Social and Contemporary Art Practices in Chile

January 4–20, 2018
United States

Banner Study Trip Chile

We will visit Chile: its capital Santiago, Valparaiso, and Puerto Varas in the South of the country.

Working alongside local artists, students, and educators, we will explore Chile's rich traditions of social and political art, its contemporary art scenes, as well as its educational and art therapy practices. Building on this exploration, we will study these experiences in many art centers, and one of the country's most distinguished academic art therapy and art & community program at the University Finis Terrae in Santiago.

Within the University Finis Terrae's distinguished photography program, we will also study Latin American photography and the social practice of photography, both theoretically and practically. This will encourage and inform our own photographic activities as we process and integrate our experience throughout the trip.

A special focus will be given to art procedures that take the form of resistance against past and present social and political oppression, which will be supported through visits to the Museum of Solidarity (dedicated to Salvador Allende), the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (dedicated to the military dictatorship period, 1973–1989). Critically engaging the visual construction of individual, community, and institutional memory will constitute a key component of the course. In addition, we will learn firsthand about the role art plays in governmental interventions after natural disasters and catastrophes.

In Valparaiso we will enjoy the beauty of the natural landscape and the Pacific Ocean. Finally, in the South we will study the local arts and crafts traditions and their present enterprises.

Overall, the study trip will emphasize experiential learning supported by readings, lectures, discussions, photography, diary-keeping, and journaling to deepen our understanding of the ideas and histories introduced in the three pre-trip meetings and throughout the course.

What is really special about this study trip is a quadruple focus on micro perspectives (local craftswomen and activist experiences); meso (middle) level perspectives in the form of local community centers or galleries; macro perspectives through the report of governmental interventions and finally the perspective of Academia with its conceptualization of the experiences carried out in the previous three levels. Simultaneously, we will have enough occasions to savor the wonderful landscapes, Andes culture, the Pacific coast, the amazing green nature of the South with its lakes and people's hospitality--all this with nice summer temperatures during the day and pleasant refreshing ones during the nights.

Course Highlights

Santiago de Chile (capital):

  • University Finis Terrae: Conferences, workshops about art and community work, art and social education, art therapy. Exchange with local community practitioners, academics, and students. Conferences about Latin American photography. Exchange with students and academics.
  • Government of Chile: Workshop with Adriana Espinoza, in charge of the governmental program of social interventions after natural catastrophes with art, professor of psychology, University of Chile (in English).
  • Gallery Metropolitana: Critical contemporary art activism, discussions with the owners.
  • Museum Solidarity Salvador Allende: Guided tour and discussion.
  • Museum of Memory: Guided tour about the unique audio-visual elaboration of the traumatic past of the military dictatorship (1973-1989). In both museums resistance with/from the arts, including the Arpilleras (Chilean women movements of fiber arts and crafts against oppression). Posterior workshops in the museum for elaboration and discussion.
  • National Center of Contemporary Art ("Ex-airport"): Guided tour and discussion.


  • Located on Chile's Pacific coast and 69 miles from Santiago, Valparaiso is known for its steep funiculars and colorful, clifftop homes, and far-reaching Pacific views. Its historic quarter is declared a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.
  • We will explore its vibrant contemporary art scene at the art center Excarcel ("Ex-jail"), the "Open Sky Museum," and also the house museum of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

Puerto Varas:

  • Visits to local crafts associations and galleries. Exchanges with local craftswomen and men.
  • Participation in the Kunstgarten project: local art, craft, and design fair.
  • Enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the South.

Credits: 3 credits STUDIO (4000-level)

Instructors: Eva Marxen, Art Therapy Joshua Rios, Visual and Critical Studies, Contemporary Practices

Program fee: Approx. $2,000 (including accommodation in shared rooms, some meals, admission fees, transport during the program; not including airfare to and from Santiago).

PLUS Tuition cost per credit: Undergraduate—$1,552 per credit hour Graduate—$1,625 per credit hour.

Airfare: Budget at least $1,400 for airfare if flying from the United States. (Note this is only an estimated figure. Actual fare will depend on many variables including airline, number of stopovers, exchange rate fluctuations, ports of departure and return, and date of ticket purchase).

Online registration begins: October 11, 2017

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions: Wednesday, September 6, 4:15 p.m. MacLean Centre, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite MC 617

Monday, September 18, 12:10 p.m. MacLean Centre, 112 S. Michigan Ave., suite MC 111