Current Syllabus

Syllabus | Studio for Interrelated Media Major Studio (MPSM276, 376 and 476)

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 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 working groups and social media tools 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 learning to be a civic artist.

  • Elaine Buckholtz ( – office hours: Thursdays 11 – 1, room N173. Or by appointment.
  • Dana Moser ( office hours: Thursdays 11 – 1 , room N173. Or by appointment.
  • Juan Obando ( – office hours: Tuesdays 1 – 2, Thursdays 11 – 1, or by apt, room N173. Or by appointment.
  • Nita Sturiale ( – office hours: Tuesdays 12 – 2, alternate Wednesdays 1 – 3, room N173. Or by appointment.
Studio ManageRS
  • Tuesday through  Friday 12 to 2 pm
  • Wednesday evening from 7 to 9pm
  • Thursday after SIM  6:30 to 7:30pm
Student Assistants
  • TBA
SIM Community Website and resources

SIM Student and Alum Opportunities
SIM Space Student Use Scenarios and Procedures
SIM Producer Guide and Tools
SIM Review Board Information

Course Catalog Description

This is a studio class in which 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, student presentations of work are organized into performances and exhibitions produced by students who select, schedule and technically support the presentation.

Course Structure

The course is primarily a weekly series of presentations followed by critique. Periodically, visiting artists are invited to give artist talks at the beginning of class. Weeks alternate between “Big Group Days”, where all SIM majors are together for the afternoon, and “Small Group Days”, where the group is split into 3 or 4 small groups for which producers organize media-based, theme-based, or general presentation groups. Each Thursday class meeting begins with a community announcement period. Several hour-long department-wide governance meetings are scheduled during this class time throughout the semester where students are invited to propose changes to the program, plan projects outside of class, or address any challenges or topics that come up throughout the semester. Additionally, each semester, working groups form that focus time and energy on a variety of activities and topics relevant to the SIM community (eg. Weekly SIM Open Studio time, Monthly SIM Showcase, Communications, Curriculum, etc.)

Learning Goals
  1. Exercise critical thinking through making and analyzing the work’s role in a contemporary contexts.
  2. Acquire the ability to think conceptually across many disciplines.
  3. Acquire the ability to collaborate.
  4. Learn how to articulate artistic goals and concepts and translate them into actualized projects.
  5. Practice self-study in the skills or topics that the student requires to meet their project goals.
  6. Acquire the ability to respond creatively when the parameters in a given project change.
  7. 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).
  8. Practice speaking and presenting to the public.
  9. Acquire hands-on skills in audio/visual technology, curatorial practice, community building, and interdisciplinary practice.
  10. Be exposed to the widest range of artistic mediums, ideas and practice.
  11. Engage in the cross-pollination of ideas and views in a diverse community.
  12. Mentor and be mentored amongst students from different cohorts.
  13. Identify one’s strongest interests and seek out opportunities for pursuing them.
  14. Work towards a high level of self-motivation, educational agency, and self-imposed standards.
  15. Practice self-governance, engage in the process of deconstructing assumptions about educational systems and work towards making change.
  16. To use the experience of failure as an educative tool.

SIM Major Studio course requirements

  1. Make transformative work and present it for critique at least twice per semester – 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 address your plans, or present evidence of, how this work may expand into other media/methods/practices. Throughout the semester your presentations should demonstrate a progression of concept, technical proficiency, and contextual awareness over time. It is expected that presentations of work for presentation credit articulate your individual artistic vision and ideas. If you, either independently or as a group, are presenting a collaborative project, explain each person’s role in the collaboration, so that the results of these roles can be addressed in the critique specific to each person. You may also present work that you have created for a client, or a commercial venture, but in order to receive presentation credit for this work, it should be demonstrated that you were the author, founder, and/or creative director of the project. You are responsible for scheduling these presentations throughout the semester by communicating with Thursday’s student producers. You should present at least once (or more) before mid-term, and once (or more) after. We encourage you to present your work as soon and as often as possible, to present works in progress, and to present the same work again after it is more developed. Any other types of projects, shared experiences, special events or guests, are welcome during SIM Major Studio time, however, in order to get “presentation credit” your individual practice should be at the center of a significant and individualized critique.
  2. Attendance for the duration of class (1:30 – 6:30) – Attendance is required to fully benefit from the SIM curriculum. Please communicate if you need to miss a class for significant reason. Your attendance is recorded by the faculty every week. There are no formally excused absences for any reason, including illness. However, a student who will miss one or two classes may be able to make up missed work, at the discretion of each instructor. If a student will miss one or two classes due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, he or she should notify the faculty by e-mail. For absences of two or more class meetings due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, the student may contact the director of counseling to request a leave of absence.  Additionally, attendance is defined by both timely presence of body and mind. If a student is distracted by their phone or laptop, wearing headphones, sleeping, sitting far apart from the their classmates and teacher, not participating in discussion, or otherwise disengaged – this may be considered an absence. If the student arrives late and/or leaves early with no explanation this behavior could also be considered an absence. Please review MassArt’s Attendance policy for reference:
  3. Active participation in critiques – Both in terms of a.) the practice of giving thoughtful, informed, generous critique 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.
  4. Collaborate with a Thursday’s class production team at least twice per semester – Since the Studio for Interrelated Media educational vision depends on collaboration and event production, it is required that you either take a leading or supporting role in the design and production of Thursday Major Studio in either a Big or Small group. It is expected that you work with a group of students, in advance of class time, to practice designing, coordinating, organizing, and teaching a Thursday class, including determining critique methods to be used for that day. You should produce 1 (or more) before mid-term, 1 (or more) after.  Helping out “day of” is encouraged and helpful but may not be enough to count towards this requirement. See SIM Producer Guide and Tools –
  5. Complete Semester Planning Form– this form is an opportunity for you to invent your educational and artistic path. It is not intended to be “busy work”. Please take time filling out this form (google form links – will be announced a couple of weeks before due date).  Ask for help if you need it. It will be returned to you for a redo if sufficient effort is not evident.  FA19 link –
  6. Complete Semester Assessment Form– this form is an opportunity for you to reflect on your educational and artistic experience. It is not intended to be “busy work”. Please take time filling out this form. Ask for help if you need it. FA19 link –
  7. 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 and be ready to discuss them. Reading groups may be scheduled at some point during the semester. Students are also encouraged to present a thoughtful analysis of the readings/screenings during SIM Major Studio class on Thursdays as one of their 2 required presentations. Readings are linked from the research page of the SIM site – See below for more details about other essential readings for all SIM Majors.
  9. Review Boards are required for all SIM Majors: 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 
  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.
    > 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:
    >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. This includes wearing headphones, playing or otherwise being distracted by digital devices during class.
    > 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.
Please review MassArt’s Classroom Conduct policy for reference –


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 > 

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 anytime after the mid-semester point of the semester. 

Essential Reading, Viewing, and Research

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:

  1. SIM Major Studio (3 credits), the Thursday presentation/critique course, which this syllabus describes.
  2. a SIM Elective (3 credits) – any course with MPSM at the beginning of the course code. *** All SIM Majors are strongly encouraged to take at least one semester of Stagecraft and Technical Production AND Interrelated Media Practice at some point before they graduate.

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 take 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 SIM Major studio class time during their first semester in the program or 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 ( 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.  Additionally, there are several SIM Majors that have been trained as Mentor Academic Advisors. They are available to meet with you to discuss your BFA requirements and available academic support available at the college.

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, 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.

Additionally, there are some differences in how sophomores, juniors and seniors are regarded and evaluated even though they share the same class every week. This intermix of cohorts is essential to your learning in this program.

Sophomores, being new to the facilities, spaces, people and equipment,  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.

Thursday Details

See for current schedule.

Currently, to accommodate our numbers and provide a variety of formats we oscillate between ‘big group’ (all the SIM majors together) days, and days when we divide up into 2-4 smaller, more intimate sections for ‘small group’ days. In order to present work for critique, you’ll need to COMMUNICATE, IN ADVANCE, WITH THE PRODUCERS OF EITHER A LARGE OR SMALL GROUP. These producers will be announced at the beginning of Thursday meetings as well as posted on the SIM website. It is each artist’s responsibility to be sure to schedule his or her own presentation throughout the semester by contacting these producers in person, by phone or email. Sometimes, the producers will have a strong curatorial idea for the day and may decide your work doesn’t fit the theme. However, there are usually plenty of groups available that are considered “general” throughout the semester. Portions of some Thursdays will be used for visiting artists and faculty led discussions throughout the year.  We also try to schedule at least 3 SIM meetings during each semester. Sometimes we invite guest critics to join our Major Studio.

About producing a Thursday presentation day

> Taking part in designing, organizing, technically supporting, and striking SIM Thursdays is required of all SIM Majors at least twice during the semester. You may be more interested in taking a leading role in this work or a more supportive role.

> If you are interested in developing an artistic practice around event production, we recommend that you ask someone you trust to document the day that you are producing and present it for critique on another day.

> Producing is good experience for people interested in curating, producing in other contexts, and/or creating new venues for showing work. Previous experience is not required and we recommend that newcomers shadow a producer who has more experience to prepare yourself to produce your own group.

> Some producers might propose a shared group activity such as a workshop, field trip or visiting artist instead of artists’ presentations.

> Producers and co-producers are responsible for:

  • Posting contact information on the SIM web site so that the artists working with them will be able to reach them (email, phone, etc…);
  • Setting (and deciding how to treat) deadlines;
  • Securing space or spaces for presentations;
  • Securing equipment and technical support for the day;
  • Working with the SIM TAs as needed;
  • Coordinating documentation when it occurs;
  • Deciding schedule/order of events including allotting time for critiques of work to be presented as well as an appropriate amount of time for discussing the day’s production as a whole (If you are essentially facilitating artists’ needs, without a particularly ambitious or conceptual approach, this discussion time would be minimal, naturally.)
  • Breaking down and putting away equipment as well as restoring the space(s) with assistance from presenters and everyone in the major.

Producers: You are hard-working, risk-taking people.  Learning how to delegate and share tasks is an art and is required for successful events. Ask for technical assistance when you need it from any of the faculty, the studio managers, the TAs, or other students. You can’t do it alone.

Please read these additional resources about producing a Thursday class:  SIM Producer Guide and Tools  –

SIM Student Run Organizations and Opportunities

SIM has several unique student-run groups and projects that provide practice in planning, producing, and collaborating.


Eventworks is an annual arts festival produced by SIM students. Help them out and get hands-on experience producing live events of all kinds.

Eventworks is a Student Government Association group and receives money from students’ SGA fees. It is also partially funded by the SIM department and often produces fundraisers to support more ambitious events. Eventworks was started in the 70’s to bring experimental visual, audio, performance art to the Massart community while providing SIM students practice in curating, organizing, financing, and producing this work. It is the closest thing to real life you can experience while in college. Eventworks producers are chosen by the SIM community in spring based on a presentation of their Eventworks vision.

Godine Family Gallery

This gallery is a SIM exhibition space managed each year by SIM students for the MassArt community. Exhibition proposal guidelines will be posted by the current managers at the beginning of the Fall semester. Help them out and get hands-on experience running a gallery.

This gallery serves the college as a whole (rather than just the SIM community). This position provides you practice in curating, planning openings, advertising, hanging shows, and managing artists needs and personalities. If you think you would be interested in this position in the future be sure to help the current managers out to gain insight into the job. Godine Family Gallery managers are chosen by the faculty based on a cover letter, resume and mission statement for the gallery.

Eventworks producers and Godine Gallery managers are required to be enrolled in the Event Planning and Production elective for the entire year.

MassArt Student Government Association

SIM students are invited to represent the department in SGA. This year your representative is:  TBA
Be sure to contact them if you are interested in serving next year or have project ideas that need funding.

Professor Harris Barron Scholarship Fund

This student scholarship fund of Massachusetts College of Art and Design Foundation, Inc. will be awarded through a generous gift from Ros and Harris Barron, in addition to donations from friends and family.  This scholarship is established in the name of Emeritus Professor Harris Barron—who taught at Massachusetts College of Art for 23 years, was the founder of the Studio for Interrelated Media Department (SIM) in 1970, and was the first chair of the ensuing Media Department (MPA).

The Harris Barron Scholarship shall be awarded each year to a Junior student who is eligible for financial aid and continuing through the senior year in the Studio for Interrelated Media Department [SIM], selected by that Department’s faculty, based on exceptional and/or innovative artistic merit with consideration for financial need.  The grant shall not be given to the same person more than once, or split into smaller grants, or shared.

The SIM faculty works closely with the financial aid office to determine the recipient of this award.

Juniors are invited to submit the following during the 3rd week in March to the SIM department chair (the specific date will be announced during the spring semester). #1) Cover letter, #2) Artist Statement, #3) Senior Year Plan, #4) Digital Portfolio


The SIM faculty and staff believe strongly in the value of internships. Please visit these pages for details:

Please read this comprehensive list of all SIM experience opportunities:

Grading System

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.
  • 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 or produced by mid-semester, consistently arrives late or leaves early, and/or does not participate in critiques.

SIM Department Academic Progress

A student who earns a no credit in a major requirement or two no credits in major electives over two semesters is placed on probation. A student on probation who earns a no credit in a major requirement is subject to dismissal from the department.

Course Attendance

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.


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

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 Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), are provided equal access to all campus resources and opportunities.  If you believe you have a disability that may warrant accommodations, I urge you to contact the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at or 617-879-7280. The ARC is located in the Tower Building, Rm 811. The Academic Resource Center provides academic support to all matriculated MassArt students through access to academic advisors, a learning specialist, academic coaches, professional writing and subject tutors, and training on assistive technology.

SIM Faculty
Updated August 2019