The Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) cultivates skills in both the practice and the critical study of the visual arts. Its components include photography, filmmaking, animation, video art, painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture, as well as film and visual studies, critical theory, and the study of the built environment. Its faculty comprises individuals working and teaching in all of these modes. The department has a strong commitment to fostering dialogue among makers, critics, and theorists.
For undergraduates, the department provides students in a liberal arts college with an opportunity to gain an understanding of the structure and meaning of the visual arts through both study and practice in diverse areas. The department is committed to an integrated study of artistic practice, visual culture, and the critical study of the image. Our faculty of practitioners, critics, and theorists works with students to develop both formal skills and a sophisticated understanding of the roles played by technical ability and individual invention in the creation of art. Visiting artists join the resident faculty in exploring current issues in contemporary art in the context of the department's course offerings, and in exhibits and public lectures scheduled to take place throughout the year.
For graduate students, the department offers a Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies. The aim of that program is to prepare the next generation of innovative scholars in the field in a unique environment that combines theory and practice with access to the unparalleled resources of Harvard University. The department also offers a secondary field for graduate students in the area of Film and Visual Studies. The program is open to any student enrolled in a PhD program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, with the permission of the director of graduate studies of his or her home department, and of the director of graduate studies of film and visual studies in VES.
VES is located in the landmark Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the only Le Corbusier building in the United States; courses are held in the Carpenter Center, in Sever Hall, and in our studios on Linden Street.