Off-Campus Reflections 2018

“The root of craft is practice. So how do you practice looking, considering, thinking, outside of the classroom? Venturing further afield is a vital component of the MFA in Craft pedagogy.”
— OCAC MFA in Craft Chair Karl Burkheimer


“Craft is action. Craft is applied," says OCAC MFA in Craft Chair Karl Burkheimer. "You cannot merely think craft. You’ve got to do something.” Through Field Studies, MFA students venture outside the confines of the academic landscape for yearly extracurricular adventures. Destinations include national art and design centers (as well as offbeat galleries and quirky studios) in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle.

When graduate students set foot outside our coveted small campus…tucked within a medium–sized city in the Northwest…they enhance their rigorous studio experience by engaging vast, dense, and differing creative ecologies in an on–the–road laboratory.

Destination High Density

Field Studies for both programs include investigative trips to high density cosmopolitans such as Los Angeles. “MFA in Craft students venture into those spaces, seeking that density,” says Karl. As Portland's neighbor, L.A. becomes a rich resource to engage a large mass of creative endeavors and urban institutions. These trips to L.A., New York, and Seattle supplement students’ studio focus and artistic development. The Opportunity of Open Space

AC+D Field Studies simultaneously seek out the high density of city art centers and the grandeur of the open space. Students venture into the world for short immersive trips to locales such as Marfa, Texas. Recently, the program returned to Joshua Tree, CA for a weekend of experimental art at High Desert Test Sites that included a tour of Andrea Zittel’s studio at AZ West. Along the way, they visited Joshua Tree National Park and experienced the fiber work of AC+D Asterisk-in-Residence Sarah Wertzberger at The Hammer Museum in L.A.

The Voice of Design Concurrent with the study of design within a global landscape, MFA ID Field Studies directly engage the unique regionalized voice of design in the Northwest. Students visit established design ventures as well as the grassroots, enterprising industries the Northwest is known for.