“Transactional, Transformative, Reconstructive, Consequential Education seems basic to persons who, as the Goddard Mission states, will ‘learn, think, and act with intelligence and responsibility in such a way that they will be increasingly active in improving the physical, social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual conditions of persons everywhere, and in restoring and creating a life-enhancing environment.’”
Yesterday was Registration (very easy) and multi-orientations. We received an abundance of information, insight and inspiration and finding time to process it all is tricky. Program Director, Jackie Hayes, a calm and nurturing spirit, talked us through the MFA IA program; the details, the intent, the expectations and the hoped outcomes. As my dear Aunt Mary might have said, “It was deep!” Our research will be inquiry-based, where curiosity plays out in shape and form to create context for community. We have gone around the room and introduced ourselves – our name, where we are from, our art practice, why we are at Goddard – three times now, and each time our responses change. The flow of ideas burble up from our depths as we listen to each other formulate new plans and acknowledge, “Before I thought <that>, but now I’m thinking <this>.”
We had an Introduction to Library & Computing Services – and Rob, Greg and Chip did a masterful job in explaining the nitty-gritty of all things technical at Goddard. They were patient as we unravelled and stumbled through log-ins and glitches. By the end of the day, we all had our email accounts activated, we had accessed Goddard Net; we discussed Research Tools & Techniques, annotated bibliographies and MLA formatting. The Eliot Pratt Library at Goddard is a massively stocked library with the added challenge of assisting students who are studying all over North America. You can take up to 30 books/items away with you at the end of residency and they are not due back until the next one. They will also ship any books you might need during the term. And we got our Goddard College student cards making us official!
There was an Orientation to Community Life and Academic and Disabilities Support. To say that the Goddard model is refreshing is an understatement. It is transforming to be able to think and act and work as an artist in a place with like-minded and supported colleagues. Great effort and intention is placed on providing that opportunity and support to students always. As we were reminded, it is not always easy for adult learners to ask for help, but if we need any, it is available to us in myriad ways. Thanks Susan, Max and Dvora.
Opening Session – welcome to the Spring 2012 Goddard Residency was our evening event. This year’s residency theme is Occupy: Public space, artistic practice and social engagement and the questions posed are: How do we as artists locate ourselves publicly and politically? While the occupy movement started with an agenda of taking action on this country’s economic disparity and corporate greed, how might we work to deepen this agenda to get at the broader moral, socio-cultural, political and ecological issues that inform and underlie the current malaise? How might we bring our skills of social engagement to bear in these discussions? How might we re-examine our practices in framing, audience, and content in order to more effectively speak to personal and political concerns? Might we re-imagine what is understood as public space itself, engaging spaces that are hidden, privatized, ignored, or perhaps not even categorized as “space” at all? How might we go beyond critique of the present to offer new visions for the future?
Each faculty member rose to speak to the theme and questions in their own voice. This gave those of us new to Goddard, an opportunity to listen to and witness the style of each faculty member. This knowledge will inform our decision in choosing an advisor for the coming semesters. Semesters also include various Peer Seminars, where groups of Goddard students and faculty sign up to work together over the semester via telephone or Skype.
In between all of the INFORMATION of the day, we ate some pretty amazing meals in the dining room. The food is healthy, lovingly prepared and delicious. I overheard one student getting ready for a performance in the green room refer to her “Goddard belly”. Before dinner I walked the campus loop a few times to get some fresh air and to hopefully allay that outcome for myself!
There are 16 G1s from east and west, north and south. We are a genial, friendly and supportive group in a nurturing academic environment. As artists, many have come from academic backgrounds that diminished the spirit and creativity. I am tired and overflowing with details right now, but in the best possible way.
P.S. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart. xoxoxox