MFA Contextual Practice
This pioneering and unique component of the MFA program has supported students, faculty, and research fellows for over two decades in the production of experimental works that expand the role of the arts in the public sphere.
The Contextual Practice (CP) area of the graduate curriculum supports students in the production of socially engaged art projects that respond to or catalyze public contexts and audiences.
Additional terms that have been used to circumscribe this practice are:
- culture hacking
- relational aesthetics
- new genre public art
- social sculpture
- participatory art
- social practice
- tactical media
- institutional critique
Graduate Contextual Practice Seminar:
The Contextual Practice seminar runs throughout the second year of the program and challenges students to work on self-defined projects that respond to the social and cultural dynamics of a specific context. In addition to studying relevant trends and theories, seminar students examine where their practice intersects with the world and how specific contexts affect their work.
Questions raised during the seminar include:
- What economy (system of distribution, interaction, and exchange) does your work respond to or create?
- Who is your audience, and how does that audience shape the meaning of your work?
- What impact does the work have on the life of the audience?
- Where do you site your work, and how does that site change how the work is perceived?
Beyond the CP Seminar, graduate students have multiple opportunities over the three-year program to create work in a variety of public contexts. They may also work as graduate assistants with faculty and visiting artists who offer CP courses through our multi-disciplinary undergraduate curriculum.