And how would we do this, if we were to give it a shot? What would the physical and pedagogical topography of the place be? A way of defining common interests.
Images are from here, with lots of other resources about the College.
My idea, which I think I’ve shared with you, is to set BM2 in an urban environment as a kind of roving urban rehab school- taking over abandoned lots and buildings, using them as campus, learning practical building & urban agriculture skills alongside theory and art making. Bm2- the university as artist/thinker/urban survivalist training & radical urban transformation corps.
Academics structured to bridge EGS/BMC style intensive seminars with tradition residency program by way of very small number of core faculty study-leaders that bring in major thinkers & artists for short seminars and prep students for the seminar encounters. This also keeps costs to a minimum & maximizes quality of instruction/student authority to direct their own education.
Students required to read heavily, work physically as part of the community, and to be involved in staging events (lectures, readings, performances). Fees will be minimal and offset by added-value to the rehabbed buildings, which will in turn be either managed by the school or sold to ethically sound buyers for low income housing/art spaces/offices for non-profits etc. Thus the school is both training ground and actual ground for social change.
This little article/blurb is worth reading in regards to the urban option (not to be so Detroit-centric, the same principles apply a lot of places but it dovetails nicely from Ben’s comment):
Grants for something like this are not out of the question, although it’s nothing to count on. I think a multi-pronged approach would be ideal. If there was a space, residency would be a great way to bring people in. Also, having a sort of bed and breakfast for visiting artists and tourists interested in seeing Detroit first hand would be a revenue generator. It could feature foods grown in urban gardens and so on. But yeah, month/seasonal/year residencies with people would be great, and I think interest could be generated in the creative and educational community. In exchange for seminars/courses, people would get room and board and so on.
Further possibilities include community screen-printing and sculpture facilities, workshops on basic home maintenance and refurbishment (assuming that a “campus” of homes was being created), bicycle co-operative, ride sharing (at least some sort of communal car is necessary in Detroit), performance space, cafe, etc etc. Urban gardening would be a great way to utilize some buildings that are reeeally cheap but aren’t really habitable without the attention of an experienced and equipped carpenter/plumber/handyman.
Also, with the University of Michigan, Cranbrook, Center for Creative Studies, Wayne State University, and Eastern Michigan University, there is a lot of academia in the immediate region. With U of M in particular, a lot of visiting scholars/lecturers pass through, and could be lured into our ramshackle institution for a brief appearance.
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