Join a Working Group

Below you'll find descriptions of each working group proposal for the Fall 2017 cycle. All are welcome to join working groups and do not need to have attended prior meetings. Working groups meet two times per month on average. The working group cycle is approximately 3 months. Expressing your interest in the working group sign up form at this stage does not commit you to participating in it for the whole cycle. The first meeting is devoted to refining the working group expectations, getting to know other group members, and clarifying your outcomes.

We're excited about the beautiful and diverse array of proposals, outlined below (scroll down to read more about each).

On Monday, October 16 from 7-9:30pm, working groups were presented at the SoA quarterly meeting. Even if you weren't present at that meeting, you can still sign up for this cycle of working groups.

This Working Group Sign Up Period Ended October 30, 2017
At this point, if you would like to connect with any working group, contact us at and we can introduce you to the organizer.

An SoA working group is a vessel for creative collaboration. It is a space for discussion, experimentation and it can take many forms; at its most basic it is a group that comes together around a theme, practice, or project and meets periodically over the course of 3 months to create a final product / project and present it at the next SoA quarterly meeting.

Fall 2017 Working Group Proposals


THINK WE MUST: Philosophy of the Undercommons

This working group emerges from the practices of PPL, a thinktank and performance collective lead by Esther Neff. 

This group will devise interactive methods, including: 1.) interview and focus group processes 2.) relational and discursive performances  3.) performative experiments and 4.) written texts, diagrams, and  "living text-acts"  towards generation of intuitive and experimental philosophy extant outside of academia. The group will collaborate to design our own situational blend of the-ater (site for sight), the-ory (formalized ways of seeing), and the-ology (seeing our own beliefs and those of others), conceptualizing philosophy as something performed between persons. >>Read More

process & research in creative approaches

Proposed by Eve Mosher, Clarinda Mac Low, and Lise Brenner

This group aims to provide a framework for thinking about artistic practices that inhabit space in the public realm and add to the critical dialogue about the development of a place (usually urban environment). This working group will provide research around the history and posit how this work ties into greater civic practices and may positively influence the tackling of future problems. We will build a body of research on practitioners and create an open dialogue on methodologies for sharing back individual artists work and creating sustainable methods of working.  >>Read More

Contemplative Process for Creative Practice

Proposed by Tal Beery

These are insane times. There's just too much content in circulation. Maybe we don't need to add anymore. Maybe we make worlds simply by turning our attention. Maybe listening differently is today's most creative act. How can be receptive in a world that is often so hostile? This working group will map out artworks that manifest as observational or contemplative practices, that flip the roles of the artist and active listener. It will seek out a curriculum of observational practices and undertake them. We will share and discuss our experiences and find some non-performative, non-creative way of presenting our experiences to SoA at the next Quarterly Meeting. >>Read More


SoA is a radical learning community, a kind of school that is more like a school of fish or a school of thought. So what kind of governance and what kinds of leadership are most helpful for sustaining it? This working group will be responsible for planning some of the upcoming monthly meetings, but will also be a group that lays out and attends to the basic infrastructural elements that emerge from the core questions that make up the school. This is a great opportunity to experiment with other artists who are curious about the intersections of art and administration, as well as art and pedagogy. >>Read More

Sci-Art Flash Mob Across the Globe

Proposed by Shane Mayack, a biologist and founder of Ligo Project, a non-profit focused on connecting science to art, culture, and community. 

The question this working group will begin to tackle is how to bring science and art more into the community at large to attract and engage those adult community members who did not even realize they were looking for it. Like a flash mob - a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression – except included in the goal will be to bring science, art, and culture en masse to locations that tend to be under-exposed to the sciences and the arts. Our final aim will be to develop a white paper that discusses the importance of using the Sci-Art axis as a broader movement to improve the publics understanding and appreciation for science, art, as well as the collaboration between the two. >>Read More

Alternative Messaging Performance Crew

"Ladies and gentlemen, remember to do this...don't do that..." Do you have the same visceral reaction to some of the auditory and visual messaging on the subway that we do, the constant controlling of behaviors and bodies, not to mention the binaries these messages suggest? Compare this to the often eerie silence of crowded subway cars, where sometimes these recorded messages are really the only noticeable sounds. Well, together we can not only react but be proactive, reminding folks of their rights and that we don't have to be conditioned by these messages. We're envisioning this group can undertake creative projects and performances as a way of making new, more active, conscientious existences on the subway and other spaces, while also being aware of the reality that the subway is a place that may not be comfortable for many people, and neither may be the act of putting yourself out there to challenge its norms. >>Read More


Bodies Intersect Buildings vol iii

Proposed by Eugenia Manwelyan and Danica Selem

How do our bodies carry, enact, and experience our politics? How do our surroundings shape our physical, social and emotional bodies and behaviors? What makes for a resilient body – one that can survive and thrive under a variety of circumstances?

Bodies Intersect Buildings working group brings together artists, architects, and ecologists to consider the ways in which bodies learn, transmit knowledge, carry histories, and build futures. Through publication, workshop, and performance, Bodies Intersect Buildings experiments with and iterates a wide range of body practices, and asserts the body’s power as a medium for learning.

This cycle of SoA we will be dealing with the question of presenting/performing this work and it will culminate with a public presentation of this work in November at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY; as well as the possibility of performing the work in December in New York in a space chosen by the group.   >>Read More


INFRASTRUCTURE(s) in/of/as the city +public space interventions+

Proposed by Arielle Lawson

We will investigate the infrastructure(s) in, of and as the city—learning to “see” and relate to the infrastructures around us, taking a critical, conceptual and creative perspective on the urban environment and activating our imaginations and collective agency in making visible, intervening upon and tapping into the potential of our shared infrastructures. This could include field trips, site seeing and documentation walks, readings, and research. The group will work towards the aim of brainstorming, designing, building and deploying some kind of intervention(s) in, on or in relation to infrastructure, most likely in public space. The aim is to be experimental and hands on, particularly focusing on the “sidewalk-level” infrastructures of the city but also open to exploring below, above and beyond.

*** People with building/productions skills highly encouraged to join!! ***

A personal interest and aim of proposing this working group is to explore how we can use the framework and (re)conceptualization of infrastructure to make an explicitly feminist claim to (public) space -- questioning the boundaries and definitions of how things have been created and who/what are they for and centering issues of collectivized care, maintenance/labor, social reproduction and other “domestic” activities/forms which are so often marginalized from what is considered the “public sphere,” yet are at the heart of sustaining collective life.
>>Read More.