My colleague, educator, author and designer Elizabeth Resnick and I co-teach a travel course through MassArt. It's called Crossing the Pond: Exploring Communication Design in London and Dublin. We take graphic design and illustration students (usually 50/50) to the UK and Ireland for about 17 days for museum and studio visits as well as see lectures from designers and illustrators. The focus being; what are the differences and similarities between the U.S. and other countries in their use of design and illustration.
We just got back a few days ago from our 2016 trip and finally, an article we co-wrote about our 2014 trip and course is now being published by Baseline magazine.
It is a wonderful trip and highly curated experience for the students. We hit the ground running from the very day we land. Often visiting two to three studios a day as well as cultural visits to the V&A Museum in London, Chester Beatty Gallery in Dublin to name only two. We also purchase tickets to plays going on at the time and there is always one day in each country that the students can explore the country on their own.
Crossing the Pond - 2016 Class/Dublin
Highlights for the 2016 trip include visiting Pentagram UK and a talk from brilliant designer Harry Pearce; visiting St. Bride's and seeing original sketches for Gill Sans, pages from the Book of the Dead and a complete first book printed in English from the 1400's; visiting Annie Atkins studio - she creates the graphics for TV shows and movies such as the Grand Budpest Hotel, The Tudors and others - all the newspapers, signage, etc. for the sets. Further, lectures from illustrators Steve Simpson, Alan Clarke and Sarah Bowie were wonderful and ended up with all of the students and much of the Irish Illustrators Guild chatting it up at a local pubover pints.
This is only to list a fraction of the itinerary.
Another highlight is while we are un the UK and Ireland, we connect with other schools. We visited the Cambridge School of Art where are students shared presentation of their work and had a rich discussion about being a student in their schools, Royal Academy of Art where they saw presentations from illustration and design Masters students and finally Dublin Institute where our students worked directly with DIT students on a two-day project with live clients in the Dublin area and gave presentations of their work.
The students have the chance to connect with their UK and Irish peers but also experience education styles in those countries first hand.
(Pictured below: left is MassArt Junior graphic design student Lexie Rubin and on right in yellow, MassArt illustration Senior Victoria Maxfield who has been in the last two Society Student Scholarship competitions and won last year's Zankel Scholarship.)
MassArt and DIT students working together on live community projects.
This is one of my most favorite courses I teach (duh!) because not only do I have the chance to give the students an opportunity to experience all of these wonderful things, but everytime the course is run, we try to change up and bring in new things as well that we discover as teachers.
It's always a wonderful experience and the time with the students who eventually become dear friends is really the whole joy of the trip.