This fall, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will launch its Museum Education Graduate Scholars Program, a joint venture between the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Learning and Public Engagement and the School’s Graduate Division.
Organized around an intensive seminar and practicum spanning two semesters, the partnership is designed to provide practical experience and theoretical grounding in museum education for students enrolled in any graduate program at the School. The program builds upon the unique collaboration of a premier art and design school that grants a range of studio, design, scholarly, and professional graduate degrees and its world-class encyclopedic museum. The collaboration amplifies the role the School and Museum play in championing the power of art in education and in people’s lives, promoting equitable engagement with art among the broadest audiences and strengthening the fabric of communities and the life of Chicago.
Because the program is intended for SAIC students from across the entire range of graduate programs, the seminar and the practicum are designed to train artists, designers, writers, and architects, as well as art historians and administrators to engage visitors with museum objects from the perspective of their respective field of practice.
There are three main focus areas of the program:
- Graduate Seminar: Taught by a designated member of the Learning and Public Engagement faculty, students will discuss the Museum’s history, theory, and practice; its evolution in the United States and beyond; and the artistic participation and critique of such practices. There will also be opportunities for engagement with guest speakers and staff from across the Art Institute of Chicago.
- Museum placement practicum: Staff from Learning and Public Engagement will instruct a full-day practicum that focuses on gallery and studio-based teaching, connecting visitors of all ages and backgrounds with works of art in the museum. Students will observe programs, gain teaching skills by observing staff model strategies, and develop awareness and experience in inclusive and accessible teaching methods.
- Independent applied research project: Research conducted to support teaching will culminate in the selection of priority research topics concerning historical and theoretical research, audience research and evaluation, or more pragmatic studies, such as surveying types of activities at other institutions.
The program will be led by Arnold J. Kemp, SAIC’s Dean of Graduate Studies, and Jacqueline Terrassa, Woman’s Board Endowed Chair of Learning and Public Engagement at the Art Institute of Chicago. The program will be open to SAIC graduate students in any degree program. Application deadlines will be in February each year. Students will be expected to commit to both semesters at three credit hours per semester for their final year, comprising both class time and additional practicum/internship work.