Two Upcoming Residencies with the School of Making Thinkinng

The School of Making Thinking is offering two really exciting summer residencies this summer. THE BODY OF WATER is a playwriting residency exploring water-related phenomena as dramaturgical inspiration, set to take place at Pittsburgh’s Community Forge.  IMMERSION 3.0 is the third iteration of an innovative VR creation lab set to take place at Cucalorus, in Wilmington, North Carolina. IMMERSION has been praised within the VR industry as at the forefront of innovating creative material in the emerging VR world! For both residencies, opportunities for subsidized tuition and travel are available. APPLY BY MARCH 10th! 

The School of Making Thinking hosts Spring & Summer Intensives for qualified artists and thinkers to work alongside each other for one to three week sessions. We continually experiment with structure, approaches to programming, and alternative pedagogies. Our residents have included sound and performance artists, poets, philosophers, sculptors, painters, botanists, dancers, playwrights, filmmakers, video artists, documentarians, and historians, among other diverse practices.


​May 25 – June 9 – Community Forge, Pittsburgh, PA
Tuition $600 

*includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available ​ 

This residency will create a space for experimenting with the emergent development of a playwriting methodology based on bodies of water. By the end, each resident will work to produce two things: (1) a proposal for a dramaturgical form (story shape) or a writing practice inspired by water or water-related phenomena, and (2) a piece of dramatic writing that follows that form or practice. Residents may, but don’t have to, write plays about water—we are primarily interested in letting water inform the shape of plays, not their content.

We will study the anatomy of bodies of water (rivers, oceans, springs, lakes, perhaps icebergs—frozen bodies of water!), as well as their effects on social structures. We will look at water-related phenomena like flow, sedimentation, human and animal migration, flooding, and more; we’ll look at examples of performative work that engages waterways, biomimicry, and theorists/activists whose work draws on language around liquidity, emergence, and flow. Pittsburgh, at the confluence of three rivers, provides rich potential to engage embodied research as well. Through our Pittsburgh host site, Community Forge in Wilkinsburg, there will be the option for residents to interact with other artists, community organizations, and Wilkinsburg residents/youth.

Here are some of the kinds of questions that interest us: What changes about site-specific performance or place-based research when the site/place is a body of water? What happens to a story if the plot diagram isn’t shaped like a mountain, but like a river or a lake or an ocean? How could a writer collaborate with water? How can a playwright collaborate with a scientist /collaborate with a painter in a way that’s fluid, that flows? What can playwrights learn from the way that water acts on us all at a distance and links us to other people and beings who appear geographically far away

The residency will focus on plays: we’ll work to translate our ideas to our playwriting process, from conception and research to writing and feedback. We welcome applications from anyone interested in working specifically with playwriting, whether you primarily identify as a playwright or you have a practice in another medium and you’d like to experiment with dramatic form. We also welcome applications from scientists, activists, scholars/researchers, and others who would like to collaborate with a playwright. We’ll be developing an experimental approach together, so it’s important that you’re interested in writing for the stage but also that you’re willing to challenge your own ideas about what makes a stage play work.

IMMERSION 3.0: VR Creation Lab

June 2 – June 22, 2019 – Cucalorus, Wilmington, NC
Tuition $1250

*includes food, lodging and technical support for VR production |tuition and travel subsidies available

This summer, The School of Making Thinking will run IMMERSION 3.0, our third iteration of our 360° video creation lab. The IMMERSION 3.0 Residency at Cucalorus will be an opportunity to explore immersion as a part of artistic practice, develop immersive works and become acquainted with the emerging media, 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 be building group rapport through collective experiences and embodied workshops, intimately collaborating on and co-mentoring creative processes, and conducting micro research projects into Wilmington’s present and past in order to deepen the context and content of the pieces produced. By engaging the history of our surroundings, wondering about the standing communities, observing architecture and local lore, acknowledging the original caretakers of the land and local Indigenous communities, and the legacies of cultural production that make Wilmington what it is today, we collectively ask 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?

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 immersive pieces of performance and 360° videos in chosen locations throughout the city. The third week will be devoted to post production of the video pieces created with technical support from ARVR Consultants, culminating in a work-in-progress sharing of videos and any projects intended as a live experience.

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 and virtual reality, 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 3.0 does not provide 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 Expo at the Cucalorus Film Festival in November 2019. Residents will be encouraged to return to participate as exhibiting artists.  

Over the last two 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 emerged have been tremendous: work born of intensive collective experience, cutting edge technical support, focused idea incubation, and challenging conversations in community. 

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