Department of Art and Art History News

Design Institute for Health Research Fellowships available to M.F.A. Design students in fall 2016

Tue. December 1, 2015

night image of burnt orange tower
Photo by Marsha Miller.

The College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin announces two Design Institute for Health Research Fellowships open to graduate students entering the M.F.A. Design program in the Department of Art and Art History in fall 2016. Fellowship awards include:

  • Full tuition and health insurance
  • Fellowship/work stipend of $25,000 per year
  • The opportunity to work with the university's Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and College of Fine Arts

Applicants to the M.F.A. Design program whose backgrounds and statements of intent suggest an interest in and aptitude for the field of healthcare design (broadly conceived to include the design of systems, services, devices and interactions) will automatically be considered for the fellowships; no separate application is required.

About the Department of Art and Art History
The Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest and most diverse in the country. It includes programs in Art Education, Art History, Design and Studio Art. The M.F.A. Design program’s cohorts of four to seven students work closely with faculty in small classes with individualized instruction. Drawing on the extensive resources of a tier one, comprehensive research university, the program allows self-directed students the opportunity to tailor their coursework to pursue an area of academic concentration and to focus on graphics, objects, interactions, systems and/or services.

About the Design Institute for Health
The Design Institute for Health (DIH) is a first-of-its-kind initiative applying a creative design-based approach to the nation’s health care challenges and rapidly integrating that perspective into medical education and new community health programs in Central Texas. The DIH is a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin and is a resource to the community. The DIH works across Austin’s new medical district with invested stakeholders on projects to meaningfully change health experiences and reimagine care delivery. The institute is led by two veterans of the internationally recognized design firm IDEO: Stacey Chang, IDEO’s former managing director of health and wellness; and Beto Lopez, former head of systems design at IDEO and a UT Austin alumnus.

wkrm: A New Design Studio at The University of Texas at Austin

Wed. November 25, 2015


twenty head shots with objects pasted together in rectangle

wkrm officially launches December 3, 2015. wkrm is a design studio built by students and led by Assistant Professor of Design, Jiwon Park. Join the launch party December 3 in the Art Building, 6–8 p.m., room 1.116B.

This event will showcase the process of developing wkrm, including the fully designed and furnished studio and case studies of initial client work. The students will also conduct live design work to demonstrate the wkrm creative process.

wkrm is a team of young creatives who are ready to deliver a fresh perspective on any challenge. wkrm designers are incredibly flexible, with an ability to staff projects from a variety of disciplines including:

  • Advertising
  • Communication Design
  • Design Strategy
  • Experience and UI/UX Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Spatial Design

About wkrm
wkrm is a student-run, faculty-led design studio housed at The University of Texas at Austin. Our studio provides opportunities for students to work with real clients while still in school and receive support for their professional development. Our design process is purposefully curated with the client in mind. We will work together from start to finish to deliver exactly what the client needs for its company, brand, or event. We encourage interested parties to come talk to us, whether they know what they need or not, so we can start co-designing today.

Media Contact: Jiwon Park, assistant professor of Design in the Department of Art and Art History at UT Austin,

Teresa Hubbard interviews undergraduate Chandler Allen about recent New York Magazine commission

Tue. November 24, 2015

Chandler Allen is an undergraduate student in Studio Art. She recently completed a photo shoot with New York Magazine and answered questions via email.

two people sitting at picnic table look over at camera
Hannah and the Singer, 2015, premium luster inkjet print, 30 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Teresa Hubbard: First of all, congratulations on garnering a paid photography assignment to shoot for New York Magazine. The photography editors looked at photography work being done by undergraduates around the country at a number of different universities, and the editors were very impressed by a number of our photography students working here in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin who submitted portfolios for their consideration.

Could you tell me about the the experience of working on assignment for such a prominent client?

Chandler Allen: Thank you. I am honored, as I know many candidates across the nation applied. Working for a major publication like New York Magazine was a rewarding whirlwind. From the day I got the job, I was in conference calls with the Photography Director every other morning before attending class and working closely with the Senior Photo Editor on a daily basis. Every night I would go out to fraternities, Co-Op’s, apartments and other parties around campus to photograph elaborate shoots of friends, lovers, strangers and even one self-portrait. It was essentially my job to be at the right place at the right time in the dark hours of the night and orchestrate a narrative depicting that party, sexual encounter or relationship.

TH: I know that the assignment entailed several weeks of very intensive on-location work. What kind of things did you learn about photography and yourself while working on this job?

CA: I learned a great deal regarding technique. I sharpened the intentionality of my subject’s gaze and body language to emote sexuality without having to illustrate sex. It was very important that the work spoke about college life and our sexual journeys in subtle ways like a look of pride, a placement of a hand, a furled brow and not only obvious ways, like nudity. I also learned that as a photographer I constantly want to relate to my subjects. I found myself inadvertently interacting and not just stuck behind the camera; this allowed my subjects to open up and be more vulnerable which produced better results.

two men in pool hug
Angel and Preston in the Water, 2015, premium luster inkjet print, 40 x 34 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

TH: Has working commercially, for a client, changed how you approach your own artwork, and if so, in what ways?

CA: I knew the work I did for New York Magazine would be published for millions to see. So in my mind, it required a heightened responsibility and ownership. Because the work was about sex and relationships in college, it was important to me to submit a self-portrait and put myself in the shoes of my subjects.

Now in my artwork I take this same approach more often—exposing myself physically and emotionally as much as I ask others to. This has only strengthened my artistic integrity. I think to often college art students reject commercial work because they think in some way it is beneath them. What they don’t realize is that most of the world's most successful artists have at one time or are currently being funded by commercial work and that it is smart to utilize both sides of the market.

The New York Magazine assignment has already begun to open new doors for my career and I thank professors like you, the College of Fine Arts Career Services, and the university, for bringing this opportunity to light and consistently supporting my endeavors.

Q+A with Emily Edwards (B.A. in Art History, 2015)

Tue. November 24, 2015

woman in blue blouse poses for picture
Image courtesy of Emily Edwards

Emily Edwards (B.A. in Art History, 2015) is a graduate student at Georgetown University. She answered questions by email.

Margaret Conyngham: After you finished your B.A. in Art History at UT Austin, you were accepted into the Art and Museum Studies graduate program at Georgetown University. What is your research focused on?

Emily Edwards: I am primarily focusing on contemporary art. I am also taking a few curatorial studies courses that focus on exhibition planning.

MC: Congratulations on your internship at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. What kinds of projects have you been working on there?

EE: Thank you! I am currently developing a video podcast for their website. I also work with the curatorial staff on exhibition research for future catalogs.

MC: How did your undergraduate work prepare you for graduate school and the work you are doing at the Hirshhorn?

EE: I learned how to do in-depth research through my undergraduate classes, especially while writing my undergraduate thesis. I really fine-tuned my writing skills in my four years at UT. I also learned how valuable it is to form relationships with professors. They all want to get to know you and help you succeed!

MC: Do you have any advice for students thinking about applying to graduate Art History programs?

EE: My biggest piece of advice is to thoroughly research the graduate programs. I remember thinking one program was perfect but then looked at their course offerings to find they did not offer any contemporary art classes. Since that is the area I want to specialize in, I quickly crossed it off my list! I also advise looking into the programs well in advance of application deadlines. I spent the summer before my senior year drafting a list of the schools I wanted to apply to so I could spend the fall of my senior year actually working on the applications. Those deadlines sneak up faster than you think! Finally, take advantage of the career services available in the department. I had no idea how to write a statement of purpose initially. Visiting career services helped me focus my ideas.

Maggie Conyngham is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Art History and French. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Q+A with Eugenie Scrase, Royal College of Art exchange student in Sculpture

Tue. November 24, 2015

screen shot of video of dog
Image still from Powdercoat Footprint/Kevin and Dylan, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

What has been the most surprising experience of your time in Austin so far?

Eugenie Scrase: I was surprised to see so many people riding bikes around Austin. As an ardent cyclist back in London I was so happy to see such a strong love for it here in Austin too. I had never seen bike racks on the front of buses either (not even in Copenhagen!); I’ll be pushing that idea onto the mayor of London when I get back to the UK!

In your work, which media do you find yourself working with most? Why do these fit your practices best?

ES: I mostly work in sculpture and film. The metal workshop in the Department of Art and Art History is brilliant—as are the technicians there. I’ve just come back from a week long road trip across Texas over to White Sands National Preserve in New Mexico. Along the way I chose particular locations to shoot some film footage that I’m now editing.

Writing plays a huge role in my practice. Along with drawing, it enables me to percolate thoughts and ideas.

screen shot of video of person's foot with yellow painted footprints
Image still from Powdercoat Footprint/Kevin and Dylan, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

Would you describe the themes that you work with? What drives your interest in them?

ES: I often use the term ‘Haptic Visuality’ or ‘Hapicity’ to describe my practice. It is sensuous imagery that evokes memory of the senses (i.e. water, nature); depicting acute states of sensory activity (smelling, sniffing, tasting, etc.). The haptic
image is in a sense, ‘less complete’, requiring the viewer to contemplate the image as a material presence rather than an easily identifiable representational cog in a narrative wheel.

This has stemmed from my previous research into the Phenomenology of Landscape—our perceptions of landscape and our movement within it.

As part of the UT < > RCA exchange program, you will present an exhibition. When and where will your exhibition be on view?

ES: It’s going to be in one of the Long Horn Stadium Squash Courts. I’m immensely excited to have to opportunity to be showing work in a space so heavily associated with the human body. There are some stunning marks on the court’s walls made by the contact of ricocheting squash balls. The date hasn’t been set yet. I’m anticipating it opening in the first week of December.