This MFA is built around the Nomad/9 residencies, which take place in summer, fall and spring. In June there is a three-week residency, and in both the autumn and spring there is a two week residency. Between residencies, students use the online educational platform Blackboard as well as Skype to work with their advisors and stay in touch with each other from their home locations. There is one online course each fall. The entire degree is 26 months long and spans two academic years and three summer sessions. The curriculum is designed so that students may continue with their life commitments at home while earning a rigorous MFA.

This degree prepares artists for a more ambitious and effective practice and enhances one’s ability to gain funding, career opportunities, and employment in a variety of public and private sectors. In addition to fortifying one’s own art practice, this degree builds understanding and skills that apply to museum work, public art administration, education, entrepreneurial ventures, social art and design practice, community development, sustainability work, and therapeutic arts.

More specifically, the Interdisciplinary MFA prepares artists to collaborate with individuals and organizations and teaches systems thinking, a powerful problem solving skill. The residencies and rigorous coursework build an understanding of culture, place, and history. The training in ecology builds a working understanding of sustainability. Business and entrepreneurial skills are developed through the professional practices curriculum and public art component.

The guiding philosophy is one of connection. The world needs artists now more than ever. To be effective, artists must understand how to use poetic means, materiality and social impact to bring the most complex issues back into public discourse. The MFA curriculum is built to connect artists not only to audiences, but also to a broad base of skills and knowledge. The program’s ethos is one of sustainable culture, which means that these connections are fostered to serve the greater good and help restore balance for a regenerative future.
Our students work with many distinguished artists. The 2016-2017 roster includes: Christine Baeumler, John Bielenberg, Amanda Carlson, Aaron Dysart, Christy Gast, Hope Ginsburg, Seitu Jones, Matteo Lundgren, Amanda Lovelee, Shanai Matteson, Mary Miss, Colin McMullan, Carol Padberg, Ernesto Pujol, Colleen Sheehy, Allison Smith, Mona Smith, Sandy Spieler, Linda Weintraub, and Caroline Woolard.
This program is influenced by permaculture, which is a design system based on how nature works. Many ecological principles have shaped the program, such as the importance of edge spaces, feedback loops, the need for heterogeneity, and the establishment of essential interconnections between the parts that make up the program. The result is an MFA program with a particularly dynamic culture and clear sense of purpose.

Being an artist does not require a degree. And yet, an MFA can be of immense value for artists who wish to develop their practice and take their work to the next level. This MFA provides:

  1. An international, progressive peer and mentor community that will continue to be beneficial into the future;
  2. A curriculum that you cannot find in other MFA programs including craft to code tech workshops, courses that include culture and history, community building best practices, as well as systems thinking and sustainability;
  3. An experimental approach that is open-outcome, which means that it is not limited to a certain type of artistic practice
  4. Educational travel that goes beyond the well worn path between North America and Europe.

Each MFA student has his or her own reasons for obtaining an MFA. This MFA has been designed for artists who are impatient with the status quo, and are ready to prepare themselves for a more ambitious and effective art practice.

By building an MFA curriculum around the Nomad/9 network of residencies, we have created a system of learning that includes ecology, indigenous knowledge, an exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism, material studies, social engagement, and the study of place. In this program each site is itself a teacher. All of this is done in a way that allows the program to respond to the changing realities of the world we live in.

The total 26-month program cost for students entering during the 2017-2018 academic year is estimated to be around $56,500. This includes lab, registration, and technology fees. Keep in mind, that most students receive generous scholarship support. Students may receive up to 40% scholarship funding. Our scholarship funding is continuing to grow and we hope to provide more students with support each year.

Tuition is paid in three installments each year. For the tuition installments, please see the most current information on our Tuition and Fees page. The awarding of merit scholarships is determined by the Program Director and the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Admission Committee. Financial aid for domestic students is available through the U.S. Department of Education. To learn more, please contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance at 800.947.4303 or email: finaid@hartford.edu

No. Students can live anywhere around the globe. Requirements include the ability to travel to the residency sites and access to a reliable Internet connection.
First year students’ summer residency takes place in Rhinebeck, NY and Hartford, CT. Second year students’ summer residency includes New York City and Hartford, CT. The 2017-2018 fall and spring residencies are being held in El Salvador (Nov. 4-19) and Miami, Fl (Feb. 18-Mar. 3). Over time, we plan to rotate between sites that may include Toronto, Mexico City, Saint Paul MN, Oakland CA, Bogota, Buenos Aires, and Tierra del Fuego. Students can expect to visit at least five different sites over the course of their MFA.

The rabbit might stand for all the beings that are usually left out of human considerations. Or perhaps it is the trickster, who cannot stand academic rules and regulations? Maybe it is the abundance of nature and nature’s ability to take over domesticated spaces. The nomad might stand for erasing boundaries of nation states and living in balance with nature. Perhaps it represents an artist’s thirst for the world and new experiences?

Both the rabbit and the nomad are a way of saying “yes, we are hosted by a university and accredited by the authorities, but there is something different going on here in Hartford.” They are all wrong and just perfect for a program that is about taking risks and letting go of orthodoxies.