While Kristen Densmore (M.F.A. photography candidate) worked on her final paper for her online contemporary art history course spring quarter, her professor Anne Swartz sponsored her entry to the American Craft Council’s 2009 Conference’s call for papers. Densmore was awarded a scholarship that covers all conference registration fees and three nights’ hotel stay to attend the October conference in Minneapolis, Minn.
Densmore’s research paper for her contemporary art course, entitled “Symbolic Craft in the work of Faith Ringgold, Kara Walker, and Sonya Clark,” discusses the work of Sonya Clark, who happens to be one of the keynote speakers at the conference. Densmore learned about the conference while researching Clark. Densmore works with alternative photographic processes printed on handmade papers and fabrics and embroiders on top of them. After Densmore realized she was extremely interested in all the speakers and events during the weekend, she decided to apply for a student scholarship to attend the conference
Densmore’s background in crafts include a family connection to different craft mediums, and she is actively working to incorporate craft into M.F.A. thesis. With an affinity to the handmade object, the organic- and earth-based materials used in most crafts, and the long history of craft in our society, Densmore will do well to represent crafts, both new and historic. She finds the craft medium is both practical and connects us emotionally to each other, and her personal craft connection includes heirlooms in her family that have been handed down for generations. In her own words, “In this super-fast, instant gratification and technologically complex world I think it’s important to slow down, use our hands and reconnect with traditional mediums.”
Densmore is excited for the opportunity to attend this conference. She will meet well-known professionals in the craft field, build her networking contacts and make connections across the craft fields, expanding on SCAD resources about making a living as an artist. Densmore says she’s also looking forward to being inspired by the art and ideas presented at the conference. “I always get a lot of energy and artistic momentum from other people’s work,” she says.
Attending conferences related to students’ work is common for SCAD students. SCAD hosts several conferences, including the Game Developers eXchange (GDX) in Savannah and Atlanta, and also encourage students to attend conferences across the United States. Students taking classes online frequently participate in conferences relating to their studies, as well as eLearning faculty and staff who attend conferences pertaining to their fields of expertise.
SCAD eLearning Blended Learning Option
Densmore was originally studying as a SCAD-Savannah student when she chose to temporarily relocate to Prescott, Ariz., to fulfill a museum internship for class credit at the Sharlot Hall Museum. At the completion of her internship the museum offered her a full-time position. She accepted. She was able to acquire beneficial educational experience as well as a fantastic addition to her resume, but after six months she wanted to return to school and wasn’t able to return to Savannah until the fall of 2009. Kristen chose to take advantage of SCAD eLearning to bridge the gap between the times she could be in Savannah. In spring of 2009 she took two online courses, Contemporary Art History and Digital Studio II, of which she says she really enjoyed. “I found them to be super challenging,” said Kristen, “but I learned a lot and got great feedback from both my professors and other students.”
SCAD eLearning students are encouraged to attend SCAD conferences and lectures. Additionally, lectures and events are available in the Virtual Lecture Hall and SCAD TV.
All SCAD students have a blended learning option, which allows them to take classes online at any point during their course of study. Students take online classes from any location and with no set class meeting time. Not only do online classes allow students increased flexibility, but as online education grows more popular, online courses in turn contribute to energy conservation and of building space, and also minimize gas usage and parking space that would be necessary to commute to a physical building. Utilizing the blended learning option is a win-win situation for students and the college alike. Current SCAD students interested in taking an online class should speak with their academic adviser.
Click here to access more information about the American Craft Council 2009 conference.
Footnote: Not surprisingly, Kristen spent this summer interim working in Montana near the Glacier National Park so she could use her free time for hiking and photography.