Offered last summer 2014

Commencing with immersive studio fieldwork in the mythic Scottish Highlands and shifting into a multifaceted engagement with the contemporary art world in London, this program offers a blend of studio and professional practice.

Rural Studio / Urban Practice

Scottish Highlands + London Art World
Instructors: Christina Seely, Victoria Wagner
May 27-June 13, 2014


The course allows students time to form a sophisticated relationship with the landscape through 10 days of travel through the majestic Scottish Highlands. This segment of the program focuses on research, gathering of material for future works, and the intuitive and immersive facets of making.

Moving on to the vibrant city of London, students are able to consider the end goals and public life of their potential works within the contemporary art/design world.

An ongoing discussion about personalizing each student’s studio (private) and professional (public) practice threads throughout the program.


The first leg of the journey focuses on cultivating a generative studio practice based in travel through the Scottish landscape.

The course begins at the southern foot of Scotland and takes inspiration from Edinburgh's broad-based art offerings in painting, photography, and design at Edinburgh College of Art as well as edgy gallery visits such as Supperclub, Ingleby, Stills, Fruitmarket, and Embassy.

After two days experiencing Edinburgh’s contemporary culture, participants move north into the Central Highlands by train to the breathtaking capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness.

Natural highlights include Loch Ness waterway, North Sea, and Cairngorms National Park. Exploring ancient waterways and castles serves as "the outdoor studio," creating a rigorous connection to the land.

At the end of the week, an early morning train ride to the Isle of Skye provides spectacular views of Loch Cluanie at the western foot of Glen Shiel.

From the mainland Kyle of Lochalsh, the class crosses to the seaside village of Kyleakin. With its stunning geographical contrasts, Skye invites independent exploration -- from the Trotternish ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations, to the formal gardens of 13th century Dunvegan Castle, to the emerald green valley of Glendale, the dramatic sea cliffs of Neist Point, and the Black Cuillin mountains.

The first day is set aside for individual exploration; the class regroups on the second. Then it’s on to London via Glasgow.


This segment of the program focuses on London as a prime location for contemporary art and design, bridging artistic generation in the field to professional practice in the city.

In London, students focus on how their work might exist within the design/art world context and how to make this happen.

Studio visits include the interdisciplinary team Igloo (Bruno Martelli and Ruth Gibson) and photographer Esther Teichmann. Architect/designers/futurists, Kate Davies + Emmanuel Vercruysse of Liquid Factory and Liam Young of Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today offer insight into the practices of successful professionals and the working studio.

The class attends the New Sensations exhibition, meeting with exhibiting painter Khloe Sjogren of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Cath at the Saatchi Gallery, and stops by the AA School of Architecture to exchange ideas and view the student projects from the Unknown Fields Division Traveling Studio Unit.

Students also visit museums and other galleries, such as the Tate Modern, The Photographer’s Gallery, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.


Students finalize their time together by reflecting on the experiential knowledge, research, and materials gained from both segments of the course.

Students submit a proposal for work they will generate over the rest of the summer for inclusion in an exhibition at CCA in the fall. (Note: Students meet one final time during the first week of the fall semester to share studio work in a final critique.)

About the Instructors

Watch a video »

Christina Seely’s love affair with the UK started when she was 10 years old and has developed into an ongoing relationship with both the urban and natural scapes in the region.

Her five-year project, Lux, in which she photographed human-made light emanating from 45 cities around the world from 2005-10, included six cities in the UK.

She has also taught, traveled, and worked collaboratively with a range of British creatives, including Unknown Fields Division leaders Kate Davies and Liam Young, also professors at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

Learn more about Christina Seely »


A driving trip through the Scottish Highlands is what Victoria Wagner will always remember as an almost transcendent experience, bathed in silver light and flecked with the warm purple halo of heather, lupine, and lavender.

Her work reflects deeply considered engagement with the landscape and natural light’s gradient afterimages.

Learn more about Victoria Wagner »


Undergraduates: completion of all Core Studios, Intro to Art, Intro to Modern Art, Writing 1, Foundations in Critical Studies and instructor approval.

Graduates: instructor approval

In addition students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2013-14 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates this course satisfies a Studio Elective for students who have completed their freshman year; students who have completed the appropriate prerequisites may choose to take it for an Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio or an Advanced Photography Workshop.

For graduates this course satisfies a gradwide elective.

Program Fee

$4,600 + $50 registration fee

Included in program fee:
3 units, housing, guest artists/critics, museum entrance fees, local in-country transportation, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from the UK, class reader, most meals

Please be sure you read the related links in full:

Interested students should contact Christina Seely or Victoria Wagner ( or to start the approval process for registration.

In-person registration is going on now for all summer study abroad courses. Students may still register as long as spots are available in the class and accommodations have not been finalized.

All CCA Summer Study Abroad courses (including the New York Studio and Marfa Fieldwork Project) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs