The Workshop

Publication Date

April 2016


Lisa Dierker


General Scholarship


English (United States)


ABSTRACT At its core, this thesis has formed out of my foundational belief that that there is a problem within the Wesleyan community regarding the allocation of creative resources—both physical resources, such as materials and workspaces, and abstract resources, such as time, knowledge, support, and community. For those who are not enrolled in Studio Art classes, access to Wesleyan’s artistic resources is seriously limited, a problem that disproportionately affects low-income students. My thesis attempts to rectify this inequality through the creation and maintenance of a student-run arts center and makers space, in which all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, class, ability, income, sexual orientation, age, or major, will have access to the resources necessary to undertake creative projects. This space, called “the Workshop,” is now fully renovated and up-and-running in Hewitt Eight. The report that follows details the history of the Workshop, from its initial conception to its current realization. In addition to a narrative history of the Workshop’s creation, I will outline the ideologies upon which the Workshop is founded, as well as concerns regarding the future role of the Workshop within Wesleyan’s community. Finally, I will discuss my student forum, “Project-Based Storytelling,” its place within the Workshop, and my hope for a widespread projectbased curriculum at Wesleyan. This thesis—both in the physical form of the Workshop and in the written portion herein—emphasizes the value of non-traditional, non-linear ways of learning and 4 being; thus I will avoid any attempt to package the project as a “completed piece,” but rather hope to offer a narrative entrance into what should be understood as a fluid, ongoing, communal process. A workshop is necessarily a space that values change over stasis, process over product, question over answer—a place of progress and reconstruction. The idea for the Workshop came to me during a class on storytelling. This thesis, too, tells a story—but a story of a beginning, a story without an ending. I leave these narrative threads loosely tied in the hopes that they will soon be picked up and rewoven by different voices, creating new understandings in the process.

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