The Southland Institute (for critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices) is dedicated to exploring, identifying, and implementing meaningful, affordable, sustainable alternatives in design and art education in the United States. Through interconnected programming that includes a graduate-level typography workshop, in-depth discussion and critique of participant work and external exhibitions, partnering with local arts organizations, and a curriculum gleaned from public events and resources at area institutions, the Southland Institute offers a rigorous, accessible alternative to graduate education, with an emphasis on identifying exemplary public events, courses, screenings, lectures, trips, discussions, and readings involving image, typography, (infra)structure, sound, time, space, pedagogy, archives, and language, while proposing and implementing supplements where necessary.
Exploring the potentials of unaccredited, non-terminal higher and graduate education, the Southland Institute is focused on examining the gaps, grey areas, interrelationships, and common boundaries between these concerns, as well as their connection and relation to broader questions and circumstances. Built around a central curricular helix consisting of the tools, processes, histories, and discourses of graphic design and critical art-making, the Southland Institute is also a forum for inquiry into the processes, possibilities, and complications of higher education and its attendant structures and systems.
These fundamental strands are augmented by an evolving sequence of courses and workshops, including but not limited to: typography, moving image, economics, education, curation, landscape studies, writing, architecture, and sound. Connections are explored via work, writing, conversation, typographic studies, critique, and documentation. The program is intended to provide space and time in which participants can expand the spectrum and depth of their practices, develop the critical tools necessary to navigate and articulate the paradoxes and contradictions around them, and find the formal tools and contextual situations to convey these explorations.
Central to the Southland Institute's unaccredited graduate program are:
These will be accompanied by additional core seminars in close reading, curation, and archival studies.
The program takes place over two years, with each academic year divided into four 6-week sessions, two in the Spring, and two in the Fall. Admissions and enrollment are on a rolling basis, and participants may enter the program in either February or September.
During each year of residence, in addition to coursework, each participant will be required to organize one exhibition, and to organize and facilitate one public workshop on a topic of their choosing.
Offering an approach to thinking through and making work rooted in historical and contemporary practices and theories of both graphic design and contemporary art, the Southland Institute is a space for self-directed research, critique, conversation, cross-pollination, and expansion along and between continua of critical, durational, and typographic post-studio practices. We are seeking participants with integrative and transdisciplinary approaches and backgrounds who are interested in interweaving discourses of 20th and 21st century art, media, graphic design, literature, and critical theory.
The aim of the institute is to expand and deepen participant practices and provide an experience and education analogous to graduate-level study, while removing it from the private investment and speculation of the student loan industry.
The program functions on its own as a practice-based, research-driven, postgraduate educational environment, or as a supplement to other institutions or engagements with which participants may be currently or previously involved. Participants work primarily on self-directed projects under consultation with resident faculty and in conversation and collaboration with one another.
Committed to activating and exploring the points of contact between disciplines and media, and creating a space for extended development, exposure, and conversation, without the heavy debt burden that often accompanies such study, the institute exists in response to several gaps that we perceive in the current landscape of higher education:
In addition to the exhibitions and workshops organized by participants, the Southland Institute offers a range of programming that is free and open to the public, including a lecture series, screenings, and public discussions.
The institute operates with little in the way of property or equipment. This enables an efficiency and a focus on education itself, at a cost that is many degrees of magnitude lower than traditional, accredited programs. Los Angeles is a city of numerous research institutions, libraries, and other accessible resources, of which we encourage people to actively avail themselves.
The Southland Institute is not accredited by any accrediting body, and does not officially grant degrees.
The twin financial aims of the institute are affordability for students and fair compensation for instructors. The Southland Institute believes in compensating instructors for their contributions, and hopes to model an alternative to the ubiquitous undervaluing of educators.
The Southland Institute runs on funds from tuition, donations, and grants. Annual tuition is $3500. Sliding scale aid is available, and programming is adjusted according to available funds. Amounts contributed above the suggested tuition go to partial scholarships, additional programming, and general operating expenses.
Core faculty: Adam Feldmeth, Aurora Tang, Carmen Amengual, Joe Potts
From June 2018 to June 2019 the Southland Institute public lecture series presenters were Silas Munro, Janna Ireland, David Weldzius, Dina Abdulkarim, Niloufar Emamifar, and Aurora Tang. All were invited to contribute selections to this reading list, which are noted in the list with their initials following the titles they suggested. * denotes a publication containing a Southland Institute related text.
The modular bench / display / bookshelf unit depicted on the prospectus was designed and fabricated by Ignacio Perez Meruane in collaboration with the Southland Institute, in realization of a proposal for booth K03 at Printed Matter's 2019 Los Angeles Art Book Fair, where several of these shelving / seating modules took the place of a standard outward-facing table with chairs, to provide an open public seating and reading area in lieu of a site dedicated to commerce.
If you would like to help support the Southland Institute, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://southland.institute/support
Southland Institute has been featured on the Walker Art Center's The Gradient, CalArts' inform.design blog, and mentioned in an article in Temporary Art Review on the Alternative Art School Fair in Red Hook, NY, November 19-20, 2016.
The Southland Institute is a project of Fulcrum Arts' EMERGE Program