Trip in Bayeux Adds Depth to Study

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

During the summer months, most UWG students are content to take a well-deserved break before starting school again in the fall. Others take advantage of the time by studying abroad, like the 10 art students who traveled to Bayeux, France in July. The trip, spearheaded by Dr. Anne Gaquere, lecturer and Art Study Abroad program director, and Kevin Shunn, chair of the Art Department, was a unique opportunity for students to witness firsthand what they typically only see in textbooks.

"For art majors, research is critical,” said Shunn. “A trip like this can help students develop a foundation for that research, as well as enhance what they already know.”

Two other faculty members from the Art Department, Perry Kirk and Kevin Rutherford, traveled to Bayeux as well. Those participating in the program visited the Normandy region, Mont-Saint-Michel and the Loire Valley and spent an entire week in Paris. Not only did students tour the French countryside, they also spent plenty of time in famous museums and sites, which will be connected with what is taught in the traditional classroom.

Rather than simply reading about a gothic cathedral, students could touch it with their own hands. Instead of listening to a lecture on Monet, they toured the gardens that inspired some of his greatest works.

“A large portion of the trip is devoted to museums and art galleries so that the individual can establish his or her own feelings about the culture,” Gaquere said. “Most students are like sponges and can absorb information about multiple disciplines at the same time.”

Shunn thinks people who participate in the program tend to retain the information much more effectively than if they had taken a typical on-campus class.

“Taking an art history class is one thing,” he said. “It’s something else entirely to experience these things in real life, up close and in three dimensions. They take on a whole new meaning.”

Bayeux, France, is also home to the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry, a 230-foot-long embroidered cloth that depicts the events leading up to the 1066 Norman invasion of England, along with the invasion itself. The University of West Georgia has the only full-scale replica of the tapestry in North America.