Course Description

This studio course investigates the artist as an active member of society, asking graduate students to think conceptually and pragmatically about setting up a framework for their work. How are artists and cultural practitioners working and living in the world? How are we affecting and contributing to the sociopolitical climate of our local environments and our shared global networks? How can we effectively function as creative agents in our own lives and work in the expanded creative field? This course examines these questions through class discussions, site visits and by creating visual and written responses. Project themes focus on critical thinking about creative economies, and engage in dialogues around labor, class and agency. Project forms involve “expanded” documentary portraits of various sites, people and topics we encounter throughout the city. Forms may also include written and analytic responses. For the site visits the class travels as a cohort and have unique opportunities to access creative live/work models in the field. Guests include artists, curators, non-profit founders, strategic planners, political organizers, and researchers who all draw on their visual literacy to work across disciplines.

Student Learning Objectives

Candidates will learn how to:

  • Critically discuss different models for being an active artist and cultural practitioner

  • Consider and plan their prospective MFA/MA program with a broad contextual understanding

  • Identify and explain their own definition of success in relationship to concepts such as  “the creative economy”, “the art world”, and “civic engagement"

  • Encounter the lived practices of a wide range of local practitioners

  • Be introduced to field-based experiential learning activities that require participation, collaboration and embedded documentary techniques

  • Interpret field-based learning through the creation of a series of documentary portraits or written assignments of the city.

  • Contextualize class excursions using a variety of mapping techniques