Student Experience

UCSC student presentation in Sesnon Gallery show of work by Helen and Newton Harrisons
UCSC student presentation in Sesnon Gallery show of work by Helen and Newton Harrison

UC Santa Cruz students represent California’s future: more than 30 percent are first-generation college students, and more than 50 percent are from diverse backgrounds. The Institute embraces their learning experiences through faculty-initiated curriculum projects, Institute exhibitions, workshops and events—and by including students in nearly all areas of the Institute’s activities. 

Students gain valuable pre-professional experience as graduate and undergraduate interns, as fellows, and as work-study students who assist with curatorial projects, education programs, public events, public relations, and outreach. The Institute facilitates faculty-student and staff-student mentoring and offers students direct experience planning and presenting events and activities.

Examples of student-based activities at the Institute include the 2-day workshop held at the Lick Observatory in May 2016 on Seeing and Knowing in Art and Astronomy. The Institute worked with faculty and graduate students to create this unique experience for undergraduate students, sponsoring this overnight expedition to the observatory to undertake workshops with internationally renowned artist Russell Crotty and esteemed astrophysicists Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Gregory Laughlin.

The first exhibition of the Institute, artist group Public Doors and Windows' innovative Collective Museum which launched in February 2016, was co-curated by a graduate student in UC SAnta Cruz's Visual Studies PhD program. The artists also worked with fifty undergraduate students in the art department to conceive of an exhibition of objects that exemplify their social practice project at UC Santa Cruz. Learn more about this innovative social practice art project.

And, this is just the beginning of a robust student program at the Institute. When the building is complete, its public spaces will serve as sites for peer-generated programming, club events, arts activities, and more. Students will collaborate with faculty on study exhibitions and conduct research on UC Collections objects in the Institute's collection storage area. The Institute will offer opportunities for graduate research and enable graduate students to undertake curatorial projects along with their advisors.