Museums as Living Archives of Public Policy in Aix-en-Provence and Paris

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore or Above
Location: Europe, France
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

This course will introduce students to the role of museums and cultural policy in teaching about the atrocities of racism and genocide and creating an awareness to galvanize change. This course will provide students with a tangible means for understanding difficult content and will enable them to investigate what public policies exist today for museums and how staff curate exhibitions around these issues. Participants will learn how artists respond to events and the ramifications of nationalism and xenophobia and result in the development of their own exhibition proposals. Students will visit historic sites and museums that display the punitive impacts of Nationalism such as internment camps and deportation centers- all which are symbols of dehumanizing policies.  By visiting these sites, meeting with museum curators, and researching interpretive materials, students will examine how museums and memorials can not only teach about the atrocities of racism, and genocide, but also investigate how policies developed by governments and NGOs protect cultural heritage sites and repatriation.

** GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel.  All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.

Academic Details

The program will start in Aix-en-Provence in southern France, where the class will meet daily for discussion and to create art inspired by your experience. During this weeklong program, you will create oil paintings of landscapes, self-portraits, and the city of Aix and surroundings. During excursions, students will immerse themselves in painting outside in nature capturing the buildings in Aix, the terrain, the landscape, and the light. Students will also keep a sketchbook and journal in which you will document your experience, respond to writing and drawing prompts, and draft paintings. The program will end in Paris, where we will use the museum galleries and collections at the Louvre for observations, discussions and sketching. In this program, you will earn two UO upper division elective credits in Public Policy, Planning, and Management.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Faculty and Staff

Lisa Abia-Smith is the Director of Education at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Senior Instructor in the College of Art and Design at the UO, teaching courses in arts and healthcare, accessible arts, museum education, and arts mangagment. She presents nationally and internationally at conferences on arts and healthcare programs and art education for marginalized communities.

Abia-Smith’s work as the director of education at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art intersects with her teaching practice and provides undergraduate and graduate students with practical application and fieldwork immersing in art education for visitors of all ages and abilities. Since 2011, she has led the Art of the Athlete program at the University of Oregon. In 2014 she was selected as Oregon’s Art Museum Educator of the Year and is a board member of the Oregon Art Education Association. She was recently invited to present about her teaching and professional practice at the Inclusive Museum Research Network Conference at the University of Granada, Spain.


Doug Blandy’s research and teaching is informed by the belief that arts and cultural settings have been, and continue to be, among those informal and formal enclaves in which people assemble, work, and act together for a variety of social, political, cultural, economic, aesthetic, and educational purposes. The arts are a catalyst for dialogue about individual and group identity; local, national, and international concerns. Doug’s research has been published in Studies in Art Education, Art Education, the Journal of Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Research in Art Education, and the Visual Sociology Review, among other journals. His research has also been published in scholarly books. He has co-edited four books published by academic presses. Juried and invited lectures have been given at numerous international, national, and regional conventions, symposia, and universities. Professional service has included leadership positions within Local Learning: The Network for Folk Arts in Education, the National Art Education Association and the United States Society for Education through Art.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Final Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2021 2/15/21 05/1/21 06/12/21 06/20/21

Travel Advisories

For current health, safety, and travel advisory information, search the US Department of State country webpage.

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.