The Radical Edge of the Low-Residencey Model: Faculty Present at NEA Higher Education Conference

Katt Lissard talks with another conference participant

Katt Lissard talks with another conference participant

Katt Lissard and Karen Campbell, faculty members in the IMA/SBC/HAS programs, recently presented a workshop at the NEA (National Education Association) Higher Education conference in St. Louis in mid-March. Their workshop — “The Low-Residency Model and the Radical Edge From Personal Theory to Engaged Work in the World: Individualized Masters Degrees and the Activist-Scholar – The Graduate Institute at Goddard College” — looked at how low-residency programs can play a crucial and radical role in bridging the online/classroom/community divide.

Katt and Karen explain about their approach, “Our individualized, interdisciplinary Masters programs offer working and/or mobile adults access to a radically conceived activist-scholar experience. The

inspiration and exhilaration of coming together for intense eight-day residencies serves to balance the deep, reflective and rigorous work pursued by individuals once they are back “home” in front of their computers and/or engaging in community-based projects testing new theory in practice. At Goddard, students are regarded as unique individuals who take charge of and design their learning while collaborating with peers, staff, and faculty to build a strong community.”

Karen Campbell at the conference

Karen Campbell at the conference

Katt’s and Karen’s bios speak to extensive experience with community-based projects. Kattis a writer, activist and artistic director of The Winter/Summer Institute, an HIV/AIDS theatre project based in New York and Lesotho, Africa. Goddard College Graduate Institute faculty member Karen Campbell’s interests lie in colonial/postcolonial cultural studies. She’s recently returned from Japan where she was involved in social action theatre addressing such issues as the vexed legacies of colonialism, and of the 3/11 earthquake, tusunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Their workshop at the NEA conference drew a lot of interest

Posted in Community Building, Creativity & Imagination, Cultural & Cross-Cultural Studies, Progressive Education, Theater, Drama & Playwriting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mike Alvarez Wins Fellowship for New Americans

Alvarez_MikeMike Alvarez, a graduate of the Individualized MA program, was just awarded the prestigious Paul and Daisy Fellowship for New Americans. Currently working on his PhD at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he’s studying the cybersuicide phenomenon, Alverez says this of his time at Goddard:

The IMA program has taught me not to be ashamed of my scars. That by articulating these scars, I’m bringing silenced narratives into discourse, which can be very empowering to others. My work on madness, suicide, and human creativity, is really an attempt to map a cartography of the range of human expression – its hinterlands, its buoyant waves. And what Goddard did, is that it made me realize how much I love reading stories, how much I love *writing* stories, and that the stories I read and write are all connected in this magical, ineffable way.

Building on his MA studies, Mike has also recently finished a memoir on mental illness. In addition to his MA degree, Mike completed a MFA degree at Goddard College also, and he has published and presented both scholarly work and creative writing widely.

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Goddard Chef Paul Somerset, and Robin Stone’s Health Coaching

robin_stone_1_150x225Robin Stone, a Health Arts and Sciences MA student, found more than just food for thought at her last Goddard residency. Studying the role of story in helping Black women to reconnect with and care for their bodies, Robin has an eye for how to enhance health. She found some new ideas in the Goddard cafeteria, thanks to chef Paul Somerset, which she wrote about in her blog Health Jones.

An author, journalist and health coach, Robin writes of her mission, “I decided that I wanted to be a catalyst for change for those who wanted to be healthy but couldn’t see where to start or how to get through the rough patches.”

One way to see through challenges is to turn lemons into lemonade, or in the case of Chef Paul, root vegetables into hummus. Read Robin’s article to learn more about the Goddard chef’s approaches as well as other paths toward greater health.

Posted in Health Arts & Sciences, Nutrition | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Writing, Healing, and Community Building with Veterans: An Interview with Seema Reza by Joy Jacobson

6a01a511537316970c01a3fcafa00e970b-800wiA Goddard BFA graduate and incoming Transformative Language Arts student was just featured on the Best American Poetry Website. Seema coordinates the recreational arts activities at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Bethesda, MA, and she’s a long-time writer.

When asked if how the study of TLA is important to her career, she said,

It is, in the sense that I hope to find the methods and language to answer: How do we survive in this work? I spend my day listening to some really rough stories. That’s my job. The goal is to create more people who are doing this work, especially veterans. There are stories that veterans tell other veterans that in some cases they wouldn’t tell me. So how do we maintain our own creative practice? That is an important part of the TLA program. When I’m working with veterans there’s mutual growth. We are together, both of us growing. How do we support the facilitators of this work, particularly when they have traumas of their own? It’s the kind of thing we need people all over the world doing, and they have to have safe outlets for processing it. Artists and veterans are leading these community-building workshops, and I’m interested in seeing that people are staying sane.

Read the whole interview here.

Posted in Activism, Creative Writing, Creativity & Imagination, Transformative Language Arts, Transforming Trauma | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Marketing Your Authentic Self: A Blog on Blogs by IMA Alumni Josh Pollock

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Josh Pollock at Goddard — wonderful photo by fellow Goddard alumni Victoria Mosey

Josh Pollock writes that his MA in environmental studies is, “I promise you is the perfect background for working in the WordPress ecosystem.” His MA in Individualized Studies resulted in the thesis The Halo Tree: Ecological Design Principles for Sustainable Design Via Social Networking, already bringing together the world of social media and the world. In his latest blog on “Marketing Your Authentic Self,” he writes of serving your audience on your own terms. Check out other blog posts he’s written, all of which show us ways to use wordpress-based websites and blogs to live out our true work and lives.

Posted in Environmental, Sustainability & Place Studies, Social Media | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Transformative Language Artists (and Goddard Graduates) Celebrate the Power of Words

From left: Deb Hensley, Joanna Tebbs Young, Amber and Ronan Ellis, Miriam Gabriel, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Scott Youmans, Taina Asili and Seema Reza

From left: Deb Hensley, Joanna Tebbs Young, Amber and Ronan Ellis, Miriam Gabriel, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Scott Youmans, Taina Asili and Seema Reza

The 10th annual Power of Words conference — celebrating social and personal transformation through our spoken, written and sung words — brought together a large group of Goddard graduates as well as other writers, storytellers, musicians, artists, activists, educators and community leaders Oct. 11-13 at Pendle Hill Retreat Center near Philadelphia. The conference featured keynoters:

  • Taina Asili, a graduate of the MA-TLA program, and social action-focused writer and singer with her band La Bande Rebele;
  • Michelle Meyers, spoken word artist and founder of Yellow Rage;
  • Deb Hensley, educator, writer, singer and facilitator, MA-TLA graduate, and founder of When Did We Stop Singing?; and
  • Dick Allen, Connecticut Poet Laureate, beloved poet and teacher.

Dick Allen, CT. Poet Laureate

Dick Allen, CT. Poet Laureate

Among all the workshops on right livelihood, narrative medicine, social action and engaged spirituality; talking circles and big group sessions; informal meet-ups and wanderings in the woods, Goddard graduates who attended also included:

  • Joanna Tebbs Young, a professional columnist and workshop facilitator;
  • Amber Ellis, editor of the forthcoming TLA professional journal and facilitator of writing workshops;
  • Miriam Gabriel, new blog curator for the TLA Network as well as a writer and spoken word artist;
  • Scott Youmans, writer, divinity student, software designer and workshop facilitator; and
  • Seema Reza, arts and writing program director for Walter
    Conference participants finding the power of song

    Conference participants finding the power of song

    Reed Military Medical Center and other facilities, specializing in helping wounded warriors re-make their lives.

Organized by the Transformative Language Arts Network, the conference was first held at Goddard College in 2013 as a project of the college. Past keynoters

Miriam Gabriel with storyteller Doug Lipman

Miriam Gabriel with storyteller Doug Lipman

have included Grace Paley, David Abram, Julia Alvarez, Gail Rosen, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Dovie Thomason, Gregory Orr, Lewis Mehl Madrona, Rick Jarow, and others. The 2014 conference happens Sept. 19-21 at Lake Doniphan Retreat Center in Kansas City, MO.

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Nancy Morgan on Writing, Stories and Living with Serious Illness

Nancy Morgan, one of the first graduates of the Transformative Language Arts program in 2002, came to Goddard because she knew it was her calling to help people living with cancer, their families and medical providers find their voice and community through expressive writing. Coming to Goddard after losing close family and friends to cancer, Nancy followed her studied through the program and into a practicum at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. Her practicum led to a career and a job as Director of Arts and Humanities at the Center, where she’s worked for the last 13 years. She’s also conducted important research on the relationship of writing and health.

Nancy recently shared this wonderful video in which she discusses her path, her work, her research, and the miracles she witnesses on a regular basis through the power of the pen.

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