Antioch’s low-residency MFA program held its winter residency December 7-17, 2017 on the Antioch University Los Angeles campus. During the residency, students attended workshops and seminars that engaged their creative minds to think critically and promote social justice in their communities.
During the residency, students were divided into color-coded cohorts, with graduating students known as “Siennas” and the incoming students known as “Aubergines.” Each day students were treated to a variety of seminars, information sessions, and workshops that they could choose from including Writing Fiction with Socio-Political Content in the Time of Alt-Reality, with Gary Phillips; The Art of Translation, with Dan Bellm; Everybody Loves a Comeback: What Sports Can Teach Us About Storytelling, with Emma Margraf; You Still Need to Pay Your Bills and Eat: Welcome to the World of Content Writing, Editing, and Copywriting, with Susan Paretts; It Didn’t Happen Like That: Shaping Real Life Experience into Effective Story, with Christine Hale; Is There a There There? Trends in Contemporary Poetry, with Carol Potterand; and many more.
As a tradition, four graduating Siennas read at The Electric Lodge in Venice on December 10th. They were joined by poet, performer, writer, cartoonist, teacher, and activist Juan Felipe Herrera. Herrera was the United States Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017. He was introduced by MFA student Julia Knowlton.
Antioch University Santa Barbara (AUSB), hosting its residency at the same time, faced campus-wide shutdowns due to the impact of the biggest wildfires in California history in that area.
“One of the most satisfying aspects of this particular residency was the opportunity to invite MFA students from our sister program in Santa Barbara to attend parts of our residency, including a special multi-genre workshop, to fulfill some of their requirements when the AUSB residency had to be canceled because of the Thomas Fire,” said Steve Heller, chair of the MFA department in Los Angeles.
The residency ended with a commencement ceremony and reception for graduating students featuring speaker Percival Everett, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California, and the author of nearly thirty books.