ARTH 342: Planetary Crises and the Arts at the Venice Biennale

3 Credits

Planetary Crises and the Arts at the Venice Biennale introduces students to the world’s longest existing international art exhibition through a combination of classes and one-week on-site visit to Venice. Utilizing the 59th Venice Biennale “Universes in Universe” (23 April–27 November 2022) as a primary case study, the course surveys the response of contemporary artists to planetary crises—most obviously the global pandemic of COVID-19 and related issues of environmental stress, displacement, trauma, and prejudice. Based primarily in Venice with brief stay in Trieste, Italy, the course considers how art and art criticism respond to evolving cultural values, priorities, and concerns that reflect changing ideas of personhood and social responsibility in our increasingly interconnected worlds.

Throughout Spring semester 2022, students enrolled in trip by surveying significant developments in the arts of the early twentieth century that responded to international political crises and post-WWII development of international platforms for exhibiting contemporary art. These historical moments inform artistic production, exhibition practices, and critical reception today. The remainder of the course will be organized thematically to explore issues identified in the Venice Biennale. Topics such as: contagion, infection, and the national body; creativity, resilience, and health; climate change and displacement; boundaries of the animal/human; and the arts and human rights will be investigated.

Faculty Leader: Jodi Lightner
Dates: May 2022 (Exact Dates TBD)
Cost: $1,370 (estimated - subject to change)
Financial Aid may apply for eligible students


  • Accommodation
  • Some Meals
  • In-country Transportation
  • Entrance Fees
  • Health Insurance
  • Application Fee

Not Included:

  • Round-trip Airfare
  • Some Meals
  • Miscellaneous Expenses
  • Tuition and Fees (for non-fulltime students)



Students who enroll in this trip have the opportunity to also be selected to serve as the program's Student Ambassador. Program Student Ambassadors will receive a $1,000 stipend for their work before, during and after the trip. If interested in this opportunity, please contact the faculty leader after you have applied and have enrolled in the course.

To Get Started

Step 1: The preferred application deadline is January 17, 2022. The Final application deadline is February 1, 2022. Positions are limited, so please apply early to get preference. Download the application (link below) and turn it into the Office of International Studies, McDonald Hall Rm 150, along with your receipt of the $150 application fee and the $500 deposit, both of which are included in the overall price.

Step 2: Register for the spring course, ARTH 342: Planetary Crises and the Arts at the Venice Biennale

Step 3: Be interviewed and accepted into the faculty-led program

Step 4: Make payment arrangements with the Business Office to complete the program payments (final payment deadline varies)

Step 5: Finalize any outstanding documentation for study abroad

Step 6: Purchase round-trip airfare to San Ignacio, Belize – coordinate with faculty leader and other students

Step 7: Participate in mandatory Outbound Orientation

Step 8: Enjoy this life-changing experience!


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This program was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State.  The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.