February 7 – Spring-Summer Residency Programs at The School of Making Thinking

We are extremely excited to announce our 2020 Spring-Summer Residency Programs, going into SMT’s 10th consecutive year of programming! As usual, we have a wonderful, eclectic mix of innovative interdisciplinary programs.  ITERATION LAB 2.0, is an extended weekend session that offers residents an opportunity to iterate a performative structure of their choosing, taking place on a family farm near Kingston, NY in late April.  IMMERSION 4.0, is the forth iteration of our VR intensive that engages with themes of immersivity born out of a deep sensitivity to the history and surroundings of Wilmington, NC set to take place at Cucalorus.  BODIES, FIELD, AND WAVES OF ATTUNEMENT will focus on interdisciplinary explorations (somatic, ecological, performative, etc) on the themes of attuning, re-tuning and de-tuning, taking place in the bucolic finger lakes region at the Rochester Folks Arts Guild in Middlesex, NY.  PERFORMING KNOWLEDGE, will be a summer intensive exploring the performativity of knowledge’s conception, transmission and reception, set to take place at Pittsburgh’s Community Forge and nearby church.

Deadline for applications for our spring-summer programming is February 7th, 2020 @ 11:59PM.

For more info see here, or below


April 22 – April 27, 2020

Krumville, NY

Tuition $300 *includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available

Facilitators: Aaron Finbloom, Lexi Vajya

The iteration lab is an interdisciplinary session aimed at exploring what happens when a performative structure repeats and evolves with repetition.  Much like a scientist in a laboratory repeating an experiment but with slightly modified conditions, so too will our session function as residents will get the opportunity to repeat a structure of their choosing, supplementing, subtracting and modifying the structure as the session advances.  The iteration lab is a short, intensive session lasting only 4 days, each of which will be spent performing our given structure and being participants in the structures of the other residents.

What is a structure?  For this session a structure is anything that exists in space and time and can be repeatable.  It can be a performance, a conversation, a dance piece, a film scene, a movement practice, an immersive experience, an installation, a sculpture, or anything else.  It should be somewhat designed or planned, but the amount of design can be minimal at first. It must potentially involve all 8-9 participants of the session, but our roles can vary wildly.  It must last for only 30 minutes, and be able to repeat 4 times.

How will it work?  Each attendee will be responsible for coming to the session with a 30 minute structure already designed (or at least the first iteration).  We will arrive on Wednesday evening and briefly share our ideas and introduce one another. On our first day (Thursday), each resident will enact their structure and also participate in each other resident’s structure.  At the end of the day, residents will then deliberate about what elements within their structure they want to revise and adapt. For example: should the location change? Or perhaps the roles each participant has? Or perhaps the sequence?  The challenge is to adapt some aspects so the structure can bend and sway, but not too much such that the structure changes entirely. The events of day one will then repeat on Friday and Saturday. And then Sunday will be a final day of iteration.

Who should apply?  Ideally anyone whose practice involves other persons in its devising, design and creation.  This is a great opportunity to test out an idea for a performance or scene. Alternatively it could function as an opportunity to hold a conversation, debate or structured dialogue.  Or perhaps there is a relational, social or somatic practice that you want to tinker with. People from all backgrounds are welcome to apply including musicians, curators, academics, directors, dancers, film makers, playwrights, performers, social practice artists, writers, activists, cultural mediators, and educators.

The facilities: The Iteration Lab will take place in a small family farm near Kingston, NY.  Indoor spaces mostly include living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens – one of which is large enough to host somatic exercises or small performances.  Each resident will share a bedroom with 1-2 other residents. There are also ample woods, a large field, a creek, and an old church all of which can be used for this session.

Facilitator’s Bios:

Lexi Vajda is an independent dance artist who has the privilege of living and working on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Lexi’s interest in movement, imagination and sensation culminates in a practice of making performances, installations and film as well as interpreting the works of other artists.  She has worked with companies and choreographers such as Animals of Distinction, the response., Shay Kuebler RSA, Out Innerspace Dance theatre, Action at a Distance, Theatre Replacement, Company 605, plastic orchid factory, Delia Brett, Cindy Mochizuki, Tanz&Kunst Konigsfelden, Sasha Kleinplatz and Emmalena Frederiksson.  Lexi’s work investigates expanded notions of dance, peripheral spaces for choreography and improvisational score making and has been shared at PS: We Are All Here, Bloom, the Dance Café, DIY@DIV, Boombox, The Dance Centre,  F-O-R-M festival for Recorded movement as well as at Family Fuse at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Collaborative, anti-oppressive, and intersectional approaches to performance and pedagogy are also central to her practice. Lexi was a recipient of the 2016 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for emerging artist in dance.

Aaron Finbloom is a philosopher, performance artist, pedagogue and co-founder of The School of Making Thinking (SMT). His work involves designing performative “conversation pieces” for transformative inquiry that seek to aesthetically expand the scope of philosophical, academic and psychotherapeutic pedagogies.  Finbloom has presented these works internationally at venues which include: The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Gallery 151 (New York), Maschinenhaus Kulturbrauerei (Berlin), UNAM (Mexico City), and MainLine Theatre (Montreal), The James Gallery (New York). Finbloom has recieved training in (and facilitated groups in) Circling, Authentic Relating and Psychodrama.  He holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities & Fine Arts from Concordia University (Montreal) and is currently teaching Philosophy at the City College of New York.


May 5th – May 28th, 2020

Cucalorus, Wilmington, NC

$1250* includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available

Facilitators: Sara Fenton, Liz Clayton Scofield, Akeema-Zane

Over the last three years, The School of Making Thinking has led the IMMERSION Lab in partnership with Cucalorus Film Festival and ARVR Consultants. The 360° video pieces that have emerged from the residency have been tremendous: work born of intensive collective experience, cutting edge technical support, focused idea incubation, and challenging conversations in community.

This summer, The School of Making Thinking will run IMMERSION 4.0, our fourth iteration of our 360° video creation lab. The IMMERSION Lab is an opportunity to become acquainted with the emerging media of virtual reality (VR), build deep relationships in community, and develop methods of organizing creative projects in connection with social justice and peaceful futures.

Building on the belief that meaningful work is born out of a deep sensitivity for the context from which it emerges, we will immerse ourselves on every level. We will build group rapport through collective experiences, embodied workshops, intimate collaboration and co-mentorship of creative processes. We will engage the history of our surroundings through curated film screenings and readings, and encouraged micro research projects into Wilmington’s present and past. The tools of virtual reality have created a new space of exploration for the vanguard of immersive media and performance. Through our immersion, we engage the questions: What layers of historical, cultural, colonial, oppressive, personal and social fabrics map onto our movements in a space? How might we engage these realities actually, and virtually? As technologies evolve, how do artists adapt?

The first week of the session will be focused on group and site introductions, as well as developing technical familiarity with the cameras and gear. In the second week, we will create 360° videos in chosen locations throughout the city. The third week will be devoted to post production of the video pieces created, culminating in a work-in-progress sharing of videos and any live projects.

We are seeking participants who have capacity to engage in an intensive production schedule, interest in developing skills and familiarity with the emerging media of 360 video andVR, and a desire to work within local communities and contexts. Prior experience with 360° cameras and technology will not be required. Session participants will have access to 360° video capture cameras as well as technical support during the shooting and editing process. Please note that IMMERSION 4.0 has access to limited computer workstations, and participants should be prepared to work from their own machine if they have access to one.

Pieces created at the residency will have the opportunity to exhibit at the VR Salon at the Cucalorus Film Festival in November 2020. Residents will be encouraged to return to Wilmington for the festival to participate as exhibiting artists.

Facilitator’s Bios:

Sara Fenton got her start as a production coordinator on Canadian Geographic Presents, helping a team of intrepid documentarians track wolves, bears, and diamonds in the Arctic. Now LA-based, Fenton has produced short-form fiction, nonfiction, and 360-degree Cinematic VR experiences. Sara Fenton (and Betsy Zajko) are the brains behind Rogue Machine’s hit literary event: Rant & Rave. They work with writers to develop their stories for the stage, and on the second Monday of every month, serve up a highly curated evening of intimate and raw storytelling. As the former director of communications for USC’s Media Institute for Social Change, Sara champions socially-minded filmmakers, changing the world, one film at a time. Fenton’s has worked on the award winning documentaries al imam, Raising Citizens of the World and Making a Murderer and is proud to be bringing to the screen upcoming stories about women in STEM, female violent offenders, and Brainwashed a deep dive into gender disparity in Hollywood. Fenton’s films have screened at Slamdance, Cannes, Hot Docs, Cucalorus, Palm Springs and National Geographic.

Liz Clayton Scofield (they/them/their) is an interdisiciplinary artist, writer, wanderer, public crier, and collaborator currently based in Baltimore, MD. They are interested in oranges, conversations, bodies of water, cats, astrology, the smell of books, tiny notebooks, potlucks, breathing, and queer liberation. Their creative life involves a lived performance in collaboration with tiny toy versions of themself, where they explore how to play, how to connect with others, and how to love, among other things. They are excited by the capacity for magic, experimentation, and play in virtual reality, 360 and immersive technology. At IMMERSION 3.0, they became interested in the possibilities of virtual reality existing at the intersections of immersive performance, filmmaking, sculpture, installation, and play. They have continued exploring these ideas as VR artist-in-residence with the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at the JHU-MICA Film Centre. Their work has been featured in publications including Number, Nashville Arts, Wussy, and Dinner Bell. Exhibitions and performances include Cucalorus Festival, SeedSpace, Fuller Projects, and Noise Gallery. They have been an artist-in-residence with Cucalorus, the School of Making Thinking, Lazuli, and the JHU-MICA Film Centre. They were born and raised in the rural U.S. South. They received their MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington, and their BA from Vanderbilt University. They are 70 percent water, 100 percent heart.

Akeema-Zane is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher who centers the literary, cinematic and performance traditions. She has been  artist-in-residence, student, fellow and performer at Groundation Grenada, Cave Canem, The Maysles Documentary Center, Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, and The School of Making Thinking. At The School of Making Thinking, she was a part of the 2018 Immersion 2.0 cohort, where she designed her first Virtual Reality experience which featured herself.  Previously, she held post at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture as an archival curriculum researcher. Her published writings include: There’s a Monopoly on Change, Interlude, When Money Can’t Buy You Home and  Basil Grows from Mother Earth. She has spent the past year working on musical composition, sound design and deejaying.


an experiment in collective tuning 

May 18 – May 31, 2020

Rochester Folk Arts Guild, Middlesex , NY

$600* includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available

Facilitators: Naomi Moon, Hannah Kaya, Aaron Finbloom

Beyond its musical connotations, tuning implicates an awareness, resonance and receptivity. Tones, waves, sounds, affects, bodies, perceptions, and being itself can be in tune or fall out of tune, can attune, retune, or detune. The concept of attunement features within a diversity of fields: sound and performance theory, somatics, environmental movements, existentialist philosophy, neuroscience, and contemporary healing practices. Throughout the session, attunement workshops and embodied practices will be offered to support residents to detune/retune/attune their work to personal, collective, and terrestrial ecologies. These themes will be explored alongside the unique glacial topographies of the Finger Lakes region, which will serve as the vibrant backdrop for both individual and collective artistic practice.

Some of the questions this session will explore include: What is attunement? How do we choose what to attune to? What kind of focus is attunement? If tuning is more than musical, then what are its somatic, aesthetic, and relational modes? What are the limits of listening? Can we extend attunement strategies to non-human subjects and environments? How do art works re-attune to their changing contexts? How can micro-attunements be scaled to the macro? If our lives are patterned in accordance with prevailing ideologies, then what liberatory structures can we employ to loosen our habitual tunings?

Our session will begin with collaborative, interdisciplinary workshops which will serve as a mechanism of collective de/re/at-tunement. These workshops will intermix writing, moving, sounding and conversing, receiving inspiration from clowning, psychodrama, movement improvisation, and performance art. As the session continues, both residents and staff will continue this work of playing with collaborative means of de/re/at-tunement, integrating these processes into our own individual artistic production. While it is difficult to gauge precisely how this will look prior to our being together, we have created a brief poetic-imaginary document that visions some of these processes.

Our session is open to artists and thinkers of all mediums, but especially to individuals who find resonance with the aforementioned themes and methodologies. Residents should come into the session with a tentative, non-binding idea of a creative project they will work on, or a creative process they are interested in exploring. Our session will take place at The Rochester Folk Arts Guild in Middlesex, NY near the Finger Lakes region, named for a series of 11 long glacial lakes that resemble human hands. On the property itself, participants will have ample space to explore outside, as well as work in two indoor workshop spaces (movement friendly) and various smaller indoor spaces. There is access to wifi throughout the property, a pond to swim in, and an outdoor sauna.

Facilitator’s Bios:

Naomi Moon: I desire to be a part of the collective energy that moves cultural intention and impact toward holistic nurture instead of productivity, into connectivity instead of isolation and dissociation, and into retunements with the personal self, group self and their relational counterparts in the human and more than human. I’ve come to understand somatic attunement, interdisciplinarity, and play, as metafoundational process states which facilitate neuroplasticity, integration, an expanded capacity for lateral and plural thinking, experience of group mind, and emergent intelligence for localized holistic well-being. This understanding emerged from a group of practices I’ve been instinctively drawn to over the past 15 years, commonly woven in deep embodiment, imagination, improvisation and the role of the witness.  Clowning, contact dance, somatics (BMC and other forms), puppetry, experimental sound, drawing and image making, storytelling world-making and choreography, psychomagic and circling; each field has such rich potential for discoveries in and of itself, but something in their blending is revelatory. Other research fields that are deeply supporting my questioning, theory and methodology include: interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, polyvagal theory, ecofeminism, intersectionality, queer theory, complex systems theory. I want to include every beautiful research field of relationship I am shaped by ~ but these are trickier to name. I continue to practice, research and facilitate in small unnamed community gatherings, and within the context of a performance collective PomPom and Moon, and an interdisciplinary creative process community, the Art-Heart Collective. The past few years I’ve tended to facilitating interdisciplinary labs/workshops, making puppetry/clown shows, sound/movement performances, and strange ritual games/happenings at events, and small festivals in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal and surrounding areas. I look forward to meeting you and discovering what we are all about together.

Hannah Kaya is an interdisciplinary writer and researcher based in Montreal. Her work is often performative, therapeutic, and ecologically minded. Her performance work has been featured internationally, including Studio XX, Summerworks Festival, Eastern Bloc, Edinburgh Fringe, Berlin Expat festival, and the National Arts Centre of Canada. Her writing has been published through the Performance Research Journal, Montreal Writes, and FWORD. Hannah has presented at the Hemispheric Institute of Politics and Performance’s biennial Encuentro; Northwestern University;  UW Madison; University of Toronto, Concordia University. She has worked as a facilitator for the School of Making Thinking and the Togethering Lab.

Aaron Finbloom is a philosopher, performance artist, pedagogue and co-founder of The School of Making Thinking (SMT). His work involves designing performative “conversation pieces” for transformative inquiry that seek to aesthetically expand the scope of philosophical, academic and psychotherapeutic pedagogies.  Finbloom has presented these works internationally at venues which include: The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Gallery 151 (New York), Maschinenhaus Kulturbrauerei (Berlin), UNAM (Mexico City), and MainLine Theatre (Montreal), The James Gallery (New York). Finbloom has recieved training in (and facilitated groups in) Circling, Authentic Relating and Psychodrama.  He holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities & Fine Arts from Concordia University (Montreal) and is currently teaching Philosophy at the City College of New York.


August 1 – August 9, 2020

Community Forge and Christian Church-Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, PA

$400* *includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available | scholarships available for Pittsburgh-based applicants

Facilitators: Cory Tamler, Amir Farjoun

The demand for “more knowledge” is by now commonplace. It is not just our information-obsessed times. It is also a political and ethical conviction—articulated, and critiqued, by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick—that injustice comes from ignorance. And if that’s the case, what could be a more urgent task than to produce knowledge?

And yet, do we really know what knowledge is? Can we actually “produce” knowledge? What does that even mean? Can this produced knowledge be stored? Shared? Transmitted? Replicated? Sold? Also, what exactly does this knowledge do? What, and who, is it good for?

By this point, it’s clear to most of us that knowledge cannot be equated with information, and that learning and studying cannot be seen as merely a mental mapping of info-bits. When we deny the possibility of embodied, affective, artistic and spiritual knowledges, we deny these modes of being, these relations to the world. But what does it mean to pursue such activities as knowledge-acts? What techniques, stances, dramaturgies, styles, materials, bodies, and rhythms can we activate to produce knowledge-acts? And what kinds of knowledges would we want to produce exactly?

The workshop will take the malleable, hybrid format of the lecture performance as its point of departure. Sharing materials, techniques, fears and aspirations, we will work together to develop a variety of tools for epistemic-aesthetic expression. No specific experience with either performance or lecturing is expected, and in fact we hope to see applications from a broad range of backgrounds: knowledge-acts are everywhere The work is interdisciplinary, expressing our urge to understand how performance techniques, a performative frame, and an active audience can shift and reinvigorate the way that knowledge is transmitted—how we can access the social, joyful, full-self side of knowing.

This session extends the techniques and ideas developed over two years by the facilitators through a festival by the same name, produced in 2018 and 2019 at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City as an initiative by the students of the PhD Program in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Participants in the SMT summer session will have the opportunity to continue to develop their work at the Segal in the fall and perform their knowledge as part of the 2020 iteration of the festival. Festival participants receive dramaturgical support, rehearsal space, and a small project budget. More details and documentation here: Performing Knowledge 2018 and Performing Knowledge 2019.

Facilitator’s Bios:

Cory Tamler (www.corytamler.com) is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose practice is rooted in theatre, performance as research, and community organizing. She is a core artist with civic arts organization Open Waters (Maine), with whom she currently facilitates the In Kinship Archives & Performance Fellowship, and a member of Commitment Experiment, an experimental performance collective. She is part of the GrayLit editorial collective, and her translations and writing have been published in Performance Philosophy, Asymptote, The Mercurian, and Studies in Musical Theatre, among others. A former Fulbright Scholar (Berlin), Cory is currently a Ph.D. student at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and teaches in the Department of Theater at Brooklyn College. She co-curated and co-produced Performing Knowledge in 2019. This is her third co-facilitated residency with The School of Making Thinking, following Performing*Playwriting (2018) and The Body of Water: Experimenting with Form in Playwriting (2019).

Amir Farjoun is a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He researches “epistemic theatre,” seeking to develop dramaturgical methods of analyses that recuperate and rehearse links between theatrical and cognitive acts. As a co-creator, dramaturg, and/or performer, he contributed to live artworks produced at Hazira theatre (Jerusalem), the Guggenheim Museum, Danspace (NYC), Mousonturm (Frankfurt) and ENOA (Aix-en-Provence). With Mara Valderrama, he initiated Performing Knowledge (2018), a graduate student-run festival/conference staging dramaturgically-conscious research presentations from multiple disciplines. He has published performance reviews in etcetera and PAJ.

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