A note from the program director
In Goddard’s Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts program, artist means many things: social interventionist, difficultator, legislative artist, potter, painter, opera-mythologist, artist-herbalist-medicine woman, healing artist.
Our alumni take their learning from Goddard into tenured faculty positions, hospitals and treatment centers, public schools, museums, municipal and state institutions, and community arts organizations located in cities, barns, forests, and even the Outback.
Our MFA program, you will find, is like no other. Participating in our residencies may feel more like an extended artist retreat than an institution of higher learning. What I’ve discovered in my 10 years here – first as a member of the faculty, and now as the director of this program – is that the Goddard MFA is a unique community of learning artists, where colleagues, students and staff discover and grow alongside one another.
Goddard College has been honing this low-residency, experimental mode of learning and advising since 1963, and our MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts is one of the oldest low-residency arts programs in the United States. We are committed to ethical engagement, equity, and ecojustice, and we remain committed to a boundary-liberating view of interdisciplinarity. These lived values distinguish us from other MFA programs.
We embrace ethical engagement, social equity and ecojustice as a commitment to holding space for a wild diversity of views—the practice of asking questions that move us beyond conventional codes of ethics. We encourage each other to question those ethical codes and embrace ethical engagement as itself a persistent question. As for that eight-syllable word, interdisciplinarity, you’ll find as many ways of parsing and playing with it as there are artists in the community. We challenge each other to dig deeper than the now established multidisciplinary and interarts traditions, to query the epistemologies or ways of knowing accepted in the academy, and to invent creative, arts-based methodologies of exploration and innovation.
This community is truly a dynamic, ever-expanding, rhizomatic root system of artists, creative educators, inventive thinkers and social change instigators. Learning with this community is challenging, often surprising, and almost always joyfully transformative.
I’ve come to see the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts as my beloved community, and I welcome you into this “collective of unicorns,” as Greg Tate of Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber called us in his remarks at the March 2015 Commencement in Port Townsend.
We invite you to shape your own learning and future as an engaged artist, and we look forward to sharing the path with you on this leg of your journey.
The MFAIA Program Faculty members work one-on-one with students as faculty advisors throughout the semester, as well as facilitating group studies, teaching workshops at residency, and acting as second readers to students’ final projects. Our faculty is comprised of national and international scholar practitioners with extensive experience supporting students taking charge of their learning. Faculty members’ work with students is focused, clear, and rigorous.
Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus, Goddard’s historic main campus, or the Port Townsend, Washington campus, a vibrant arts community on the Pacific Coast. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.
During the application process, you choose one of the two residency site options for the duration of your studies. Each program site is home to a lively community of interdisciplinary artists and allows you to engage with a unique physical landscape in a retreat-like setting.
Goddard College programs operating in Washington State are authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council. For more information, please refer to Accreditation and Approvals.
At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont or Washington, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor and course mentor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.
Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.
Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.
This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor and course mentors.