Interdisciplinary Learning: Block Museum - Northwestern University
Skip to main content
Teaching in the print room

Interdisciplinary Learning

The Block supports teaching with visual art across Northwestern campuses, actively offering the museum as Northwestern's most innovative laboratory. The Block's work is uniquely suited to raise and debate essential questions about contemporary life and our place in it,  and we are proud to partner with faculty throughout the University to explore the historical, cultural, and social contexts of our world through art.

Check out some of our recent in-depth teaching collaborations in the case-studies below:


Engagement with Public Culture: A Measurement and Communication Lab at the Block Museum of Art 
This ten week hands-on lab organized by the MS in Leadership for the Creative Enterprises allowed emerging arts leaders to analyze data on The Block’s audiences to learn more about the makeup and motivations of the Museum’s patrons. [MORE]
The Mummy Portrait Project: Exhibition as Laboratory
Thirteen Northwestern Engineering and Humanities students collaborated on the technical examination of a portrait mummy in a class taught by Professors Marc Walton and Taco Terpstra. The results of their research were displayed in the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer. [MORE]
Medill Journalism 333: Bilingual Journalism
Students studying with Professor Mei-Ling Hopgood used the Pop América, 1965–1975 exhibition as a touchstone for the full quarter writing reviews and research papers on the exhibition in multiple languages.
Movements: A Response to The Leopard
During the exhibition of the video work  The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats) by contemporary artist Isaac Julien, D. Soyini Madison, Professor of Performance Studies choreographed an original response, leading her students through a public performance within the museum gallery. [MORE]
Materiality of Art and Archaeology: An Introduction to Archaeological Science and Technical Art History  
This interdisciplinary course brought together students in Art History and Materials Science to learn from each other and assess objects in The Block collection.  Taught by Marc Walton, the course addressed the role of scientific examination in investigating the production and use of art objects.  [MORE]
Reshaping an Exhibition: Preparing “Caravans of Gold” for Presentation in Africa
Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Block Museum Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, led this course negotiating the practical and conceptual challenges that arise in reinterpreting an exhibition for different national contexts.  [MORE]
School of Communication: Museum Sound Design
Taught by RTVF professor Stephan Moore this class explored contemporary sound design for museum exhibitions through presentations, discussions, field trips, and technical demonstrations. As a final project, students produced creative soundscapes for the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer. The curators chose the winning proposal to be part of the exhibition. [MORE]
First-Year Seminar: “We Are Revolutionaries”
We Are Revolutionaries: The Wall of Respect and Chicago’s Mural Movement was a student-curated exhibition and digital project inspired by the legacy of a lost mural central to the Black Liberation Movement. The exhibition emerged from a first-year seminar taught by Rebecca Zorach. [MORE]