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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Join Otis’ new President Bruce W. Ferguson and new Director of Galleries and Exhibitions Kate McNamara at a special reception for alumni and friends at the historic National Arts Club.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015
    7:00 – 9:00 pm

    National Arts Club
    15 Gramercy Park South
    New York, NY 10003
    Business Casual attire is required by the National Arts Club
    For dress code information, visit: www.nationalartsclub.org (under About Us/FAQs)

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Adam Linder is a choreographer based between Berlin and Los Angeles, working both in theatre and visual art contexts. He has been developing a dance based  format he calls Choreographic Services since 2013. This aspect of his work is focused on underscoring real time and economic conditions that are integral to the discipline of  choreography. At Otis Linder will introduce this format both conceptually and practically, discussing why 'servicing' is the relevant way for his work to publicly engage.  

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event
    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.
    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.
    October 15, 6:30 - 9:30 pm


I-Search Paper for Visual Culture

What is an I-Search Paper?

An I-Search Paper helps you learn the nature of searching and discovery on a chosen topic. Your goal is to pay attention, track this exploration, and LEARN HOW YOU LEARN so that you can repeat the process in other courses. The I-Search Paper should be the story of your search process, including chronological reflections on the phases of research in a narrative form. The I is for YOU. It's the story of YOUR search and what you learned.

In Visual Culture, the I Search Paper is your Signature Assignment

Here is the prompt for what you are researching: The study of visual culture is blurring the boundaries between art and design and traditional and new media.  Based upon your interests, identify, explore, and discuss a particular issue or question that excites or concerns you about this evolving discipline. Your I Search paper is going to be the record of what you discover, how you discover it , and how this affected or changed your thinking.

To begin the I-search paper make sure that you understand the terms and assumptions that are embedded within the prompt. As you begin to consider the questions listed below, keep a record of your thought process. This will become part of your I-Search story.

These are some questions that might help you narrow your search.

  • What is art?  What is fine art?  What is design? What is visual culture?
  • What is  new media?  
  • Can anything be art?  Who decides when something is art?
  • What does aesthetics mean? What is a canon? Who/what do canons include or exclude?
  • How do priorities like race, ethnicity, gender, politics, religion, class affect how people make, use, and view art/design/visual culture?
  • What are your priorities as a future maker and how do those priorities influence your position on art, design, and visual culture?

Remember, you are not looking for “the answer.” You are not writing a report. You are investigating a topic in an attempt to learn something new about where and how it is discussed in print and other media. In fact, given the personal nature of this paper, your conclusion might offer reflections on what you learned about the topic and about researching.



  1. Start with the Databases that are provided for you through the Library website. Art Source is arguably the best for this course. Try it!
  2. Keep track of the actual search terms and specific databases you used and how you modified your strategy as you went along. (See Beginning Your Research). You will include those details in your paper.
  3. Analyze the results. How many hits did you get? Say how and why you modified your search strategy to get more or less. What did you learn about each database that you tried?
  4. Include actual facts and theories that you discovered about your topic as well as idiosyncratic information such as what surprised you. You could say what you already knew about the topic before beginning the research and how what you knew about that topic may have changed during the research process.
  5. If you have trouble finding relevant articles or books in the Library, ask a librarian. They have Master's Degrees in research, are more discerning than search engines. Plus, they are happy to assist!
  6. You will then create a bibliography of at least 2 sources (books and/or journal articles) that MUST be found through the Otis databases and/or the OPAC (book catalog). You may also include websites if you used them, but those will be in addition to the 2.
  7. You must annotate and evaluate the sources in the bibliography. Remember, the annotations must include the credentials of the author and the type of information (scholarly, popular, etc.), and the intented autience of the publication. (See Sample Annotations, CRAAP Detection  and Types of Information.


 Remember that research is a creative process. Use your creative thinking skills in the research process. Explore widely, question, learn, and keep revising your strategy as needed.