Oberlin-in-London Program

Fall 2024 London Program


The 2024 London program will consider the earth’s materials and matter in a global context, focusing in particular on works of art, architecture, and landscapes from ancient times to our contemporary era. Much of our time will be spent in museums and heritage sites in the U.K. We will develop an approach to the earth that is attentive to indigenous epistemologies, the agency of nonhuman life forms, and ways of being that have been marginalized by colonialism, capitalism, and practices of environmental extraction to offer new ways of thinking in the Geosciences and Art History. All students will take a required course on geoaesthetics and will choose either a course on fashion (with Prof. Neilson) or glacial geology (with Prof. Schmidt). The program will be led by Professors Christina Neilson (Art History) and Amanda Schmidt (Geosciences).

Fall 2024 Courses


Christina Neilson, Art History

I’m really excited to teach the Oberlin program in London. I’ve visited London many times and I know the museums well but I’ve never taught on site in London. It will be great to learn alongside students, using London’s rich museum collections as well as its fabric stores and the U.K.’s many regional museums as our laboratory. Our required course on geoaesthetics relates to my longstanding interest in materials and their meanings in works of art, and in early modern artists as proto-scientists. I am excited to delve more deeply into the long-time view of materials offered by Geosciences, their long histories and where they come from. Art is often made on or with geologic materials and these materials can be understood from a variety of perspectives. Having students from different academic backgrounds will make the exploration of these understandings more interesting and meaningful. Outside of teaching, I am looking forward to exploring the many facets of London—one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world—especially its music, theater, contemporary art scene, and food.

More about Christina Neilson 

Amanda Schmidt, Geosciences

I am so excited to be going to London as part of the Oberlin program. I have not spent much time in London, but am thrilled with this chance to get to know the city better. It will be great to guide students in the program through a joint educational experience as we learn about glacial geology and geoaesthetics. I have been involved in broad interdisciplinary work with archaeologists, anthropologists, and forest ecologists for many years, but this is my first chance to collaborate with an art historian and I can’t wait to learn more about the connections between art and the geosciences. Our required course on geoaesthetics relates to my interests in how people interact with and shape the environment as well as interests in map making and spatial analysis. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective on people interacting with nature is a new approach for me and I am really looking forward to learning alongside the students in the program. My individually taught course on glacial geology will be an opportunity to dive into glaciers as a major surface process that shaped much of the UK during the Pleistocene. Outside of teaching, I am looking forward to exploring London with my family and students in the program.

More about Amanda Schmidt