Current Syllabus

Welcome to SIM SPRING 2021 

We learned a lot from our FA20 semester and have continued to evolve our syllabus to reflect many of the suggestions, requests and critiques from the fall semester. While we can’t wait to get back in the physical classroom, we are determined to invent and learn best practices for taking SIM online. 

Our response to this new educational challenge is not an emergency plan. This is an opportunity for us to reframe the spaces that we occupy and our role in them. The transmission of culture depends on adaptation, renewal and invention. This “pilot season” is a preparation for a world that is changing and that is affecting cultural producers, venues and performers — possibly forever. We are part of this transformation. We are the ones re-thinking art and culture.  

Really important links!!
> Google Classroom – https://classroom.google.com/c/MjI1MTU0NTcyMzgz?cjc=cotyc63
> SIM Studio Time Plan – https://massartsim.fun/ – new scheduling website tool created by Anthony Fader!!!
> SIM Site with Names/Faces – http://www.massartsim.org – Includes all department info
> SIM Slack – http://massartsim.slack.com – We use Slack as our main form of internal communication
> SIM Discord – https://discord.gg/KbKDmG3VzH

>> here is a link to .pdf version of our syllabus booklet from FA20

mpsm276/mpsm376/mpsm476
Studio for Interrelated Media Major Studio Syllabus – SP21

DEPARTMENT DESCRIPTION

The Studio for Interrelated Media [SIM] Department is a program of study 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 potential media and processes 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. Students do this by taking the SIM Major Studio class every semester with all majors in one class, alongside one or two SIM electives that focus on a particular skill-set within a smaller class size. In SIM Major Studio students hold town meetings and use working groups and social media tools to contribute to the decision-making process about the program, including: SIM major studio class programming, course offerings; scheduling and producing of events; budgetary decisions; and critique strategies.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This is a studio class in which individuals and groups present, discuss and critique interrelated media work that use audio, video, computer, performance, publishing, and production of events. Each week, student presentations of work are organized into performances and exhibitions produced by students who select, schedule and technically support the presentation.

FACULTY

STUDIO MANAGERS

SIM COMMUNITY WEBSITE AND RESOURCES

COURSE STRUCTURE

Due to ongoing Pandemic restrictions, the course structure this spring will continue to be primarily using remote learning tools. The entire department will start each class time on Thursdays with a SIM Department meeting online where we will share news and announcements, organize working groups, and/or meet visiting artists. Students will remain online for critique or discussion groups, collaborative projects, planning for SIMtv (a public broadcasting project), or for faculty advising and support. Some students may choose to use part of the afternoon to work offline independently. The department continues to work on enabling individuals and small groups to use studios and equipment on campus if this is possible to do safely within the updated campus access protocols.  The faculty will be using Google Classroom as a portal to organize assignments, supporting links, communiques and resources for the semester. SIM department meetings, SIMtv production meetings, collaborative working groups and critique groups will be occurring during the 1:30 – 6:30 class time period.  See http://www.massartsim.org/thursdays for current schedule. 

LEARNING GOALS

  • Exercise critical thinking through making and analyzing the work’s role in contemporary contexts.
  • Acquire the ability to think conceptually across many disciplines.
  • Learn how to articulate artistic goals and concepts and translate them into actualized projects.
  • Practice self-study in the skills or topics that the student requires to meet their project goals.
  • Acquire the ability to respond creatively when the parameters in a given project change.
  • Practice descriptive critique techniques (learn how to ask and formulate questions that will help the artist move forward and how to verbalize one’s perceptions).
  • Practice speaking and presenting to the public.
  • Acquire hands-on skills in audio/visual technology, curatorial practice, community building, and interdisciplinary practice.
  • Be exposed to the widest range of artistic mediums, ideas and practice.
  • Engage in the cross-pollination of ideas and views in a diverse community.
  • Mentor and be mentored amongst students from different cohorts.
  • Identify one’s strongest interests and seek out opportunities for pursuing them.
  • Work towards a high level of self-motivation, educational agency, and self-imposed standards.
  • Practice self-governance, engage in the process of deconstructing assumptions about educational systems and work towards making change.
  • To use the experience of failure as an educative tool.

SIM MAJOR STUDIO COURSE REQUIREMENTS  

  1. Make Transformative Work – This is an Interrelated Media Fine Arts program, to make best use of this program the work you bring in should be moving towards interrelating media, ideas, methods, etc. You are being asked to move beyond categories and conventions in your practice and educational experience. For example, if you present 2D work, also provide visual or written descriptions of your plans for moving beyond the current expectations and assumptions of the work’s current modality (eg. if you are presenting photographs, how will these photographs be used in an installation, video, performance, book, website, mural, menu, etc.?). Throughout the semester your presentations should demonstrate a progression of concept, technical proficiency, and contextual awareness over time. Your progression will be based on the plan you set out in your semester planning form. You are responsible for managing your time over the course of the semester and not leaving everything to the last minute. We encourage you to present your work as soon and as often as possible – in small groups, with faculty, with your friends – to present works in progress, and to present the same work again after it is more developed. 
  2. Attendance – for the SIM department meeting (1:30 –3:00) and at least one small collaborations, discussions and/or critiques group after the meeting (between 3:00 and 6:30 pm) is required. Attendance during these remote learning times means “participatory presence.”  During remote learning sessions this means your camera is on – while you are welcome to mediate your image. It also means active participation in collaborations, discussions and/or critiques – both in terms of a.) the practice of giving thoughtful, informed, generous comments when your colleagues present work and b.) openly receiving, and working toward implementing, critical feedback with the aim of improving and progressing toward your artistic goals. Please read the Guidelines for Virtual Gathering below. Additional online time will vary for each student depending on which activities/productions they are participating in. Thursday afternoon is the time when most of us will plan to be available for collaboration, advising and communicating – so please make yourself available until 6:30. Please communicate if you need to miss a meeting for a significant reason. Your attendance, including late arrivals and leaving early, is recorded by the faculty every week. Please review MassArt’s Attendance policy for reference: http://academic-catalog.massart.edu/content.php?catoid=4&navoid=82#Attendance
  3. Complete Semester Planning Form – This form is an opportunity for you to invent your educational and artistic path. Please take time filling out this form (google form links – will be announced at our first class meeting of the semester). Ask for help if you need it. It will be returned to you for a redo if sufficient effort is not evident. On this form, you’ll be asked about your plans and will also have the opportunity to share a link to any supportive materials if they exist. 
  4. Cultivate a generative process  – Take personal responsibility for cultivating a pro-active approach to fulfilling what may be absent for you in your academic journey by identifying and creating the mechanisms for achieving your plans. 
  5. Submit Mid-semester Documentation – Submit documentation of your work that is towards fulfilling requirement #1 at mid-semester. Content will depend on your individual semester plan. You will be asked to submit documentation at mid-semester and at the end of the semester. Works in progress are encouraged at mid-semester, while work that has evolved to a more final stage is encouraged at the end of the semester. Documentation can be submitted via a shared google drive, a personal website, soundcloud or any other online portfolio tool you choose. 
  6. Submit End-semester Documentation and Complete Self-Assessment – Submit documentation of your work and complete the semester assessment form. This form is an opportunity for you to reflect on your educational and artistic experience. Please take time filling out this form. Ask for help if you need it.  This form will ask for a link to documentation of the work you developed over the course of the semester.  
  7. Advisory Meeting  – A minimum of one advisory meeting with your SIM faculty advisor or any other SIM faculty you choose. Sophomores, and those new to the SIM Major, will be scheduled for an Advising Session at the beginning of their first semester. All others are required to make an appointment outside of class time with any of the SIM faculty over the course of the semester and preferably before the course registration period. Your official SIM faculty advisor will be identified during the first few weeks of the semester.
  8. Read/View the Semester Required Readings/Screenings – Be ready to discuss them. Reading groups may be scheduled at some point during the semester. Readings are linked from the research page of the SIM site – http://massartsim.org/research. See below for more details about other essential readings for all SIM Majors. Faculty will be hosting reading groups around mid-semester to highlight the essential elements of the readings. 
  9. Review Board – Sophomores (or those in their first year in the major) are required to have a 15 minute review board before the spring majors registration period (usually around the end of March). Juniors are required to have a 45 minute review, generally in the fall semester. Seniors are required to have a 60 minute review during their last semester in the SIM Major, usually during the spring semester. Specifics for each type of review board are outlined in the document linked here – SIM Review Board Information and Requirements https://tinyurl.com/y5khdc5t
  10. Practice the Principles of the Studio for Interrelated Media – Civic Responsibility, Self-agency, Embrace Failure, Engagement Discipline (see below*). Your educational success in this program requires that members in this community embrace these principles:

Civic Responsibility:

  • Participate in the work that benefits the program (volunteer jobs, be stewards of the spaces, SIM meetings).
  • Respect each other by being open, honest, tolerant and patient.
  • Engage in the evolution of the SIM community – if you are dissatisfied with something, work towards an improvement that will transform your concern for the better of all.
  • Follow Studio Management space and equipment usage policies, including returning equipment on time and reporting theft/damage. Leave no trace and/or leave the space better than you found it.

Self-agency:

  • Have the courage to ask for help when you need it.
  • Take ownership of your own educational path at Massart.
  • Trust your own curiosity.
  • Take time management seriously.

Embrace Failure:

  • Experiment.
  • Be willing to seek out, rather than fear, criticism.
  • Explore discomfort and disruption through art making.
  • Manage the consequences of risk taking.

Engagement Discipline:

  • Listen respectfully, without interrupting, while attempting to understand the perspective of others.
  • Criticize ideas, not individuals.
  • Commit to learning, instead of debating. Comment in order to share information, rather than to persuade.
  • Avoid blame, speculation, and inflammatory language.
  • Allow others the chance to speak.
  • Avoid assumptions about any member of the class or generalizations about social groups
  • Do not ask individuals to speak for their (perceived) social group.
  • Expect that at times, content shown by faculty, students, and/or visiting artists may address and/or contain strong language, violence, sexual content, racial and gender inequity, and other representations that may challenge or trigger you. The SIM curriculum is designed with the belief that tension, conflict, and discussion have the potential to become valuable learning opportunities. If you find yourself in a situation that is impossible for you to handle and you feel you have to leave the classroom, please communicate with faculty as soon as you are able. Often, interesting discussion, disagreement, and revelation come after the challenging content is presented.

If you are not able to meet these requirements and would like to request an Incomplete (INC) you need to discuss this with faculty at least 2 weeks before the last class meeting You may request a grade of INC for the semester and make it up the following semester. However, you must ask for and complete an INCOMPLETE GRADE CONTRACT form available at this link > https://massart.edu/sites/default/files/IncompleteGradeContract.pdf

GUIDELINES FOR VIRTUAL GATHERING

Many of us would not choose to engage in ‘remote learning’ if we could. We are all being called to be thoughtful about and open to the challenges of this format by participating in university instruction in new ways:

  • Participatory presence is required  – meaning,  your camera is on but you are welcome to mediate your image in creative ways (gel, tape, lenses, or apps like Snap Camera, iGlasses). It is essential that you make your presence known through speaking or by using the chat.  If you’d like to use a filter or a virtual background while your camera is on, please do, but please be sure to assign your preferred name and pronouns to your virtual presence so that we know who we are talking with!
  • Let us all remember to prepare our virtual space so that we can hear what is going on, talk freely, sit or stand comfortably for an extended period, limit other distractions, and excuse ourselves if we need a break.
  • We will default to muting ourselves in big groups and unmuting when we need to speak to limit audio distractions.
  • If you need to move around, eat, or take a stretch break, please turn off your camera for the shortest necessary period of time to accommodate your needs so that the rest of us don’t get distracted or dizzy!
  • We will use break out rooms for smaller discussions and pair sharing – please respect your break-out room colleagues and let them know you are there by participating in a way that is comfortable for all.
  • We need to learn to be OK with the silences that often come during a video conference. Let it happen.
  • There are many social cues that do not translate through the screen (ex. reading body language). This can make communicating through this platform tiring. Please take personal responsibility and ask for clarification if you need it, take breaks when you need them, etc. Let us be patient with one another and ourselves.
  • As we virtually gather, please recognize that we are projected into one another’s personal spaces. This can make us feel vulnerable. Please be mindful of this and be kind towards yourself and one another.
  • Online classes do not have a locational identity (i.e. a classroom). This can make it challenging to distinguish between class content. It may be helpful to create some kind of physical change for each course (i.e. maybe change clothing between classes or work in a different spot for different classes, etc.)
  • While there are limitations to virtual spaces, the screen is a site just like a classroom, gallery space, etc. This is art school! Let’s have fun with this and exercise our creativity to push the boundaries of this medium!

ESSENTIAL READING, VIEWING, AND RESEARCH

Each semester the SIM faculty picks 1-3 required readings/screenings that address contemporary cultural issues and will be used to seed discussions throughout the semester. These are other readings are available at http://massartsim.org/research

Read  “Revisiting the Sandbox” for an overview of the SIM history and pedagogy http://sim-massart.nitasturiale.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/AboutSIM.pdf

ADVISING

In the Fine Arts programs at MassArt, 6 major studio credits are required each semester (in addition to Liberal Arts, History of Art, and other studio elective courses). This is true for all majors in the Studio Fine Arts BFA programs. For SIM Majors, those 6 credits come from two sources each semester:

  • SIM Major Studio (3 credits), the Thursday presentation/critique course, which this syllabus describes.
  • SIM Elective (3 credits) – any course with MPSM at the beginning of the course code. 

The SIM electives that you combine with the Thursday SIM Major Studio each semester are an essential part of the education you receive as a SIM major. Since you (usually) take SIM Major studio continuously over 3 years, it gives you the opportunity to evolve and pragmatically engage in the curriculum over time. This structure also allows for the diverse range of artists in SIM. Some student artists may be heavily loaded with elective coursework in digital media and video, while others might choose to develop their skills in live performance, sculptural installation, or conceptual work, etc. Sharing these different paths during Thursday’s SIM Major Studio is intended to encourage collaboration – allowing students to combine their skills and create works that require skill and knowledge beyond the scope of any artist working individually.

Because the range of possibilities in this curriculum is so broad, it is important that each semester, every SIM major takes some time to assess the direction of his/her academic and artistic program with the help of a major studio advisor (along with anyone else who can give good advice.) You may talk to the advisor that has been assigned to you or any of the other SIM faculty that you feel would be a good match for your path.

SIM is a highly individualized program and meeting with your advisor is essential and required at least once a semester in order to receive credit for the SIM Major Studio course. Your STUDIO faculty advisor will be announced early in the semester. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are advised. New SIM Majors will be meeting with faculty during their first semester in the program by appointment. Additionally, you have an ACADEMIC advisor in the MassArt Advising Office on the 8th floor of Tower. Please feel free to contact Jessica Petriello (jpetriello@massart.edu or 617-879-7282) to discuss your overall program evaluation and the necessary credits you need to graduate from MassArt with your bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.

EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT

In addition to the above stated requirements in order to earn 3 academic credits for the course, in SIM Major Studio you are evaluated in many other ways – during advising sessions with faculty, by your colleagues and faculty during critique, as a collaborator on projects, by the quality of your portfolio, and the frequency and quality of your participation. You will know you are doing well based on the critical feedback you receive. Other indicators of your success include: your willingness to try new things and take risks, whether you gain community support based on your reputation as a reliable and skilled collaborator, receive invitations to share your work, and requests for your advice and mentorship. While the intermix of cohorts is essential to your learning in this program, there are some differences in how sophomores, juniors and seniors are regarded and evaluated:

Sophomores being new to the department, are in an “observe and learn” role. They learn to be contributing members of production teams, via their SIM elective choices, and by “shadowing” more experienced students. Sophomores are expected to volunteer to help their peers, ask for help, try new things, present ideas and works in progress as often as possible.

Juniors are becoming more independent and creative in their roles, taking on more ambitious projects and mentoring new students. Juniors are expected to make a lot of work, be experimental and to collaborate. As Juniors, they are guided through their weekly critiques and review boards to find a focus for the work that will form the portfolio they would like to create as Seniors.

As Seniors, students take on leadership roles in terms of producing events, curating, stewarding SIM spaces and mentoring other students. They are making work that is comprehensive and builds on previous work. In the Senior year, students are encouraged to take courses that will help them professionalize the presentation of their work in preparation for graduation. All Seniors must complete graduation requirements in addition to their regular coursework: an artist’s statement, resume, and digital portfolio.

Evaluation Notification Process – If a student is not meeting the above requirements and standards, the student will be asked to meet with the course faculty. The faculty will outline which requirements and standards are not being met and offer the student a week to withdraw from the course. Otherwise the faculty may enter a grade of NC at any time after the mid-semester point of the semester.

GRADING POLICY

Two grading systems are used at the college; The Studio for Interrelated Media department uses a Pass/NoCredit/Incomplete grading system. Grades in SIM are defined as follows:

PASS – Work meeting all expectations for successful completion of the course.

NC – No Credit. Work or attendance that does not meet the expectations of the course. IF YOU HAVE NOT MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS (SEE ABOVE) AND HAVE NOT REQUEST AN INCOMPLETE (SEE BELOW) YOU WILL RECEIVE A GRADE OF NC. THE NC GRADE MAY IMPACT ACADEMIC STANDING AND FINANCIAL AID.

INC – Incomplete. A temporary designation indicating that at least 80% of the course requirements have been met, that the remaining course requirements are expected to be completed, and a permanent grade issued by the subsequent mid-semester. After the work has been completed, the student is responsible for having an Individual Grade Sheet completed by the appropriate faculty member and filed with the Registrar. If the student does not complete the coursework, a non-passing grade will be issued. INCS ARE ONLY GRANTED AFTER THE STUDENT HAS REQUESTED IT BEFORE THE LAST CLASS OF THE SEMESTER, SHOWN JUST CAUSE, AND COMPLETED A “PETITION FOR INCOMPLETE AND CONTRACT FOR COMPLETION OF INCOMPLETE”. THE INC GRADE MAY IMPACT ACADEMIC STANDING AND FINANCIAL AID.

In the SIM Major Studio course:

W – Mid Semester Warnings are issued if a student has not presented any work in any form, is consistently absent, arrives late or leaves early, and/or does not participate in critiques.

SIM DEPARTMENT ACADEMIC PROGRESS

A student who earns a grade of No Credit in a major requirement or two grades of No Credits in major electives over two semesters is placed on probation. A student on probation who earns a grade of No Credit in a major requirement is subject to dismissal from the department.

MASSART ATTENDANCE POLICY

Students have a responsibility to attend all scheduled class meetings.

Faculty are responsible for clearly stating their expectations for performance and attendance through the course syllabus, and during the first week of classes. This includes their manner of recording attendance and whether any portion of a student’s grade is based on attendance and/or class participation. Faculty are obligated to recognize legally protected activities, such as religious holidays, military service, and jury duty.

Students are responsible for making themselves aware of course attendance policies, and for meeting all course expectations as outlined in the course syllabus regardless of missed class time.

Students are responsible to communicate in a timely manner in written form (e.g. in an email) with their faculty regarding any missed class time and related class work.

A student who feels circumstances may warrant withdrawal from a single course should contact their Advisor and the Office of the Registrar.

A student who wishes to request a medical leave of absence from the College should contact the Counseling and Wellness Center. Non-medical leaves of absence are coordinated through the Academic Resource Center.

A student who misses the first meeting of a class may be dropped from the roster by the instructor.

PLAGIARISM

Whenever your work incorporates someone else’s research, images, words, or ideas, you must properly identify the source unless you can reasonably expect knowledgeable people to recognize it. Proper citation gives credit where it is due and enables your readers to locate sources and pursue lines of inquiry raised by your paper. Students who do not comply will be penalized. For further information, see the MassArt Student Handbook or consult with the Academic Resource Center.

CLASSROOM ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES 

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides access for all matriculated MassArt students to academic advisors, success coaches, writing specialists and a “Success Squad” of peer tutors and peer advisors, all of whom support remote and hybrid learning. Specific ways the ARC can support students include:

  • – Skills for successful remote learning
  • – Writing assistance on papers, artist statements, and assignments
  • – Time Management
  • – Advising on major selection and course plans
  • – Reading strategies
  • – Test preparation and strategies

Appointments can be made at massart.edu/arc-appt. Learn more about the ARC at massart.edu/academic-resource-center.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is committed to fostering the academic, personal, and professional growth of our students. We are especially committed to ensuring that students with documented disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the subsequent Amendments Act (ADAAA), are provided equal access to all campus resources and opportunities.  If you have a disability that may warrant accommodations, I encourage you to make an appointment with Student Accessibility Services staff within the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at massart.edu/arc-appt. For more information, please visit the web page: https://massart.edu/student-accessibility-services.

WELLNESS

Keep yourselves well (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually). We recognize that this Covid19 Pandemic situation is uncertain, disruptive and anxiety-inducing. The MassArt Counseling and Wellness Center is available to support on the phone, please contact them if you need it. They have also provided this resource on coping techniques if you are experiencing anxiety. If you are feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to counseling@massart.edu or call the main line 1-617-879-7760. These accounts are monitored, M-F, 9am – 5pm, and one of the counselors will reach out to within 24-hours. After 5pm and over the weekend, please contact 911 if it is an emergency.

Additional MassArt Resources: https://massart.edu/covid19-resources

MEDIA RECORDING

This class may use video and audio recordings of faculty and students, both online and in person, to better support learning in a blended format.  By enrolling in the course, students are consenting to being recorded in this class and may only withdraw such consent by informing the course instructor in writing. As these recordings may contain intellectual property as well as confidential student information (ex. student names, likenesses), sharing or transferring recordings of such content by any method currently available or any method that may become available in the future is not allowed and copies of such recordings should not be provided to others; uploaded, linked, embedded, or otherwise posted  via file-sharing, social media, or other sites or services which could enable anyone to view or hear them who is not currently enrolled in the course; or share them in any other way.  Access to video and audio recordings in this class is for personal educational use only and is available only to individuals currently enrolled in the class, unless faculty permission is expressly granted. Recording and/or sharing course materials including video and audio files without the written consent of the course instructor is a violation of College policies (ex. academic honesty) and will be reported to the Registrar and/or Dean of Students for further action and/or discipline. 

SIM Faculty
January 2021