Seminar in Research Methods

This research seminar is intended to provide a common framework for graduate students as they develop an understanding of the artistic, theoretical, cultural, and social contexts through which their work operates and makes meaning. Discussions of critical and cultural theory will be interwoven with student presentations and writing assignments intended to examine the parameters of artistic research, broader research methodologies, and contemporary art as a field of study. The point is to assist students as they facilitate an awareness of their developing research practice and articulate this practice in a critique driven environment. Throughout, students will be required to make sense of the material, theoretical, and contextual precedents they are working with and to develop the analytic and writing skills necessary to support their creative practice.

Seminar in Dialogues and Interactions

The Dialogues and Interactions Seminar is designed to support the student’s investigations and focus their thesis topic.
As a platform for the discussion and writing up of student research, the course seeks to contextualize practice through a consideration of historical and contemporary influences. Discussion, presentations and writing inform the student’s capacity to understand and locate how their projects are in dialogue with contemporary issues and specific debates within their fields of inquiry. Through various readings, writing assignments, presentations, and group critiques, students are asked to take responsibility for the theoretical and artistic precedents they are working with and which influence their creative practice. Class discussions and presentations will encourage students to contextualize their projects in relation to contemporary issues and debates, and established intellectual and material inquiry. This seminar is intended to provide a space in which students can continue to develop your own critical writing, while honing skills for effectively engaging in and communicating research.

Grad Seminar

The Graduate Seminar is offered in the spring semester of second year. Critically engaged, research based creative practices dialogue and interact with historical precedents. This course is designed to support the MFA student’s thesis project and essay in the final stages by providing a platform for the discussion of student research, studio work and professional skills for carrying out and effectively communicating research. It is designed to expose the graduating candidates to methodologies of practice and presentation as they approach their final exhibition. Discussions, critiques, presentations and individual meetings are intended to engage students with the issues involved in finalizing their work. Students organize their Thesis Exhibition as part of this course.

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: A Free School

Organized with Magnolia Pauker:

This version of the Free School model embraces free access to ideas in an open learning environment through an engagement with visual culture, radical philosophy and gender critique. Current events that take up protest, free speech and social change inform the staging of public readings, conversations and open seminars. Our desire is to explore readings that critically inquire into the social construction of gender norms while celebrating feminist and queer theory as a catalyst for transformational politics.

As the crisis of late industrial capitalism unfolds and the tide of popular protest is on the rise around the world, the radical potential of feminist, gender, and queer politics must be actively engaged as the ongoing legacy of feminisms. Acknowledging the specificities of individual embodiments enables us to begin to trace and intervene in our own complicity within the multitude of repressions, both historically and at present. For, how can we advocate for the abolition of gender discrimination without also acknowledging other forms of domination? In seeking to establish solidarities across hegemonic borderzones, we will strive to open an inclusive dialogue, which is at once multi-generational and geographically dispersed. What is of critical import in our contemporary moment is not a utopian abolition of gender, class or capitalism, but a better understanding of how all forms of oppression must be recognized as relational and not thought of as discrete or antithetical struggles. Our advocacy for a perspective of strategic (dis)orientation is tied to how we each speak about our struggles and commitments and the ways in which meaning is constructed out of an empowered engagement with signs and images.

The challenge continues to be to not only name and describe the problems we encounter, but to maintain a series of emergent conversations that draw on the past while reflecting the contingencies of the present, ideally with exclamations of joy. Here such an engagement requires that we refuse the discourse of ends instead embracing difficulty, multiplicity, and the irresolvable tensions involved in living and thinking together, expressing pleasure and protest, sometimes simultaneously!

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: Free Pussy Riot
September 16
Inaugural Statement by Avital Ronell, live via the internet!
Readings from the media on Pussy Riot

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: Feminism as a Transformational Politic
September 30
Coming to Feminism: A Performative Reading
Shared reading of bell hooks’ “Feminism as a Transformational Politic”

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: Archives LIVE!
Mar 22, 2017
Panel Discussion 
In collaboration with Pleasure and Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously! free school and the Belkin Art Gallery’s Reactivating: Art and Archives, Randy Lee Cutler and Magnolia Pauker facilitated a panel discussion with Lorna Brown, Marcia Crosby and Kay Higgins in the Western Front Luxe Hall. Archives LIVE! promised critical and creative conversation where panelists shared their thoughts on Feminisms and Archives, live. Reactivating: Art and Archives was part of the Belkin Art Gallery’s project Beginning with the Seventies, an ongoing research initiative investigating the 1970s, an era in which social movements of all kinds – feminism, environmentalism, LGBTQ rights, access to health services and housing – began to coalesce into models of self-organization.

Archives LIVE! was also included in Spring Fever: Vancouver Independent Archives 2017 event series. This event was open to the public and free of charge.