Sarah Keeling

International Experience Country:
New Zealand
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Carnegie Mellon University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Sarah Keeling studied at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in Auckland, New Zealand for three months through her participation in an internship-exchange position at the university. During this time she immersed herself in the day-to-day activities of class work in a communal studio space and attended weekly theory courses with other students. Sarah participated in two public exhibitions and gained practical knowledge in installation and collaborative project development, helping her to build professional skills. She worked with a group of fellow students on a project that introduced her to a first hand experience of New Zealand’s small-farm dairy production, allowing her to spend time on a local farm. The project was also an introduction to the politics surrounding industrial dairy production, New Zealand’s primary source of economic income. On her time off from school, Sarah took the opportunity to travel throughout the North Island and experience the natural landscape by hiking several of the volcanoes surrounding the city. During one excursion, she visited Tongariro National Park where she learned about the geological processes that formed much of New Zealand’s land as well as the current volcanic activity in the immediate area. She attended a number of cultural events including a folk club based out of a remaining WWII bunker, gallery openings and film festivals. Additionally, she learned about both Kiwi and Maori customs through conversing with the people she met throughout her travels and through visiting the Ngatie Whatau tribe’s marae, a sacred communal place that serves both religious and social purposes.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Always Popcorn

"Always Popcorn" (as in there will always be popcorn) is a forum for sharing work with the aim to gain exposure to artists (both historical and current), share ideas, interests and enthusiasm for art. We began by sending out an open call to artists in the campus community at CMU for works of art by other artists they found inspiring. Submissions were then categorized by their medium, such as video, painting, drawing, sculpture, social engagement, etc… The first installment of “Always Popcorn” featured video works, but each subsequent event will focus on a different selection. In this round, participants ranged from undergraduate students, graduate students and professors. We hope to broaden our reach to include artists in the larger Pittsburgh area as the event proceeds.

Our aim for the event was to create a resource within the arts community at Carnegie Mellon University that echoed the aspects of collective idea generation and furthering appreciation for the arts we both experienced during our time studying and working abroad. We wanted to organize an event that fostered excitement and facilitated an exchange of ideas. A handout containing a short bio of each artist who submitted a work, along with the specifications of the piece they submitted was present at the screening. Our hope is that this document may serve as a record of what's been shown in addition to a way for people to contact each other with further recommendations or shared interests.