Director’s Introduction | Italy

ITALY

by Martin Jean, director

One of the capstone experiences of ISM life is our biennial study trip, which in 2014 was to Ravenna, Siena, Florence, and Rome. The benefit to our students and faculty of these trips lies principally, but not solely, in the actual travel experience. Rather, the study tour’s lessons are first explored throughout the previous year in the ISM colloquium, in classes, in concerts, and in a host of other para-curricular experiences.

Again this year we have asked representatives from our various programs to reflect on what was important to them through the lens of their own discipline. These short essays show not only the power of the experiences we had in Italy, but also the multiplicity of perspectives that are contained within the Institute.

Virginia Jewiss leads a tour in Piazza Navona. Photo by Martin Jean.

Virginia Jewiss leads a tour in Piazza Navona. Photo by Martin Jean.

As these pieces demonstrate, no encounter with sacred objects, sounds, and rites can be fully encompassed by a single viewpoint. We see that each work of art, by its very nature, holds whole worlds in tension: the world of its creator, of those who have beheld it and affected it throughout history, and of those who encounter it today. Perhaps in no other place are these dynamics more keenly felt than in Italy. We will always be grateful for the experiences we had there and the friendships we forged.