Illustration by Declan Van Welie

The Artist as Activist

Looking to the Past to Shape the Present

VHD-2123-A: A new interdisciplinary fall 2018 course open to all students

Course Number and Title

VHD-2123-A | The Artist as Activist: Looking to the Past to Shape the Present


Modern life bombards us with information and misinformation. As citizens, artists, and activists, it is critical that we develop the tools to understand the pernicious effects of certain media, and to sort truth from lies. We will examine the media landscape and communication strategies through art, books, articles, radio, and films such as Understanding Media, The Loudest Voice in the Room, Anti-intellectualism in American Life, and Get Me Roger Stone. We can use some of the same persuasive strategies employed in the news, political statements, social media, and art to craft our own creative responses to our world. Parallel to our media studies, we will undertake a group project in collaboration with one or more external organizations geared toward social justice. Students can also pursue individual studio projects that speak to the issues discussed in class. Open to students from all departments.

Taught by

Day and Time

  • Available for Fall 2018
  • Mondays 6:30PM – 09:20PM
  • 133/141 W 21 St, Room 401C

Confirmed Guest Lecturers*

Studio Component

A crucial part of this course will be pairing with a socially oriented activist organizations so students can get hands-on experience using their skills as artists and designers to work for social change.

Towards that end we will be working with Equal Means Equal, a small organization working to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified that produced this film. Each week there will be a studio component to class whereby students will be asked to create work within their discipline relating to the Equal Rights Amendment, which states:

"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Spring 2018 Tentative Syllabus


  • 10% attendance
  • 20% class participation
  • 30% written assignments
  • 30% studio assignments


Feel free to contact Declan Van Welie or Eric Corriel (but not both!) over email: [email protected] | [email protected]

*Guest lecturers have committed to the class however they are subject to change