SMT’s 2020 Residency Programs

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.

The application deadline for our 2020 Residencies is February 7th @ 11:59pm.


April 22 – April 27, 2020
Krumville, NY
Tuition $300 | tuition and travel subsidies available

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. 


IMMERSION 4.0: VR Creation Lab

May 5 – May 28, 2020
Cucalorus, Wilmington, NC
Tuition $1250 *includes food, lodging and technical support for VR production | tuition and travel subsidies available 

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.


BODIES, FIELDS, AND WAVES OF ATTUNEMENT: an experiment in collective tuning

May 18 – May 31, 2020
Rochester Folk Arts Guild, Middlesex, NY
Tuition $600 *includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available 

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 (HERE) 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.



August 1 – August 9, 2020
Community Forge and Christian Church-Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, PA
Tuition $400* 
*includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available | scholarships available for Pittsburgh-based applicants 

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.


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