CReative Arts, Fabrication, Technology (CRAFT)
Contact: lmcgrane [at] haverford.edu (Laura McGrane), VCAM Director and Grant PI
Haverford’s CRAFT grant for arts and technology supported the College’s commitment to visual and media literacy and creativity across the curriculum. The grant catalyzed new curricular opportunities for interdisciplinary faculty and staff hires, arts program expansion, and technological innovation.
CRAFT has enhanced technology initiatives across the Departments of Fine Arts and Music, along with core Visual Studies programming for faculty and students. Building on VCAM’s opportunities for documentary film, design, and fabrication, the program linked the building’s spaces to these departments’ facilities through technology, courses, enhancement grants, visiting arts fellows and technologists.
From 2019-2023, CRAFT has supported an array of curricular and co-curricular programs. Highlights include:
Sound Museum Collective
Sound Museum Collective (SMC) holds space to reconstruct our relationships to sound by creating a platform for women, nonbinary, and trans sound artists and engineers. Through accessible workshops and skill shares, creative team projects and community partnerships, SMC demystifies audio engineering while sharing in the resounding nature of sound.
Building on a virtual artist talk the year prior, Sound Museum Collective was in residence in Haverford’s VCAM facility throughout October, 2021, building a playful interactive sound room that triggers exploration of corporeal reality and its engagement with nature. Read more about SMC at Haverford.
Black Speculative Futures
Visual Studies faculty member Christina Knight used a CRAFT Course Enhancement Grant to bring performance artist Jessi Knight of knightworks dance theater to campus for a semester-long engagement with the Visual Studies/Africana Studies course “Black Speculative Futures.” The seminar broadly explored how black artists, theorists, and activists imagine different futures, often in the service of critiquing power asymmetries and creating radical transformation in the present, considering how the speculative works differently across black literature, visual culture and performance. In partnership with knightworks dance theater, the class experimented with crafting their own embodied speculative art in order to better understand its function as both art practice and politics.
Make Music Now with Brian Wenner and Matt O’Hare
Composer Brian Wenner and Visual Studies professor Matt O'Hare guided a mix of students, staff, and faculty through the process of recording sounds during a walking tour around campus, and then utilizing them in the music-making software Ableton Live to create original compositions inspired by traditions of musique concrète. Wenner and O’Hare then screened their collaborative work SEPARATOR, a 42-minute digital film featuring an immersive, multi-channel electronic score. A live electronic music set performed by Wenner and O’Hare concluded the evening. Listen to this album created by Wenner and O’Hare as part of the visit.
Making Desk Lamps with Peter Reese, Kent Watson, and the Haverford Arboretum
Partnering the Maker Arts Space, the Foundry Sculpture Lab, and the Haverford Arboretum, CRAFT Digital Arts and Sculpture Technician Peter Reese designed a lamp-building workshop where students worked with their hands and utilized equipment and materials across campus. Students made lamps from wood donated by the College Arboretum and at the same time learned industrial fabrication techniques, operating the drill press, power drills, and disc sanders. They also learned physical computing skills, wiring the switches and plugs of the lamps. It was an opportunity to think critically about objects, fabrication and fabrication technologies.
Sculpt It, Mold It, Cast It
CRAFT Digital Arts and Sculpture Technician Zach organized “Sculpt It, Mold It, Cast It,” a student workshop held in the Fine Arts Department’s Foundry Building that gave students an introduction to the basics of sculpting with modeling clay, creating a mold and casting a form. Students worked with modeling clay and used alginate to create molds of small sculptures. Using these molds, they then cast the forms with plaster.