Fall 2011   Art 612 .01: Conceptual Design III - Internships


Course goals

Contemporary Artists regularly move in and out of conventional art/world logistics:

1. In the settings they chose to manifest their art 

2. in the work they do to sustain their art,

3. In the information sources and research processes they use as ideas and materials of their art. 


Although the Conceptual Information Arts program includes attention to these unconventional contexts and processes as part of all its courses, the advanced internship course (612) offers students an opportunity to bring a focus on these logistics within a work setting of their choice.  In this setting, they will participate

as interns, learning the skills and carrying out the tasks required. They will also be participating as artists, observing, gleaning materials for a creative project.

Prerequisites:  Art 410, 412, and at least one Art 511.  Those without these requirements are admitted at the discretion of the instructor.


  A grade of A will require excellence in all work.  Grade will be based on:

  class participation (50%)

  The quality of lab exercises, written semester long research blogs, final paper and presentation, and project (50%)


Because we meet intermittently during the semester, attendance is mandatory for all class meetings. A full grade point will be deducted for each meeting missed up to 2 absences, after which a student will not receive credit for the course. There is no opportunity for make up work. Students will have to re-enroll when the course is offered again. 



1. Internship

Students will find and carry out internships in an interest related to work. The internship should be at least 9 hours a week for 12 weeks, which is equivalent to a full class (6 hours/week for class meetings and 3 hours outside the classroom).


2. Track, assess and summarize the internship experience

• Students will be expected to maintain a systematic portfolio of documentation of their internship experience in the form of a blog and have regular entries on their duties, tasks, responsibilities and other aspects of their internship experiences throughout the semester.


4. Conduct and write two outside interviews

• Students must carry out two interviews with people who are in the same area as in their internships but work elsewhere. The goal of the interviews is to create a broader perspective and understanding of the field by exploring experiences of professionals who work outside of the organization in which the student is currently interning.


3.  Develop professional materials

- Development of a Resume for both art and non-art related work and opportunities.

- Development of an Artists Statement


Tentative Class Schedule:

Most of the actual work of this course will take place in the Internship settings and outside of class.  Most consultation in the course will take place during individual meetings with the professor and with mentors in the internship situation.


There will be regularly scheduled class meetings during the semester, approximately one per month. If special needs arise, other meetings will be scheduled.   Regardless of whether class meets or not, this time belongs to Art 612. Please leave Tuesday/Thursday class hours open for possibly scheduled class sessions.  If you take another course during this time, confirm with that professor of that class that it will ok for you to miss certain Tuesday or Thursday classes when 612 is meeting. 



Course Content

1. Find, initiate and successfully execute an internship  (at least 9 hours a week for 12 weeks)

To get credit in this course students will be required to arrange and execute a semester long internship for themselves. The internship should be specifically designed to allow the student to explore a setting potentially significant to development of their artwork. The internship cannot just be a job. Students must identify a clear research agenda for selection of the setting and create a viable documentation/reflection strategy to be used during these experiences.  For example, it could be used to check out a setting that the student thinks might be

related to their professional goals or it could be used to check out a setting that a student knows nothing about.


Students are urged to be creative in defining relevant settings. The settings can be preexisting organizations/institutions or a setting conceptually created. The settings can be art or non-art related. Students are expected to arrange the internships themselves although the professor will offer support and leads. Students should also learn to be creative in developing leads - for example, there may be links to real jobs listed but no internships.  In the past students have had some luck contacting these companies

and promoting the idea of an internship.


Below is a list of examples:

 * Work with main or alternative art organizations or galleries such as Leonardo, SF Camerawork Gallery, Southern Exposure, BAVAC, SFMOMA, Yerba Buena, SF Arts Commission, and GAFFTA.

* Seek artists you want to learn more about and contact them to see if they are looking for assistants.

* Work with non-art media such as Lucas Films, High Tech companies, Television or radio stations such as KQED, SF Public Access, Social Service, Environmental, or Political Agencies.

* Work with educational organizations or schools such as The Exploratorium, Zeum, etc    

* Work with science/technology environments - genetic engineering, virtual  reality startup, astronomy research project.

* Work with a Web or Media start up or established firm.

* Become involved in non-art related areas and learn the trade to carry out systematic observation/participation in some social niche - for example, courts, police, beauty shops, pool halls, malls, car dealerships, building roads, fixing washing machines.


Some possible sources  for internships:

* Craigslist (



• Museum Internships (

• Art internships (


2. Complete written assignments relevant to internship:

A. Entry questions and a specific written plan for the internship prior to your beginning the job that includes:

1. Your rationale for the choice of the setting, 

2. The initial questions/issues you raise upon entering, (areas you are interested in learning more about/investigating)

3. An initial plan for logging and documenting your internship experience on your blog. For example, you will make an entry following each day there. 


- On Documentation and Log:

Students must log all time spent on the internship. Also they should identify a liaison person/supervisor in the setting. The log should include both description of concrete activities and reflections on what went on

during specific working sessions - for example, what surprises were encountered? How is the student's thinking about personal art and career goals changing? What questions are raised that will be addressed in future internship sessions?  You will be asked to write a log summary at the end. You might address questions such as: How was it different from what you expected as indicated in your initial questions? What did you learn about the organization and its activities?  What did you learn about your own interests, skills, and future plan? etc  


- Final requirement is one or two page summary of insights from the log reflecting on these or other relevant questions.


3. Creative Project:

Out of the student's internship experience should come a creative project based on skills and/or experiences learned.  For example, your own personal work using technology learned on the job, a conceptual web page for the organization you worked with that they would never have approved, a digital video exploring issues raised by the internship, others (pending consultation with the professor).  


Much of the work on the internship is often practical.  The creative project asks you to build on the ideas, skills, etc that came up in the internship that could be related to the focus of the organization or it could go off in any direction you want.  It doesn't have to be major long work - just something that shows some creative

energy inspired by the internship.  Final requirement is showing this work to the class for discussion.


4.  Completion of professional resumes and artist statement

Students must complete a professional resume or artist statement/profile suitable for use to get jobs or art opportunities. We will spend a class discussing and reviewing professional resumes -- how to write them, what to include, how to parse what you know into resume form. 


5. Research Interviews

Student will conduct at least 2 informational interviews of people outside the internship

setting to get some perspective on the field of the internship. To prepare for the interview, students should prepare themselves and their questions by identifying background information sources such as trade journals, professional organizations, key individuals and ideas within the field to feed and inform their questions and direction for their interviews.


People are usually very happy to give short informational interviews - in person, by phone, or even email to students who are interested in knowlng more about the field.


These interviews should investigate such questions as:

How do the other places approach things that came up in your internship?  How were they similar?  How different?


Write up a one or two page summary of what you learned from these interviews posted to your blog along with the questions you asked.


Summary To Do List

• Set up an Art 612 dedicated blog and send the url to the instructor. Note: you can make your blogs private, allowing only those from the class to read and/or post comments.


• Internship

1. Find an internship

2. Carry it out for 9 hours/week for 12 weeks


• Documentation of internship

1. Write entry questions that identify your entry questions and areas you want to

investigate and learn about. 

2. Post these to your blog.

3. Track your experiences as they occur and post to your blog

4. Write a summary of your experience and post to your blog.


• Resume  & Artist Statement

1. Research what a Resume is - and note the different formats for different circumstances (egg. art and job choices)

2. Create you own and post it for review and comments

3. Make revisions following class discussion.


• Creative Project

Produce an art project from your internship experience.