Advanced Projects in Media and Visual Arts (Remote/In-Person*)

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 29
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

painting, drawing, art history
Suree Towfighnia
documentary film

How do media and visual artists use their artform to comment on political and social structures? What role can the artist and artist communities play in times of social uncertainty?

In this advanced offering for media arts or visual arts, students will intimately examine how moving image and visual artists can respond to critical moments in time, often defining a period by their artistic response. This interdisciplinary program is for students interested in working individually or collaboratively on yearlong moving image or visual arts projects with the support of a learning community. The cohort model provides students with opportunities to produce creative work informed by research, theory, and historical context. The program is adaptable for statewide quarantine guidelines and will center on creative practices that model professional approaches and support the development of artist resiliency. Classes will consist of synchronous sessions led by faculty, media and visual arts' staff (in person or online), seminar discussions, experiential learning, hands-on practices, and critique sessions designed to advance students' understanding of their particular craft or discipline.

A central focus of the year is on professional practices and the development of critical skills to support a media and visual artist practice. Extensive theoretical and practical research, project development, experimentation, process, artist voice and community role will be emphasized.

Student research materials and writing, including research papers, grant writing, project sketches, script outlines, director/artist statements, etc., will be essential in supporting creative ideas. Students are expected to gain advanced production or artistic skills by building on existing skills developed through past academic work rather than undertaking wholly new areas of media production or visual arts. A wide range of moving image and visual arts projects and genres is possible, as long as the artist(s) demonstrate a strong foundation for potential success in that genre.

Past media arts students have created capstone work in participatory/interactive documentary, experimental film/video, experimental narrative, essayistic video, audio projects, animation, online series, mixed media installation, interactive Web installation, as well as traditional interview-based documentary. Visual arts students will work with visual arts faculty to design their own projects, complete visual research and write papers appropriate to their topics, share research, work intensively in their studio, produce small projects and a significant thematic body of work, and participate in demanding weekly critiques.

Beyond individual media or visual art making, students will participate in professional development workshops to support their artistic process and practice, gain skills needed to navigate a future in graduate school or an internship, and their success as a working artist in media or visual arts.

Participants will work closely with their media or visual arts co-faculty and each other throughout the year as co-learners and collaborators, collectively shaping the learning community and studio practice. Fall and winter quarters will involve periods of reflection, research, and idea development, including a three-day retreat for concentrated work, visits to artist studios and festivals, and dedicated time to produce projects. In spring, students will complete their capstone work and participate in producing a public screening or gallery show of their work. In keeping with a professional practice and real world model, program activities will reflect concern for student, staff and faculty safety and will be adjusted accordingly.

This program requires an application and links to previous work (see link in the sidebar). For visual arts students: previous college-level visual arts studies are required and previous college-level art history studies are strongly encouraged. For media arts students: prior completion of Mediaworks or equivalent theory to practice work is required. Selection criteria will be based on experience in the media or visual arts, strength of application and portfolio, and feasibility of project. Only complete applications will be considered.

To successfully participate in this program students need access to reliable internet and a computer capable of running Creative Suites (if campus labs are unavailable) and a controllable workspace. Students should expect to spend 10 hours per week in synchronous meetings using Zoom, Canvas and other media and art platforms. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.

*If conditions allow the following activities will be held in person: art studio, media lab, and outdoor on-campus activities. 


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Fall Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers 50 - 74% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
  • Winter and Spring: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$250 in fall for media storage/hard drives, online subscriptions, or conference/festival admission; $500 in winter for an overnight field trip/retreat and professional workshop/festival and $200 in spring for an overnight field trip/retreat.

Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 29

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 10:00 am
LIB 1540 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia