Greetings From Los Angeles (Sweets, Solidarity, and Wisdom from Robyn Johnson, ’13)

April 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

photo (4)MAPHCentral received a sweet surprise in the form of homemade chocolate walnut cookies (yes, time to go to the office and grab some and finish reading this later) from Robyn Johnson, MAPH ’13.

photo (3) She also included this sweet, knowing note (emphasis by the office): » Read the rest of this entry «

Career Quiz! What Kind of Career would YOU Enjoy? (Alumni Panel 11/6 at 5:30)

October 30th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m lost! What do I do with my degree in the Humanities? (Actually, a lot of different things.)

Remember that post that was all like “professionalization is important y’all!!”? Well, it’s already time for another one! In other words, in case you thought it was time to take a break from thinking about your future (besides, you know, the future that includes thesis reading and reading), the Alumni Panel is right around the corner!

The Alumni Panel is a great opportunity to actually think about what you might enjoy doing with your life, beyond just thinking about jobs/careers/please-let’s-not-call-them-[gap]-years/funding a PhD/your general happiness.

Be sure to come to

the ALUMNI CAREER PANEL next Wednesday, November 6th, at 5:30 pm

(here at MAPH Central)

it’s the perfect opportunity to:

meet alumni - ask about different career paths - and get

a taste for what kinds of jobs might (surprisingly!) suit you.

Not sure which panels to attend? Check out our helpful Career Quiz below! (It’s not really a quiz. Just a guide to things you like. Certifiably thesis-free.) » Read the rest of this entry «

Colloquium Features MAPH 2013 Thesis Awards!

September 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 9.38.36 AMWell, MAPH 2014, here’s your first chance to look at some excellent thesis work done by members of last year’s class. From the editors of Colloquium:

» Read the rest of this entry «

Jane Hanna, MAPH ’11, discusses the MAPH Cultural Policy Option

July 2nd, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Incoming MAPH students, while you do not have to choose one of the program options to be in MAPH, many students do choose an option. If you are at all interested in working with arts organizations, non-profits, or galleries you may want to take some classes in cultural policy or consider being part of the Cultural Policy Option.  Jane Hanna, MAPH ’11, talks about her experience in the option and the nifty job she has now as Social Media Strategist for the Field Museum. Also, the Cultural Policy Center has a released a big study that was recently featured in the New York Times. It is worth reading the article if you are interested in cultural policy and some of the work CPC has been doing at the University of Chicago.

How were you involved in the Cultural Policy Center?

I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in CPC while I completed the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities in 2010-11. As a MAPH student, I chose the Cultural Policy option, and much of my coursework was taken at the Harris School and Law School. I was looking for an academic program which would allow me to have an interdisciplinary focus, combining my interest in the arts and humanities with my career experience in marketing, and assist me in my aspirations towards a career in museum administration. I’m also a technologist and gamer and my research areas included mobile and social media and the ways in which these complicate traditional museum exhibition, education, and marketing strategies. At CPC, I helped with the preparations for the CultureLab Emerging Practice Seminar 2011, which was focused in part on engaging arts audiences through the use of technology.

Additionally, I was involved with the lunchtime workshop series as both an employee of CPC and an enthusiastic attendee. After graduating, I also participated in the marvelous Future of the City: The Arts Symposium by virtue of my association with CPC. Betty Farrell served as my supervisor as well as my thesis advisor and professor.

What do you do now?

I am the Social Media Strategist for The Field Museum of Natural History here in Chicago. In this capacity, I am responsible for maintaining a broad and ever-growing portfolio of social media pages for the Museum, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Yelp, and many more. I work closely with the scientific staff to develop engaging content that educates and entertains our digital community of fans and supporters.

I also deliver up-to-the-minute news about exhibitions, educational programs, special events, and promotions to the public several times per day, seven days per week. I monitor and evaluate the performance of these pages using Google Analytics and other tracking tools, and continually look for short- and long-term ways through which the Museum can leverage these properties for various strategic purposes. I think I have one of the best jobs at the Field not only because I am uniquely positioned to collaborate with staff working in all of the Museum’s departments, but also because I spend a large portion of my time interacting with our enthusiastic public, answering their questions, inviting them to participate in dialogues and citizen scientist activities, and learning valuable insights from their feedback.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Why MAPH?

April 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Sure, we’re still waiting for Spring. But hey, that means more thesis time, RIGHT?

Prospective students have to decide by tomorrow whether to come to MAPH.  I’ve always thought it is a useful exercise (whether you’re a current student just finishing up the first draft of your thesis, or an alum from the class of 1997) to think about the reasons why you came to MAPH in the first place.  Thinking back to my own experience, I came to MAPH frustrated by the PhD application process, pretty panicked about my life, and very disappointed about my inability to make a decision about what I wanted “next.”  MAPH settled me down and made me think clearly about what a PhD would entail (and why it might not be a good fit for me).  Here’s an excerpt from my piece “Why a Terminal Master’s?”  Full text can be found here.

What were your reasons for coming to MAPH?  Are they the same now?  MAPHCentral would love to hear your comments.

Over the course of the past year working with MAPH I have spoken with a lot of our 1500 alumni. Our graduates live around the world and work in diverse fields—everything from non-profit management to hedge fund risk management. They find jobs in development, investment banking, law, journalism, advertising and public relations, corporate finance, secondary education, and curatorial research. One alumnus ran the 2008 Obama campaign’s finances in Florida.  One is studying to be a veterinarian. Others are administrators at charter schools, English teachers, guidance counselors, and of course, professors.

We have no astronauts.  Yet.

Why has a program that focuses so tightly on the development of humanistic skills produced successful alumni in diverse fields? It can’t just be that we leave the University with a healthy understanding of the classics and wind up running creative departments at advertising agencies. Rather, the breadth of success serves as compelling evidence that graduate work in the humanities can be (don’t laugh) integral to one’s long term career satisfaction. Graduate work in the humanistic disciplines improves one’s ability to engage in most activities that characterize the professional world.

That said, no one should trivialize the financial commitment of student loans that are associated with graduate school. I certainly don’t. My loans are growing, even as I type.  And they’re not going away any time soon. But I don’t cower in fear of them, and I certainly don’t dodge my statements when they arrive. The important thing to think about when considering whether to take the plunge (ie: take out huge loans) is that any graduate work should be seen as an investment in oneself, and an opportunity for self-enrichment that will accrue benefits in the long run.

Continued at My Footpath here.

 

What’s an Externship?

February 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Spend a day here!

Good question!  An externship is a day-long opportunity for you to interact with a MAPH alum at their “Workplace.”  Many of the opportunities are being hosted by MAPH alumni.

  • Why should I do an externship? Externships are great ways to build up your network.  The MAPH alums who volunteered to host have interesting positions at some of the most prominent corporate and non-profit institutions in the city.  You’ll get to meet some of the folks that they work with, ask questions, and essentially get a glimpse of the day-to-day operations.
  • What do I do during the externship day? It’s really up to you and your host.  But make sure that you come prepared with questions and an understanding of the organization.  Do your homework beforehand.  This is an opportunity for you to learn about a specific company and its place in the context of a wider industry.
  • What about my thesis? You can work on your thesis when you get home.  The promise of having a good job after you finish MAPH will make it easier for you to work hard after the day is over.  That is, you’ll have a reason to FINISH the stupid thing.
  • Will it be fun? Yes!  It will.  And also, probably, interesting.  Most of all, it will be useful.  You will have the incentive to work on your resume, cover letter, and interview skills.  And you’ll have the chance to get into a corporate/non-profit environment for a day.  It’s a win, win, win.
  • Can I put an externship on my resume if I get one? Noooow you’re talkin.  You betcha.
  • How do I apply? Email me (ajaronstein@uchicago.edu) or Lesley Lundeen (llundeen@uchicago.edu) to get started on the process.  You’ll need a resume and cover letter, which you should be honing this time of year anyway.  Think of it this way: this is an opportunity to interview in-house for a “position” where you know that your “boss” will be excited to work with you for the day.

Quit Hatin’ the South

October 4th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Guest post: Eric Wilson (MAPH 2011), who blogs at The Spirit of Space.

Taking the title of this post from a song off of Port Arthur, Texas’s own UGK (Pimp C & Bun B) album titled Underground Kingz, I have in mind rappers from the South (UGK =
Houston (Chewston), Texas; Lil’ Wayne = New Orleans, Louisiana; Project Pat/Three 6 Mafia = Memphis, Tennessee (Tennekee); Clipse = Virginia Beach, Virginia).  I come hoping in a sense to enlighten (excuse me as I add yet another joke about the material that we’ve been reading).

I don’t want to stand here (as a digital avatar) and preach that I am an expert on
Southern rap music or possess an exhaustive knowledge of the complete history
of rap (for that history lesson see Can’t Stop Won’t Stop). To quote Quit Hatin’
the South
as a means of defending my lack of a claim to exhaustive knowledge: “There’s some trash in the south, I promise you/from the east to the west, some of y’all [rappers are] garbage too.”  I have not heard it all and, in a way, I don’t want to; I cherry pick, though I prefer to call it bricolage.

Lyrics, licit and otherwise, after the jump…
» Read the rest of this entry «

An Interview With Our Own Kealey – Writer for PAGODA RED

April 14th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Kealey is studying East Asian Art History, with a focus on Chinese Painting. Her MA thesis addresses methods and authenticity of Ni Zan’s brushwork in his later works. Upon graduating she will study at Tsinghua University in Beijing in a two-month intensive language program.

Please describe what you were doing before you enrolled in MAPH?

I am a more ‘seasoned’ student in MAPH, graduating college in 2001. I attended the University of Chicago, concentrating in Economics.  Around the end of my second year, I realized I loved my Chinese Art History classes, performed well in them, and had great relationships with my professors.  However, I was acquiring a tremendous amount of debt while in school and thought the most rational idea was to continue forward with a career in finance, which I also enjoyed, just not as much. After about eight years on Wall Street, I enjoyed my job less and less and realized my role would not dramatically change in the future.  By this time I had paid off my debt and saved the money to return to school.   After submitting my application to Chicago, I was laid off in the fourth round of cuts at my job. Although it gave me that last push off the cliff I needed, two weeks after the program started in September 2009 I was asked if I wanted to return to my old seat.   I confidently turned down the offer.   Talking with so many interesting people, their research, and the endless resources of the University, I had been bit and could not turn back.

Why Chicago? Why MAPH?

I needed to be retrained on how to research and write like an art historian at a graduate level. I also had several gaps in my resume that need filling, such as language. Finally, I needed to see if I would sink or swim, and if a Phd was in my future.  I knew from my undergraduate work that Chicago is a fantastic institution, with the best professors & resources.  It would challenge me like no other place.

What opportunities, expected or unexpected, have presented themselves this year?

The Humanities definitely proved to be a more difficult discipline than finance when navigating the job market.  There is no recruiting season, personalities vary dramatically, and job descriptions can be vague sometimes.  It was a real challenge to figure out what people were looking for and if I was seeing every possible opportunity. However, during Fall quarter finals week I received a mass email from the MAPH email distribution about a writing position for a Chicago-based Asian art dealer. I sent in the usual materials, letter, resume, and writing sample. About a month later I was called in for an interview. A couple days later I was asked to do a ‘test’ writing piece based on a topic the gallery selected. I was hired shortly after that, and now I write 1-3 articles a month based on their collection. The articles are posted on their website and blog. I would never imagine in my life that someone would pay me to write, especially write about what I want to write about!  Additionally, I can do all the work remotely on campus. No commute!

What are some of the topics you have written about in this position?

Demystifying the swastika, Chinese New Years folk art, painting traditions, and recently I wrote a piece about Chinese Erotica. I am currently working on Blue and White ceramics with Middle Eastern influences.

What are the positives and negatives of writing for a company?

I had become comfortable with the academic format of writing.  When receiving a topic from a course there is a certain amount of freedom of topics under the broader assignment. There usually is a ton of time to think about the topic, research, write and rewrite. With a company, I usually have about 48 hours to research and write an article. The article is a representation of the company, so when posted online it is not attributed to me. Many times I will address the topic and once the gallery sees the result they will realize what they told me to write was not exactly what they wanted, in which case I will have to edit or toss the work done and start over. Also the company has editing freedom, so often there are unexpected changes in the final version.  Like most employers, they want what they want when they want it, no extensions, no excuses, and a little mind reading is definitely helpful. However, something I love is I can continue the work when I study at Tsinghua University this summer, and when I return and continue my job search.   Also, something that isn’t often addressed in academia is interacting with art that falls into the art market between dealers and collectors. I think its great to see the work that is not necessarily deemed important by a museum. The pieces I work with and write about are part of a long Chinese tradition of collecting. Sometimes these objects and their dealers create markets where there were none.  I guess that appeals to the art historian and economist in me.

What skills and experiences will you take away from this year?

Working in the Humanities takes a lot of personal risk and a lot of confidence in your abilities and your ability to sell those skills. I also saw that I really got out of the program as much as I put in. I went to every workshop that would have me, every informational interview that would make the time, audited any class that would allow it, and persistently addressed and readdressed challenges, feedback and shortcomings in my work.  I found professors, advisors, and students really responded to that diligence.  MAPH gave me the tools and platform to take away what I wanted from the year.