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Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Award

Community-based learning

The Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Award allows students to undertake internships at museums, community theatres, or other non-profit arts organizations. Awardees Kayla Shears and Aleksandra Kado pursued an internship with the Rock Camp For Girls and Gender (RFCG*) Nonconforming Youth Montreal. RFCG* is a space where campers become leaders in creating their own kind of cultural production through music. “My experience helped re-instate my passion in creating art and confirmed why I am in the sound design field and that I am a capable audio technician and electronic artist,” said Kayla. Aleksandra stated, “I both professionally and personally changed significantly during the course of this internship.” She appreciated the positive work environment that, until now, she had not experienced as a female audio engineer.

Plein air weaving by the glacieer of Iceland’s West Fjords. Photo: Meghan Riley

Iceland Field School

International learning

Kathleen Vaughan, associate professor in the Department of Art Education, led the “Imagining Iceland” field school, designed for students to explore textile practices of spinning, weaving, natural dyeing and knitting in the Icelandic Textile Center in the city of Blönduós. As one participant commented, “The place-based learning aspect of this course encourages one to think about how their practice and academic interests relate to the Icelandic culture which acts as a source of inspiration but also as context with which to better understand and evaluate one’s work.” Another participant was “inspired about the different ways that academic learning can take form.” The Iceland Field School returns in June 2020.

Connecting with the northeastern American corridor

International learning

Research-based learning

As part of the Faculty of Fine Arts’ initiative to open up a conversation and foster new collaborations between renowned geographically adjacent fine arts schools in the northeastern American corridor, three research internships were organized with professors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY. In one internship, Nathalie Dubois Calero worked on research in bioarts in the NATURE lab, and was instrumental in preparing and teaching the students various plant tissue culture workshops and discussing the mechanisms of plant growth and genetically modified plants. Nathalie assisted professors in developing future curriculum for the lab: her workshops and their protocols, slide shows, and research will be taught at Rensselaer.​

Experiential learning
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