C&: Since 2008 you’ve been teaching at Hampshire College in Amherst, and you’ve taught in Germany and in Ghana. What are the specific challenges in teaching US students? And what are the main differences between your students in these different countries?
DKS: The differences are quite significant. Hampshire College is a liberal arts college and therefore demands that students fulfill certain humanistic or holistic requirements. Students concentrating on the visual arts have to take a specific number of classes or seminars in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. I require the studio art concentrators I work with to take critical art theory, art history, philosophy, and cultural studies courses. At Hampshire College, each student develops their own curriculum with the help of two faculty members of their choice, sometimes from very different fields. I have worked with colleagues in Africana studies to develop a curriculum in critical race theory and installation art for one student, for example. I have also worked with a chemistry professor to develop a curriculum for a student interested in crafting self-made paints. These cooperations with fellow professors and students can be very inspiring and they are never the same. At times there can be a certain consumer mentality in the room, however, which is often related to the high tuition and study fees that students and their families at US institutions of higher education have to come up with. While professor-student relationships can be quite challenging at German universities or academies of art, the institutions there have a profoundly different structure and are therefore not really comparable with a liberal arts college in the US.