Speaking and Writing about Art in English, a course offered as part of the study focus Cultural Production and Arts Management at the University of Salzburg in cooperation with the Mozarteum University, guides students towards a practical application of English. How do we talk and write about art? What specific vocabulary is called for, what styles and types of speaking and writing are necessary when speaking and writing about art, marketing artists and managing culture? In order to answer these questions, the course includes a review of grammar, an introduction to editing and style guides, practice speaking in groups and in front of an audience, as well as workshops with guest lecturers and artists. At the same time, the main focus is the students’ collaboration on a project.
Students decide on a project and then figure out how they want to realize this project. Along the way, they have to navigate the process of group collaboration, identify and implement the different stages of production, and deal with any obstacles: and all of this in English. What students take away from the course is the experience of carrying out a project in an artistic and cultural context using English as the project language, with guidance throughout.
The seminar has been offered since 2014. Projects have included such diverse endeavours as collaboratively creating CVs and texts for artists, hosting a panel discussion, publishing a book with transcripts of Skype interviews with artists from around the world and launching a postcard series promoting the Salzburg art and culture scene, which will be discussed in depth here. Although each project is different, they are all intended to foster the same skills: speaking and writing about art in English.
PostcARTs from Salzburg – Spread art all over the world
postcARTs from Salzburg, a project developed in the seminar Speaking and Writing about Art in English in winter semester 2016 at the Department Wissenschaft & Kunst, addresses the image of Salzburg via the enduring medium of the postcard. The team behind postcARTs from Salzburg, Carina Samitz, Manuela Seethaler, Katharina Steinhauser and Julija Kristof, joined together to realize a project that combines their different backgrounds and different interests within the art field.
postcARTs from Salzburg aims at generating visibility for unconverntional Artist: they are offered a platform that allows them to present their work to the public. A large variety of artworks, representing the artists’ personal views of Salzburg, are thereby spread throughout Austria and the world raising awareness of the city’s cultural and artistic diversity. The medium of the postcard was specifically chosen for this task. Based loosely on Riepl’s law, the original function of the postcard was reinterpreted: from communication medium to low-threshold platform for art. As postcard motif, the artwork circulates freely and artists are not dependent on specific exhibition spaces. The choice of locations where the postcards are laid out for people to take, e.g. universities, cafés and nightlife venues, reflects the projects is primarily intention of providing locals a fresh view of their city. However, the postcARTs unconventional perspectives on the city make them attractive for tourists, too .
The project started with an open call for ideas, which intentionally did not specify how submissions had to relate to Salzburg (as the project team was curious about what people would send). From 96 submissions, 6 motifs were selected. Each motif was printed on 1,500 postcards, with the back left blank, other than a link to more information about the artist . The postcards were financed via an online crowdfunding campaign and are now available at over 50 sites throughout Salzburg. Furthermore, the project was presented at the exhibition pARTicipate: Kunst und Kultur in Salzburg from January 19, 2017 to June 30, 2017 at enter: exhibition space in KunstQuartier (Bergstraße 12, Salzburg). Statements by the artists on their postcARTs from Salzburg: six very different perspectives from six very different people — or maybe they are not so different at all?