Workshop Descriptions

Land as Art


Instructor: Tracy Chapman Hamilton, Associate Professor of Art History at Sweet Briar College

This workshop studies how different cultures – through decoration, manipulation, or depiction – have responded to the land as art. Beginning in the prehistoric era and extending to the present day, topics covered will be as diverse as the stone lines of the Nazca in Peru, the visionary paintings of the Aboriginal people of Australia, the nationalistic landscapes of J.M.W. Turner in Great Britain, the Zen rock gardens of Japan, the international public installations of Jeanne Claude and Christo, and the shape of Sweet Briar’s campus.

By becoming more aware of how the earth has been approached and treated by others, we will gain a greater understanding of how each of us fits into its larger system – as residents, observers, and caretakers. We take that introspection and, in collaboration with multiple programs around campus, craft our own Sweet Briar land art using earth and other materials from nature to produce sculpture or some other mixed-media art.

Max Class Size: 24
Accessibility: This course requires some mobility to explore campus.

Smartphone Photography

Instructor: Medford Taylor, Adjunct Instructor of Studio Art at Sweet Briar College

The best camera is the one you have with you. Photography is an interpretative medium and what better way to express your creativity than with the camera that is your constant companion. The smartphone is many things: a still camera, a video camera, a darkroom, and a photo gallery.

In this workshop, we will explore some of the best processing apps that can enhance your artistic potential such as Slow Shutter, iNaturalist, Snapseed and you will be introduced to numerous inspirational artist’s websites.

The photo opportunities on the SBC campus in summer are endless. We will explore the natural and abstract world of the fields, lakes and woods of SBC’s nearly 3,000 acres. Each workshop participant will produce an online book of their work which will be shown at the final session of the workshop on Sunday. We will provide a smartphone tripod for your use.

You will need to edit your work for the online book on a laptop but 27” iMacs are also available in the college library. Bring your smartphone and enthusiasm for a fun four days on the sweet summer campus.

Max Class Size: 12
Accessibility: This course requires some mobility to access interesting photographic locations.

So The Story Begins: Using Prompts to Find Your Way Forward

Instructor: John Gregory Brown, Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English and Creative Writing at Sweet Briar College

In this workshop, we’ll discuss and experiment with the endless varieties of prompts that can help you generate new ideas for stories or novels or find new directions for the projects you’ve already begun. From scouring fine art and vintage photographs to drawing diagrams and maps, from free writing to navigating strict linguistic boundaries, we’ll aim to discover and put to use those strategies that get and keep you writing. Since this is a generative class, with a mixture of writing, discussion, and workshops, you don’t need to submit any writing in advance. You simply need to be prepared to experiment, have fun, and share your work with your instructor and classmates.

Max Class Size: 15

Writing Your Life Story

Instructor: Erica Trabold, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Sweet Briar College

Writing the story of your life—whether for family or for publication—is a tremendous undertaking. Where should a writer begin? And how do they find the momentum to keep going? This workshop offers time and space to reflect on the most important moments in your life, prompts to inspire your very best writing, and a community of other aspiring memoirists to offer feedback and support. Additionally, we’ll read excerpts from successful memoirs and discuss what makes them work. Look forward to leaving campus with a reading list and prompts to keep you writing your story long after the weekend is over.

Max Class Size: 15

Yoga Improvisations Embodied Metaphors


Instructor: Colette Krogol and Matt Reeves, Artistic Directors of Orange Grove Dance Company

How does the movement of the human body impact our experience of the world? Yoga and modern dance improvisation techniques are unique physical disciplines practiced in order to gain better control of the mind and body. Through embodiment of philosophical ideas this class will explore states of presence, perception, sensory awareness, and responsiveness to one’s self and environment, as well as physical strategies related to gravity, momentum, relationship, quality, effort, shape, and space.

Underlying our physical practices in this class will be conceptual exercises that are aimed at developing artistic instincts and metaphoric agility. How do we describe what we are seeing in the movements of the human body? What are the movement cultures we are a part of and how do we choose to navigate through them? These sessions will be a rich opportunity for collaborative play and movement experimentation with each other. In this workshop we will engage in studio practice as well as read, watch, discuss and respond to each other’s creative sketches.

During each workshop session, participants will be led through a warming yoga practice by Krogol (RYT-200 certification) followed by improvisational dance and choreographic exercises and discussion led by Reeves and Krogol.

Max Class Size: 15
Accessibility: This course requires some mobility to perform the exercises and creative sketches.

Telling Stories with Sound


Instructor: Joshua Harris, Associate Professor of Music at Sweet Briar College

In this workshop, we will work on telling stories using sound. Looking at podcasts and radio narratives in particular, we will learn the basics of audio production and sound design to support the creation of compelling works of audio narrative. Some of the skills and techniques covered will be using a digital audio workstation (DAW), recording voices, digital signal processing, and creating compelling sonic ambiances and effects. We will consider the ways in which we can use sound to make art, as well as support all the kinds of stories we want to tell.

Max Class size: 8