We are a group of educators within American art schools actively rethinking the proprietary boundaries of our institutions. Our work stems from a desire to eschew the paradox that educational institutions often limit the sharing of knowledge. Whether public or private, our institutions have slipped into corporate models that embrace the notion that competition is the primary form of innovation. We are bound by a death drive to grow; with more students, more new buildings, more endowments, and more student debt to prop it all up. Consequently we suffer from a chronic, unsustainable, financial affliction. This was our pre-existing condition when the COVID-19 pandemic came along, further eroding an already fragile enterprise. COVID has become a catalyst for us to rethink our relationships to institutions, and has thrown into relief the extractive problematics of our departments that turn students into clients and faculty into service providers.
From these crises we steer towards spontaneous allegiances, a mutating archipelago of divergent communities that seeks to share and redistribute resources and innovations. We offer shared programming, shared scholarship and shared archives. We strive to unite our students under a porous architecture where they can meet, mingle, debate, collude, and build new models of cultural production and exchange. We offer structures for peer support, channels to communicate, and models for us to see beyond our respective institutional enclosures.