Morven Summer Institute



At the Morven Summer Institute, undergraduate and graduate students with interests in sustainability, design, food systems, and history will have the opportunity to escape traditional confines of the classroom while working on projects with real-world applications.

Students from all years, departments, and outside universities are welcome to join the Morven community for this unique program.

Students participating in the 2024 Summer Institute select one 3-credit course from either (or both) of the 10-day summer blocks. In conjunction with time spent in the classroom at Morven, this interdisciplinary program features guest speakers, field trips, active group discussions, and hands-on projects to ignite creative collaboration among students and faculty.

The Morven Summer Institute is a collaborative effort involving faculty from the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences; the Office of the Vice President for Research; and the Office of Summer and Special Academic Programs.

In conjunction with time spent in the classroom at Morven, this multidisciplinary program features guest speakers, field trips, active group discussions, and hands-on projects to ignite creative collaboration among students and faculty.

Session I  - May 20 - May 31 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

PLAP 3160/GSVS 3160 - Politics of Food, Paul Freedman

How and what we eat is basic to who we are as individuals, as a culture, and as a polity. This course looks at the production and consumption of food in a political context. Food politics and policies have critical implications for the environment, for public health, and for social justice and political equality. Ultimately, we will examine the ways in which the politics of food represents both a reflection and a distortion of fundamental democratic principles. We will also examine a number of current issues confronting food politics and the food system in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a 10-day seminar.

GSVS 3110/ANTH 3590 - Sustainable Communities, Tessa Farmer 

This seminar investigates sustainable community practices from around the globe, exploring how communities think about and implement structures to support environmental quality, economic health, and social equity. Through case studies, class activities and site visits, we will examine what we can learn from many sources to  reimagine and change our communities to achieve holistic sustainability. This is a 10-day seminar

Session III : July 15 - Aug. 2 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

AAS 4005/ARH 4500/ARH 5500 - Morven’s Enslaved & Descendant Communities, Scot French and Louis Nelson

This course invites students to participate in the interpretive revisioning of UVA’s Morven Farm as a 19th Century Black cultural landscape, with a focus on the site’s enslaved and free communities.Through on-site lectures, guided research, seminar-style discussions, and field trips to archives and regional historic sites, students will develop strategies for interpreting Morven’s multi-layered history while exploring best practices for historic preservation, digital archiving, and cultural stewardship.

Session III July 29 - Aug 9  10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

ETP 3500 - Multimedia Practice for the Environment, Matthew Burtner

This class offers students a practice-based study in creative multimedia design for environmental research. We will focus on creative uses of sound, imaging, and poetics to design environmental messaging. We will study a range of media, emphasizing the use of environmental soundscape and sonification, and a focus on UVA’s Morven Farm. The class includes field excursions multimedia lab work, exhibition and discussion of student-created work.

ETP 3500/GSGS 3559 - Climate Justice Movement: Theory and Practice, David Edmunds and Keya Chatterjee (Jefferson Trust funded Practitioner in Real Life) 10:30 am - 12:45 pm

This course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the diverse voices within the climate movement, the practical tools necessary to effect meaningful change together, and the theories behind the work. We’ll explore the historical context for nonviolent direct action, how movements win and lose, and structure-based and mass-based organizing. The class will be co-taught by the climate justice movement leader, Keya Chatterjee.

ETP 2500: Write Climate: Art and the Environment (UVA Advance) Amanda Nelson, 10:30 am - 12:45 pm

This class explores the history of climate science and policy, and the potential for visual art to express anthropogenic concepts. We will engage with the community to gather language and ideas about our climate story, and create individual and collaborative art works to draw attention to environmental issues, with a focus on waste production and reduction. The class is based on learning while creating and using visual art as a tool for advocacy.


Tuition (3 credits @ $456/credit): $1,368
Total: $1,368

Tuition (3 credits @ $535/credit): $1,605
Total: $1,605

Tuition (3 credits @ $1,685/credit): $5,055
Total: $5,055

Tuition (3 credits @ $1084/credit): $3,252
Total: $3,252