Columbia Summer in Greece: Art, Environment, and Curation

Columbia Summer in Greece: Art, Environment, and Curation examines aspects of Greek history and culture through the organization of an art exhibition under the general theme of the environment. The project is structured around classroom seminars, museum and site visits, walking tours, and workshop sessions in which students will learn about and gain experience in all stages of curating an exhibition. As part of this program students will create field recordings in various media, visit artists’ studios, conduct archival and ethnographic research, and visit some of Greece’s most iconic locations.

Program Overview
  • Intensive summer curatorial workshop grounded in a seminar highlighting historical, anthropological, and literary approaches to examining aspects of Greek history and culture
  • Earn 5 points of credit upon the completion of the course
  • Travel to locations in the region to explore sites relevant to the course themes
  • Live in local apartments in Athens
  • Present work at final public art exhibition
Eligibility and Application
  • Must be a currently enrolled student in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, the School of General Studies, or Barnard College
  • All students must meet the basic requirements for studying abroad: a 3.0 cumulative GPA and good academic and disciplinary standing in their home school
Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application” button above. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:
  • Application questionnaire(s)
    • Personal Statement
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Official transcript(s)
NOTE: This program may include an interview process for admission.
Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.All students will be enrolled in the following course:
GRKM 3930. A History of the Greek Present. 5 points
Instructors: Dimitrios Antoniou and Ioannis Mylonopoulos
This course combines historical, anthropological, and literary approaches to examine aspects of Greek history and culture through the organization of an art exhibition under the general theme of the environment. The course is structured around classroom seminars centered on the study and discussion of texts, films, and cultural artifacts; site visits, fieldtrips, and walking tours; and workshop sessions in which students will learn about and gain experience in all stages of curating an exhibition. As part of the coursework students will create field recordings in various media and conduct archival and ethnographic research. Under the theme of the environment we will consider questions such as: how are Mediterranean light, sky, and sea described and imagined across the centuries? What happens to the environment and environmental issues at a time of economic austerity? Our aim is to engage in a historically informed study of the “right now” and learn through collaborative work, cross-media exploration, and a project-based approach.
The program aims to enable students to develop practical skills pertaining to curation and research in the social sciences. During daily workshops with experienced practitioners, students create their own field recordings in various media and conduct archival and ethnographic research.
While Athens is the program’s main base of operation, we visit the town of Nafplion in the Peloponnese, and the last four days of the program take place on the island of Syros. Situating the program in three different locations facilitates a diversified and diachronic engagement with the environment of Greece.
This course counts towards the Hellenic Studies major/concentration and the Art History major/concentration. Other departments (history, sociology, anthropology) may grant credit upon review of the syllabus.
**Please note that attendance at all class meetings, workshops, and fieldtrips is mandatory.
This program involves a full schedule of activities and students should expect to devote their time in Greece to the program and complementary activities. Weekday sessions start at 9:00 am with a 90-minute seminar dedicated to the discussion of assigned materials (ranging from Homeric poetry to Freud to contemporary film). Seminars are followed by walking tours (led by faculty, artists, architects, and curators) and afternoon workshop sessions focused on exhibition preparation. Weekends are reserved for fieldtrips.
Upon successful completion of the full program, Columbia students will receive both credit and grades directly in SSOL. Barnard students should review the guidelines for Credit and Transcripts.
Life in Greece
In Athens students share furnished apartments in the city center, within a walking distance to the program’s premises. During the trips to Nafplio and Syros, students stay in hotels.
No meals are included in the program fee and there is no meal plan. However, there are grocery stores, pastry shops, delis, and bakeries where students can buy food supplies for casual dining. A week before the beginning of the course, participants will receive a list with restaurants, diners, and supermarkets located in the center of Athens and its immediate vicinity.
As part of the course, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves into the vibrant Athenian art scene, visit museums, art galleries, and artists’ workshops, and explore sites rarely seen by visitors to Greece (such as the former industrial center of Elefsina and the Byzantine chapels in Mesogeia).
Schedule for a typical day:
9:00-10:30: Seminar: “Nation-building and Classical Heritage” (19th century Greek political history)
10:30-1:30: Field visit: Walking tour of Athens “Making the Greek capital” (Syntagma Square; Athenian Trilogy, Omonoia Square, National Archaeological Museum) with architect Paschalis Samarinis
1:30-3:00: Lunch
3:00-4:30: Project: “What is Curation?” Discussion with curator Galini Notti (American College of Greece)
Morning seminars take place at 3 137 a studio/exhibition space founded by Greek artists and curators. Walking tours introduce students to diverse neighborhoods of Athens and each explores a different theme (e.g. the Ottoman Past, the military regime, the Greek 60s). Afternoon workshops take place at 3 137 and in artists' studios and museums, while fieldtrips visit locations beyond Athens (e.g. the temple of Poseidon in Sounion, the vineyards of Mesogeia).


Ioannis Mylonopoulos is an Associate Professor of Classical art and archaeology at Columbia University, where he has taught since 2008. His research focuses on sacred space, the archaeology of religion, the iconography of the Divine in ancient Greece, as well as the visualization of emotions and violence in Greek art. Educated at the University of Athens and the University of Heidelberg, from which he received his Ph.D., Dr. Mylonopoulos began his academic career in 2001 at the University of Heidelberg’s Institute of Classical Archaeology and has subsequently taught at the University of Vienna, the University of Erfurt, and Columbia University. He has also been a senior research associate at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, Oxford, a Fellow at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and twice visiting professor at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. Dr. Mylonopoulos has been the director of the excavation of the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Onchestos on Boeotia since 2014. Dr. Mylonopoulos has received more than a dozen fellowships, grants, and awards and is the author of numerous scholarly articles, bulletins, review articles, and translations, as well as books including his award-winning book on sanctuaries and cults of Poseidon on the Peloponnese.
Dimitrios Antoniou (D.Phil., University of Oxford, 2011) studied theology at the University of Athens, anthropology at Princeton, and oriental studies at Oxford. His research draws on anthropological and historical approaches to examine state operation and the making of public history in Greece. His monograph The Mosque that Wasn’t There: An Ethnography of Political Imagination in Contemporary Greece (forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press), explores the state’s failure to construct a mosque, while his latest article, “Unthinkable Histories: The Nation’s Vow and the Making of the Past in Greece,” (Journal of Modern Greek Studies) traces the history of an unbuilt church known as the Nation’s Vow and the prominent place it occupies in the public memory of the Greek military regime. Dimitrios teaches courses in Greek film, history, and anthropology at the Classics department and is the curator of the collection “Zines of the Greek Crisis” at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.
Soo-Young Kim is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Columbia. She holds a B.A. in Classics from Harvard and an M.A. in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Her research examines the interplay of the economy and the future in contemporary Greece.
Financial Considerations
If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to studying abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students should check with their home schools for funding availability.
Funding Your Summer in Greece
Columbia undergraduate and Barnard students may apply for the following scholarship applicable to this program:
Stefanos Tsigrimanis Memorial Fund, Hellenic Studies, Department of Classics
This fund supports students pursuing studies in modern Greek language and culture. All Columbia College, General Studies, and Barnard Students are eligible to apply. More information will be available upon acceptance.
For more general information and resources on financing your time abroad, please see the pages below: