First, there are no formal programs at Bennington in any discipline, just a bunch of cool faculty members who want to teach students no matter what their experience level or expertise is.
That being said, sculpture and architecture work in a similar way as literature or math might, from day one you are working in the studio, diving in dumpsters for cardboard, or cutting up butter board or doing whatever you need to do to make your work. The other cool thing about those disciplines, like all disciplines at Bennington, is that students in the classes are coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. So, for example in one of my sculpture classes a music student (who also builds his own guitars) made several sculptures surrounding music. Another student who studies costume design was in a self declared “Princess phase” and decided to make a throne when we were asked to design a place to sit.
Field Work Terms vary greatly between students. I worked for a furniture builder building furniture. My friend who did the music sculptures worked for Jason Middlebrook, a sculptor. Another sculpture friend went to Uganda to teach art. Architecture wise students sometimes find jobs in architecture studios. A friend of mine wrote articles about old historic buildings around Philadelphia and another worked as a TA at a university in Ecuador. Basically whatever you can dream up you can find.
If you have any questions or would love to chat more I would love to talk, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
That really depends on what you’re hoping to do, where you’re hoping to go, and how creative you’re willing to get. A lot of first years go home to save money but that’s certainly not required. I ended up in NYC (I’m from Seattle) staying with friends of friends. My job covered transportation so my only cost was food.
If you don’t might networking with friends and family or putting up with sleeping on somebody’s couch I think it’s totally possible to have a great FWT with limited finances. I know you asked in general “how much” but without specifics it’s hard to say. Also don’t forget that the FWT office has resources to help you out including a little bit of grant money and and plenty of creative planning!
That really depends. In my experience my advisor has pushed me to pursue FWTs related to my plan and areas of concentration. However, if you found a position that really peaked your interest chances are you can relate in some way to what you’re studying, even if the connection isn’t super explicit. Below are some photos of the globe outside the FWT office with colored dots indicating FWT sites. Big cities like New York always clock in with the 100+ count!
Good question! So unlike like some other colleges instead of a J-Term our winter internship period lasts a little longer (7 weeks in total starting in January and lasting through Mid February). Also, unlike other schools most of us do Field Work Term (FWT) off campus. It really can be anywhere you want… Alaska (Glennis), Ghana (David), San Francisco (Caseysimone).
But to get to your question, I’ve found FWT to be very beneficial. It’s a really great way to build connections, experience what you’re studying in a non-classroom context, see the world, live on your own… the list goes on. FWT was one of the main reasons I choose Bennington. If you want to chat more feel free to be in touch! email@example.com.
Hi back atcha!
Our academic programs here are not audition/application based, so you could explore your interest in costume design starting your freshman year. If you have already created pieces that you want to share with us, you could certainly send along photos of them to the Admissions office when you apply. We’d love to see ‘em! However, the school doesn’t require portfolios for entry into specific classes until you get to an advanced work stage.
As for your second question, YES! Field Work Term is our seven-week internship period that happens every winter, which allows students to connect their academic studies to the “real world”. You can read all about it here. While each of us is responsible for finding our own FWTs, there’s a lot of support from the FWT office, which can help connect you with an internship and/or housing.
We have all sorts of folks with different appreciation for the outdoors. Some are super gung-ho about leaving campus every weekend to go hiking, climbing, or camping in the surrounding Taconic/Green Mountains. Others are just as excited to lounge about at the End of the World soaking up the sun as they study. I think you’ll find all sorts of outdoor interest in between those as well.
You can totally take dance even if its not a part of your plan, yes yes! My first term, I took Susan Sgorbati’s “First Year Dance Intensive” which was GREAT even though I had a super limited dance background. Since then, I’ve taken both of Souleymane Badolo’s “Contemporary African/ Burkina Faso” classes which changed my life (On a side note, Solo absolutely is the best. He was recently written up in the NY Times…sorry, had to brag a little about him…)
Hope that helps!
- Julia ‘15
I just took a survey of the office and here’s what my fellow intern ladies had to say:
Nina: “I had a FWT that turned into a paid internship over the summer.”
Michaela: “My first FWT was paid but that was because it was with an organization that I’d worked with before.”
Emma: “I had room and board covered at two and a stipend at one.”
Willa: “I got free access to all the museums in New York as well as restaurant and store discounts.”
For me (Selina) my first FWT site covered transportation.
In my experience most internships are unpaid but there are lots of other creative ways to work out compensation. As far as asking them to pay you I think you’d have to play that by ear. If you’re at a large organization it’s worth asking but if it’s a tiny non-profit strapped for cash perhaps see if your supervisor has a space room where you can crash.
This past Field Work Term, while at Transom.org, I made a dear friend who was working on converting his epic 11 month walk across the United States into an hour long radio piece. He whittled over 85 hours of audio into what are some of the most beautiful and human moments I’ve ever heard. There are excerpts posted here on cowbird. Check out the full story here.
- jason ‘13
Hey lovely Anon! I am here, swallowed by work, but enjoying it for the most part. Alaska was so freaking fantastic! I would move there in a heartbeat. If I could live with the wonderful people that I met there, make furniture, wrangle moose, and watch the sun rise and set during the workday, I would be more than content.
Below is a picture of me dressed to go outside in -30F. What is not pictured is that my glasses fogged and froze up the instant I walked outside (along with my nose, eyelashes, and mouth). It is definitely one of the most incredible feelings in the world. (cool fact: the heat from the lights outside freezes, creating a blanket of ice around the lights which is so gorgeous)
Also, I am wearing 3 pairs of wool socks.
Hey, dude. Our apologies for the mix-up. Unfortunately I’m not sure how appropriate it really is to give out students’ names and contact info when they aren’t officially affiliated with Admissions. It can invite fan mail and stalkers (not really but kindasorta) and we don’t want to subject anyone to that when they haven’t explicitly signed up for it. We can’t help it if our non-Admissions student body is so interesting/attractive/suave/studly that they invite e-solicitation from strangers.
But honestly, there’s only ~700 of us here on a given day. Chances are actually pretty good that you might run into one (or more) of the students from that video if you were to drop by campus for a visit sometime this spring. So, I’m sorry I can’t give out anyone’s name in particular, but I can guarantee you would find plenty of Bennington students who are more than willing to talk about their FWT experiences (law-abiding and, perhaps, not) if you find yourself in a position to be able to just strike up a conversation sometime. Hope this helps.