This course is a critical look at the use of electronic portfolios (or e-portfolios) in higher education, and the unique opportunity here at Bennington to develop an e-portfolio system that will supplement and extend the Plan process. Through readings, discussions, workshops, and a culminating portfolio project, we will look at the history and current use of e-portfolios today; options for documentation and display of student work; the process of curation; and the use of e-portfolios as engagement tools for audiences both on- and off-campus (e.g. faculty, peers, collaborators, and potential employers). The course will also serve as an incubator space for the development of an e-portfolio system for use here at Bennington. Evaluation in the course will be based on both the assessment of various types of portfolios and curation processes, as well as the portfolio ultimately designed by the student.
This course uses case studies from socially-engaged art projects along with in-class work and research on how to collaborate with specific communities in an ethical, mutually beneficial way. We will explore how to use a strategic planning process, transparent communications and realistic expectations around time and money in partnerships that cross boundaries of race, class, geography, gender identity or age. Together we will map out a framework to help artists make gracious invitations, equitable agreements, stable and resonant artistic productions and build lasting relationships after the show or exhibition ends.
In-class work focuses on effective listening and communications, conflict resolution and sharing power. Students will work together to begin envisioning their own collaborative projects, make effective invitations to the communities they want to engage, and begin planning for how to work together.
The dynamically changing environment of the world of work, uncertainties tied to meaningful employment, and the flexible/creative ways people have responded will be discussed in combination with the goal of taking proactive measures in expanding meaningful relationships and networks in your professional and creative endeavors. The goal for this class is to provide a platform for students to bridge a series of philosophical inquiries in the world of work and the pragmatic steps that it takes to expand one’s social networking spheres when inquiring about and applying for positions in your respective fields. Additionally, your reflection process and the action steps taken in exploring networking as a tool for embedding yourself in a respective field will run in tandem with guest speakers/industry leaders who will share their process points and the challenges they navigated in their respective life paths/careers. The course will draw from anthropological studies in social networking and readings from the sociology of work as key starting points for encouraging students to reflect on how their academic/FWT pursuits at Bennington can serve as an informed transitional point for preparing for their own life after college.
This class is a pre-production for a future project whether for a projection, an animation or installation. Research will be undertaken, with this research presented.
A catalogue of images, materials objects, and storyboarding along with creating a short tests for a longer project will be completed by the end of the term. Various situations, and presentation formats and locations will be discussed.
A project already started can be included in the class with permission of instructor.
How to take measure of place is a question that has long resonated in the American imagination, and this course considers both the geography and the voices that provide the foundation for current environmental writing. The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons by John Wesley Powell, The Maine Woods by H. D. Thoreau, and Travels in Alaska by John Muir offer occasion to discuss the sublime, scientific discovery, and emerging ideas of the value of nature. A transcendentalist, Thoreau also appraised the natural world as a surveyor; the purpose of Powell’s river journey was geographic and geologic documentation, yet hardship made it something very different; and if Muir found the imprint of god’s hand across the natural world, he was also an early advocate of biocentric equality. Students will be asked to consider how scientific inquiry and a view to the sublime coincided in the thinking of these writers; and explore those ways in which their divergent perspectives are the groundwork for American understanding—and misunderstanding—of our relations with the natural world.
Corequisite: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events in the second half of the term (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm).
This class focuses on using simple mechanical devices (dc motors, solenoids, or vibration) to elicit sounds from myriad physical materials. We’ll discover the innate characteristics of materials themselves and manipulate forces that activate them, such as gravity, elasticity, tension, and friction. The class will workshop approaches to creating devices through the use of buttons, switches and sensors, as well as with microcontrollers or microcomputers such as Arduinos. Embracing a scrappy DIY ethos, we’ll harvest discarded materials and uncover the acoustic and poetic potential of the humble and overlooked. We will also look at concepts of precariousness and how they inform strategies for sound installations and performances. At the end of the term we will stage a performance and/or installation with our new instruments.
How do we come to understand what we are doing when attempting to change or interfere with a messy complex social problem? How can we know if the thing we want to do to improve a social problem will work or backfire? There are many lessons from psychiatrists like RD Laing to cultural heroes like Hermès on this topic. Ideas Arrangements Effects will overview several lessons from a variety of schools of practice of solving human centered social problems. The course will help socially engaged artists find where their own thought habits and beliefs can get in the way of their attempts to improve social problems. The class will also offer students a genealogy of the schools of thought that informed the Design Studio for Social Intervention’s take on addressing social problems. As part of the course, students will set a problem they are intending to address and use the class as a design intensive to devise their own social intervention.
DS4SI’s book, Ideas Arrangements Effects would be the primary text, supplemented with readings that were critical in shaping our take on design and social change.
Futures studies—also known as futurology—has been used by businesses and the military as part of a strategic planning toolkit. This framework of speculating about the future in systemic ways has been adopted by many contemporary artist collectives, in order to challenge assumptions of the present about outcomes in the future. These futuristic models are based on constraints—design limitations— that can spark wild imaginaries liberated from business-as- usual predictions. In this 7-week workshop we will create possible future scenarios in the forms of invented artifacts, writing, and framing devices. The features of these futures will draw from Investing in Futures, the artist-created constraint-design card deck (Mattu/Rothberg/Zurkow) which explores topics such as governance, living conditions, food, climate, technology, and range from possible to absurd.
In weeks 1-5, students in group collaborations will design and prototype pieces of specific future scenarios. In weeks 6-7 students will focus on collectively designing a futuristic EPCOT- like exhibit, which will be open to the community.
References and readings about future scenario design thinking, speculative design, and design fiction will also be explored in class. Learning outcomes: Introduction to futurology, speculative design, and systems thinking. Students will participate across media in constraint-based design, writing, and prototyping in a variety of media in rotating groups.
The common startup mythologies tend to promote the glamor of entrepreneurship. You will work hard in a basement or a garage with no money, but the brilliance of your idea will make you into a heroic (wind-swept) figure to whom investors, customers, and clients (and the popular press) will all be irresistibly attracted. These stories don’t map to reality for most.
In contrast, you need to get out of the garage, think more creatively so that you are adequately capitalized and can attract the talent you need for your enterprise development team. Competition and sustainable growth in the 21st century are enormous challenges which require your creativity and passion. They also require innovation, an equitable organizational structure, and a functional understanding of the regulations and law which either empower your enterprise to acquire (a) the capital in amounts and forms you can best utilize, (b) promote equity in compensation and ownership within your organization, and (c) maintain sufficiently control over the goals and direction of your venture.
During this 7-week course, we will quickly review and interrogate all common legal organizational form choices. We will then examine better choices in organizational legal form, their character and details, and learn how to create and utilize them and how they optimize and facilitate your ability to raise capital (which you will likely have to do over and over again). We will examine organizational designs which meet compensation equity and employee ownership goals, build the competitive and re-invention capacities of an enterprise, enable collaborative management and control, and sustainability. You will create your own innovative design and apply it to the preceding set of outcome metrics as part of the course. Further, we will examine pertinent enterprise law and regulation, like Reg. CF (Crowdfunding) and OPO (Online Public Offering) requirements and adapt our choices in organizational design and structure to make those options available.
Screen printing is an extremely versatile means of reproducing a 2-D image onto a variety of objects. Hand-drawn, painted, photographic and digital images can be used singularly and in combination with each other. Preparation and processing is relatively simple and multiples can be produced quickly. In this class, we will print with non-toxic, water based inks.
We will begin by covering the basics: how to stretch a screen, coat it with photo-sensitive emulsion, expose and re-expose a variety of artwork. From there, we will delve into ink modification and color mixing, printing a single color, blending colors in split-fountain printing and clean-up.
After mastering these fundamental methods, students will learn registration techniques for printing multiple colors/layers and best practices for overprinting on paper. Additional areas of exploration may include printing on fabric and the use of repeated patterns, printing on other substrates and monotype printing (producing unique images).
This seven-week course is an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the entire video and animation equipment inventory. In class we will use a wide variety of cameras, set up audio and lighting equipment, learn about camera stabilization, capture drone footage, and experiment with projectors. Throughout the course students will be asked to give live demonstrations and apply what they have learned to their discipline.
In this seven-week seminar and studio, students will produce creative, self-directed projects across media (video, sound, sculpture, etc.) that deal with the space between us, or proxemics, the study of personal and interpersonal spatial politics. The seminar will center artists Jeff Kasper and Chloe Bass, in particular Kasper’s wrestling embrace, a customizable workshop co-designed by/with/for queer folks and Bass’ The Book of Everyday Instruction, an eight-chapter investigation into one-on-one social interaction, including a workbook, measuring ribbons, and writing tools for examining how we tell a story based on the proximity of two bodies in space. Students will learn about the work of Lygia Clark, Roni Horn, Franz Erhard Walther, Ana Mendieta, Erwin Wurm, Catalina Ouyang, and will create self-directed projects in critical and imaginative response to the field of proxemics. It is helpful to have taken at least one 2000 level course in sculpture, sound, or video prior to enrolling in this course. The archive for this course is drawn from The Study Center for Group Work: http://studycollaboration.com/practice/field-guide-spatial-intimacy
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In this course we will focus on cutting and welding non-ferrous metals. CNC assisted plasma cutting will pair with the more traditional methods of shaping the material The fabrication processes will begin through brazing methods (acetylene and oxygen) for connecting non-similar metals then we will advance to learning the skills involved in using the GTAW welders for non-ferrous welding. This is a project based foundation course on a more advanced level. The student must have practiced and comfortably understand the processes in basic gas and electric welding.
“Economics is what economists do” says Jacob Viner. But what do economists do? And, how do they do it? This seminar will be concerned with these two questions. Our main objective will be develop an understanding of economics as a field of study and to explore how economics is applied to understand everyday issues that affect our material wellbeing. We will look at big issues, such as recession, unemployment, poverty and environmental degradations, as well as smaller issues, such as how to avoid paying too much money in a retail store, how rents of your apartment are determined, why online commercial websites can survive competition, and how automobile manufacturing companies can function profitably. In examining these large and small issue, we will explore how economists view the world and how economics has evolved as an intellectual discipline.
This is an introductory course and it has no prerequisites.
Simply put, economics deals with the material world, and ecology is concerned with the living world. How do the two worlds meet and interact? This seminar explores this intriguing question. This broad question can be analyzed in terms of more pointed queries: What are the feedbacks between the economic and the ecological systems? How do markets and incentives affect people’s behavior and decisions regarding nature? How do people’s behavior affect the changes in hydrological, nutrient or carbon cycles? How do the changes in climate and hydrological cycles bring about changes in economic production and consumption? What does environmental sustainability entail? Can egalitarian values like fairness and justice, and care values such as concern for living organisms and future- mindedness form the basis for the preservation and quality of human and nonhuman life? We will seek the answers to these questions in terms of analytical models drawn from the field of Ecological Economics, and in terms of case studies and illustrative examples drawn from real life practices of people.
This is an introductory course and it has no prerequisites.
Much of economics is concerned with problems of development, as the essential object of the entire economic exercise is improvement in people’s material conditions of living and their quality of life. In this seminar we will examine the evolution in economic thinking about development—its nature, its causes, and the choice of strategies for facilitating the process of economic development through surplus generation, resource allocation, and economic distribution. And, we will explore some of the unsettled questions and key issues in development economics that remain to be resolved.
The seminar is designed for advanced students. The prerequisites for this course include at least two 2000-level courses in SCT. Preference will be given to students with prior knowledge in economics.
Prioritization of registration: Students should email the course instructor with an expression of interest, and explain in few sentences: a) why they are interested in this course; b) if the course fits with their academic plan, and, if so, how; c) if they fulfill the prerequisites for the course and what courses (that would satisfy the prerequisite criteria) have they taken before, stating the course name and level of prior courses in economics/political economy, SCT, mathematics, etc. The emails should be received by April 30th.
In this course, we will examine the rise of market-based approaches to K-12 education reform in America. What are the theoretical arguments for implementing free market reforms in public schooling? What are examples of school choice policies and what are the consequences of these for students and families? How has the increased privatization and marketing of schools influenced the larger educational landscape? To what extent do free-market reforms contribute to racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic segregation in schools? We will examine current research addressing all of these questions, including the role that politics plays in producing school choice scholarship. Students will learn to apply a variety of theoretical frameworks used to examine school choice policies, including Milton Friedman’s free-market capitalism, Albert O. Hirschman’s concepts of exit, voice, and loyalty, and organizational ecology.
Physically, sound is simply the compression of air around us. However, this relatively simply description obscures a much richer understanding of sound. From how different sounds are generated and perceived to how different sounds can combine to make something new to how to design acoustically pleasant spaces, the physics of sound plays a key role. This course is about the fundamentals that underlie sound and is designed to serve as an introduction to those who are interested in going further. We will discuss wave theory, sound propagation, constructive and destructive interference, beats, and resonance, among other ideas. This course will be mixed between a lecture/discussion and a hands-on lab and students will be expected to design their own final project extending the ideas of the course.
This course, while rooted in Literature, is part of the Lexicons of Migration cluster. Taking as a point of departure Isabelle de Courtivron’s touchstone Bilingual Lives: Writers and Identity, students will update, complicate, and enrich the binary orientation of this collection, originally published in 2003. We will delve into the personal, familial, communal, and political dynamics of living diasporic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural lives. Our readings will include Madhu Kaza’s Kitchen Table Translation, Mireille Gansel’s Translation as Transhumance, and ark Polizzotti’s Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto; and a wide array of poems, stories, and hybrid texts from around the world.
Students will conceive, commission, edit, and design this online publication, which may culminate in a one-off print volume. There is the potential for editorial cooperation with students from Bard, Sarah Lawrence and Vassar; editorial calls for student submissions may be national and international.
We will host distinguished guest writer-translators; attendance at these events is mandatory.
Students from all disciplines are welcome.
Students will learn the basics of sewing. Included will be various hand stitches used in garment construction and repair as well as learning how to use a sewing machine.