elba expenses, course materials, field trips, museum passes, and library passes. Fees are based on estimated exchange rates and are subject to change. Students are responsible for purchasing their food, art supplies, and books.
A limited number of students can receive financial assistance based on need and merit. Please indicate on your application whether you are interested in receiving financial assistance.
How to Apply
The application deadline is February 15, 2017. Students are admitted on a rolling basis, so early applications are encouraged. Apply online:
For more information about the Florence Summer Program, please contact:
Coordinator of Special Programs