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Fall 2021 Course Offerings

Brought to you by the letter M

Embracing the Mess: Experiments in Making, Mending, Mutualism, Multitudes, Maybe More…

Registration open to the public August 23 – September 23, 2021

Gatherings start Thursday, September 23, 2021

Our free school experiment continues! Registration is free and simple.

Step 1: If you are not yet already subscribed to our Groups.io online platform, please click here. Subscription to Groups.io is important because it provides participants with access to our event calendar, reminders, electronic bulletin board, and collaborative wiki.

Step 2: Explore our schedule of course offerings below and let us know what you plan to attend by completing the registration form below. Please note when making your selections: Some courses are casual and drop-in friendly, some courses ask participants for greater commitment in order to support our volunteer facilitators’ effort and preparation.

All courses are offered for FREE! As a mutual aid community, all participants are invited to complete our mutual aid form to offer their needs, wishes, gifts and abilities. When money is required, we practice a decentralized, non-hierarchical, voluntary, and transparent process of mutual finance. Giving opportunities are posted here.

Fall 2021 courses are generally scheduled to meet Thursdays (around 6-8pm Pacific time or 1:00-3:00 GMT) and Sundays (about 11am-1pm Pacific time or 18:00-20:00 GMT). All courses meet synchronously through live Zoom gatherings. (See calendar for access codes.) Some courses provide asynchronous material and guidelines through our electronic message board.

Fall 2021 Schedule


M is for Merriment: IAFS Fall 2021 Open House Jamboree

Description: Open to all, our Fall 2021 Open House is opportunity to welcome newcomers, re-connect as a community, introduce new course offerings, share outcomes from previous and ongoing courses, make friends, and have some fun with the letter M.

  • Thursday, September 23 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT)

Commitment: Drop-in style

Volunteer MC: TBD


Josef Albers is My Boyfriend: Color Theory Intensive – #JAismyBF

Description: Using Josef Albers 1963 book “Interactions of Color” we will dive deep into the exploration of Color Theory. Exploring the history of colors and their uses in multiple art forms. Where science, history, art and play all come together in this 3 course intensive.

  • Sunday, September 26 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • Thursday September 30 – 6:00pm-8pm (Pacific)/1:00-3:00 (GMT)
  • Sunday October 3 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)

Commitment: Commitment is important to get the full scope but can also be drop in style.

Volunteer Facilitator: Sara Knight – Sara Knight is a Bay Area artist and educator exploring the intersections of art, education, play and mending through a variety of mediums. Through IAFS Sara brings elements of childhood and elementary school learning into higher education settings.

Materials: If you believe you will continue to use Color Theory in your practice, I recommend purchasing Color-aid Paper. https://www.dickblick.com/products/color-aid-papers/
That being said, an assortment of blank colored paper will be fine. Gluesticks, pencils, paint, scissors will be other materials needed.


What’s the Deal with Humor and Trauma?

Description: We will be re-starting and expanding our community conversation about the relationships between humor and trauma. On the first day we’ll screen Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix Special Nanette.

Content Alert: Nanette includes Gadsby talking about her traumatic experiences with sexual abuse and assault.

On the second day, we will be joined by comedian Nato Green for a conversation about the comedy special and our complex relationships with humor and trauma. Guiding Questions: What is the relationship between Humor and Trauma? Are their healthy and unhealthy manifestations? Can humor help us heal and create solidarity?

  • Thursday, October 7 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT) – Screening of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette
  • Thursday, October 14 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT) – Conversation with Comedian Nato Green

Commitment: Super casual drop-in style

Volunteer Facilitator: Elizabeth Travelslight and special guest, comedian and labor organizer Nato Green.

Materials: None


How to disappear completely – #privacyisfun

Description: The aim of this course is threefold. Firstly, it will be a practical introduction to security culture and privacy habits for artists and activists. Secondly, it will challenge the idea that privacy has only become relevant since the advent of computers and the internet, OR that technology is the sole way to resist the world of total surveillance we live in today. Thirdly (and most importantly), it will be a space for co-learning, specifically, an opportunity for artists to reclaim privacy through art.

This last point is the most exciting prospect of this course: reclaiming the concept of privacy as something that we’re all already experts in — an innate intuition, thanks to us being social creatures — if only in our own unique ways.

What happens when this innate intuition collides with the ways in which malicious algorithms really work? We find ourselves confused, disoriented, and perhaps a little lost. A simple example: browsing in Incognito mode doesn’t really make your browsing private. A lesser known one: using a VPN does very little to protect your privacy online. And an even more niche one: if you disable location tracking on your phone, there’s still a good chance that your phone is broadcasting its location multiple times per second, through other channels (such as your Wi-Fi or your cellular network).

The question to you, the artist, is: as you learn more about these specific, surprising and often counterintuitive ‘realities’ of how algorithms spy on us, is there value in expressing this very personal process of discovery in creative ways? Is expressing the complexity of privacy-invasive algorithms — and your own personal transformation, as you come to learn of them — a worthy (or, at the very least, fun) artistic endeavour?

This is why, even if this course will have a significant practical and technical component, its overarching goal is ultimately artistic.

  • Sunday, October 10 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • *Sunday, October 24 – 9am-11am (Pacific)/16:00-18:00 (GMT) – Studio Time
  • *Sunday, November 7 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • *Sunday, November 21 – 9am-11am (Pacific)/16:00-18:00 (GMT) – Studio Time

*TBD

We’ll also have bi-weekly ‘office hours’ between courses, which you can tune into to discuss practical or technical questions (“How do I import my bookmarks from Google Chrome to this new, privacy-respecting browser I’ve installed”, “Can we spend 30 minutes and set up my own VPN server?” etc).

Commitment: Participant commitment is essential. (“You are the curriculum!”) Faciltators are dedicating considerable time and care to preparation, participants should plan to attend all course meetings and communicate absences.

Volunteer Facilitator: Yash Lad – I’m a student of anthropology and, more recently, a yuppie in the world of Big Tech. Even so, I’ve learnt little about privacy through my day job. Over the past year I’ve embarked on numerous mini-projects outside of work to experiment with privacy and security: switching from Zoom to more secure platforms, setting up my own VPN and cloud server, refurbishing an old laptop to run a Linux-based operating system that’s *much* faster than Windows etc. I’m excited for this course because 1) I’ve never facilitated a course before, 2) I will try to make this course as leaderless as possible. As noted in the description, one of the basic assumptions of the course will be that we’re all already experts in privacy in one way or another. So, we all have something to teach and learn from each other.


Sketchbooking with the Moon Group (Waxing Moon)

Description: Looking at our practice from the lens of the MACRO to the MICRO ~

This group is meant for us to slow down and intentionally hold space for uninhibited art making & experimentation. And maybe most importantly, it is a space to practice vulnerability in sharing these two facets of our practice that coalesce in the space that is THE SKETCHBOOK. This group is an extension of last semester’s course, with an emphasis on workshare, and open to all. (New members are absolutely welcome and encouraged to join!) Last time around, we had a focus on guest speakers to help us look at our journaling practice from different angles. This time around we will be digesting that information and coming together to talk amongst ourselves about our visual journaling practice, projects we are working on, and support each other in community. This “class” will be non-hierarchical, embracing the IAFS statement of pedagogy full heartedly; an opportunity to forge a leaderful community.

  • Sunday, October 17 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • Sunday, November 14 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • Sunday, December 12 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)

Committment: Participant commitment is essential. (“You are the curriculum!”) Faciltators are dedicating considerable time and care to preparation, participants should plan to attend all course meetings and communicate absences. People are welcome to drop in and drop out as needed, but the group is so much more fruitful for everyone if we are present.

Volunteer Facilitator: Mara Ramirez and others

Materials: A sketchbook, favorite drawing utensils, and time.

PICTURED: Radiolaria polycystinea, a fossilized, ancient single called organism, Barbados.
PICTURED: Radiolaria polycystinea, a fossilized, ancient single celled organism, Barbados. IMAGE CREDIT: FEI Company

crafting the dharma: embroidery as spiritual practice with olive loew

Description: The purpose of the course is to use the medium of embroidery to explore interdependence. Participants should have some crafting experience and be interested in exploring our practice through a spiritual- in this case Buddhist/animist lens. We will explore embroidery basics, grounding & meditation, craft/material lineages, the ethics & impact of our practice, interdependence, suffering, impermanence, and creative practices as a tool for healing and transformation. Goals for the course include: Group engagement & connection, skill-building, and having fun. Together we will explore an embroidery project as a microcosm reflecting all that is arising in our hearts & minds in this time. Key questions: Can you open to everything in this moment? Can we explore the ways in which these stitches bind our hearts with all that is?

  • Thursday, October 21 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT)
  • Thursday, October 28 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT)
  • Thursday, November 4 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT)
  • Thursday, November 11 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT)

Commitment: Participant commitment is essential. (“We are the curriculum!”) Facilitators are dedicating considerable time and care to preparation, participants should plan to attend all course meetings and communicate absences.

Volunteer Facilitator: Olive Loew – I have 20 years of self-taught embroidery experience & 15 years of practice exploring meditation. I’m a death doula, folk artist, senior fitness instructor, cat lady, & a spiritual friend.

Materials: Embroidery hoop & needle, scissors that cut fabric, access to an iron. If the group is less than 15 I can send out fabric & thread, some needles if necessary. No one turned away for lack of resources. If it’s more than 15, people will need fabric of their choice, cotton, wool, linen, recycled, vintage, etc. We can work with anything but heavy denim or leather.


We Contain Multitudes

Description: To evoke universal images I intend to have filmmaker Michael Chanan who is one of the most inspiring documentary filmmakers I have come across. We will focus on his film called Money Puzzles on the 24th October, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker. For 31st, our intention is to screen Michael’s film on Chile keeping in mind the recent constitutional challenges Chile is going through. More details on these works can be found on Michael’s website: http://www.mchanan.com/

  • Sunday, October 24 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • Sunday October 31 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)

Commitment: Drop-in style

Volunteer Facilitator: Anshul Rai Sharma – I am Anshul, a university student from India. I’m interested in cinema and its unique way of connecting identities and values. 


Making with Money: Intro to Personal Finance

Description: The purpose of this course is to start honest conversations about our financial health in the historical context of capitalism. Participants will be given the tools to organize their finances, start a budget, and make tangible plans for the future. Driving question, “What does a healthy relationship to money look like in today’s economy?”

  • Thursday, November 18 – 6pm-7:30pm (Pacific)/1:00-2:30 (GMT)

Commitment: Participant commitment is essential. (“We are the curriculum!”) Facilitators are dedicating considerable time and care to preparation, participants should plan to attend all course meetings and communicate absences.

Volunteer Facilitator: Elizabeth Travelslight and special guest Xochitl Benson. Xochitl has over 15 years experience in the banking and lending industry. She has worked for several private banks in various relationship management roles helping individuals and families create meaningful financial legacies. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics and holds a Certificate in Financial Planning from Golden Gate University.

Ink drawing of a small group gathered under an umbrella sheltering them from a downpour of numbers and letters.
Art Hazelwood with IAFS Visual Assembly Lab, The Reign of Literacy and Numeracy, 2021.

Stitch Witch (Full Moon) – #StitchWitch

Description: Exploring the intersection of community, craft, and punk with a focus in fiber arts. Making back patches, embroidery memes, a community quilt and hook rugs.

  • Sunday, November 21 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)
  • Sunday, December 19 – 11am-1pm (Pacific)/18:00-20:00 (GMT)

Commitment: Participants can pick which projects they want to be a part of. Drop-in okay.

Volunteer Facilitator: Sara Knight

Materials: Fiber Materials differ for each project. Fabric, Embroidery floss & hoops, needles, scissors, fabric pencils, yarn, either latch hook or punch needles & the fabric that goes with that.


Doing It Ourselves – De-Institutionalizing Art Worlds

Description:  How do we move beyond art institutions that act as gate keepers to culture and education? In three meetings we will examine the problem, look at alternatives and envision a collective education future DIO (Doing It Ourselves). In part 1, What Rough Beast –  we’ll look at the failures of the museum and arts education with a focus on accessibility – economics, inclusivity, structural assumptions. In part 2, Wild Dreams – The range of alternatives runs from artistic movements that sought to reorient art around experience, to experiments in early childhood education and the current movement towards online mutual aid education. In part 3, Doing It Ourselves, DIO – we will think together to move the best aspects forward in building an accessible, DIO higher education and art world.

  •     Thursday, December 2 – 6pm-8pm (Pacific)/1:00-3:00 (GMT) – What Rough Beast – Setting the problem.
  •     Thursday, December 9 – 6pm-8pm (Pacific)/1:00-3:00 (GMT) – Wild Dreams – Exploring alternatives.
  •     Thursday, December 16 – 6pm-8pm (Pacific)/1:00-3:00 (GMT) – DIO – Doing It Ourselves.

Commitment: Drop-in style

Volunteer Facilitators: axel dāzee, Art Hazelwood,Tanya Vlach, Anshul Rai Sharma, and Sara Knight.

Image: Art Hazelwood, 2021.

Additional ongoing and spontaneous gatherings


CRAFT – #CRAFT

Description: CRAFT seeks to create a space to encourage ongoing conversation about the work we are making currently, to discuss the issue of craft as it relates to art both historically and at the moment. CRAFT is conceived as part critique, part skill sharing, part exploration of problems and history around this potent topic. What is the history of craft in relation to the fine art world? What can historical and recent examples of attempts to bring art and craft into direct dialog say to us? We’ll take as a starting point William Morris’ idea that art and craft are inevitably tied to each other and to labor. The Arts and Crafts Movement; Bauhaus in Germany; and Mingei movement in Japan and examples of contemporary efforts to bridge art and craft, will be discussed, mulled over and composted into our thinking about how art and craft function in our own making. The course is envisioned as a monthly meeting with time for sharing, critique, presentation of techniques and discussions of the history and theory of craft. When do we emerge from “Art for Art Sake?”

  • Wednesdays, 6:00pm (Pacific)/1:00 (GMT) – ongoing project support and open studio time

Commitment: Drop-in style

Volunteer facilitator: Art Hazelwood


Field Notes on Utopia – #fieldnotes-utopia

Description: Weekly lectures, films, discussions on a wide variety of topics that fall under the IAFS umbrella: experiments in arts education, alternative communities, political movements, visions of the future. The form each week takes will depend on the guest presenters.

  • Thursdays, 4:00pm (Pacific)/23:00 (GMT)

Commitment: Drop-in style

Volunteer facilitator: Art Hazelwood


The Art of Grief: Grieving as an Act of Defiance

Our course will explore different ways of healing in community through grief’s multiplicities. We feel strongly that people need a space to come together in a gentle environment to grieve many different aspects of human experience, and that doing just this is an act of defiance today. With an emphasis on studio art and storytelling, we’ll focus our strengths as emotional humans into healing, in our daily lives and with our art practices. We will think about how to combat incomplete processes of grieving and allow people to have a safe space for sharing their own experiences when it comes to community healing.

  • Scheduled as needed

Commitment: Drop-in style

Volunteer facilitators: Sam Companatico, Isabella Hare