Rare Study Abroad Program Caters To Student Artists

Baylor just recently added yet another abroad program: Arts Festivals Abroad. Students will travel to London, Prague and Edinburgh and to attend various film festivals. Courtesy of Kaity Briscoe Photo credit: Kaity Briscoe

By Savannah Cooper | Reporter

The theatre arts department along with the film and digital media noticed that they both lack a summer study abroad program that offers academic course credit. Thus, The Baylor Arts Festival Abroad Program was formed to offer students who have an interests in the arts six academic courses along with a full immersive experience of the film industry.

Film festivals are at the core of this program, and Fine Arts Living and Learning Community Program Director Kaity Briscoe knows that students will greatly benefit from attending them.

“By working together with the theatre department and film department, we landed on a film festival based experience,” Briscoe said. “We think festivals are incredible because they really bring the best of the best together in one place, and by attending these three festivals this summer, our students are really going to get so much more than three international cities.”

From seeing Ava Duvernay talk about the increase of women representation behind the camera in London to annual Austin trips for their film festivals in October to see Lady Bird way before the average moviegoer, Briscoe has witnessed firsthand how special film festivals are and what students get while in attendance.

“What’s great about film festivals is not only are you seeing films before they’re widely release, before and after every one, you’re always getting to interact with the director or the screenwriter or the cinematographer,” Briscoe said. “You’re getting a really in depth look into what it’s like to create this piece of art that you’re about to see.”

Associate Professor of lighting design JoJo Percy considers theatre to be a collaborative experience with the ultimate goal of storytelling.

“I consider theatre an art in whatever form you’re participating in,” Percy said. “As an actor, designer or director — it’s all about collaboration and storytelling. All of us coming together and doing our part to help the production come together and share it with the audience.”

Over the course of five weeks (May 28 to July 1), participants will be traveling to three different cities, London, Prague and Edinburgh, while living in city center apartments.

First stop will be London, “The perfect meeting point between film and theatre,” as Briscoe described. For 11 days, students will attend the Sundance Film Festival, tour the Harry Potter Studio, watch the Cursed Child play and more.

Next students will travel to Prague, a city where art affects history. The first four days in the city will be spent at the Quadrennial, followed day trip to Cesky Krumlov as well as Terezin, a concentration camp used for Nazi propaganda.

The trip will round out with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, a place that’s documentary heavy and young filmmakers are well represented. In Scotland, students will have access to the young documentary track that’ll give them full access to behind the scenes of the festival.

Houston junior Brian McAughan is a marketing and film double major who will be participating in this program is looking forward to traveling abroad for the first time while improving his cultural literacy.

“I think this (trip) will help out because movies distribute worldwide, and you have to think about different cultures when you’re going to make a movie or release a movie in a specific region. So I think this (trip) will definitely help me improve upon my cultural literacy.”

There are only three spots left on the trip, so if you’re interested in attending go to Bears Abroad and select the Baylor Arts Festival Abroad Program to secure your spot in a program that won’t come around again until 2023.

Regardless if you’re theatrically inclined or have prior experience with film or the theater, Briscoe just wants you to be a lover of the arts.

“If you love watching movies, or if you love singing along to musicals in your car,” Briscoe said. “This is trip is for you. You can be a lover of the arts and get something incredible out of this trip. It doesn’t have to be what you want to professionally pursue, it just needs to be something that brings you joy.”