Elective courses are designed to enable students to shape their own professional and/or research profile depending on their interests and future career aspirations. The program allows a certain flexibility, not only with the choice of elective courses, but also in respect to the time frame in which these courses can be taken. However, students are required to complete all course work before they can submit their thesis.

Students can choose between the following elective courses (minimum course enrollments must be met to ensure that the course will run):

The Value of Art: Art Criticism and the Art Market (3 credits)

This course examines the issue of the value of art from the point of view of traditional aesthetic approaches to art as well as from the point of view of the contemporary art market. Students will be able to examine relevant theories that address the issue of the artistic value in terms of aesthetic, historical, cultural, social, and material/economic value. Students will also learn about the way in which the market price is made, and different factors that impact the formation of the price and how the price is related to the qualities/characteristics of particular artworks. This course will enable students to think critically of the social impact of artistic and broader cultural values and the way these values are structured.

Live and Performing Arts Management (3 credits)

The course prepares students to conceive and manage performing art events, such as festivals, theatre, dance and music events. Students will learn about all crucial steps in the process of organizing performing and live arts, from their conception to full realization. The course focuses on the specific organizational and managerial features including fundraising, marketing, and various approaches to coordination of live arts.

Contemporary Issues in Global Heritage (3 credits)

This course will investigate some of the most pressing and contentious issues in Cultural Heritage today. It is intended to foreground some of the arguments which will come up in other courses such as authenticity, interpretation, sustainability etc. The course will be divided into three broad topics and after each topic there will be a take-home exam before moving on to the next topic. Topic 1 looks at definitions of Cultural Heritage and how they have changed; Topic 2 looks at the expansion of sites included in Cultural Heritage and in particular in the role memory plays in deciding what to remember and what to forget; Topic 3 looks at the impact of cultural diversity on Cultural Heritage practice.

Heritage Tourism (3 credits)

This course explores the history, politicization, authenticity, marketing and sustainability of cultural tourism. Through lectures, seminars and interactive classroom discussions students will explore the challenges facing cultural tourism in the 21st century. Both practical and theoretical issues will be addressed. At the end of the course students will present a case study of a cultural tourist site to develop which will include a marketing strategy for sustainable tourism taking into account the environment, local community and issues of authenticity.

Communicating with Digital Media (3 credits)

This is an intensive hands-on, practical course that teaches students the aesthetic concepts and theories of visual communication along with technical skills such as working with Macintosh-based software utilized to create various forms of visual media in relation to food. The areas of computer art/image making, graphic design, typography, sound design, and video motion graphics will be explored. Practical foundations will be applied to design projects as developed through an increasing command of analyzing concepts of design, composition, color theory, and graphic communication. Students will leave the course with the skills and understanding to create a variety of multimedia products across a number of platforms in a professional way, the ability to learn new technical skills in an ever evolving digital environment, and the ability to better communicate with and manage creative collaborators.

Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing Your Own Business (3 credits)

In this course students take an advanced look at starting and managing an entrepreneurial venture. Documentation related to business formation (business plan, operating agreement) and financing, rules on hiring and HR practices, marketing on a tight budget, sales management tactics, international expansion, supply chain and sourcing, operational analysis (in Excel), franchising, online targeting, valuation, negotiation. Cases and lectures target students in the cultural heritage, food, leisure segments more specifically. Students must develop a new business idea, write a business plan, make financial projections to be prepared for financiers and to begin running it.

Writing Across Media: Art, Culture and Food (3 credits)

This course covers writing in its various professional forms, across different media and for different audiences: writing for radio, TV and digital media, personal narratives, blogs, policy briefs, press releases and writing for newspapers, magazines, journals. Examples of such writing will be drawn from a wide range of examples, writers and organizations. Italy is our classroom and textbook so students should be prepared to visit local sites and institutions.

Conflict Negotiaion and Resolution (3 credits)

Conflict is part of daily life: it can be destructive as well as constructive but it needs to be dealt with productively. Resolution is a collaborative process by which differences are handled and outcomes are jointly agreed by the interested parties. It is the transformation of the relationship and situation such that solutions are sustainable and self-correcting in the long term. This course will introduce the student to conflict, the cause, how it happens and why it occurs. Techniques and methods to approach, manage and resolve will be introduced, including good listening and communication skills. Various forms of intervention will be examined and applied: negotiation from a humanitarian perspective with armed groups, using selected case studies, will be examined and applied in depth.

Arts Management Internship (3 credits)

Internship is a practical work with an arts organization, required for all students of the program. It requires 150 hours of practical work experience, a journal with the daily activities detailed as well as reflections on the internship as a learning experience and a presentation and written paper at the end of the work experience period. Students will choose their internship preferences with their Thesis Advisor. Prior to beginning the internship students must prepare a plan which specifies their activities during the internship. AUR will make every effort to place a student in the best possible situation but students should be aware that internships in Italy are not abundant due to Italian employment laws. Students are advised to begin thinking well ahead of time of the kind of internship they would like and to have a few alternatives in case their first choice does not work out.
The options for students’ placement for internships include: museums (for students aspiring to careers in e.g. museum management, curatorship, museums’ educational and research departments), galleries and auction houses (for students aspiring to careers in e.g. art market, gallery management, contemporary art curatorship, art criticism), art journals, magazines and other media reporting on art (for students aspiring to careers in e.g. art criticism), etc.
As a result of internships students will be able to:

  • Report on their acquired knowledge of art world, its institutions and practice
  • Analyze their work experience and first-hand insight into the practice of particular institutions, exhibitions, as well as practices of already established professionals and artist
  • Define their future career goals
  • Create a network of contacts
  • Increase employment opportunities

Internships can be conducted during the Spring or Summer Semester, prior to the work on the MA thesis.

Arts Management Independent Study (3 credits)

Highly focused students with specific career goals or research aims may opt, during the second semester, for independent study of a topic in depth, not covered by the courses offered by the program. The topic will be decided in collaboration with the instructor. Students will develop a goal statement for the independent study, the related learning objectives, the timetable for completion, a preliminary list of readings and the final product. This could be a research-based paper or it might be a written paper that accompanies a technical project (e.g. a video or other digital media communication). In addition to the final product, students will keep a journal of the work undertaken, commentary on readings and results of the independent study. Independent study requires approximately 150 hours of learning activities and it will involve a schedule with number and frequency of contact hours between the student and the supervisor. Independent study will be offered in exceptional cases. Individual applications for the independent study must be approved by the program director, dean and provost before the course can be offered.