Graduating students at the spring 2016 residency studied a myriad and interdisciplinary areas. Here’s a sampling of what our graduating students presented to show the depth and range of their studies.
The Aesthetics of Consciousness, with IMA-CS graduating student Justin Kagan. My thesis examines the relationship between consciousness, practice, and aesthetics. Drawing upon the world traditions of Zen Buddhism, Yoga, and the Mindfulness Movement, it explores the idea that consciousness has an aesthet
ic. Further, it identifies the importance of social location and cultural context in relation to the individual’s consciousness, their practice, the resulting developed consciousness, and the role of absolute consciousness within this framework. This presentation will explore the key concepts of the Theory of Aesthetics of Consciousness. We will discuss the issue of defining these terms in exclusively scientific language while exploring new language with which to open a dialogue around the subject of consciousness. Come explore the felt-sense experience of consciousness in an open dialogue around consciousness, tradition, practice, and aesthetics.
Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm: Community, Food, and the Urban Landscape, with SIS graduating student Rania Campbell-Cobb. Dig into the urban landscape, food, community, and sustainability with Cloud 9! Cloud 9 is a social innovation using rooftop agriculture to address issues of urban sustainability. Urban communities are facing a host of interconnected environmental, social, and economic challenges. These challenges are exacerbated by the lack of opportunities for residents to connect with the environment and one another. Cloud 9 works to support sustainability in Philadelphia by using food and rooftop space to foster diverse social cohesion, and community-driven projects that strengthen local resilience.
Holding the Table Steady Together, with IMA-TLA graduating student Seema Reza. A reading of poetry produced during my time in the GGI, combined with a generative writing workshop in which participants support one another in honestly reflecting upon and communicating individual experiences.
Intentional Third Place: Bettering Community One Coffee at a Time, with SIS graduating student Genevieve Egge. Throughout American culture we have romanticized the pursuit of well-being and happiness into to-do lists. Additives to our lives such as what foods to eat or not eat, gratitude journals, trended exercise, and many more. We often spend so much time chasing happiness all by ourselves, we often miss the moments of connection and community all around us. In the spaces that flourish with comers and goers such as the coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, moments of connection are taking place. It is these moments, the relationships, and conversations that we will unpack in this presentation. Third places is a term that is utilized to define the spaces that individuals choose to spend their time outside of work and home. By understanding the potential these spaces have to encourage connection among individuals we can begin to promote social and sustainable change within communities through these intentional third places. This presentation will define what qualifies an intentional third place and unpack the ways third place businesses can take actions to form socially innovative community spaces that help promote well-being and happiness for the communities they exist within.
Irregular Therapy: Self-Discovery and Collective Integration Through a Creative Engagement With Symbolism, with IMA-CS graduating student Ronny Lemos. The human mind seems to be constructed around an irresistible desire to create meaning. As “makers of context”, we interact with symbols to forge our sense of self and the world around us out of a tangible, but ultimately unfathomable reality. Irregular Therapy: Self-Discovery and Collective Integration Through a Creative Engagement With Symbolism provides a first-hand sensory glimpse into an imaginative venture that illustrates the meaning-making process through personal experience and creativity. By directly exploring the living dynamics between the fundamental archetypal forces operating in every organism—here represented by the four classical elements and the twelve signs of the zodiac—we are able to shed some light on the original significance of symbolism as an invaluable self-discovery tool that links individual integration to a common collective framework and through which both symbols and individual are transformed.
The Poison is the Medicine: How Sex and Drugs Saved My Life (and Could Save the World), with IMA-CS graduating student Britta Love. Sensual pleasure and psychedelic medicines were the powerful catalysts of expanded consciousness that facilitated my own journey, from addiction and neurosis to healing and spiritual opening. There is now ample medical, scientific, anthropological and historical evidence that these are indeed powerful and potentially transformative tools – if often misunderstood and misused. Using a combination of personal story and academic research I’ll argue that, just as it was for me, the intentional use of psychedelic plants and sexual intimacy could be exactly the rocket launch to embodied consciousness that Western society needs, sending us to the heart of healing and holotropic states – examining deep trauma and reconnecting us to ourselves, each other and the earth.
Rosie’s Second Shift: The Domestic Lives of Women Workers During World War II, with IMA graduating student LisaMary Wichowski. Rosie the Riveter is the quintessential icon of the World War II home front. Her image has been used countless times as an expression of feminist agency. The image we associate with the name is ubiquitous, paraded for Halloween, or trotted out whenever a female celebrity such as Madonna or Beyoncé wants to affirm their feminist credibility. Though she is most known as an industrial worker, Rosie, like working mothers of all generations, had a double shift every day, first on the munitions assembly line and then at home caring for her family. The war disrupted family ties, removing hands able to help out around the house, but there were few options for childcare when even the education system worked in shifts. Rationing and shortages hit hard and shopping was made all the more difficult by long work hours and short store hours. Finally, housing was in short of supply, just as everything else was. How did women cope with these challenges then? What institutional supports did they have? Finally, how can we apply the lessons of that era to help working women today?
That’s Just How She Is: Using Improvisational Techniques to Cultivate an Integrated Self, with IMA graduating student Amelia Bane. Find out how improvisational play can help strengthen your mind/body connection and cultivate an embodied sense of self. This presentation will include an abbreviated version of the improv workshop I developed as part of my final product.
TV Rots Your Brain: How Marketing and Convenience Influences Taste, with HAS graduating student Jenn Arlia. Expanding on a chapter from my thesis, I will present (a bit more candidly) the roles convenience and visual marketing play in our perception of food and healthy eating habits. In a slideshow of original photographic images, I reimagine the way we look at television commercials, branding, and nutritional science.