Author: Katherina Fostano, Visual and Digital Resources Curator, Fordham University
Role: Digital Project Producer & Manager
What did you want students to be able to do by completing this assignment?
Writing for a public audience
Was there anything this assignment taught students that you felt they wouldn't have been able to learn through other types of class assignments?
This assignment gave students first-hand experience with curating, installing, and organizing an art exhibition, including writing and publishing an exhibition catalogue. The digitally inflected project was explicitly designed to equip students with the following skills and competencies:
Collaborative writing and writing for a public audience (press release and artist biographies);
Writing accessible and informative essays about works of art (visual literacy);
Evaluating technology and digital projects, creating authoritative descriptive metadata for images, designing a user-focused interface (digital and information literacy)
Understanding copyright law and fair use guidelines for image use and reproduction.
An online exhibition catalogue created by students in the Fordham Art History upper-level course, Contemporary Art in Exhibition. Students in this course spent the semester studying an array of art exhibitions, museum installations, and museum websites to learn how to organize a contemporary art exhibition and write an online exhibition catalogue.
The project was created during the Fall semester, from August 2018 until the opening of the exhibition on November 7, 2018. This project was a collaboration between faculty, student, and staff at Fordham in both Art History and Visual Arts. The principal instructor/curator for the course was Professor Jo Anna Isaak; the digital project producer and manager was Katherina Fostano (Visual and Resources Curator); and the installation manager and co-curator was Visual Artist in Residence, Carleen Sheehan. Students in the class were responsible for creating the content and designing the website.
The exhibition ran from November 7, 2018 – January 15, 2019, at the Ildiko Butler Gallery in Fordham University Lincoln Center campus. The opening reception was held on Wednesday, November 7, 6-8 pm, featuring a musical composition by Nathan Lincoln-Decusatis performed by the Corvus Ensemble.
How much time did you allot to this project?
One Semester (3.5 months)
What kinds of support or training did you provide to help students learn to use new techniques or specialized tools?
Metadata creation and standardization,
Writing for a Public Audience,
Did you need any specialized equipment, tools, or human resources to make this assignment feasible? If so, please describe.
Adobe Creative Cloud,
Wordpress.org platform provided by our Institutional IT,
Gallery Space provided by our Visual Art Department.
How did you assess or grade this project?
40% Catalogue essay and artist biography (first draft and final draft)
10% Proposal for the website's organizational structure and design
10% Presentation on digital project evaluation
10% Art exhibition review and exhibition presentation
20% Installation of Exhibition
10% Class participation
If you assigned this project again, would you change anything? If so, what?
Yes, further scaffolding the writing assignment and letting the student be more involved in the editorial process. Maybe making the class an extended semester practicum course, the first three months are spent focus on the theory of exhibition practices, exhibition design, and creating the online catalogue, then the second extended half of the semester or maybe 15 days summer extension could be spent installing the exhibition. Make it a small seminar or practicum course and limit the number of students to <12.