Name: Stephanie Carwin
Year of Graduation: 2014
Previous Education (degree and institution):
Master’s in Aesthetics, Université Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne
BA in Theater, UCLA
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist/LdM:
I was interested in getting an MA in museum studies in Europe, due to the incredible cultural wealth and historical collections available – and Florence is obviously one of the most important cities in that regard. The program also looked rather comprehensive in terms of all the different facets of museum studies, and it provided the excellent combination of an international education with a degree from an American university.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development:
The project that was of particular significance was the curatorial project that we had to complete as part of the contemporary art module of ‘Art and Objects in Museums and in Context.’ Franziska Nori, then Director of the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, was our professor for that module, and we had to create a thematic exhibition utilizing both the Renaissance art of Florence and contemporary artworks. It was a challenging, but extremely rewarding opportunity to put together an exhibition – from the concept to the exhibition layout to the wall texts. Prof. Nori subsequently became one of my thesis advisors as well.
Where did you do your internship?
Thanks to getting to know Prof. Nori through that project, I was fortunately able to do my internship at the Strozzina, where I worked on two different exhibitions. Since there was a very small staff at the Strozzina, I was able to undertake a variety of curatorial tasks that were truly invaluable for my professional development.
What type of museum career are you pursuing, or are you planning on earning another degree?
I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Université Paris VIII, where I am focusing on concepts of time in curatorial and museological practice. I hope to continue in the curatorial field, hopefully at a European art institution, once I complete my Ph.D.
Where did you travel during your time in Italy?
All over the place! The wonderful thing about Europe is that other countries are just a short, inexpensive flight away. In addition to traveling around Italy (Rome, Venice, Milan, Cinque Terre, Sardinia), I went to Paris and London and made first-time visits to Barcelona and Berlin – where I actually ended up moving after completing my MA. In addition to the traveling and seeing all the museums and exhibitions around Europe, I was also able to attend a curating conference in Cyprus and spend two weeks in Salzburg for a curatorial workshop at the Salzburg Summer Academy.
What was your favorite place in Florence and why?
My favorite place in Florence is without a doubt the Giardino Bardini in the Oltrarno. Smaller and less visited than the Boboli Gardens, in the warmer months, there is also a café at the top with panoramic views of the city. It is an idyllic little spot that provides a well-needed respite from the maze of stone that is Florence.
What is your least favorite aspect of living in Florence and why?
It would have to be the weather. In the summer, it feels like living inside a brick oven, and in the winter, it rains…a lot. The mosquitoes are a close second.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist/LdM:
I would greatly advise learning as much Italian as possible, either before arriving or while in Florence. Since there is the unique opportunity to interact with Florentine museum professionals as part of the program, you are really missing out if you cannot communicate with them in Italian. It is also very helpful if you are interested in doing your internship in Florence or somewhere in Italy.
How did you hear about our program?
I was in search of museum studies programs in Europe for the reasons I already mentioned, and the Marist program came up in a search. I’m very glad it did!
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Alumni
Major: Museum Studies
Academic School: Communication and the Arts