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Skidmore College
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges

Italy: Expanded Notebook 

Art in Rome and Venice is abundant and layered—material practices from different centuries, different countries, and other disciplines coexist in both space and time. Since the grand tours of the seventeenth and eighteenth-century, artists have traveled to Italy to learn firsthand from this rich artistic landscape. They have left behind an array of travelogues, journals, and artist notebooks documenting their observations and insights. In this course, students will join in this tradition and visit Rome and Venice to experience physically and sensorially a wide range of art in its original or chosen site.

While in Italy, students will move fluidly between viewing contemporary art in site specific spaces, like La Biennale di Venezia, and viewing historical artwork installed in churches and palaces like the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria. We will see work by various artists, including Bernini, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, among others, and selected contemporary artists from the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Rome, and La Biennale di Venezia. Each day we will pause to record and document the artwork and sites we have seen through photographs, drawings, collage, and writing created on-site in an artist notebook. When the trip is over, we will collaboratively produce a limited-edition artist’s book compiled from the pages of student notebooks and student interviews throughout the trip.

Learning Goals

Through this spring on-campus course and travel seminar, students will:

  • Create artist notebook entries that use photography, drawing, collage and writing to document an experience.
  • Analyze and respond to theories about the relationship of place, experience, and documentation.
  • Create drawings, photographs, collages, and writing that employ formal art principles including color, tone, composition, framing, and gestalt, in addition to experimental practices.
  • Describe the connection between contemporary and historical examples of artist sketchbooks.
  • Critically analyze and contextualize their work, and the work of other artists, creating artist sketchbooks, notebooks, and travelogues. Ex
  • View and analyze historical and contemporary works of art in Rome and Venice.
  • Document their experience in Rome and Venice through photography, drawing, collage and writing.
  • Reflect on their experience creating documentation in situ through peer interviews.
  • Collaboratively create an artist’s book about Rome and Venice from their collected interviews and artist notebook pages.

Sample Itinerary*

Day 1: Depart for Rome

Day 2: Arrive Rome, afternoon and evening walks

Day 3: Primo giorno a Roma!

Day 4: Exploring the Tiber

Day 5: Contemporary & Modern Museums

Day 6: Bernini & the Contemporary

Day 7: Piramide & Roman-era Clay

Day 8: Trastevere

Day 9: The Vatican

Day 10: A Palace & the Contemporary

Day 11: Ancient Rome & Studio Visits

Day 12: Galleries, the Crypt & a Palace

Day 13: Travel to Venice

Day 14: La Biennale di Venezia

Day 15: La Biennale di Venezia

Day 16: Exploring the Lagoon & Canals

Day 17: Departure from Venice to New York

*subject to change

Important Information

Dates: May 23 - June 9, 2022 (inclusive of travel days)

Corequisite: Students will enroll in AR 264K: Expanding the Artists Notebook for the spring 2022 semester.

Credits: This travel seminar is a five-credit experience. Students will receive 4 credits for the spring on-campus course (AR 264K) and 1 credit for the travel seminar (TX200A).

Program Fee: The anticipated fee is $4,600 and $5,000 depending on enrollment. The program fee includes Skidmore tuition; round-trip airfare between New York City and Rome, returning from Venice to New York City; ground transportation for program excursions, on-site accommodations in shared rooms; some meals; international medical insurance; entrance fees; excursions and activities and Skidmore faculty. Financial aid is available for eligible students. 

Students will be responsible for any required visas to enter Italy and any COVID testing require to travel to Italy and return to the US. 

Meals and Accommodation: Students will stay in double rooms in local student residences and hotels. Some group meals are includes and students will receive a meal stipend for additional meals.

Flights: Roundtrip airfare from a New York City area airport to Rome, Italy and returning from Venice, Italy is included in the program fee. Students are required to make their own way to/from New York City.

Application Process: The deadline for applications is October 15, 2021. Students are required to apply for Travel Seminars through the MyOCSE portal and applications will be available in spring 2021.  Applications will be reviewed and students will be notified of acceptances before fall 2021 course registration. Students will then be required to register for AR 264K for the spring 2021 semester.

Class of 2022 Students: Seniors are welcome to participate in any of our spring or summer travel seminars. For the Southwest travel seminar, students will be reclassified as August graduates as the credits will still be in progress during commencement. Don't worry, you'll still be able to walk on graduation day!


For specific questions, please contact OCSE (, Professor Lindsay Buchman ( or Professor Sarah Sweeney (