Permanent Staff In Athens, Georgia
Christopher Robinson attended the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, and received his MFA from the UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art in 2001 after a three-year residency at the Penland School of Crafts. He spent his first summer in Cortona as a graduate student in 2000, returning the following summer as an assistant to then-director R. G. Brown. Robinson accepted a permanent staff position and moved to Italy in 2002, where he spends eleven months per year working in the program.
“Penland was a communal environment with many different studios in various disciplines that prepared me for what was to come at UGA and then with the Cortona experience,” Robinson said. “The position of liaison between the university, the program and the Cortonese – city officials, merchants and citizens of the village – is really about making connections that go beyond the surface.
Robinson’s experience in the program and his vision for its future are closely related. One goal moving forward is expansion of the curriculum and looking to other areas at UGA that can become a part of the program, broadening the ways that the Cortona program reaches out to the rest of the university.
As the new program director (appointed in January 2011), Robinson is hopeful that curriculum integration will also pave the way for more graduate students from the school of art and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences to study in Cortona. “For the global climate we’re in today, I think it’s vital for students to have a studies abroad experience – and particularly for art students to incorporate this cultural exchange in an atmosphere where art is an everyday experience.”
“I want the basis of this transition to be continuity in the Cortona program – that is, to continue to find new ways to cement the connection between our program and the town of Cortona,” Robinson said. “Through our exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops and many other interactions, we want to find new ways to refresh and renew this relationship between the program and its very gracious hosts, the people of Cortona.”
Mary VanNus is Administrative Specialist for the Cortona office. She earned her undergraduate degree from Berry College with a concentration in Family and Consumer Science and Interior Design. Mary has been with the Study Abroad office since 2001 and traveled to Cortona in Fall 2007.
Jackie is an Administrative Associate for the Cortona office. She directly assists students with applying to the program, applying for Visas, and preparing students to study in Cortona. She traveled to Cortona in Fall 2009.
As Science Maymester Coordinator Ben Reynolds works year round with faculty and staff to construct the program’s itinerary. When the students arrive in Italy he oversees the group, making sure that things run smoothly. Ben received his MFA in Photography from the University of Georgia in 1996 and has been a faculty member there since 1999.
Permanent Staff In Cortona, Italy
Enza Valente is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish and earned her degree as Interpreter and Translator in English and French in 1987 at the Scuola Superiore per e Traduttori of Rome. She currently manages the office in Cortona, Italy and serves as liason with Cortona city officials, banks, authorities and suppliers.
Marco Pacioni studied contemporary Italian literature at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” where he obtained a laurea in 2000 and a PhD in 2006. After the school of specialization in philosophy at the second University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, in 2001 he moved to Indiana University, Bloomington, where he continued to study Italian literature, philology, and philosophy accomplishing a master in 2002 and a PhD in 2007. He is the Academic Coordinator at UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, where he also teaches Italian. His main publication is a book on the first printed editions of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. He also published several articles which entirely cover the tradition of Italian literature. His next project is about the visual poetics and the representation of books in the tradition of painting between Medieval and Renaissance. He works as a book reviewer for two national newspapers. He has recently started to collaborate with visual artists to realize projects which include part of his poems.
Danielle Carrabino grew up in Florence, Italy. She holds a BA in Art History and English from the College of William and Mary and an MA in Italian Renaissance Art History from Tufts University. She received a second MA in 17th-century Italian art from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where received her PhD for her thesis concerning Caravaggio and Sicily. Her fields of interest include the history of Renaissance and 17th-century art, on which she has published, presented at academic conferences, and taught courses in various institutions, both in the United States and Europe. In addition, she has worked in several museums, most recently, the Harvard Art Museum. Currently, she teaches art history for the UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, where she is also a member of staff as as the Student Services Coordinator.
Shawn received a BFA from Kutztown University in PA in 1990. He lives in Bakersville, NC where he has been a wood fire potter and oil painter since 1997. He spent eight years at Penland School of Crafts making pots and participating in Artist in Residence programs. Shawn worked with the UGA Cortona Program for three past semesters as the Artist Intern/Dorm Facilitator. Now as the Studio Coordinator he continues to be inspired by the beauty of Italian Art and Culture.