The Studio for Interrelated Media
The Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) undergraduate major is intended for student artists interested in a curriculum that supports idea-centered, interdisciplinary, and non-media speciﬁc artistic practice, along-side collaboration and self-governance. SIM majors work with sound, light, motion, digital and experimental media, live performance, public practice, interactive installations, event production, print and spoken word, and/or a combination thereof. The SIM program, the first of its kind in the country, was founded in 1969 influenced by the history of the educational experiments of A.S. Neill’s progressive Summerhill School (1921-present), the Black Mountain College (1933 – 1957), the Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) project (1967), as well as developments in the art world in the early 60’s that advocated the dematerialization of the art object and launched Performance Art as a genre. Many of these foundational principles still infuse the current manifestation of the program today. SIM has remained at the cutting edge of artistic experimentation for over 40 years.
The Studio for Interrelated Media is a program where the choice of media used by student artists to realize their work is not assumed a priori. Some students start with a concept and then explore and research the appropriate medium to express it within a contemporary context. Others question the formal properties of different media and the ways that meaning is communicated and embodied by them to discover the ideas and concepts that emerge from that process. Hybrid learning practices are supported as individuals question form and discover their goals as artists. This discovery occurs while students are engaged in a participatory educational experiment where they have the opportunity to shape their learning experience as well as their community. They do this by holding town meetings and using social media to make decisions about the program, including: the content being presented; course offerings; scheduling of events; how budget money is spent; and how to critique student work. The SIM curriculum balances an individualized path of development alongside the experience of being a civic artist.
- SIM Majors learn to be collaborative, entrepreneurial and self-directed.
- SIM Majors have access to cutting edge audio, visual and computing technology
- SIM Majors have access to the Pozen Center for Interrelated Media, a large (have to find out square footage) multi-use venue with a lighting grid and HD prejection system.
- SIM Majors chart their own educational pathway based on their interests and artistic vision.
- SIM Majors collaborate with artists across disciplines, concepts, and skill level.
- SIM Majors have access to curatorial experience through our own student-run gallery and performance arts festival that is re-invented every year.
The Studio for Interrelated Media required Major Studio course (MPSM276, 376 and 476) is student powered. Students decide how to program, produce, critique, organize and self-govern each class meeting under faculty advisement. This course gives students the chance to work alongside their colleagues at every level (sophomores, juniors and seniors) every semester for all three years in the program. It gives students a rare and unique opportunity to experiment, to fail, to succeed – students own the process of the educational journey and leverage this experience once they graduate. They are exposed to the “real world” while they are still in school while they are learning their craft, developing their ideas, and solidifying their desire.
- If you are a current SIM student, please join https://massartsim.slack.com
- Listen to our StudioInterrelatedMedia Playlist on Spotify
- Read “Revisiting the Sandbox” (6.9 MB .pdf) a monograph written by Nita Sturiale, SIM professor and department chair.
- Please view this page for information about the SIM Major Requirements needed to graduate with a BFA as a SIM Major at MassARt.
- Wikipedia pages:
- Visit Harris Barron’s website that he shares with his wife and collaborator of 50 years, Ros Barron – harrisandrosbarron.com
- Check out the SIM FB group
- Check out the SIM studio Flickr photostream.
- Check out the SIM Vimeo channel.
- Course websites and online syllabi:
Internship and career connections:
- Telluride Film Festival in Telluride, Colorado
- Elliot School of the Arts
- ODC Theater in SF
- Z Space in SF
- “Waterfire” in Providence
- Theater Offensive
- New Alliance Studios
- World Music/Crash Arts
- Untravel Media – Production Intern: video, animation, on-site photography, digital image manipulation, footage editing
- Smallbean – Production intern: create documentary videos for their website
- Exploration Summer Program at Wellesley College – Digital Photography and Photoshop teacher for international middle school students
- RAW Boston – Production Assistant: pre-production and production work for multimedia art
Friends And Supporters
- Boston CyberArts and ATNE (Art Technology New England)
- Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Boston Museum of Science
- Mobius Artists Group
- Elizebeth Stewart Gardner Museum
- Green Street Studios
- Elissa and Bill Warner Scholarship Fund
SIM is an incubator. It is a place that generates the kinds of ideas with the potential to grow into entirely new art forms. The artists in The Studio for Interrelated Media[SIM] combine the study of many media by pursuing the representation of their ideas with the most appropriate media for each idea. This process often results in the extending, reshaping, and breaking of boundaries. SIM is project- and concept-centered and depends on the exchange of experience, knowledge and curiosities of a diverse community of students and faculty.
SIM courses students present, perform and produce work. The intention is to help students recognize and articulate their artistic ideas. They then study the media necessary to realize their work. Media and form are two of many aesthetic decisions that SIM artists make. Most important is the concept. The faculty is committed to helping students develop their concepts while gaining proficiency in the media necessary to realize them.
The backbone of the SIM program is the SIM Major Studio course. This is a studio in which all members of the program meet together in one space, share SIM community news, learn to collaborate, as well as present artwork and refine constructive critique skills. Individuals and groups present and discuss work in media of their choice such as audio, video, computer, performance, publishing, and production of events that interrelate media. Each week, these presentations are organized and produced by students who select, schedule and technically support the presentations.
In addition to SIM Major Studio, there are a variety of SIM electives courses that provide studio practice in particular skills. SIM art overlaps and intersects with many other disciplines. Because the goal is to encourage students to invent and develop experimental art forms, new directions, and unusual contexts, each semester SIM provides a selection of courses in many media ? courses might explore web art and digital distribution; video editing and production; interactive media and computer-controlled installations; dance techniques, composition and improvisation; performance art and spoken word; the interrelationship between art and science; technical theater and stage lighting; sound performance, composition, recording, and editing.
SIM students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience curating, designing, and producing interdisciplinary art events by producing the Eventworks festival and managing the Godine Family Gallery.
Students that graduate from SIM are uniquely prepared for lives as self-motivated artists as well as professionals in many commercial and non-profit fields. SIM grads have started their own galleries, TV shows, and businesses; worked as non-linear film and sound editors in Hollywood, New York and Boston (WGBH, ZOOM); as stage crew for theaters in New York City; as web developers for award-winning studios; as educators at Harvard, Stanford, Mills, Carnegie Mellon, and the New England Aquarium; and as practicing, exhibiting, and/or performing artists around the world.
Check out the SIM studio Flickr photostream.
If you’d like to start a SIM program of your own, read:
This article describes the steps needed to create a learning environment for individuals interested in exploring idea-centered art-making, civic engagement, collaboration and cutting edge technology and science. Based on the original pedagogy developed by Harris Barron who founded the original Studio for Interrelated Media at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA in 1969.
- Locate yourself within a community that boasts an intellectual research culture – to visit, to invite speakers from, for cross-registration, etc. (for example in Boston, the home of the original SIM program, there are hundreds of first class universities, research institutions, and other intellectual pools that offer an endless list of potential field trips and visiting scholars and artists to draw from.)
- Find a dynamic and tireless group of artist educators who are available to meet regularly with a group of students that don’t fit into easily defined categories. This faculty should be idea-centered, protective of student interests, and deeply understanding of cross-disciplinary productivity. It is a plus if they are comfortable with the public perception that “they are not in control of their classroom”. This faculty will need the resources and skills to deliver a tremendous amount of individualized advising and to teach comprehensive classes in specific subjects.
- You’ll need a meeting place that can accommodate all majors, staff, and faculty at the same time as well as smaller meeting places for more intimate conversation. You can also add studio space for audio/visual exploration by individuals or small groups.
- Students will need access to a well-maintained collection of digital and analog audiovisual equipment ranging in vintage and complexity. Students should be able to take equipment off campus and keep it for a week of exploration. Clear user’s manuals should be included with each piece of equipment. Studio managers should be on hand for one-on-one training and troubleshooting with all the equipment.
- Impose a requirement that students present their work/ideas for critique.
- Now, start meeting every week for as long as possible. It’s important that these meetings include every student, faculty and staff, and everyone knows everyone’s name.
- Allow these elements to simmer for as long as it takes for something to happen. As students share information, they will begin to prioritize agendas, identify challenges, and brainstorm actions. The students should be part of any decision-making related to schedules, curriculum, department management. As times passes, individuals will begin to make their ideas come to life while also collaborating with others simultaneously – each process informs the other.
- Faculty, staff and mentors should try hard not to fix any problems or challenges that arise. Allow the students time and space to figure things out.
- Groups should not exceed 100 members.
- Allow skill specific workshops and electives to emerge according to student interest, cultural influence and faculty specialization.
- Often students will make decisions that the faculty dislikes. The faculty must be willing to accept these decisions and allow the results to emerge – then the community may tackle the new challenge. There needs to be the expectation that the students will introduce content, projects, and procedures that may be unexpected and at times inconvenient for the school structure. The faculty stands ready to facilitate this process, provide knowledge where appropriate, and periodically intervene to ensure all voices are being heard.
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