70 years ago, although the artistic panorama of Mexico already had a tradition and dynamism founded and attended by the academy (aesthetic research and art in Mexico were already studied at the National University), there was no objective of training art historians as such and, much less, to accommodate a complete educational training, which will meet the needs around the various fields of action, creation, development, management and administration of art.
Currently, the cultural sector that involves the dynamism around art contributes about 3.1% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a fact that, despite the challenges, the attacks and the contemporary socioeconomic and geopolitical complexities, also speaks to us of a valuable, vital and productive ecosystem both locally, regionally and internationally.
Since 1953, the Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México created an educational and binding program for the study of art history that was a pioneer in Latin America; has developed a community that connects and contributes new values to the artistic panorama of Mexico, as an alternative to the official discourse, contributing to new museum proposals, formation of collections, experimental practices and other dynamics, discussions and proposals from their career plans, masters and postgraduate studies on art studies.
Despite an imprecise perception of artistic development and evolution, in contrast to a series of myths and prejudices regarding professional and comprehensive training in this regard, (“a closed niche”, “few opportunities”, “job insecurity”, etc. .) today the art ecosystem is significantly much broader and more complex than it was just two decades ago.
For Dra. Sara Baz, coordinator of the Bachelor of Art History, the possibilities of incorporating a comprehensive curriculum that develops a profile of the graduate prepared in most of the areas that work in the current artistic system implies, from the administration to curatorship and even production itself, as the art department of the Ibero-American University currently does, comes largely from work that came from multidisciplinary practice, often empirical and exploratory in its earliest days.
“I am testimony of a generation, perhaps in a certain way dogmatic or methodological, focused on very particular questions, and that at the time of being in the labor field, had to develop precisely those skills that not only had to do with the field of a historian Of art. We had to get involved in administration, dissemination, learn editorial, work with designers; expand our sphere and be interdisciplinary. From this experience we have added many generations that have opted for our study plans and that today, when starting a new one (the Manresa Plan) we integrate this development of skills that the workplace requires, understanding other aspects, such as administration and finances of the arts, valuation (which is essential), management of collections and exhibitions, with a much more practical training, which also takes the burden off speculative ”, reflects Dr. Baz, who also has a substantial career in the field of public administration around art.
The curriculum, as well as the teaching staff and the profile of the student -who, in the words of Dr. Alberto Soto Cortés, director and professor of the art department of the Ibero-American University, must be someone who is passionate about humanity and the social well-being of People, in addition to dialogue, reading and the hunger for new experiences-, dialogue and interact in such a way that what is sought is to train critical professionals, who can provide new horizons and solutions in both the public and private spheres, from administration, management, curatorship, finance, etc., that transcend the usual areas of artistic practice.
“There are students who say ‘I am not interested in the market’, but here they know how the industry operates both nationally and internationally. And if at a certain moment they are in the social sector, they will have to build bridges to achieve objectives. In addition, in the third semester we have a subject where work with communities is carried out, where although the art of biennials or fairs and galleries is far away, that does not imply that there are no important cultural expressions for different sectors, towns, cities , etc., where it is also required that they have a committed job, regardless of what they also do in this social sphere ”, says Dr. Soto Cortés.
According to the coordinator Baz Sánchez, the nodal substrate of the academic offer of the art department of the Ibero-American University is research. “All graduates know how to exercise it. We train them to do research and communicate those results at all levels: they can write an article for a scientific journal but also use it for curation, podcasting, teaching and designing workshops; having social interference, that is the basis of our program, attended in three seminars of the Synthesis and Evaluation Area, which are presented throughout the trajectory, having different possibilities of demonstrating skills in multiple outings “, points out the coordinator of the institution’s art degree.
Currently, the quality of the educational offer of the art department of the Ibero-American University is supported by various instances and certifications at the national and international level: it is recognized by the national standard of quality postgraduate programs of Conacyt, its degree is accredited by the CIEES (Inter-Institutional Committees for the Evaluation of Higher Education), as well as an accreditation of their bachelor’s and master’s degrees by one of the most prestigious bodies of art and design schools in the United States (EU), NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design), which implies that their studies are recognized with the same quality as those carried out in colleges and academies in the United States.
Regarding the result and sustenance of this vision and quality in constant update, Dr. Soto Cortés abounds and exemplifies: “When we talk with companies from different sectors, they are surprised because on many occasions they look for inertia in their profiles, for example in the field of the patrimonial administration, where they look for someone with an administrative profile, and in the end they cannot solve the required needs because they do not have the right person. People in national media who confess their ignorance of such a complete professional profile, with a much more assertive communication in various sectors, which also speaks of a generational change in the business community ”.
In the light of a new horizon, challenging although with a lot of viable work to do, which proposes new paths and solutions for the public and private challenges of the contemporary world, Dr. Baz breaks with the myth of the labor difficulty around the artistic field , affirming that it is possible to live from it, since the world demands to expand, integrate other knowledge and disciplines.
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