Course Description

In a post-internet world, we will be looking at the origins of a culture from its material base. We’ll follow in the footsteps of Mary McCarthy who wrote The Stones of Florence (1959)* influenced by John Ruskin’s book The Stones of Venice (1851).**

Our week will involve exploring Florence and surrounding area using the art, architecture and history as the basis of our research into contemporary art production. Each participant will produce a suite of works exemplifying their individual interpretation of “The Stones of Florence”. A guiding principal will be to find and reuse and repurpose existing materials from the environment and make our own paint. 

We’ll gather materials during walking tours, visits to art stores and other sources for acquiring materials with which to work in the studio. Some of our days will be devoted to art history tours, conducted by Dr. Katharina Giraldi-Haller, who will interpret the iconography and iconology of some significant sites in Florence where the use of stone in multiple manifestations will be highlighted. 

Florence and Fiesole provide an opportunity to bring historical and contemporary practices together, combining content and research into material processes from pre-Renaissance to today. The studio will be available 24/7 for students to develop their projects, and it is expected that after the day’s activities students will use the facility to further its realization. 



This course is designed for those interested in researching the relationships between a geographical location with a rich historical past, and contemporary art production and research. Open to people of every background, materials will be explored and studied within the context of the living city. 


What is included:

Studio Access 

Excursion costs and facilitation

Hands-on learning materials 


What is not included:

Accommodation in Florence

Airfare and other travel 

Meals or beverages

We are all hoping this will be a successful venture. Please understand, however, that OCAD U reserves the right to modify or cancel the course  should the enrolment be insufficient to cover costs. If the course be cancelled you will receive a full tuition refund. 

OCAD U is unable to reimburse students for flights booked so please contact us to ensure the course is confirmed to run before booking your flights.  

For more information, please contact Jennie Suddick, Manager, International Projects & Partnerships, jsuddick@ocadu.ca, 416-977-6000, ext 2451.

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please fill out the course inquiry by clicking the link below so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.