School of Athen by Raphael

Italy 2017 Programme - Discover the Renaissance

Liberal Studies Abroad -- Discover the Renaissance 2017

San Lorenzo CloisterThe Italy Programme provides a stimulating interdisciplinary exploration of one of the most dynamic and significant periods in the history of European culture. The setting - the city of Florence - is perfect because of its immense contribution to the Renaissance, the 14th-16th century reawakening of humanistic learning and artistic endeavour.

The programme may be taken for credit or on an audit basis, for general interest. It covers art, architecture, literature, science and philosophy, through the works of such figures as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Donatello, Filippo Students on the DuomoBrunelleschi, Artemisia Gentileschi, Galileo, Clare of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Palestrina, Monteverdi and Machiavelli. Participants attend lectures, concerts and visits to museums, galleries and other artistic sites, in Florence and elsewhere, and meet in small seminars to discuss the writings of the period.

No previous experience is necessary for full participation. Students may bring companions: for convenience these will be registered as audit students, have no obligation to attend classes or other activities. For most participants, activities will begin in Nanaimo or Toronto during late April/early May.

Botticelli, Birth of Venus detail

Important Warning: A level of physical and medical fitness is required to participate in the programme. Many of the sites visited are accessible only on foot (and are not wheelchair-accessible), and the visits require lengthy periods of walking and standing. Accommodation may be several floors up, with no elevator, and luggage may have to be carried considerable distances and up and down stairs. If you have any limitations or concerns in this area, please consult programme personnel before applying.

Tentative Programme Dates: May 3 - June 4 (leave Canada on or before May 2)

Faculty and Staff

Mark BlackellDr Mark Blackell has taught Liberal Studies and Political Studies at VIU sionce 2006. He taught previously at the University of King's College in Halifax and at McGill University in Montréal. His research interests focus on the French Enlightenment, including Rousseau, and on political theory in general. Mark has taught many times in Florence, and will combine his in-depth knowledge of such figures as Dante and Machiavelli with his own perspectives on the city's life during the Renaissance.

Dr John Caruana is Associate Professor of Philosophy at RJohn Caruanayerson University, and also teaches in Arts and Contemporary Studies and Communication and Culture (York and Ryerson). In addition to philosophy, Professor Caruana also teaches intellectual history, in particular the period spanning from the Ancients to the Renaissance. His areas of research include European philosophy and the philosophy of religion. He studied at McGill University and York University.

Justin McGrailArt historian and poet Dr Justin McGrail teaches in the Department of Art and Design at VIU. He has participated previously in the Poland field school jointly offered by his Department and English, and is teaching in Liberal Studies Abroad for the second time. His interdisciplinary background and interest in key moments of cultural development will enliven the experience of visual art in the programme.

Libby McGrattan is the Departmental Assistant in Liberal Studies and Libby McGrattanIndigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies at VIU. A graduate of the Liberal Studies programme itself, she went on to complete a Master's Degree in Educational Administration at Simon Fraser. She has been involved for many years as Field Manager in the Liberal Studies Abroad programmes in England, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic. She brings to the programme a wide range of experience, academic interests, creative ideas, humour and resourcefulness.

Overview of Courses

The content of the three-course package (which may be taken at either the second- or third-year level) ranges over Michelangelo, Dawnthe art, architecture, literature, science and philosophy of the Italian Renaissance. Instruction is primarily seminar-based, with lectures and presentations included. In Florence, classes take up about three or four hours per day, five days per week. Many of them take place on-site at a church or museum, and there are a number of additional visits to museums, galleries and other artistic and cultural sites. There are also short trips to Assisi, Siena, Padua, Venice and other places. Students must take all three courses, but may choose homany to take for credit and how many on an audit basis: see "How Does Liberal Studies Abroad Work?" for details of different classes of participation. Companions are encouraged (not required) to attend lecture classes but not seminars.

Inclusive Packages

Package costs include tuition fees, all programme travel within Italy, accommodation, cellphone rental, tourist guides, books and other educational materials, as well as admissions to cultural sites and events. Participants must arrange their own air travel to Florence and travel insurance, including medical. Upon request Liberal Studies Abroad will connect participants with travel and insurance agents familiar with the programme. Food is not included, but accommodation is in apartments which have kitchens, so that food costs are minimal.

Basic Program Cost: $3995 Canadian.
Basic Accommodation (multiple occupancy apartments (3-6 people), with living room, kitchen and bathroom(s); share a bedroom with one other person): included in basic cost.
Single Room in Shared Apartment: add $500 supplement.
Private One-Bedroom Apartment (for one person or two): add $1000 supplement. 

Financial Assistance: The length of the program and its number of credits mean that students may be eligible for student loans while taking it. In addition, they may apply for the International Education Stipend and a number of different scholarships, from VIU and elsewhere. See VIU Education Abroad Finances.

Further Information

To discuss your interest in the Italy 2017 program, or to request application materials, please contact either John Black, Co-ordinator (250) 740-6391; or Libby McGrattan, Field Manager (250) 740-6194

Toll-Free: 1-888-920-2221 (use the last four digits of the direct-line numbers above as the extension number).

Commitment Fee: A non-refundable commitment fee of $500 is due on application. We regret we cannot accept credit cards.

Italy Information package. This contains extremely important information about the legal conditions of participation in Liberal Studies Abroad. All applicants should print it, read it carefully and retain a copy for future reference.

Other Florence Links