The UCLA-LACMA Art History Practicum Initiative
With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the UCLA-LACMA Art History Practicum Initiative reimagines the training of the future art historian through a new practicum-based curriculum that integrates opportunities for students to directly engage with works of art and to become familiar with the museum as an institutional operation. This museum-university partnership is the first of its kind on the west coast and will prepare a new generation of qualified scholars to pursue careers that comfortably encompass both the academic arena and the museum field.
UCLA and LACMA are working in collaborative partnership over four years (2013-2017) to design and offer new curriculum opportunities that (re)introduce the work of art at the core of the study of art history. These opportunities include but are not limited to:
Research Assistantship and Independent Study
Students work with LACMA curatorial staff as research assistants and receive Independent Study course credit.
Courses integrate the study of specific objects in the LACMA collection, with meetings on campus and at LACMA. Visits to the collection or specific exhibitions may also feature museum personnel such as curatorial or art preparation staff.
Materials and Techniques of Production
Courses expose students to the nature of specific materials and production methods, highlighting the historical and aesthetic significance of technical choices made by the artist in the physical realization of a work. These courses integrate hands-on demonstrations and workshops (by instructors, conservators, and guest speakers), field trips to relevant resource or production sites, visits with experts at LACMA and beyond.
Exhibition and Display
Seminars are organized to support in-depth study of exhibitions on view or in planning stages, and will introduce students to the ways in which the exhibition as itself a cultural object “writes” art history. Comprehensive exploration of the historical, conceptual, aesthetic, logistical, economic, and political issues that pertain to modes of display and organization of exhibitions.
This year-long course is an alternative to conventional curatorial studies programs, allowing a select team of 3-4 students to team-curate their own exhibition with objects drawn from LACMA’s encyclopedic permanent collection. Students are encouraged to test existing temporal and geographical boundaries of art history to explore new connections and interpretations.
Summer Research Internships
Each graduate student entering the program can participate in a paid summer research internship following his or her first year of study in residence. This opportunity allows students to closely observe, support, and engage LACMA’s internal organization and working procedures while pursuing archival research projects directed/supervised by the museum’s archive staff.
Please visit LACMA’s website for more information about the program and museum.