Goddard Hosts Interdisciplinary Arts Conference

Plainfield, Vt. — More than 60 presenters will convene at Goddard College for three days of performances, installations, roundtable conversations, workshops, and presentations for a new conference called Making, Meaning & Context: A Radical Reconsideration of Art’s Work.

The new conference is a forum for artists and activists to investigate the intersections of practice and social change from an interdisciplinary arts perspective.

Featured presenters include internationally acclaimed theatre director, playwright, and video installation artist Ping Chong; leading practitioners in the field of eco-arts Timothy Collins, Reiko Goto, Jackie Brookner and Susan Leibovitz Steinman; education innovator Johanna Householder; and a range of artists and scholars at the forefront of new experiments in activist and community art.

Interdisciplinary practice is centered in the processes of inquiry rather than in the mastery of a specific discipline,‛ said Goddard’s Interdisciplinary Arts Program Director Jackie Hayes. “It recognizes art as a process of research we conduct by engaging with and reflecting upon materials. A rigorous inquiry-based practice requires that we consider how art is and can be situated in the world. How does a work’s location, audience, and content embody or not embody our ethical, social, and moral values?”

Attendees and presenters will examine the following questions: what it means to be an artist in the modern world? What is art’s relationship to a culture of commodification and consumption? How can interdisciplinary practice support daily lives and the imagination?

“The low-residency format and the interdisciplinary focus are not what makes Goddard’s Interdisciplinary Arts program unique,” said program founder Dr. Danielle Boutet. “It’s the design, which was grounded in a radical understanding of what interdisciplinary art is. The program was not about making artworks, not about learning techniques, materials or media: our focus was on developing ‘practice’, which is the whole person’s integral commitment to art,  in all its dimensions including aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, cultural and autobiographical.”

“The Goddard IA program dares to ask the big questions of how creativity can shake and shape the world,” world-renowned performance artist Tim Miller said. Miller was one of four artists denied NEA funding in 1990 – later winning a U.S. Supreme Court case on the issue. “I came away emboldened with the shared project of how the interdisciplinary artistic impulse pulls us across borders toward new possibilities. I can only imagine the charged ways the conference will deepen this crucial discussion!”

The conference runs from Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16 at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. Housing and meals are available on campus. For more information or to register, please visit http://artswork.goddard.edu or e-mail artswork@goddard.edu.


Goddard College: Goddard College was chartered in 1938 at its Plainfield, Vermont campus by founding President Royce ‚Tim‛ Pitkin. Its mission is to advance the theory and practice of learning by undertaking new experiments based upon the ideals of democracy and the principles of progressive education asserted by John Dewey. In 1963, Goddard College became the first U.S. college to offer adult-degree programs, and now specializes in MA, MFA, BA and BFA low- residency education. Offering accredited degree programs from campuses in Plainfield, Vermont and Port Townsend, Washington, Goddard’s low-residency format offers the best of on-campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous on-campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere.

The Conference: October 14 – 16 More than 60 presenters will come together for three days of performances, installations, roundtable conversations, workshops, and presentations. Panel topics include, among others: Eco-Art: A Radical Lens to Galvanize Consciousness and Action; Pedagogies of Social Change: New Models of Teaching, Learning and Knowing; The Artist’s Role in creating New Economies; and Problematizing the Artist in Community Art. Look for a full-scale orangery, inviting visitors to interact with the fictions, metaphors, and realities of factory agriculture; a fashion extravaganza exploring the commodification of Asian culture; and a ‚traveling archive of transient and impermanent memories.‛

Keynote Artist: Ping Chong Ping Chong is an internationally acclaimed theatre director, playwright, video installation artist, and pioneer in the use of media in the theater. In his 39-year career in the theater, he has been a restless explorer of new possibilities and new directions, always pushing at the boundaries of what theater is and can be. Mr. Chong’s work has been presented at major festivals and theatres around the world including: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music and many others. Among his many honors and awards, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a USA Artist Fellowship, two BESSIE awards and two OBIE awards, including one for sustained Achievement in 2000.