Thursday, March 8, 2012

No, but really: What is Fieldwork?

Fieldwork is for any artist who is interested in learning about how his/her work comes across to audiences.

Fieldwork is like no other place or format for showing work. You hear honest, direct feedback about what you’re making, not from friends or family, but from a group of people who will closely mirror your audience – people who aren’t connected to your work necessarily.

In Fieldwork, it doesn’t matter who is in the group with you – even people whose work you may not admire are able to give you feedback that will help your work develop.

In Fieldwork the direction of the work lays in your hands – since you don’t explain what your intent is, instead letting the work speak for itself, you remain the guardian of its development.

Often in Fieldwork, people find after they show their work, they are again energized about it, find new angles or ideas that are inspired by the feedback. Sometimes just showing the work in front of others gives the maker fresh eyes.

Most artists who do Fieldwork find that giving feedback is as important as showing their work. By participating in the process, you will learn to become much better at seeing work, putting into words how it is coming across to you, and verbalizing this information in a way that the maker can hear.

People often develop lasting bonds with their peer Fieldworkers – people find collaborators, performers, and audience for their work by participating in the workshop.


We reached out to Susan Oetgen who will be facilitating the upcoming Guest Artist Fieldwork with Brian Brooks, to ask her what she gets from Fieldwork:

Sharing work in Fieldwork always gives me useful information about whether my intentions are coming across successfully or not. Also, I like to practice performing as often as I can, and Fieldwork groups are great opportunities to actually get up and do something in front of an audience, with slightly lower stakes than in a public performance.

Try it for yourself!
Click here to learn more about this season’s Guest Artist Fieldwork (March 20 – May 8).

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