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On October 15, 2020, Sotheby's Institute Master's degree students received letters from our Directors with important updates to the Spring 2021 semester. As we believe this information may be of interest or useful to other members of the Sotheby's Institute community, the letters have been published in their entirety below.

Letter to New York Students

Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York is excited to welcome you to our MA programs this January. As the art world pivots and adapts, we believe that this is an advantageous time to pursue an education and to prepare to become the art market professional of the future.

In planning for spring semester, we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community. As we carefully track the news in New York City and the advice of experts, we have scheduled in-person programming alongside online lectures, which mitigates the risk of large group gatherings. This will offer you the greatest flexibility for your work and personal life and will enable you to customize your in-person components. And as the spring unfolds, we plan to increase opportunities for group sessions and in-person activities.

You may choose among a range of optional in-person offerings, or you may undertake our MA program entirely remotely. Your second semester in the fall can be undertaken remotely as well if you so choose.

For those of you who are looking forward to being onsite, campus will be open for business with health and safety measures in place beginning at the start of Spring semester on January 25, 2021. You will attend lectures online in the morning and can participate in the campus community and the New York art world in afternoons with library access, small-group sessions, faculty appointments and office hours, field study site visits by appointment individually or in small groups, walking tours, as well social programming throughout the city.

Details about new programming, campus access, and more can be found below.

With best wishes,

Christine Kuan
Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York

  • View New York Updates

    Spring 2021 Academic Programs will include:

    MA lectures will be delivered live online by our esteemed and experienced core MA faculty. Lectures will be recorded and made available on Canvas, SIA’s learning management system. Lectures via Zoom provide added benefit of recorded lectures and guest speakers, online breakout sessions, and virtual discussion boards. Accommodations will be made for students to watch recordings within 48 hours for those who miss any live sessions.

    In-person offerings will be available by appointment and on designated MA program days to include small group sessions, object access and handling sessions, academic advisor meetings, office hours, and library quiet reading room reservations.

    Field Study will focus on the evolution of New York City as the art capital of the world. Taking an art historical and market-oriented approach, Field Study will include lectures on architecture, cultural institutions, museums, gallery districts, auction houses, and more. Walking tours and site visits by appointment will also be available circumstances permitting. All MA students will be invited to participate in two future group travel Field Study trips (travel fees required, no additional tuition fees).

    The SIA Library extensive electronic resources and full stacks are available via in-house scanning services and library curbside pickup as well as designated onsite reading room reservation days. The SIA Head Librarian and Reference Librarians also provide online, bespoke research support five days a week for MA student research needs.

    Student support services will continue to be delivered online and an onsite presence from the Student and Academic Services, Career Services, and Administrative teams by appointment.

    NEW Programming for Spring 2021:

    Innovation in Art Speaker Series events will highlight distinguished experts pioneering new developments in the art market through sustainability in art conservation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and AR/VR technologies.

    Career Strategies: The Pandemic & Beyond events will offer guidance on interviewing online, building relationships through virtual platforms, best practices for working remotely, and other important professional workshops for navigating careers in the art world now.

    Top Lectures of Fall 2020 Archive will be provided to all students enrolled in Spring 2021 to hear from some of the most renowned voices in the art world—including leaders from major museums, galleries, art fairs, art advisors, and more.

    Spring 2021 Health & Safety Procedures will include:

    Organized schedule for campus access. Designated days of the week for you to access campus to facilitate contact tracing and program-based in-person small groups.

    Controlled building access with a system of navigating campus facilities in midtown Manhattan, so staff and students will have ample space and distance around the classrooms, Commons, and library. All faculty, students, and staff on campus must wear face coverings on premises.

    Cleaning of classrooms, shared facilities will occur regularly throughout the day. There will be hand sanitizer available throughout the campus and nightly full cleaning of classrooms, offices, restrooms, library, and public spaces.

Letter to London Students

As you prepare to begin your studies this January, Sotheby’s Institute is looking forward to welcoming you to the new academic year. This year, studying at the Institute is distinguished by our curriculum analyzing unique issues of today around technology, diversity, and sustainability. Furthermore, we are pleased to share that throughout the program guest speakers will be joining us from around the world via online sessions, giving you first-hand exposure to art businesses and professionals while they are redefining themselves. It is truly a unique time to pursue an education and to prepare to become the art world professional of the future.

We know that you chose to begin your studies this January in anticipation of the hallmarks of a Sotheby’s Institute education. It is essential we operate in a way that is responsive and adaptable, given the health challenges of this period. Taking this into account, we are closely following health and safety guidance and will be adopting a phased approach, as follows.

Programs will begin as scheduled on 11 January 2021, with the first six weeks delivered online. This is to ensure the safety of students and staff and to provide flexibility around your travel and relocation arrangements. This phase will include a virtual orientation, Navigating the Art World, initial teaching of program-specific units, student services, and extracurricular events. It is not essential to be in London during this period and we will support you in building your academic and social community remotely.

The second phase will commence from 1 March 2021, when we plan to introduce an in-person program supplemented by virtual interactions as required. This will include on-site, socially distanced classes in our Bedford Square campus and visits throughout London, with some larger sessions delivered online. As public health advice allows, we plan to increase the in-person teaching throughout the spring, continuing into the ‘electives’ period beginning on 26 April, and throughout the summer and remainder of the program. With major London institutions such as the National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate safely welcoming visitors, we anticipate there will be ever-increasing opportunities to expand student activities on campus, and in-situ access across the art world.

With best wishes,

Jonathan Woolfson
Sotheby’s Institute of Art-London

  • View London Updates

    Providing the foundations for this phased approach, here are some further details of our planning and what you can expect from your time with the Institute:

    Online excellence (Phases 1 and 2):

    Canvas, the Institute’s comprehensive online learning environment, will house all academic materials and allow for academic exchange between students and with faculty beyond the virtual classroom and lectures.

    Lecture recordings will be accessible in Canvas for those who cannot access them at the scheduled time or who wish to revisit the material.

    You will have access to guest speakers who are sector leaders around the world, and able to lecture or network because of the benefits of virtual connections.

    Extensive e-resources will be available with your through the research library, including databases, digital books, articles, and more.

    Support from Student Support and Academic Services, both individually and in small groups.

    Extra-curricular resources and activities.

    Online Careers Services sessions and support

    Supporting your in-person experience (Phase 2):

    A range of safety measures including social distancing, enhanced ventilation, additional cleaning of teaching rooms and public spaces, hand sanitizer available throughout, and staff and student face-covering policies where necessary.

    An approved Covid-19 Outbreak Plan and system for managing cases, along with academic and pastoral support for students required to self-isolate.

    The Library will be open and student study spaces accessible with social distancing guidance. The extensive online resources and research tools will remain accessible.

    Currently, planning for international study trips scheduled in the summer will take the MA in Art Business to the Venice Architecture Biennale, the MA in Contemporary Art to cultural hubs in Germany and/or the Netherlands, the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design to Paris, the MA in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art to the Art Basel fair in Switzerland, and the MA in Art Logistics to Italy or Switzerland.

To explore all Master's degree programs click here.