julia foulkes

Arts and Social Engagement

We are launching a new curricular area at The New School as of Fall 2014!

The arts have been a mainstay of the curriculum at the New School throughout its history. As a center of modernism in the first half of the 20th century, the New School offered courses in how to choreograph dance, compose music, and photograph the city. But the school may have had an even more important role as an advocate. It offered the first course on film as a genre, in 1926, one on jazz in 1941, and hosted lecture-demonstrations on the nascent modern dance in the 1930s. Many events and courses developed criticism and theory of new artistic genres, tied artistic innovation to contemporary political and social issues, and promoted the arts as a means by which to research and contribute to society. The school connected the arts to the wider world.

This pathway of courses continues this tradition, exploring the breadth of expression and modes of engagement that make the arts social. Courses interrogate who defines the arts, to what ends, for what purposes, for how long? Rather than concentrating on a single genre, such as the visual arts, these courses invite students to look more broadly at creativity and expression, in their diverse forms and places and modes of engagement. Students examine how museums structure value and access to the visual arts, how communities use the arts to build ties across conflict, or how municipal policies utilize the arts to address the needs of vulnerable populations. If imagination fuels the arts, this pathway of courses connects imagination and creativity to societal insight and action.

  • Collaborate with community partners
  • Incorporate public programs and events into coursework
  • Research an arts organization
  • Use the arts to incite action on a political issue
  • Propose a policy to bring arts to a vulnerable population

These courses prepare students for advanced study or careers in arts education, creative arts therapy, arts management, urban studies, conflict mediation, journalism, and community organizing. Interested students may also want to seek out the minors in Art as Social Practice or Museum Studies or the certificate in Creative Arts and Health. BA/MA options can be pursued in graduate programs in the Liberal Arts, Anthropology, Sociology, Non-Profit Management, Urban Policy, Theories of Urban Practice, and others.

Picture: East Side Gallery (former Berlin Wall), Berlin, Germany (photo by Julia Foulkes)