The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Winter Session 2015: CUBA


Dear Visual Arts, Art Education, and Art History Students—

Have you ever thought that it would be incredible to go to Cuba? It is . . . and you can! We are very excited to announce that our department has planned a groundbreaking study trip for Winter Session 2015 that includes Havana, some other Cuban cities, and Miami, Florida. Groundbreaking in at least two ways: First, TCNJ has never before gone to Cuba; Second, the short-term study-abroad trips with your faculty have never before been cross-disciplinary within the department. This program is a visual arts-art history collaboration, led by Professors Allyn, Fichner-Rathus, and Mackie. It is open to any major or concentration across the college but it is designed with our department students in mind. Participants will be able to individualize their learning experiences by focusing on one of three options that will culminate in related but different final projects.

Option 1: Art Historical/Curatorial Research [under the guidance of Dr. Lois Fichner-Rathus]

The study of one or more Cuban works of art, monuments, sites, or artists culminating in a “virtual art exhibition” and accompanying “exhibition catalogue” that considers the historical circumstances, style, function, or creation and development of the objects chosen for analysis. Topics/themes will be tied to something experienced during the course of the trip, whether during group visits or viewed independently.

Option 2: Inside Cuba: Artist Book[under the guidance of Prof. Elizabeth Mackie]

Students will collect visual information (clippings from newspapers and magazines, flyers, “advertising” brochures or posters, packaging and the like) to incorporate into a final project: an artist book. Without access to the Internet or social media on the island, they will learn to harness the power of personal observation and to develop creative means of documenting their experiences. Students will select a theme for investigation, record and annotate their observations using a variety of mediums and methods (for example, drawing, painting, and photography), and weave them into a non-traditional book that will be created after their return and exhibited in the student gallery spaces of the AIMM building (sometime during February 2015).

Option 3: Photography, Video, and the Artist as Autoethnographer[under the guidance of Prof. Anita Allyn]

What distinguishes the experience of the familiar environment from that of the profoundly unfamiliar? How do images associated with these experiences change as our roles shift from “insider” to “outsider?” How do we see ourselves as we perform in these distinctly different roles? How does documentation of our experiences alter our perceptions of ourselves? These questions will provide a backdrop for students’ reflections as they experiment with autobiographical ethnography using photography and video. They will serve as a foundation for student explorations that will culminate in photo-essays or films created after their return, to be exhibited in the student gallery spaces of the AIMM building (some time in February 2015).

The course is AAH262: Landmarks: Art and Culture of Cuba. It meets the Liberal Learning requirement for LVPA (with the possibility of gender-by-contract or race/ethnicity-by-contract). Specific studio art requirements may also be met with approval by Professor Allyn or Professor Mackie.

Important Things and Dates to be aware of:

  • This is an extraordinary opportunity as U.S. citizens are not allowed to travel freely to Cuba, that is, without special VISAS.
  • The absolute deadline for completing the application for this program is OCTOBER 8TH. NO applications will be accepted after that date because of the processing time for government-issued visas.
  • Interested students MUST ATTEND ONE of these two scheduled information sessions: Tuesday, September 9th at 7pm in AIMM 230 or Tuesday, September 16th at 12:30pm in AIMM 230.
  • The pricing for the Cuba-Miami study-abroad program is: $4,714.16

Included: TCNJ tuition and fees; airfare between Miami and Havana; bed/breakfast, and most dinners in casas particulares and hotels; all ground transportation, entrance tickets to course-related cultural events. Not included: Airfare to Miami and most lunches. Note: program costs are the same for in-state and out-of-state students.

Please see the Center for Global Engagement page for more details:

We look forward to exploring this dynamic and unique travel-study opportunity with you.


Professors Allyn, Fichner-Rathus, and Mackie