Czech Republic: Arts and Social Change
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Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Students participate in educational excursions during the semester to broaden their perspectives on the connections between art and contemporary society in the Czech Republic and its neighboring countries. Students experience firsthand the cultural and geographical differences that define the former Czechoslovakia.
They also have the opportunity to observe and participate in the activities of local NGOs and cultural centers serving as models of creativity in a post-socialist context. Excursions are designed to complement classroom study and field-based activities such as the ISP.
Bohemia and Moravia
During the weeklong excursion to regional towns and villages in Moravia and/or Bohemia, students stay with host families or with regional NGOs to gain a better understanding of rural life and observe community initiatives. They will interact with civic leaders and artists devoted to regional development, cultural revival, and environmental conservation. Students also conduct interviews with local residents and specialists and participate in community activities such as town markets, conferences, or theater productions.
Students visit the historical city of Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO protected landmark, where they observe the challenges associated with the city's historical restoration. During this excursion, students also discuss the contemporary reality of life in the former Sudetenland.
Slovakia and Poland
In Slovakia, students spend time in villages nestled among the stunning mountains of the country’s central mountain region.
Highlights of the Slovakia excursion include:
- Witnessing the region’s confrontation with the past and present through visits with a dynamic group of NGOs devoted to cultural and ecological sustainability of the mountain region.
- Participating in traditional crafts and activities and observing the creative work of members of the community devoted to saving the landscape and cultural monuments.
- Attending a performance or participating in a work day at one of the emerging Slovak cultural centers, such as Stanica, a remarkable example of cultural and community innovation in Slovakia today.
In Krakow, Poland students learn about the social and political context for the fall of the communist regime and visit contemporary arts projects such as an alternative theater in Nowa Huta, the city’s famous Stalinist industrial district.
Seminar discussions on the Slovakia and Poland excursion focus on comparisons of the fall of communism in Central Europe and the vastly different social and political contexts for the Czech, Slovak, and Polish artists before and after 1989.
The program will also travel to Dresden, Germany, to discuss Czech-German cultural relations, with a stop on the way in one of the so-called lost villages of the former Sudetenland.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Prague
Language Study: Czech
Prerequisites: For visual arts, photography, and dance studio work, background in the area of study is required. Students enrolling in creative writing must be majors or minors in writing. For all students, previous survey courses in European history or arts histor Read more...
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