2013 SMFA Disorientation Guide


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2013 SMFA Disorientation Guide




Boston, Massachusetts



extracted text



This publication
is the second in a series of annual
Guides. Through this guide, we hope to provide
an alternative
for both new and returning students.
There is a great deal of information
that the school, sometimes
and sometimes 11egligently, does not provide students.
We want you to have access to all the knowledge that your
did not include.

A Letter

to the School

Wl1at brings us all together here to tl1e Museum
School? Our school encourages open, self - directed study in the
arts. It helps its students develop their voices by promoting
in different media, supporting
efforts to pusl1
tl1e boundaries
of traditional
disciplines, and emphasizing
essential connection
between theory and practice. Ultimately, self determination
is the unifying, animating force behind all of our
creative paths. Unfortunately,
over the past two years, students have
been excluded from the key decisions that are shaping the future of
our school.
We are in a crisis - the students, the faculty, the staff, all
of us. The true crisis is not a mere matter of dollars and cents,
as the new administration
proclaims. It is one that concerns our
education, plain and simple. For the past two years, under the
new Strategic Plan, SMFA has gained an increased interest in
and financial growtl1 (two things students never
asked for). SMFA has been led astray. I n this journey to become
another pay - for - your-degree
college, changes have been made
without students' interests in mind (see page
3). However, the top administrators
are not all to blame for this
exclusion. The student and faculty bodies, as a whole, have failed
to take the necessary action to organize for positive change. Our
school prides itself on liberal, experimenta l , and open-minded
views. With these values in mind, it is up to all of us to imagine a
better SMFA.
Through this time of change, students have publicly voiced
tl1eir opinions through all - school emails, various open forums, and
We want transparency
through open administrative
meetings and a published budget. We want respect of everyone's
voices through unrestricted
including email,
posters, and banners. We want a democratic
system through a fair,
inclusive process of decision-making
that gives importance
to the
opinions of all students, faculty, and staff.



at SMFA?

claim to have our best interests in mind, but
how can they know what these interests are without hearing our
voice? Rather than listening, our school assumes our needs. Our
is censoring students in two different ways. First,
tl1ey are limiting platforms for open dialogue. Second, they are
screening for content. These new policies are impinging upon
our freedom of speech as students and artists. Paulo Freire said
tl1at "any situation in which some individuals prevent others in
engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence." SMFA is in
this very situation. Students are being silenced.
Over the past year, changes have been implemented
the school and students have not kept quiet. We experience
perpetual censorship when putting up posters, banners, producing
creating events and generally going about our art
practices. This summer, SMFA Communications
sent out an
email about the end of the open all - school email. With this
they introduced
a new online forum, to be used as
the new platform for dialogue. However, every topic in this forum
must be approved. Prior to this, an important
function of the all
school email was to get messages out to the entire community. The
enforced screening of the email system and the new online forum
limits content to whatever the higher povvers deem appropriat e.
This sort of moderation
has been quickly spreading from platform
to platform, leaving students with no un s anctioned metl1od of
Students are now threatened
with serious penalties
for publishing
Students should not be expected to innocently swallow the
myth that the administration
has our best interests in mind. The
school is run on a business model, rapidly increasing enrollment
by creating new programs in order to boost revenue, rather
than focusing on positive educational
reform. This student-asmoney mentality combined with the lack of communication
is proving detrimental
to building mutual trust
between students, faculty, and the administration.
In order to build a collaborative
SMFA experience,
where everyone 's voices are influential,
we propose a student-run
platform for dialogue. Our goal this semester is to form a s tudent
that will ensure our involvement
in all future plans for
our school.
~,,:- ..

..-·-·. ......

Student Debt
Crisis Deepens
v\lhitney Barkley and Student Nation
The Nation - July 12, 2013

For many Americans, economic
forecasts can seem a lot like
Chicken Little, constantly screaming that the sky is falling. But for
college students and recent graduates dependent on federal financial aid to fund their educations,
that's exactly what is happening.
On July 1, interest rates on subsidized federal student loans doubled, adjusting from 3.4 percent
to 6.8 percent overnight. That
means that the already economybusting student loan issue just got
a whole lot worse. And a legisla tive attempt to bring the rates
back down failed this week.*
Americans have $1. l trillion in
outstanding student loan debt,
more than credit card debt or car
loans. And unlike those debts, it's
nearly impossible to get out from
under student loans - borrowers
usually can't discharge it in bankruptcy, refinance it or modify the
loan. There's no time limitation on
collecting a student debt. In fact,
students who become disabled
can even have their social security
payments garnished to pay off
their education loans. It's a system
that Salon'sDavid Dayen refers to
as indentured servitude - because
unlike other types of loans, you
literally cannot break free until
you have worked off the debt.

This is particularly true for students in states like
Mississippi, where 54 percent of students have
college loan debt and, on average, graduate with
about $24,000 in student loans. With the national
unemployment rate for new college graduates
holding steady at around 8 percent, our best and
brightest are left with a terrible choice: try to start
making payments while unemployed or underemployed or go to graduate school, taking out more
loans in the process.
It's a financial burden that will weigh down all
sectors of the American economy. People who
earned college diplomas used to be more likely to
become homeowners than those without - now,
college graduates with student loan debt are 36
percent less likely to own a home. They are also
less likely to purchase cars or start small businesses and more likely to delay starting families.
Instead of contributing to the state and national
economy, those with student loans are contributing only to the narrowest of financial balance
sheets - those of debt collectors and banks.
Congress must address the growing student debt
issue. Students aren't takers - they have worked
hard to get into college and graduate school, and
have shown that they are dedicated to improving
themselves and their communities. They deserve
better than lifelong debt and crushing educational
loan bills.
*Student Loan Rates are no,-v at 5.4% (Sept. 20 13)

excerpts from

Majoring in English
Monica Torres

I'm an English major. It is a language of
... I benefit from its richness, but I'm
not exempt from its limitations. I am
'that girl' in your English classes, the one
,-vho is tired of talking about dead white
dudes. But I'm still complicit with the
system, reading nineteenth -century
British literature to graduate ...
... In order to graduate from my college,
you must take one course that "actively
promotes a self-conscious and critical
engagement with diversity." It's called the
Exploring Diversity Initiative. Columbus
called it exploration, too. Michel RolphTrouillot called it a sweeter word for
conquest. In theory, the goals of exploring diversity - empathetic understanding,
critical theorization, comparative studies
of cultures and societies, and examining
power and privilege - should produce my
favorite kind of course, but the conver sation shifts depending on who's in the
room. Conflicts arise when students try
to map the trajectory of race from Point
A to Point B without studying any of the
legend. Without realizing that their
landmarks may not match mine ...
The Angry Minority label is a label that
once stuck, will never peel away. As a
freshman, I avoided it, speaking carefully,
never calling anyone out, and framing
racism as something that only happens
between pages, in faraway cities, but never to us. It took a campus bias incident, a
campus hate crime, and all of my Ethnic
Studies courses to articulate my rage into
a language that could not be dismissed
so easily. Speaking and writing English

are considered necessary requirements
for playing the political game of the
American education system. Crying and
complaining get you disqualified, but if
you appropriate their words of statistics,
of fancy book learning, of speaking
,-vhen it's your turn, you can play the
game of English thrones, and possibly
win it. Checkmate by the Angry
Minority. El to FU.
But there's no prize for winning. The
game is played with or ,-vithout your
consent. You are never quite sure who is
this year's gamemaster: is it our schools?
is it the media? is it the government? is
it you? The rules shift for each player,
but one rule remains the same for the
minority: you may wear the jersey, but
you're not on our team . I am reminded
of this division when my favorite
English teacher compliments me for
speaking English so well. I am reminded
of this in AP Spanish Language, where
I'm the one whose accent needs to be
Standardized. I am reminded of this
when my career counselor tells me I
need to italicize the foreign, to separate
Spanish from English for the sake of my
white interviewers. I am reminded of
this when my mother's misspelled pleas
to a lawyer are never answered, but my
politely worded complaint earns me a
reply ...
I have been the only person of color in
my creative writing courses. I have been
the only person writing about persons
of color in my creative writing courses.
I ,-vasnever just a ,-vriter, but I never
wanted to be just anything.

http:/ /thefeminist,,vire.com/2013/03/ majoring- in-english/



Before -


with Tufts University

In dependent

for over 60 years

policy varies class to class

credit awarded through

review boards

study (one on one meetings with a prof.)

MFA third year (dedicated

to thesis work) for free!

Easy to register for classes of high level
No mandatory

first year / foundation


More studio space avai l ab le, early in career
Cl asses get cut in the beg inning of the semester for low enrollment
E qual access to faculty members for review boards

periods of 2 weeks at the beginning

of semesters

All school emailing open for anyone to commun icate directly w it h the
entire schoo l community
An understanding



that our school was free of harmful molds.


Grantsand ScholarshipsfromSMFA:
President's Research Grant - Open to all students, funding from $100 -$1,000. H int:
they seem to fund more collaborative or group projects and certainly won't just buy
you art supplies. Devise sornething big and you'll probab ly get half what you ask for.
Montague Travel Grant - Open to graduate students, funding for transportation and
accommodations. Beware, you need the money up -front because you get reimbursed
later, sometimes much later.
Joa n Mitche ll Foundation Grant - graduating MFA's. $15,000 to pursue drawing,
painting, sculpture at a professiona l level.
Skowhegan Summer Fellowship Recipient - Scholarship financially supports
recipients of the Skowhegan Fellowship.
Stephen D. Pa ine Scholarship - Supports Massachusetts students entering their final
year in studio art.
E ugene Ward Memorial Scholarship - open to all. $1,000 tuition abatement.
Karsh Priz e in Photography - awarded to three photographers in the winter.
Springboro Fellowship - $25,000 each to two undergraduate students moving into
their third year of study.

➔ After
According to the SMFA Strategic Plan, starting with the incoming
students of 2015, the relationship will begin to phase out.
More than two unexcused

absences and you can fail


credit awarded, essentia ll y, by attendance

in class


study (group crits and studio hours with a prof)

MFA third year costs $6,000 per semester
More prerequisites

for high level cl asses

Now, a first year program

is required

H ard to get studio space before 4th year
Classes get cut during pre -r egistration

for low enrollment

no longer have access to grad faculty members

for review boards

Add/drop periods shortened to one v,eek, while all owing longer online
registration periods before semester starts
A new online discussion forum replacing
topics have to be approved.

all school emai ls, but

Discovery of extremely harmfu l (black?) mold in venti l ation system
( unc lear current status of mold situation)

SMFA Traveling Fellowships - each award is between $9,000 and $10,000.
Boit Award Competition - For independent work completed during previous summer.
Dana Pond Competit ion - Painting competit ion.
Zine Grant - Get$ on a copy card for your zine production on the photocopier. Talk to
Darin in the L ibrary for more information.
There are other prizes and they will be announced throughout the year via email or visit
http:/ /www.smfa.edu/awards-grants - fellowships for a full list. See: http://mysmfa.smfa.
edu/I CS/Campus _L ife/ Art_ Submission _and _Fellowship _Announcemen t_Board.jnz
for current art submiss ions and fello"vships deadlines coming up!
The Awesome Foundation - open to anyone. $1,000 for pretty much any project that
the Boston chapter of the foundation feels like supporting. Write a good app!
Feast Mass - open to all.a dinner party where candidates present proposals to the party
attendees and then a vote decides which projects to fund, entirely from the event ticket


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on Navigating


RadicalTufts Professorsand Courses(fromthe Tufts 2012 DisorientationGuide):
Christina Sharpe (English) - "Black Feminist Theories" and "Qieer Diasporas"
Jean Wu (American Studies) - "Race in America"
Gary Goldstein (Physics) - "Phys ics for Humanists"
Kris Manjapra (Hi story) - "Anti-C olonialism Seminar"
Peter Winn (H istory) - "Revoluti on in Mexico & Cuba"
Gary Leu pp (Hi story) - "Gender & Sexuality in Japanese Hi story"
Daniel Mulholland (H istory) - "Marxism'' and "1968"
Modhumita Roy (English) - "Non -W estern \/\TomenWriters"
Sabina Vaught (Sociology) - "Mascu linities in Urban Schooling"
Jeanne Penvenne (History)
Ryan Centner (Urban Sociology)
Sa'ed Atshan (Anthropo logy)
Amahl Bishara (Anthropology) - "Palestinian Lit erature"
Ronna Johnson (Eng lish/ American Studies)
Nancy Bauer (Philosophy) - "Feminist Philosophy"
Cathy Stanton (Anthropology) - "Qiest ioning Kinship: Sexuality & Gender in South Asia"
Alisha Rankin (Hi story) - "Women, Gender, Family, 1200-1800"
Pearl Robinson (Political Science) - "African Politics"
Stephan Pennington'' - "Black Divas" and "Qieer Pop"
*"Intr o to Qieer Studies"
*"Class, Race, and Gender in the Hi story of US Education"
*PenielJoseph - "Black Panther Party"
*added from the original list

Cool Clubs andSpaces(fromthe Tufts 2012 DisorientationGuide):
Women's Center - ase.tufts.edu/womenscenter
Students Acting for Gender Equality - ase.tufts.edu/womenscenter/SAGE
VOX: Voices for Choice (Planned Parenthood affiliated student organization)
Crafts H ouse -Th e only cooperative on-campus living option at Tufts. Come here to enjoy a
wonderful community meal before or after one of your classes.
Tuft s Respon isble End owment Collective - Divestment from Fossil Fuels
Students for Ju stice in Palestine

Tips for SMFA StudentsatTufts:
- If you want to take a Tufts class as a first-year, Academic Affairs will persuade you not to,
but don't listen to them. Countless SMFA students regret not taking Tufts courses their first
year, and the ones that did, usually recommend it.
- If you want to minor in something at Tufts, Academic Affairs will also persuade you not to
(unless its Art Hi story or Entrepreneurship). If you start your first or second year, it 's not as
hard as it seems to minor at Tufts. If you are having trouble getting information, contact the
Tufts department head, and they "vill help you out.
- Normally, the shuttle takes about 45 minutes to get to Tufts. During rush hour though, it
can take up to double the amount of scheduled time, so taking the T may be a better option .
-Th e Tufts Shuttle has a phone number, so you can call it if it is running late: 781-369-2500
- Look to take classes at Tuft s that are 1-day a week. It is easier to fit into SMF A's block
scheduling . 2-day classes are very doable too, but 3-d ays a week is nearly impossible.
- (SMFA QyickTips) Use the library, they're very friendly. Explore mySMFA, it's a good
(but hard to navigate) resource for information in addition to registration. Use SBinc. to fund
your clubs and events; it's a very easy and surprisingly democratic process.

B ookstores
Lucy Parsons Center - Jamaica Plain: Radical bookstore and
community space, movie night s on Wed at 7.
Raven Used Book s - Newbury Street and Harvard Square
Papercut Zine Library@
Lorem Ip su m Book s - Inman Square:
A fully - functioning
lending library, with a focus on hand-made
produced material s. Everything
from photocopied
punk rock zines from the 80's to hand - crafted personal zines bound
together with yarn. Run by a collective of volunteer librarians, who
also host a number of events including zine making workshops and
zine relea se parties.



- Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Central Square, South End:
A family of non-profit
thrift stores. All proceeds from Boomerang s
suppo rt AIDS Action 's vvork to prevent new infections, suppo rt those
affected, and tackle the root causes of HIV/ AIDS.
Garment District - Cambridge
Thrift store with huge $1/16 clothing section
Ocean State Job Lot - Dedham (closest location to Boston, more online)
Chain of discount superstores,
closeout prices

Savers - West Roxbury (more online)
Cheap thrift stores allied to local charities


i ve H ouses

The Burrow - Allston:
A collective house where hou se mate s work individually
a nd as a group to
make positive change in the world around tl1em. They make their house
available for benefits, perfor - mances, meeting s an d events, and engage
in activism and the arts.
Circle Amory - Jamaica Plain:
Collective house with an all volunteer bike co-op that operates a free
bike s hop on Tuesdays 6-9. Third Monday = Women and Tran s Night.
Butcher Shoppe (house shows) - All sto n

P er i odica l s+ Forums
Boston Collective Housing Assembly:
h ttps ://groups. google. com/forum/#! forum/bch-assembly
Open Google Group. A forum to help find and po s t about roommates,
collective hou s ing, and local underground
events and programs.
Boston Counter Cultural Compass:
http:/ /www.bostoncccompass.com/
Monthly 11ewsletter listing underground
shows and awesome happening s .
High Five Art s and culture zine full of things to do every night without
s pending much money.



+ Community

Serv i ces

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center 24 - hour hotline: 800.841.837 1
5 (ES) Just moved near Park St. Station:
Providing meeting and office space for activists for social justice.
- Jamaica Plain:
Center for programming
that unites and empowers people for positive
change through the arts; produces seasonal celebrations
in tl1e Jamaica
Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods.
Democracy Center - Cambridge
- provides radical groups with an
affordable space for meetings, events, fundraisers,
Sprout - Davis Square:
For inventive minds who want to learn manual or electronic skills or love science.
Adjunct Action - a campaign that unites adjunct professors to address the crisis in
higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty.


D ance

Sp aces

Don't Ask Dont Tell @ Great Scott
+ Ladies Night at Midway



Cafe Allston

S M FA Students

Howard Art Project - Dorchester
Proof Gallery - South Boston
Fourth Wall Projects - Fenway
Hall - MFA Main Library
Hallway Gallery - JP
Villa Victoria Center for the Arts - South


i ona l P rograms


Plain 21 +

H ave Exhibited



and L ectures

NUCA L LS is a student organization
at Northeastern
University that is
dedicated to offering free language classes to the Northeastern
students may also attend, id's are not required.)
Greater Boston Free School Network has classes that are non - l1ierarchical
between teachers and students who decide the curriculum together
http:/ I greaterbostonfreeschool.
QU I RR - Queers United in Radical Rethinking
is a non - hierarchical
collective of queer and trans students and allies committed
to organizing
for social and economic justice, that often puts on radical (in both senses
of the word) lectures at Nortl1eastern.
M I T and H arvard are always having good lectures. Keep updated with
their website.
Tufts' American Studies lectures aren't often, but they are impressive.




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