The School of Art & Design (A&D) has the good fortune to be among the 19 schools and colleges at the University of Michigan, a world-renowned research university. One of the youngest academic units on campus, A&Dís reach and influence have steadily grown since being established as an independent unit in 1974. A&Dís current academic programs and projects focus on generating new creative work, integrating the cultures of art and design, and engaging with the University, region, and national and international communities. Exemplary faculty and staff and a commitment to joint academic programs and joint faculty appointments with units on campus and state-of-the-art facilities support these objectives.
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The Photography Department at Cranbrook cultivates artists to practice in a manner that is both non-traditional and interdisciplinary. Critical discussions originate from issues in contemporary photography that are inspired by documentary, tableau, or performative practices. Using these dialogues as a starting point, we look to historic as well as contemporary works to assess the direction of the medium. We evaluate production value, content and its formal translation, and the nature of practice as we establish models of critique and production that can be sustained beyond the academy and into the profession.
At the MFA program in photography at Cranbrook, approximately 15 students work closely with their artist-in-residence to find their subject matter, explore the function of form, and produce a refined and sustainable practice that generates artworks. In addition to regularly scheduled group critiques, the artist-in-residence engages the students in individual meetings and assigned readings. Part of the curriculum is generated by the students as they are expected to do field and literary research throughout their tenure at Cranbrook. Each student shares her field and literary research with her peers by conducting a seminar in which she leads her cohort through a field trip and selected readings. The program is supplemented by regular visits from outside artists and critics.