January 7-17, 2017*
*Note: Dates subject to change

This is a class about artistic practice and cultural policy in the context of a relatively underdeveloped and isolated society, which has been governed, for two generations, by a centralized socialist state and which is currently embarking on a process of radical and unpredictable change. A principal goal of our visit is to understand the ways that those contextual factors have influenced the idea of art, the training of artists, the development and implementation of cultural policy, the circulation of artworks in the global market and their reception both domestically and internationally. By coming to understand these dynamics in the Cuban context, the goal is to help students understand the ways in which their own contexts inform the ways they choose to work and think about their own professional practice, and to become more open to understanding and exploring unfamiliar artistic traditions.

This is a study trip about contemporary art and cultural policy in Cuba. It will consist of an intensive set of meetings with a variety of people, in order to understand the conditions for artmaking on the island, how that work is circulated and received, and how it is administered. Meetings will include artists (both established and emerging, both ‘official’ and independent); curators (museum-based and independent); prominent intellectuals, officials from the Havana biennial, the Ministry of Culture, the City Historian’s office and other agencies; independent researchers and others. We will also visit museums and galleries, and religious and historic sites. In addition to contemporary art, we will also be looking at AfroCuban culture and at the legacy of modernism in Havana architecture.

Since early in the 19th century, Cuba's cultural production has far exceeded what might be normal for a small, underdeveloped and perennially beset island nation. Contemporary culture there is an extraordinary mix that reflects the country's historical contacts with European modernism, African traditions, US popular culture, a homegrown version of state socialism, Soviet orthodox Marxism, and, through all of that, a healthy dose of particularly Cuban poetics, skepticism, ardor and humor.

As a socialist country with a rich heritage of cultural excellence, Cuba is an extraordinary place to study the interactions between local conditions and a globalized art world. Cuban cultural policies have given rise to ambitious artistic programs and an extraordinary network of artists and intellectuals: over the decades, though, they have also precipitated crises related to governmental control of creative expression. We will gain inside views into the complex art ecologies that have evolved in Havana, through conversations with artists, curators, gallery directors, administrators and government officials. We will focus primarily on visual art, but will also include historic preservation, AfroCuban culture and architecture in our program, in order to understand as much as possible about the overall situation for culture on the island.

Credits: 3 credits ARTHI (4000 level) and/or 3 credits STUDIO (4000 level)

Rachel Weiss, Arts Administration & Policy
Elizabeth Cerejido, Arts Administration & Policy

Program fee: Approx. $3,300 (including round-trip flight from Miami to Havana, accommodation, admissions, ground transport, and some group meals. Not including airfare to Miami).

PLUS Tuition cost per credit:
Undergraduate—$1,497 per credit hour;
Graduate—$1,580 per credit hour.

Application Process:
Instructor consent required. Submit Application Form Winter 2017 Study Trip - Cuba: Society in Transition to faculty for pre-approval to register.

Online registration begins: October 12, 2016

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions:
Tuesday, September 6, 12:10 p.m.
MacLean Center, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite MC 112

Thursday, September 22, 4:15 p.m.
MacLean Center, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite MC 112

From last trip's course evaluations: