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Summer Arts in Berlin

Sarah Lawrence College is pleased to announce Summer Arts in Berlin—its first summer abroad program. Berlin, one of Europe's most vibrant cities, has been defined by the arts for well over a century. It now sets trends for all of Europe in contemporary arts as well as dance and architecture, and can rightly call itself home to many of the most innovative cultural developments happening today.

Rebuilding after the Wall has brought on lively debate in the cultural community as to how to preserve markers of the past without getting in the way of history in the making. This dialogue encourages students to become engaged in their own work with issues that will expand perspectives and cultural borders.

Students may select from the following three program options:

  • Dance Practice and Study
  • The Practice and Study of Visual Arts and Architecture
  • German Language Studies

All academic programs are complemented by walking tours, excursions to Dresden and Kassel, as well as visits to museums, galleries, studios, and dance performances. In addition, 2012 is the year of dOCUMENTA 13, which provides students with an exceptional cultural opportunity.

Dance Practice and Study

We will engage in the cultural conversation, and have mutual interests with architects, artists, and writers. We will explore the paths first tread by radical choreographers in the 1910s. Today, Berlin hosts the largest state ballet company as well as the largest number of independent modern companies of any city in Europe. We will examine the dance companies, venues, festivals, and performances. In Germany, experimentation is part of the mandate. Please note: Students must have at least one year of dance study at the college level. Learn more about the core curriculum and courses offered.

The Practice and Study of Visual Arts and Architecture

Layers of history exist in the ever-changing architectural landscape of (unified) Berlin. From Bauhaus projects of the 1930s to current works by major architects that re-invent the Wall landscape, students will be on-site for every class to examine everything from the Baroque to Socialist Realism to the Post Modern. With over 170 museums and galleries, Berlin has historically been the home to artists for over a century—a nucleus and catalyst, a place where inexpensive living and interesting venues continue to grant the arts a dominant role in Berlin life. Low rent as well as a high number of galleries have meant an influx of world renowned personalities working next to young artists—from the fine arts to photography, from performance to complex interdisciplinary ventures—the sheer amount of art on display is inescapable and ubiquitous. Learn more about the core curriculum and courses offered.

German Language Studies

For students who have completed at least two semesters of college level German, this program will provide the opportunity to become more proficient and experience the German language in its living cultural context. Daily language lessons, directed communication with native speakers in the exciting streets of Berlin, and excursions to other German cities provide an intensive and rich learning environment. At the completion of this program, students should advance to the next level of proficiency. Learn more about the core curriculum and courses offered.


About dOCUMENTA 13

Students in the Berlin program during the summer of 2012 will travel to Kassel for dOCUMENTA13 with instructors for two days. dOCUMENTA —the "100 day museum" —is considered to be the most important exhibition of contemporary art, and draws attention from around the world. Every five years, a new director is chosen and the exhibition is reinvented, a concept which to date has been affirmed by public interest; the number of visitors continues to rise, and more than 750,000 visitors attended dOCUMENTA12. Under continually changing directorship, and in the equally leisurely and inexorable rhythm of five years, dOCUMENTA has become an authoritative worldwide seismograph of contemporary art.