Photo Exhibit of Israel and West Bank to Foster Teaching and Learning

'This Place,' featuring the work of 12 acclaimed artists, will bring courses and students from many disciplines to the Art Museum in Spring 2018.

The photography exhibition 'This Place,' seen here at the Brooklyn Museum.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 8, 2016) —Images of contemporary Israel and the West Bank by 12 internationally acclaimed photographers will be exhibited at the University Art Museum in the Spring of 2018. They will serve, beyond their aesthetic significance, as a fulcrum to further undergraduate teaching and learning through a multi-institutional collaboration.

This Place, currently at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, will involve faculty at UAlbany and three other upstate campuses — Skidmore, Colgate and Hamilton — to develop new best practices of museum-based education and ways to integrate them into the curricula. The initiative is funded by a $222,000 grant from the New York City-based Teagle Foundation.

“Over the next two years, the museum will be reaching out to faculty across campus who might be interested in incorporating This Place into current and new courses,” said Janet Riker, the Art Museum’s director.

“We expect it will serve in different ways in the various disciplines, bringing students to the museum to engage with the artwork and participate in workshops and discussions. I hope it will demonstrate how exhibition-based teaching can cultivate a wide range of student abilities, from specific topics and issues to skills in visual literacy, critical thinking, written and oral communication.”

This Place opened in Europe in 2014. The many-sided photographic impressions of a historic and contested locale, taken between 2009 and 2012, has included stops this year in Prague, Tel Aviv, the Norton Museum in Florida, and Brooklyn.

“Some areas of the University will find deeper collaborations than others,” said Riker. “Danny Goodwin (art and art history) has already planned a studio course that will use This Place as a focal point of the semester. It will include having students visit the museum to discuss the techniques and aesthetic approaches of the photographers, as well study the subject matter through discussions and related readings.

"Faculty are also welcome to bring students for single or multiple visits.” Riker notes that the Art Museum has been very successful over the past five years in increasing the number of UAlbany classes and students from a variety of disciplines coming to its exhibits. “I think this collaboration will help us make every museum visit a richer learning experience for our students.”

She called the excellence and diversity of the exhibition "quite amazing. These 12 world-renowned photographers come at the subject matter from radically different perspectives and styles. None of them is Palestinian or Israeli. They are all outsiders looking at the subject with total individuality. Some concentrate on the geography, some on the people, some on the architecture — but the quality of the work is uniformly extraordinary.”

A team from UAlbany will visit the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in May. “We’ll meet with educators there and at other institutions, as well as with participating scholars from the upstate schools, to explore innovative ways to use exhibitions to advance teaching and learning,” said Riker.

This Place will run through the entire 2018 spring semester.

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