Argentina | Arts | Summer

Argentina: Art, Memory, and Social Transformation (Summer)

Discover how artistic work has allowed people of multiple generations in Argentina to work through Argentina's troubled past and to advocate for social change.

Explore Buenos Aires to examine the role of art in remembering, moving forward, and working toward social transformation. Discover the city´s multicultural, complex, and dynamic artistic scene and the importance of art in different social struggles related to the past and present. You will participate in collective art projects and gain an awareness of the ways art can offer porteños, residents of Buenos Aires, diverse means of voicing discontent and working for a more just future. Understand the potential relationship between art and nonviolence and the use of art as an expression of both resilience and resistance.

Major topics of study include:

  • Argentina’s experiences of state terrorism from 1976 to 1983
  • Buenos Aires’s artwork, art movements, and art collectives
  • The use of photography to document and protest political injustice
  • The different social, cultural, and political layers that coexist in the city
  • The ways in which artists employ emerging technologies and new mediums to extend their messages and bring Buenos Aires’s concerns into dialogue with global issues

MarketLive and study in Buenos Aires.

The program is based in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, a cosmopolitan city known for its beautiful urban cityscape and its rich cultural offerings, including internationally renowned museums and quirky local theatres and dance venues. Argentina is well-known for its very active civil society, which works to foment positive change in the city and its environs. Indeed, the city landscape is full of signs of both the past struggles and current movements toward social transformation, and it provides the perfect setting in which to consider the program themes.

While in Buenos Aires, you will live with a local family for approximately five weeks. The homestay will facilitate your immersion into Argentine culture and give you the opportunity to develop your Spanish language skills. You will visit art museums, trauma and memory centers, and areas with socially and politically significant street murals and graffiti.

Hear diverse perspectives from local community members.

Throughout the program, you will interact with a range of emerging and established artists and community leaders. Discover how artists are using new technologies and new mediums to work toward social and global transformation.

MuseumEngage in hands-on learning.

Participate in a weeklong workshop on the use of photography in Argentina and create a short photo essay on a topic of your choice. You will also participate in an ongoing art project in a villa miseria, a marginalized barrio designed to accommodate migrant populations, where you will learn how art offers a means for both personal and social expression in this context.

Thematic seminar on art, memory, and social transformation

In the thematic seminar, you will study artwork and art movements in Buenos Aires as well as the city’s most well-known artists. In addition, you will learn about Argentina’s experiences of state terrorism from 1976 to 1983 to place these artworks and art movements in context.


Three semesters of Spanish or equivalent, as assessed by SIT.

Access virtual library guide.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Art, Memory, and Social Transformation Seminar – syllabus
(LACB3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Both before and since the collapse of the dictatorship, Buenos Aires has been the scene of intense artistic work. In recent decades, the State and corporate funders, as well as alternative projects, NGOs, and groups working on the city streets, have propelled an unparalleled collective production of artistic work that has allowed people of multiple generations to work through the trauma of the past and advocate for social change in an extraordinarily inclusive manner. From street corner murals to large museums of international renown to tiny galleries, theatres, and bars, the city exudes creativity and intellectual engagement. In this seminar, which forms the core of the program, students explore Buenos Aires to ask the following questions: How has art offered recent generations of porteños (Buenos Aires residents) diverse means of voicing discontent and of advocating for a more just future? How do contemporary artists in Argentina work through the past and reimagine the present through art (whether on canvas or in sculpture, whether in gallery collections or on street walls)? How are artists using new technologies and new mediums to develop and extend their messages and bring Buenos Aires’ concerns into dialogue with global issues? The seminar is experiential in nature and takes students into museums, trauma and memory centers, and through Buenos Aires’ most interesting graffiti-filled streets. Students interact with a range of emerging and established artists and community leaders and consider the important role of the arts in Buenos Aires’ political and social life.
Spanish in the Arts Context I – syllabus
(SPAN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Spanish in the Arts Context II – syllabus
(SPAN2503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Spanish in the Arts Context III – syllabus
(SPAN3003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
In this course, students hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. Students advance their Spanish related to Argentine and Latin American culture and to the program theme in particular. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Local Excursions in Buenos Aires

Memorial SiteDuring your time in Buenos Aires, you will visit a number of local field sites relevant to the program’s theme. Excursions will include meetings with local artists and visits to art museums and galleries, collective projects studios, trauma and memory centers, and areas with socially and politically significant street murals and graffiti. You will visit marginalized neighborhoods (shanty towns) within Buenos Aires and see the artistic work being carried out there. While in these neighborhoods, you will also learn about the use of photography as a means of research and political activism.

Art Museums

You will visit some of the most important modern and contemporary museums of Buenos Aires. Here, you will experience the dialogue between artists from different Latin American countries and their connections with social movements over time. Museums include:

  • Contemporary Art Center (PROA)
  • The  Modern Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MAMBA)
  • The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA)
  • Contemporary Art Museum of Buenos Aires (MACBA)
  • Recoleta Cultural Centre (Centro Cultural Recoleta)

Memorial Sites

You will visit several memorial sites and experience methods society is using to preserve remembrance surrounding tragedies suffered. You will participate in discussions around politics and memory and you will learn the personal stories of victims of torture and disappearance. Some of the

  • Olimpo Memorial Site (a former detention and torture center during the last dictatorship)
  • The Monument to the Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism (Monumento a las Víctimas del Terrorismo de Estado) in Memory Park (Parque de la Memoria)
  • Remembrance and Human Rights Center (Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos [Ex ESMA]), a former detention and torture center during the last dictatorship


This excursion will take place over the course of five days with a focus on a visit to the Archivo Provincial de la Memoria, an archive that collects information, testimonies, and documents pertaining to human rights violations during the seventies. You will also walk around the streets of the Cordobazo, one of the most significant civil uprisings in Argentinean history. During this week, you will witness different temporary and permanent artistic exhibitions as well as visiting artist’s studios whose works are related to the memories of the recent past.

Agustina-TriquellAgustina Triquell, PhD, Academic Director

Agustina Triquell holds a PhD in social sciences from IDES-General Sarmiento National University and a bachelor’s degree in social communication from Córdoba’s National University. Her doctoral research focused on the way photographic images build up subjectivities in different social contexts. To obtain her degree in social communication, she wrote her thesis on family photography albums, doing ethnographic work with several families, looking into the ways photographs and their location in albums convey family memories and an understanding of social positions. She has worked with various NGOs related to human rights and cultural diversity in Córdoba and Buenos Aires and coordinated several art workshops with inmates at San Martin Penitentiary Unit.

Since 2012 she has been a member of the Citizenship and Human Rights Program at IDES and has coordinated the NidoErrante Photography and Art Residency. Currently, she holds a postdoctoral fellowship at the Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, focusing her research on the relationships between visual culture and citizenship. Her research and teaching topics deal mainly with photographic images and their circulation in the public sphere, as well as photographic memories of the recent past. She is interested in unconventional academic formats, such as nonfiction audiovisual works, photobooks, and poetical research. Additionally, she works in collective projects regarding art, public archives, and social intervention in different cities in Argentina and Latin America. Her personal and collective work has been exhibited in museums and art centers in Córdoba, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile, and Asunción.

Alejandra GonzalezAlejandra González, Program Assistant

Alejandra González holds a degree in archaeology from Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA). Since 2002 she has been part of a research team investigating rock art in the northwest of Argentina. Every year she travels to Salta and Catamarca to do field work, which requires her to do photography, filming, and drawing, among other tasks.

For several years she was a lecturer of social anthropology at UBA. As a photographer she works in collective projects doing family photography reconstruction. Additionally, she is interested in found photography, public archives, family photographic albums, and photo books.

Since last year she worked teaching pinhole photography at CUD (Devoto University Center) with the Devoto Penitentiary Unit. Last year she created Asunción Casa Editora, a photography editor project, along with Agustina Triquell.

Her personal photography works with questions about memory, past, absence, and photographic imagery as an archaeological record.

Julieta Impemba, Homestay Coordinator

Julieta Impemba joined SIT’s semester program Argentina: Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America in 2012 and in January 2013 assumed the role of homestay and student affairs coordinator. In 2013, Julieta worked together with program staff and students to publish a book about women’s rights entitled Desarrollo y Derechos de las Mujeres: Participación y liderazgo en organizaciones comunitarias. Recently, she has completed her undergraduate degree in social sciences, humanities, and economics at UADE University (Universidad Argentina de la Empresa).

Faculty and lecturers typically include:

Victoria Daona

Victoria Daona holds a degree in literature from the National University of Tucumán (UNT) and a master’s degree in social sciences from the National University of General Sarmiento (UNGS) and the Institute for Economic and Social Development (IDES). She is currently a PhD student in social sciences UNGS/IDES under the direction of Dra. Rossana Nofal and co-leadership of Dra. Elizabeth Jelin. The defense of her doctoral thesis, “The echoes of memory in contemporary Argentine novels: Activists, witnesses and sons and daughters of missing persons (2000–2014),” is scheduled for February 2016. Since 2008 she has integrated research projects concerned with the memories of the repression in the Southern Cone, its representations, poetics, and imagery. Currently, she is a member of the CIUNT (Secretaría de Ciencia y Técnica funciona el Consejo de Investigaciones de la UNT) project Poetics of Memory in Argentina and Uruguay, in process since 2013 and directed by Dra. Nofal. She is a member of the Grupo Interdisciplinario de Investigadores en Formación del IDES (GIIF) and of the editorial committee of the academic journal Prácticas de Oficio: Investigación y Reflexión en Ciencias Sociales. She has published several articles in national and international journals about narratives of state terrorism of the 1970s in Argentina and Uruguay. Her research topics focus on the links between Latin American literature and dictatorships in the Southern Cone, with particular attention to contemporary novels in Argentina and the ways in which these narratives build stories around state terrorism while exhibiting gender-related issues, the processes of subjectivity, and family relations.

LudmillaLudmila Da Silva Catela, PhD

Ludmila da Silva Catela holds a PhD in cultural anthropology and a magister in sociology from the Universidad Federal de Río de Janeiro. She is a lecturer and researcher at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. She is the author of the book No habrá flores en la tumba del pasado. La experiencia de reconstrucción del mundo de familiares de desaparecidos. She has also edited, together with Elizabeth Jelin, Los archivos de la represión: Documentos, memoria y verdad and, together with Elizabeth Jelin and Mariana Giordano, Fotografía, memoria e identidad. She has published numerous articles in journals and books regarding violence and memory.

Between 2006 and 2015 she was the director of the Archivo Provincial de la Memoria Córdoba. Currently, she is an independent director in CONICET and a lecturer at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

Elizabeth JelinElizabeth Jelin

Elizabeth Jelin is an Argentine sociologist, widely known for her work in the fields of human rights, the memory of political repression, citizenship, social movements, gender, and the family. Her many books include Los trabajos de la memoria (2002, with a new edition in 2012, published in English as State Repressions and the Labors of Memory), Fotografía e identidad (Photography and Identity, 2010), and Women and Social Change in Latin America (1990). She has been a visiting professor at numerous universities and a member of many international academic boards, including the Social Science Research Council, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the Institute of Labor Studies at the ILO, and the ISA. Currently, she is a member of the academic board of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin as well as a senior researcher at CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas of Argentina) and at IDES (Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social) in Buenos Aires, and professor in the doctoral program in the social sciences, UNGS (Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento). In 2013, she was awarded the highest prize for science in Argentina, the Bernardo Houssay National Prize for a Research Career in the Social Sciences.

Sebastian RussoSebastián Russo

Sebastián Russo holds a degree in sociology and is a PhD candidate at Buenos Aires University. He is a lecturer in art sociology and anthropology and in visual sociology, both at UBA and as visiting professor at Universidad Autónoma de Oaxaca (Mexico).

He has published several books on image, memory, and cinema: Coutinho. Cine de conversación y antropología salvaje, Jorge Sanjines y el grupo Ukamau, Santiago Alvarez. Reflexiones, testimonios, relámpagos en un instante de peligro, and Las luciérnagas y la noche. Reflexiones en torno a Pier Paolo Pasolini. He is also the author of Interior, a brief novel published by Milena Caserola.

Currently, he is a member of the academic board of the Argentine Association of Cinema Studies (ASAECA). He writes for and is an editorial board member of several cultural journals: Tierra en Trance, En ciernes Epistolarias, and Carapachay.

Pablo VitalePablo Vitale

Pablo Vitale has a degree in political science from Universidad de Buenos Aires, where he also is a lecturer.

He is a PhD candidate in social sciences at the same university and his research interests focus on public policies and local organizations in villas (slums). He is a member of the urban studies area of the Gino Germani Research Institute and carries out projects that link habitat issues and photography.

Since 1999 he has coordinated informal education workshops on photography and cartography for youth in Villa 31 in Buenos Aires and in other disadvantaged areas of the city. He’s also photographer and member of the Photographic Studies Area at the University of Buenos Aires. His work has been shown in several individual and collective exhibition.

Live with a host family in Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires.

For most of the program, you will live with a host family in Buenos Aires. Living with a host family gives you the perfect opportunity to improve your language skills and gain insight into urban Argentine life. Buenos Aires offers an outstanding array of cultural assets and offerings, which you can enjoy together with your family. Host families come from middle-class backgrounds and work in many different fields. 

Typically, host families live in apartments or small houses located in the Recoleta, Palermo, Caballito, Villa Crespo, Boedo, Nuñez, and Belgrano neighborhoods, all of which are relatively close to Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, where many classes are held. All host families share a strong interest in having a valuable educational exchange experience with their SIT student. 

You will have the opportunity to engage not only in your host family's daily routines — which could include shopping, family dinners, and visits with neighbors — but also in cultural activities. Many students join their host family in visiting museums, going to concerts, spending time at neighborhood street markets, attending sports events such as soccer matches, taking weekend trips, or enjoying family celebrations, including birthday parties and national holidays. 

Other accommodations during the program include hostels and/or small hotels.

Program Dates: Summer 2017

Program Arrival Date:  Jun 15, 2017

Program Departure Date:    Jul 26, 2017

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Apr 1, 2017

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $6,750

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in:
    • Art, memory, and social transformation
    • Spanish language
  • All educational excursions 
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $2,000

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Buenos Aires), on all excursions, and during the evaluation period
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad, directly or through a stipend

Estimated Additional Costs:

International Airfare to Program Launch Site

International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses: $ 160

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $ 200

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.


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