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Classes

Residency Courses

Writing for the Self

2x / week for 14 weeks

Instructor: Marshall “gripp” Gillson

Writing for the Self supports writers in the creation of new work in multiple forms through facilitated discussion, readings, and study of creative writing terminology and technique. A section of four to six residents develop approaches to sustain a prolific, socially-situated writing process. Residents explore different literary forms as well as the theory that makes writers successful across genre, track and evaluate their own writing habits, and support their peers through the editing process.

Each week residents share and consider readings, leading up to a video-chat discussion session; the second class each week consists of facilitated writing exercises and collaborative editing.

Residents practice both giving and receiving constructive critique and explore the process of creating meaning for an audience. The class also supports residents in tracking and optimizing their own writing processes. Residents depend on one another to structure and support regular artistic practice. Each resident completes two self-directed creative writing assignments and chooses one literary technique to research more deeply.

The course requires regular committed writing and reading but is otherwise open to writers of all levels. No experience necessary!

Post-Singularity Media Literacy

2x / week for 14 weeks

Instructor: Marshall “gripp” Gillson

The Singularity is popularly understood to be the time when human and computer intelligence are so deeply intertwined as to constitute a unique species. But conceptualizing the Singularity as a moment evades the point. The development of such a super-species is a process, one that is already well past its beginning stages. Once the stuff of science fiction reverie, the intermingling of human and digital agents has become commonplace in many parts of the world. And with a global pandemic restricting travel, existence in digital spaces is more central than ever to many people’s lives.

Coping with new organizations of humanity’s intellectual ecosystem is a skill. Modern approaches to media challenge normative notions of identity and agency. In Post-Singularity Media Literacy, residents explore and develop their proficiency with digital media. Residents examine the narratives that humans use to imagine and structure technological work in the context of this developing media landscape and unpack their own interactions with those narratives.

Each week residents share and consider readings in an online forum, leading up to a video-chat discussion sessions. Residents practice both interpreting theory and applying that theory in situ via critical composition and peer review. Residents depend on one another to structure and support their scholarship. Each resident completes a series of twelve short critical essays as well as co-designing and -facilitating in-class discussion.

This course requires regular committed writing and reading of semi-technical work but otherwise requires no specific Computer Science background. No experience necessary!

Workshops

The Short Script as a Form Poem

1 session of 3 hours

Instructor: Marshall “gripp” Gillson

Perhaps the oldest human artform, spoken word poetry saw a resurgence with the birth of the slam competition format. Poetry slam communities have produced nationally-recognized writers across genres—novelists, rappers, comic authors, as well as film and television writers. Perennial training grounds for young creatives, these communities encourage artists to explore the intersection of the personal and the political, while grounding the writing process in awareness of the audience as a participant in the process of meaning-making.

In a time of global uncertainty, writers and creatives become even more vital as interpreters of experience. In The Short Script as a Form Poem, a facilitated, online writing workshop, we will examine the writing processes that underlie success in the slam format, adapt them to the process of conceptualizing a compelling short film script, and discuss approaches to composition that magnify words’ ability to help us understand our experiences. The workshop will explore the ideation process, thematic development, creating representative metaphors, and structuring narratives to connect with an audience.

Imagination Design

1 session of 3 hours

Instructor: Marshall “gripp” Gillson

In the last few decades, the proliferation of human technology has overwritten a lot of old-world common-sense. The ways that we plan, work, and communicate with one another would be unrecognizable to people from just a century ago. Aside from upending global industry, though, the age of the internet has profoundly impacted the function of local communities. Technology not only guides our thinking but responds to it, with new technology being created in response to human problems—real or perceived. There is no avoiding technology as central in humanity’s future, but what role it takes depends on our ability to use, imagine, and design technology for ourselves. Thus, technofuturism represents a unique opportunity to envision our lives beyond the violent and oppressive structures of the present.

Imagination Design is an AI-facilitated online workshop that brings together approaches from user interface design and afrofuturism to guide participants in writing socially-aware speculative fiction. In one three-hour session, participants will join exercises to identify social obstacles in their own communities, envision futuristic technology, and write stories that use their fantasy inventions to shed light on the reality of the present.

Humor in the Endtimes

1 session of 3 hours

Instructor: Marshall “gripp” Gillson

If stand-up comics are to be believed, humor is on its last legs. They’ll have you know that audiences are too sensitive and cancel culture is out of control, making it nigh impossible to recycle their dick jokes. Lucky for us, stand-up comics are not to be believed.

The world’s constant turmoil can make it feel hopeless. How do we reconcile our aspirations for equity with a society overwhelmed by violent militarism, widespread pandemic, and Candace Owens? Humor has been a powerful tool for the historically exploited to maintain joy in the face of oppression. In Humor in the Endtimes, we will examine strategies for writing jokes that sharply highlight the ironies of the modern world, challenge status quo, make people laugh or whatever, don’t hurt anyone, and finally make your parents proud.