zFestival unAcademy

zFestival unAcademy is a 7-week fall intensive program geared towards those looking to expand their creative horizons through virtual and technical means. The program will start on October 1st and end with a final presentation of works the weekend of November 20th.

The unAcademy’s mission mimics the broader zFestival one: to empower contemporary artists with technological skills and artistic inspiration to make collaborative art in a virtual space. While we will be bringing in guest artists and coaches to work with our participants, a large part of our goal is to create a community where skill sharing is a prominent part of the education structure. We believe everyone knows something that they can teach to someone who doesn’t know it, and through this, more knowledge is shared than through a typical lecture or seminar format.

That being said, engaging with the ideas and practices of folks prominent in their artistic fields can give a sense of direction and inspiration for those learning where they’d like to grow. As a result, we have invited a series of guest artists to deliver workshops and facilitate discussions about art, music, media, technology and entrepreneurship. These meetings will serve as spaces for participants to generate ideas and derive creative solutions to challenges they face throughout the program. The unAcademy also provides weekly seminars, lead by our in-house coaches, as a place for groups to present on their progress and ask for advice on moving forward compositionally and technologically.

Our participants will work on two projects throughout the course of the unAcademy. The first will be a short piece (audio and/or visual or otherwise) to be finished by the end of the second week. All that we ask for this project is for it to be slightly outside our participants current practice. Everyone will be invited to our Slack group prior to the start of October and can begin conversing with other participants about ideas and collaborations to be implemented in this first project. This project is meant to empower participants to trust their knowledge of creation, facilitate collaborations with our virtual community, and push them to think beyond what they already know how to do.

We will then ask participants to think larger and dream big. The second project, taking place over the remaining five weeks, is meant to prove that collaborating virtually poses more creative outlets than restrictions. Participants will be formed into small groups of 4-6 people, all with various skillsets, and they will be asked to propose an idea for a large scale multimedia work. Each group will then make a timeline with concrete goals and deadlines to be met by the end of the program. There are no rules for what media you can use for this final project as long as it can be presented online. For this, the sky is the limit, and we hope our participants will think up wilder ideas than we ever could. By the end of the seven weeks, each final multimedia work will be premiered in a public event for all to experience.

Participation in the unAcademy does not require any prerequisites; all that is needed is a passion for creation and a desire to expand your horizons. This program is first and foremost meant to empower our participants with technological knowledge and creative principles so they can embrace a virtual environment for creating art. The schedule for the unAcademy can accommodate people who are in school or working full-time, and it may be particularly exciting for those who are taking a semester off or shifting career paths. If you have any questions or concerns about participating in the unAcademy, please feel free to email zfestival@zfestival.org.

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