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Surreal Estate

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  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    Deferred! Starting Fall 2021

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  1. Alexander Alberro (Columbia) and Benjamin Buchloh (Harvard) have both written on Institutional Critique. Possibly some of their former advisees have also chosen this as an area of study and are now teaching at other institutions?
  2. The Journal of Film and Video (published by the University Film and Video Association) will assign book reviews to graduate students. A couple of people in my MA cohort were published there.
  3. You seem much more excited about the Bard program. Perhaps there is an option there to do a semester of independent study with one or more professors who can help you devise and develop a thesis-length paper? I personally don't think you need to worry about a lack of art-world experience. Certainly it can help to have it, but the purpose of school is to train you and bring you up to speed with the kinds of conversations that are happening in your field (in your case, contemporary art). You might feel uncomfortable or outranked at times, but being around peers with more experience will be part of your education, and you'll learn a ton about opportunities that are available and what pitfalls to avoid, based on their experience.
  4. That's amazing! Great of them to do that. My schools have organized Zoom "meetings" but it's all been very polished and public relations-y. I have one on Wednesday that is hosted by current students, with no faculty present, so perhaps that will be a little looser. You bring up a lot of great suggestions, so thank you. I have been doing thorough rounds of YouTube in the past couple of days. Lots of aerial videos of campuses -- that's a funny hobby but I'm glad there are people nerding out on that! Also kinda surprised at how many YouTube personalities build their brands around visiting US colleges! The striking school is looking like a bad bet -- I appreciate your thoughts on that. I had a very telling convo with their grad admin today, in the vein of "oops did I say that out loud?" Thanks again for your response and I wish you the best in making your decision!
  5. @ncan360 @nel09 I can only speak to the department or its reputation based on second-hand knowledge (I have friends who went through the program), but I did my master's in a related Penn program and can tell you about campus life. Penn spends a good amount of money on social stuff for students; I really felt the difference when I transferred to a state school. Campus is a little insular and there have been historic tensions between the school and the surrounding neighborhoods, but as gentrification is now well underway, that has mostly eased (whether that is good or bad depends on your perspective). It's beautiful and walkable, and the libraries are great. ICA on campus and Slought Foundation and Lightbox Film Center are just three art-focused institutions nearby; there are many. A bunch of my friends teach art practice at Penn and they enjoy their undergrad students, who tend to be dedicated and very smart. I lived in Philly for 10 years and really loved it. If you're wanting to be involved in the arts outside of academia, it's a place where it is relatively easy to make connections, and there are a handful of great institutions where you can do internships (I did one in the Contemporary department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art). I think of Philly like "Cheers" -- it's a big city with a small feel, and after you've been there a little while you will often run into people you know. I am regretting a bit that I didn't apply to UPenn for my PhD, but 10 years felt like long enough. I'm not sure whether this information is helpful, but let me know if there's anything I can fill in. I'm also struggling with making a decision in the absence of campus visits, so I thought I'd chime in!
  6. All three of my campus visits were cancelled, with two moved online to Zoom. Already had the first one, and while it was helpful, it did feel a bit in the "public relations" vein, where no one was going to say anything perfectly candid. Several phone calls and Skypes with students and faculty at different schools -- again, helpful, but no replacement for the impressionistic "feel" of an in-person visit. How are you all going about vetting your schools? I'm thinking about how long 5 to 6 years in a place can be and getting nervous about making my decision from afar. Also, grad students at one of my schools are currently striking! Another of the schools has a large endowment and is probably way more stable, but more conservative (not my advisor, but probably the department and definitely the school). Given the economic fallout that is coming, wondering whether I should choose the private university by default. Any thoughts are appreciated!
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