Conestoga news

January 5, 2024 7:32 PM

Study trip to New York City provides practical learning

Students and faculty from Conestoga’s Visual Merchandising Arts diploma program visited New York City from December 11 - 14 to tour some of the world’s leading prop production houses and experience window displays of iconic retailers such as Tiffany & Co., Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.

Students and faculty from Conestoga’s Visual Merchandising Arts diploma program visited New York City as part of a practical learning study trip.

“During the holiday season, the streets of New York City offer a world-class shopping experience that is a perfect laboratory for our students to see top industry talent develop and maintain some of the most creative and elaborate window displays,” said Cherie Bowker, chair, Creative Industries. “We’re thrilled that our students gained these valuable experiences as well as clearer insight into how these creations contribute on a marketing and business level.”

This was the first trip of its kind to New York City for the program, which included students, faculty and a chair. In addition to experiencing window displays and learning from those who create them, tours of prop production houses were also a key component of the trip. Destinations included Square Design Studio and Shop Cat fabrication studios in Brooklyn, where students were able to study recreations of designer Gene Moore’s iconic window displays for Tiffany & Co.  

“We study Gene Moore extensively in the second term, so that was definitely a highlight,” said Andrea Hein, coordinator, Creative Industries.

Bowker added that in addition to providing students with a hands-on experience that acts as a vital part of curriculum, the trip also helped faculty understand areas where they can continue to develop program offerings, including experiential retail and augmented virtual reality window displays.

The trip was supported by the college's global initiatives and partnership development program, which plans, develops and manages the expansion of quality outbound global initiatives for students and employees.

"This experience sets the stage for student trips in other programs as we work towards growing more short-term opportunities," said Mariam Raza, manager, Global Initiatives and Partnership Development. "We are also looking forward to expanding study trips in Visual Merchandising Arts that provide engaging learning opportunities."

Students in Conestoga’s Visual Merchandising Arts program combine the art of window displays, prop making, graphic design, event planning, photo styling, and e-commerce with the science of floor planning, planogramming, branding and marketing, and entrepreneurship.

The two-year diploma, currently delivered at the Kitchener - Doon campus, focuses on project-based, hands-on learning for the creative problem solver. A field placement opportunity is provided in the second year of the program to gain industry experience in the field of visual merchandising, as well as make new partnerships with industry members.

The college’s global initiatives and partnership development program focuses on education abroad programming, academic and research partnerships and exchanges, as well as virtual and on-campus activities to help internationalize the Conestoga community and create new global opportunities that support student engagement and demand.