Summer Abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico

Ex-Hacienda Guadalupe, where the project takes place with "Tlacuache," one of the hacienda's five dogs

In colonial Oaxaca -- the heartland of mezcal, art, and the best food in Mexico -- studio participants collaborate with artisans and students from other art schools in Mexico and abroad, using play as a creative strategy.

For over 10 years this experimental workshop has been creating relationships between artists and designers from all over the world with craftspeople in the Oaxaca valley.

The results have been so successful that in 2014 they will be showcased in shows at the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the Museo de Arte Popular in Mexico City.

Interdisciplinary Studio: Oaxaca, Mexico

Instructor: Raul Cabra
June 1-23, 2013

Spots are still available. Interested students should contact the instructor, Raul Cabra, right away to start the approval process for registration.


The studio consists of three weeks of experimental work, with the goal of investigating and defining new methodologies for the use of design, art, and creativity as tools for social change and cultural engagement.

Students work one on one with local artisans in a wide range of media (past participants have worked with textiles, ceramic, wood, hammocks, and weaving). Collaboratively, the class explores the materials and opens new possibilities for their local use, while at the same time investigating and proposing the creation of new, nontraditional objects.

Oaxaca is famous for its beauty and friendliness, its cultural richness, its sophisticated arts scene, and its unique cuisine. During the workshop students live in the Ex-Hacienda Guadalupe in the town of Tlacochahuaya, 20 minutes outside the city of Oaxaca in the central valley.

Also in residence at the hacienda are five dogs, two donkeys, a sad girl ghost, and a family of owls.

View a brochure on the program

About the Instructor

Raul Cabra is senior adjunct professor at CCA where he has been teaching on design and social issues at graduate and undergraduate levels for the past 20 years. He is also principal of Cabra Diseno, a multidisciplinary design firm based in San Francisco with an emphasis on community-based and socially engaged work in the fields of health, art, and education.

Cabra lectures frequently on his work for national and international audiences, most recently addressing the IV Congress of AIDS and HIV Prevention in Cuiaba, Brazil, and the University of Nuevo Leon Design Conference in Monterey, Mexico.

Cabra has served as a consultant to the Republic of China on social change through education and sustainability and is presently the director of the sustainable tourism redevelopment project for the Mezcal Route in the Valley of Tlacolula in Oaxaca.

MA in Design, Anthropology and Education, UC Berkeley; BFA in Design, CCA


Undergraduates: completion of sophomore level by summer 2013 and instructor approval
Graduates: instructor approval

In addition all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2012-13 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates, this course satisfies a studio elective, Diversity Studies Studio, or an Upper Division Interdisciplinary Studio.

For graduates, this course satisfies a gradwide elective.

Program Fee

$4,650 + $50 registration fee

Program fee includes
3 units, housing: dorm-style room (shared with 3 to 4 students), breakfast and lunch (plus seven dinners at the hacienda), museum/field-trip entry fees, local transportation, and travel/health insurance (see insurance)

Program fee does not include
Airfare to and from Mexico, most dinners, off-hour transportation


Breakfast and lunch, as well as seven dinners, are provided at the hacienda. Lunch and dinner outside the hacienda not included.


Transportation for workshop-related travel is provided free of charge. For a round trip fee of $4 per person, daily transportation to Oaxaca for personal/recreational purposes is available until 11 p.m.

Individual cabs can be hired for a $25 round-trip fee. Daily public transportation is also available until 9 p.m. for a $5 round-trip fee (but a much longer travel time).

Fees quoted above are subject to change.

Please make sure you read the related links in full:

Financial Aid
Passport, Visa, and Insurance
Code of Conduct

All CCA Summer Study Abroad courses (including the New Mexico, New York, and Texas Studios) 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