Dahlia Dreszer 7

Bring Back Photography to Emory

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In 2014, the Emory College administration eliminated its Visual Arts department as part of a broader set of cuts to liberal arts departments and programs. The decisions occurred behind closed doors, and involved no consultation with the faculty and students that the cuts would impact. What remains of the visual arts at Emory––a handful of introductory courses offered through the Art History and Film and Media Studies departments––stands in sharp contrast to the robust visual arts offerings at all of Emory's peer institutions. The Emory administration is alone in its narrow opinion that rigorous practice in the visual arts has virtually nothing to contribute to liberal arts education.

The curriculum in photography was one of the casualties of the cuts. Before the cuts, photography was the largest area of the Visual Arts Department. For many years, that department offered 9-10 courses per year in the practice and study of photography, bringing students from beginning through advanced levels, including many senior theses. Currently there are four courses per year offered through the Film and Media Studies department. The photography facility has fallen into disrepair, and no classroom exists at Emory in which students can learn photography using digital technology. Still, the remaining courses are in heavy demand, with long waiting lists every semester. Students learn with Jason Francisco, the single remaining visual artist with tenure at Emory, whose hands-on, interdisciplinary teaching style is rare at Emory.

Please sign the petition below if you hope to study photography at Emory, if you have tried and failed to take a photography course, or if you want the College administration to increase courses in photography studies to meet student demand. Feel free to leave comments explaining the value of photography to your education.

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