University Honors Program

University Honors Program

The Sky's the Limit: Dubai as a Laboratory for Creativity

The Sky's the Limit (FAA3030) is an University Honors seminar with a study tour to the United Arab Emirites!

Meeting time is MW 2:30pm - 3:50pm, BOK: DC, FA

This course will discover the creative roots of the Arab Spring and the ongoing struggle for voices to be heard in the Middle East. Contemporary artist are at the forefront of the movements and th rough readings by noted art historians/curators. The course will explore the influential creative minds and works of the region including. Through conversations, interviews, presentations and Skype discussion groups with the artists, musicians, poets, curators and critics the course will open a line of communication to the future of the freedom to create in the region and the responsibility of artists with dynamic ties to the region. A study tour to Dubai for the Dubai Art Fair with visits with contemporary artists will occur over spring break. Over the last five years, Art Dubai, the leading contemporary art fair in MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), has become a cornerstone of the region's booming contemporary  art community.

Tentative Itinerary - Travel Dates: March 14 - 23, 2014

Day 1/2
Depart Cincinnati, Arrive in Dubai
Day 3
Tour of Dubai, Dubai Creek, Jumeirah Beach, and the Burj Khalifa: Lunch at Burj Al Arab. Evening visits to the DUCTAC Art Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Dinner at the Mall of Emirates.
Day 4
Visit to Tashkeel Art Center and with Lateefa Bin Maktoum, founder of the art center. Lunch at Tashkeel. Afternoon free to explore Dubai and metro area. Evening visits to the Empty Ten Art Space and the Flying Hourse Art Center - dinner at the Flying House.
Day 5
Day trip to Abu Dhabi and site visits to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Ferrari Museum/park and TDIC Center. Dinner at TDIC and return to Dubai in the evening.
Day 6
Day trip to Sharjah. Visits to Sharjah Art Museum, Museum of Islamic Civilization, and the Emirates Fine Arts Society (EFAS). Lunch at EFAS. Meeting with Barjeel Art Foundation and return to Dubai for the opening evening of Art Dubai. Dinner at Art Dubai.
Day 7
Free morning to explore Art Dubai and afternoon studio/presentation workshops at Traffic Art Center and Empty Ten Art Center - Desert Safari tour in the evening including dinner.
Day 8
Studio/presentation workday at Empty Ten Art Center. Afternoon Gallery tours at the Dubai Industrial Financial Center (DIFC) including talks by gallery owners/founders. Evening set-up for gallery exhibition and presentation - Empty Ten Art Center.
Day 9
Morning free to explore Dubai.  Late afternoon opening reception and presentations at the Empty Ten Art Center. Evening party and exhibition/presentation de-install.
Day 10
Depart Dubai, Return to Cincinnati

Course Information

Course details:

     •  Course number is FAA3030

     •  The class will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30pm - 3:50pm.

     •  Course Attributes: H, I

     •  BoK: DC, FA

     •  Credit hours: 3

     •  Honors Seminar

Course Expectations

Students are expected to meet the instructors' academic and behavioral expectations during the class time leading up to the travel component. Students who do not meet academic and/or behavioral expectations will not be permitted to travel. Students in this situation will not receive a refund.


Total expected cost to be paid to UC is $3200. The actual cost per person for UC is $4600, but this will be offset by a $1200 grant from University Honors and a $200 grant from UC International Programs, making the actual total expected cost $3200. All participants will receive these grants.

Costs include airfare, accommodations, some meals, admission and tickets, and guides.

Costs do not include passport, tips, ground transportation, some meals and snacks, vaccinations, personal supplies, souvenirs, or ISIC (international student identity card, $25).

Students have the choice to purchase an ISIC (International Student Identification Card) from UC International for $25. This is not included in the total expected cost.


Application required.  Please click here to access the application.  Even though the priority deadline was Sept. 6 - applications are still being accepted until the class is full.

Students will be contacted for an interview with at least one of the course professors, Prof. Joe Girandola and Prof. Vincent Sansalone.

UC undergraduates who are not in the University Honors Program are welcome and encouraged to apply, provided the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.4 or above. Graduate students are not eligible to enroll. Priority is given to University Honors students, but we are often able to offer spaces to other students as well.

A waiting list will be maintained.

Travel Documents

In order to travel outside the United States, you will need to have passport that is valid for at least six months after your return.  To find the forms you need to apply for or renew your passport, go to the Passport page on the US State Department's website.  New passports regualrly cost $135 while renewals cost $110.

UC recommedns that all have an International Student Identification Card (ISIC).  UC International has information regarding how to obtain an ISIC.  ISICs are $25.


Please visit the CDC page for the UAE.  Talk to your doctor about which vaccines to get, if any, and what health precautions you should take.


Please contact seminar professors Prof. Joe Girandola and Prof. Vincent Sansalone or André Durham of the University Honors Program.