Interdisciplinary Initiatives - University of Houston
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Interdisciplinary Initiatives

Interdisciplinary Initiatives

The Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts offers a minor in Interdisciplinary Arts that is part of the College's Interdisciplinary Initiatives program. The minor provides students the opportunity to work across and between disciplines, exploring individual and collaborative modes of inquiry. The program encourages community engagement and a broad dialogue between systems of knowledge. Interdisciplinary Arts courses address complex contemporary questions, are experimental and experiential, and are taught by full-time faculty as well as renowned visiting artists.

Fall 2017 Courses

IART 3395/6395 Community Engaged Art
Rick Lowe (School of Art)

This Social and Community Engaged Art (SCEA) Part 1 is an introductory course to the emerging fields of social and community engaged art, creative placemaking, social practice, community art, and other related modes of work that seek to bridge art with social and/or community development. The course is part theoretical and part practical field work. As this is an emerging field, the class will research and investigate social and community engaged artists, projects, and organizations. We will explore how art functions in the context of community development and social structures as a value to the field of art and the broader society.


IART 3395/6395 Collective Creation
Matt Chapman & Justin Lucero (School of Theatre & Dance)

This interdisciplinary course will explore the practices of collective creation as articulated by various international groups including Brecht’s Epic Theatre, Colombia’s La Candelaria and Teatro Experimental de Cali, Perú’s the Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, the United States’ Teatro Campesino and Culture Clash and others, to explore notions of diversity, belonging, equity, and community, culminating in a performance that addresses contemporary issues such as immigration, nationality, race, and the American Dream. The course will tap into the wealth of backgrounds and specialties of those participating in discussion and creation and therefore we encourage cross-disciplinary enrollment from among undergraduate- and graduate-level students from across the arts.


IART 3395/6395 Spatial Activism: Houston
Jasleen Sarai (College of Architecture)

This course explores the relationship between spatiality and politics. With Houston as a basepoint, students will discover and examine the urban, industrial, rural and suburban spaces that Houston is made of through readings, discussions and neighborhood tours. Students will learn to think critically about the relationship between people and space, politics and neighborhoods, and the effects created by inequalities that are manifested in various geographical settings and scales. The course will consider topics such as land development, preservation, gentrification, public vs. private space, and race and culture within neighborhoods. Special focus will be put on site-specificity and artistic interventions. Students will create individual work related to their disciplines, as well as collaborative responses to the various conditions that Houston puts forth. 


IART 3395 Text in the Landscape
Fiona McGettigan (School of Art)

This interdisciplinary course will look at text-based works from the arena of public art and environmental graphic design locally, nationally, and internationally. As a studio focus we will look at typographic form and history, issues of typographic scale, dimensionality, and materials and through readings and discussions we will address issues of language, meaning, and context. We will create a series of projects that are in proposal and model form, as well as temporary site installation(s).


IART 3395 You Are Here: Space and Place
Dana Kroos (Creative Writing Program)

While “space” can be defined as the physical parameters of a geographic location, “place” is defined as an area that is used for a specific purpose so that it is endowed with meaning for a person or group. In the last two decades the concept of space vs. place has been widely researched in fields including literature, social science, political science, environmental science, art, architecture, and design as people ask the question: what makes a space a place? Why? For whom? Many of the social and political issues that arise in consideration of space vs. place have become central to studies in the arts: nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, cultural globalization, gender and sexuality, urbanization, digital cultures, and environmentalism and ecopoetics. In this class you will begin a mastery of storytelling and fiction writing through the broader discussion of how space and place are defined in literature, music, visual art, performance and exhibition design. While the main focus of the course will be the basic elements of narrative craft (including voice, tense, character, point of view and plot), students will also have the opportunity to collaborate and to work on interdisciplinary modes of inquiry.