Share This Post


Opportunities: Columbia University School of the Arts’ Arts Collaboration Lab (NYC)

Opportunities: Columbia University School of the Arts’ Arts Collaboration Lab (NYC)

Columbia University School of the Arts premiers the Arts Collaboration Lab this summer. Collaborate with artists from across disciplines – theatre, film, performance and visual arts, writing, and music – in a unique new laboratory environment.

The Arts Collaboration Lab is a pioneering, intensive summer workshop where artists and arts students from across disciplines work together to study collaborative techniques, to develop new projects, and to share ideas.

Under the mentorship of internationally acclaimed professional artists and faculty members from Columbia University School of the Arts, the Collaboration Lab is a testing ground for artistic collaboration, where students expand and deepen their understanding of their own practice by working in partnership with artists from other genres and disciplines.

Launching in July 2011, and run in conjunction with P.S.122 – New York’s legendary downtown arts and performance center – the three-week Collaboration Lab is an accredited course of Columbia University. In partnership with the Summer Residency Program, the Collaboration Lab will create a one-of-a-kind artistic community in the heart of New York City.

Examples of collaborative student projects that might be developed at the Lab include:

  • A film director, a sculptor, and a choreographer collaborating on a site specific adaptation of Medea
  • A painter, a composer and a poet creating a virtual platform for illustrating e-literature
  • A playwright, a sound designer and a dramaturg exploring the frontiers of audio technology to create a personal, experiential walking tour of Upper Manhattan
  • A screenwriter, a musician and a videographer developing a blueprint for an online opera

Student artists are usually trained in strictly defined categories – playwrights with other theatre makers, composers with other musicians, and so on – with little opportunity for collaboration with artists from other disciplines. Professional artists, however, increasingly blur these notional boundaries between genres, creating work that is fundamentally collaborative and cross-disciplinary. The Arts Collaboration Lab provides a much-needed space where artists can study and explore collaboration, preparing them for a lifetime of collaborative practice.

The Arts Collaboration Lab is born from the belief that often the most interesting work is made at the borders where genres intersect and new forms are created.  The Lab’s curriculum and structure therefore emphasize process, collaboration, and innovation over finished products.

Students are encouraged to play courageously, and to explore unfamiliar artistic methodologies and styles, expanding and deepening their understanding of the possibilities of their own practice by working with artists from other disciplines.

As projects develop, students regularly present and discuss their works-in-progress in class, and peer response and critique play a central role in the course. Students keep journals and other records of their process.

The core of the program is a collaboration practicum in which students work together in groups of 3-5 to develop a sequence of projects:

  • An introductory high-speed “boot camp” collaboration, in which students have 48 hours in which to create a multidisciplinary artwork within strict parameters
  • A second project with a one-week incubation period
  • A final 10-day process with a presentation

The collaboration practicum is complemented by a series of guest lectures and seminars, case studies, and field trips, designed to introduce students to a broad range of collaborative theories and practices:

  • Presentations and lectures on cross-disciplinary collaboration from Summer Residency Program artists, and other artists, dramaturgs, and curators.
  • Taking advantage of the cultural richness of New York City and its surroundings, students make field trips to performances, exhibitions, artist studios, and other institutions, such as Lincoln Center Festival, MoMA PS1,River to River Festival, and Dia: Beacon.

Classes are led by Gideon Lester, who has 15 years of experience as a dramaturg, curator, and artistic director, and who teaches courses in multi-arts collaboration and adaptation at Columbia University School of the Arts. Joining him is P.S.122‘s Artistic Director Vallejo Gantner, a leading presenter of experimental performance, who has formerly worked as Director of the Dublin Fringe and Artistic Associate of the Melbourne Festival.

Students will also receive master classes and critique from the professional artists of the Summer Residency Program, which is run in parallel with the Arts Collaboration Lab. Summer Residency artists will be announced later this fall.


Share This Post

Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.
%d bloggers like this: