360° Students and Faculty Travel to Vienna over Spring Break

Posted March 31st, 2011 at 4:03 pm.

Earlier this month 18 students spent spring break in Vienna with Professor Imke Meyer of the German Department and History of Art Professor Christiane Hertel as part of the College’s current 360°, “The Last Days of Habsburg: Vienna 1900 and the End of an Empire.”

Packed into the week were visits to numerous world-class museums and galleries, architectural sites, and cultural events. Three time blocks were set aside to give students an opportunity to conduct research for their group projects, which focus on topics as diverse as art, music, architecture, theater, the new human sciences, fashion, and even coffeehouse culture.

“Our field work in Vienna during spring break provided us with an invaluable research opportunity,” says Ariel Rosenstock ’11. “Over our five-day tour, we tangibly experienced the legacy of 1900 Vienna still present today; through close, immediate exposure to the interdisciplinary subjects we are studying in class.”

“There was so much to see and it was really wonderful that our hotel was situated right in the center of town,” adds Jillian Payne-Johnson ’12. “We were very close to all of the historic buildings and palaces (except for Schönbrunn, but that was only a few train stops away). I grew very comfortable with the city very quickly and often went exploring on my own even though it was my first time out of the United States. I especially enjoyed being able to bond with my classmates; having the opportunity to explore a new city together was fantastic and I made a lot of new friends.”

During the week, the group saw Klimt’s painting, The Kiss, at the Belvedere Palace as well as his Beethoven Frieze in the Seccession Building; viewed Schiele’s works at the Leopold Museum; visited Loos and Wagner buildings; explored an open-air market; attended an opera; dined at cafés and restaurants; and visited Freud’s Vienna office and living quarters.

The 360° Vienna students are currently sorting through the materials they collected in Vienna and will design online gallery spaces and curate virtual exhibits focused on their group research topics.

In creating the projects the students have worked with a diverse cross-section of the campus community.

The students gained valuable insight into gallery design and curation recently when they attended a lecture given by prominent artist and curator Fred Wilson, whose visit to Bryn Mawr had been organized by Emily Croll, the curator of the College’s collections of art and artifacts.

Also helping the students with these projects are Bryn Mawr College Digital Collections Specialist Cheryl Klimaszewski and Jennifer Lopatin ’13, a student working as a teaching assistant for the course.

Last week, the students met with history of art Ph.D. candidate Carrie Robbins, who is writing her dissertation on photography. Robbins had arranged for students to view numerous examples of turn-of-the-century travel photography contained in the College’s collections.

“Robbins’ lecture helped students contextualize a number of Viennese texts focused on the representation of otherness in general and race in particular,” says Hertel.

The students’ finished virtual galleries will be opened to the Tri-Co community at the end of the semester.

“It’s quite exciting to see the group projects come to fruition,” says Meyer.

The group will go on a field trip to New York City on April 1 to view an exhibit of Vienna 1900 art and design currently on view at the Neue Galerie. On April 14, the 360° will host a Kafka lecture by Rolf-Peter Janz, a noted Literary Modernism scholar based at the Free University in Berlin.

“We love working so intensively with a group of absolutely outstanding and dedicated students on the materials that make up the complex fabric of Viennese Modernism,” wrote Meyer and Hertel in a joint email. “The truly interdisciplinary work in this seminar—and the fabulous opportunity to examine first hand in Vienna the materials we study in class—has been incredibly exciting, and it is broadening our intellectual and cultural horizons. And we love working with this amazing group of Bryn Mawr students. We will certainly never forget this unique teaching and learning experience.”

360° is a new interdisciplinary experience that engages several aspects of a topic or theme, giving students an opportunity to investigate thoroughly and thoughtfully a multitude of perspectives. A cohort of students takes a cluster of classes over the course of a semester, focusing on the history, economic concerns, cultural intersections and political impact of an era, decision, event, policy, or important scientific innovation. 360° participants hone their arguments and insights through writing and research, develop strategies for teamwork that push the limits of their talents and creativity, and work with professors and scholars to promote big-picture thinking.

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