Fall 2022 University of Guelph

This MFA Fall seminar explores ideas relevant to being contemporary artists in a this historical moment. In addition to exploring the research, technical and aesthetic concerns specific to each of the artists in our class; readings in the course will draw from emerging public conversations on intersecting crises of climate disaster, inequality and injustice. While considering perspectives from various art critics, artists, activists, scientists, anthropologists, poets and philosophers – we will attempt to reckon with the question, what does it mean to be an artist here and now?


Participation in discussions and class activities: 25%

Students are expected to complete ALL reading and listening assignments and come prepared to participate in class discussions, studio visits and field trips. Positive and constructive contributions to our class activities are essential to create a supportive, creative community environment. Regular activities include a Show and Tell period at the beginning of each seminar – where students may share news of exhibitions, books, or other references related to class materials and local contemporary art practices.

Reading responses: 25% (Total 8-10 pages)

Students will respond to a total of FOUR assigned readings (500 words plus images) exploring one or two key ideas expressed in the piece, and at least one artwork described/or related to the ideas in the piece. Students may also discuss how the ideas and artworks relate to aspects of their own work and practice. See deadlines for notes on the schedule.

Readings Presentation: 25%

Students will present one required reading in a 10-15 minute presentation – followed by questions for class discussion. Readings will be assigned in the first class. Your presentation must include:

1.    A summary of key ideas expressed in the piece

2.    Elaboration on new or theoretical words/concepts

3.    Presentation of at least two artworks described/or related to the ideas in the article with images.

4.    What kinds of questions does the article raise for artists and art practice? Open and lead a discussion. Discussion for 15 minutes will follow.

Hosting a Class Studio Visit: 25%

Students will host one 40-minute studio visit for the entire class. Consider – what artists do you feel an affinity with? What are you researching? What are you working on now and where is it going? How is your work relevant in this historical moment? What do you want to know from the perspective of an audience member looking at your work?

During the first 10 minutes of the visit, the student should present two artworks made by other artists that have influenced and informed their work, and then something they have already made to give context – and then some new things that they are working on. Sharing wider research materials and other non-art references are also encouraged. The rest of the period is for informal viewing, conversation and questions.