Faculty Course Grants
The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (the Hive) supports competitive grant programs for infusing creative collaboration into courses at The Claremont Colleges. The Hive offers two types of course grants that are awarded annually:
- Course activity grants
- Course development grants
We award course activity grants for one academic year of up to $1000 to support activities by individual 7C full time faculty members and up to $3000 for interdisciplinary and ideally intercollegiate teams.
We also award course development grants of a $5000 stipend for interdisciplinary and ideally intercollegiate 7C full time faculty member teams to transform or develop a course or courses during one academic year that will be taught in the following academic year.
The Sontag Center also supports all grant recipients through non-monetary means such as space, staff time, design expertise, and help sharing the story of the course.
The course activity and development grant proposals are evaluated by:
- Featuring experiential components of creating and making
- Nurturing connections between colleges and is highly interdisciplinary
- Encouraging collaboration among students and faculty
- Presenting ambitious and ambiguous challenges
- Providing learning experiences not possible in the current course design
- Bringing in never-before-seen and breathtaking ideas
- Incorporating human-centered design elements
We enthusiastically support proposals that seem risky and ideas that are developing. In our view, great learning experiences come from a process of experimentation, growing from successes and failures, and continuous improvement. We encourage you to pose questions, follow hunches, and engage in self-reflection throughout the grant experience.
Art + Math
Limitless Boundaries: The Art and Math of Surfaces
Topology is the study of the properties of shapes that do not fundamentally change when they are bent and/or stretched without poking holes in them or ripping them apart. To a topologist, a donut and a coffee cup (with a handle) are the same thing, since one can be deformed into the other continuously. This hands-on course explores topological questions using primarily clay to better understand shapes and surfaces, and challenges students to think in multiple dimensions, creating compelling objects and sculptures.
Tessa Hicks Peterson
Asian American Studies, Cultural/Urban Studies, Organizational Studies, + Writing
Building a Community of Practice
What does it look like to center healing and accountability in our interpersonal and institutional relationships? How do we develop and sustain a culture of collective healing and accountability in the face of ongoing structural violence and interlocking oppressions? In this collaborative, co-taught course, students explore, experiment with, and linger on a variety of tools and frameworks intended to foster belonging and connectivity while working toward collective liberation. This course incorporates a diverse range of intentional practices, drawing on the Accountability History Network, Healing Justice and Transformative Tenets, Qi Gong, Spheres of Influence, and Kingian Theory, to help deepen and sustain human connection during challenging times.
Scripps, Pomona, HMC, + Pitzer
Critical Global Studies, Dance, Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts, Chicana/o Latina/o Transnational Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Politics, Religious Studies, Urban Studies, + Intercollegiate Feminist Center
A team of faculty and students, through the 5C Transformative and Restorative Justice Collective (5-C TJRJC), offer the Co-Creating Care-First and Radical Pedagogies course. This class delves into materials on past and present radical pedagogies while, simultaneously, developing a toolkit of Care-First teaching practices which center collective access, equity, accountability over punishment, grassroots knowledge/wisdom, and the wholeness of both students and professors as people. The classroom space engages both theory and praxis, experimenting with and building upon the concepts that make up the syllabus. Class projects involve the co-creation and dissemination of a Care-First Classroom toolkit.
Art + Media Studies
Textiles and Technology
This interdisciplinary course combines fiber and textile arts with data, computation, and technology. Textile looms are arguably the world's first programmable devices, capable of weaving intricate and repeatable patterns from simple threads. Despite little change in these techniques since the mid-1700s, recent technological innovations and changing social dynamics could disrupt textile arts by advancing the manufacturing process and addressing environmental concerns, as well as labor practices. The course covers a range of methods, including algorithmic weaving, bio-designed textiles, parametric design, and computational textiles through hands-on projects and experimentation. This course re-examines the role of fiber arts in contemporary society, expanding fiber’s traditional status. While textiles have been commoditized by profit-driven industries, individual and extra-capitalist (often feminist) practices have been marginalized. By integrating fiber arts with data, computing, and technology, the conversation broadens and explores issues of labor, industry, the environment, gender inequality, and cultural production.
Total Proposals Submitted = 4
Total Grants Awarded = 4
Total Faculty and Staff Awarded = 20
Total Development Grant Awards = $20,000
Art + Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
ART 126C: Special Topics in Ceramics: Feeling Brown
FGSS 184: Feminist Theories: Antiracist, Postcolonial and Queer Critiques
This class activates a fibers exploration and quilt-making project that supports student learning and engagement with the theories of José Esteban Muñoz, while also exploring intersectional feminist and queer theories as produced by U.S. women and trans people of color, and native, transnational and postcolonial scholars. Students select soft/fiber materials for use in both individual and collectively-created projects, engaging with a specific history encountered in course materials that they would like to represent in an assembled quilt. The student-created quilted squares are assembled together for display, and then disassembled after the course is concluded, so students keep their piece of the collective work.
Art + Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
ART 126A: Special Topics in Ceramics: Making a Feminist Life
FGSS 183: Feminist and Queer Science
This class engages in a mold-making and casting exercise that focuses on foundational Feminism and Queer Science texts to inform students’ readings and interpretation of Sara Ahmed’s Feminist Killjoy Handbook. Students examine their artistic methodologies and identify openings for feminist art practice by learning mold-making and casting with mycelium, a less environmentally impactful material and one that carries with it the significance of mycelium, growth, and networking. Students select a compelling object they wish to explore and reiterate through casting, appreciating the conceptual basis of reiterative processes.
SRX-Intro to Sociology
Instead of focusing on the “terrible” lesson of sociology, which is that society impacts our lives in many detrimental ways, limiting our opportunities and chances in life, this course focuses on the “magnificent” lesson of sociology, which is that we have the power to shape society in a meaningful way. Students provide in-person tutoring to elementary school children in the Pomona Unified School District through the Homework Club. Students write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book, using their sociological imagination, based on their research on a social issue. At the end of the semester, a book festival and author reading with their books will be held for the children they’ve been tutoring. Writing and illustrating a children’s book, where the characters come to see what they think is their own personal trouble to be a public issue that is impacting people beyond themselves and to work together to address it, allows students to make those connections. It also allows them to re-imagine the way things are now and to create a more equitable just world where people are working together to address important social issues.
THEA115O: Applied Theatre in Elementary Schools
Applied Theatre encompasses all theatrical interventions that are deployed outside of a traditional theater space for community building, problem solving, and healing justice. In this course, students learn techniques from Playback Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed, the most widely known forms of Applied Theatre. They then apply these skills in a curriculum for Bullying Prevention and Transformative Social Emotional Learning at a local elementary school. This class allows the students to change the curriculum based on readings on relevant topics such as social emotional learning and visits to the school that will precede the final performances. This curriculum works to foster empathy, deep listening skills, and the capacity to use one’s voice responsibly to build a healthier school culture.
FREN188: Memorializing Minority Subjects in Francophone Literature
This course focuses on French-language humanistic cultural contributions that have participated in the process of representation and memorialization of minority subjects and groups. Engaging in contrapuntal analysis, students explore how minorities have been challenging conventional understandings of archives and realms of memory. One of the main components is “text remediation,” which transforms a traditional text into another medium (podcast, video, print, comic book, painting, art installation, performance), depending on students’ interests and creativity. Remediation gives students a concrete understanding of the process of memorialization, an active process that inscribes a memory into a cultural artifact, and is never finished and always in motion and remediation. By doing a “text remediation,” they participate in a collective movement and think (beyond the ideas exposed in the work they chose) about the rhetorical aspects of each medium and their effects on the targeted audience. Their remediation resonates with our time, gives students a concrete experience of the challenges of memorialization (from the conceptualization of a cultural artifact to its realization), determines what matters and what doesn’t, and what the mediation brings to or loses from the original form.
Art and Media Studies
Core 03: Art, Ecology and Fieldwork
This studio-based course engages with soil through place-based and experiential research, inside and outside, exploring soil through our senses and how shifting ecologies and landscape can be experienced through slowness. Soil reveals stories about climate, communities, and time. Students tune into the underworld of dirt as a material that has been used in forms of communication – from drawing, building, and ceremony, to boundary lines. They explore a range of methodologies and outputs; including working with scent, mark making/drawing, and the tools to make marks, and how our bodies are tuning in to navigate our relationship to environmental shifts. Through isolating the senses, students practice stillness, walking, running, and sitting, investigating how our olfactory senses (as a medium) are ignited moving at different speeds, temperatures and time, day and night. These experiences are then incorporated into visual artworks that use various forms of durational mark making and drawing with primitive tools into drawings or durational performative acts. Smelling aromatics and soil affects us on both a cellular and spiritual level and is connected to memory. As we breathe, aromatic molecules enter the physical, emotional, and spirit body, and through this alchemy, a plant may become part of our inner selves. Sharing their own DNA by merging with ours, plants can teach us how to survive, how to adapt. The embedded memory of plants is released through their essence and absorbed into ours.
Total Proposals Submitted = 9
Total Grants Awarded = 6
Total Faculty and Staff Awarded = 6
Total Grant Awards = $9500
Introduction to Public Health: 7C interdisciplinary course
This 7 College, interdisciplinary course introduces undergraduate students to the area of public health–one of the fastest growing fields in the nation. This team-taught course provide students with an introduction to the major themes of public health, setting the stage for more advanced coursework in specific areas of public health and healthcare focused on politics, sociology, psychology, biology, economics, and mathematics.
Total Proposals Submitted = 3
Total Grants Awarded = 1
Total Faculty and Staff Awarded = 8
Total Development Grant Awards = $5,000
Expanded Ceramics: Clay and Fiber: ART 126-01
Contemporary Sculpture: ART 125-01
This course engages students in open-ended material and the process of conceptual development and self-expression using clay, fiber, plaster, and wood. Students study queer, feminist, and anti-racist theories and strategies, and apply them to the sculptural practice, using hand-building and fiber art techniques to convey complex and researched ideas in sculptural form. Ceramics and sculpture are all-encompassing practices encouraging students to be an engineer, a scientist, a painter, a historian, a curator, and a critic–a practice of making and thinking through multiple materials. Students establish methods for theorizing and using these materials and processes to create sculpture that is grounded in their own subjectivities.
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Materials and Extraction: ART 153-01
Using critical theory and ceramics, this course addresses histories of settler colonialism, labor, extraction, and materials production involved in the construction, landscaping, architecture, and visual culture of Greater Los Angeles/Southern California. These histories are engaged in relation to geographies formed and communities shaped by race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and (dis)abilities, to name a few axes of difference, power, and identity. The course involves intersectional and interdisciplinary methods of research and analysis, as well as studio-based ceramics art practice. Students visit Cal-Earth in Hesperia, where they work in groups on a SuperAdobe structure, learning building and plastering techniques. Students then take these skills back to the studio to create small-scale sculptures, for further building and complicating with other materials and processes.
Philosophy; Psychology; Neuroscience; Science, Technology, and Society; Cognitive Science
PHIL 185C PZ: Topics in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science: Perception
What is the nature of the sensory modalities? If one were to claim a new, “sixth” sense, what evidence would be required to establish this? How many senses are there and how many senses do “normal” humans have? What is the sensory life of those who have more or fewer senses than the average, neurotypical person? This course is an interdisciplinary exploration, touching on philosophy, history of science, sensory anthropology, sensory psychology, neurobiology, and the study of artificial senses (cyborgs). Students build an electronic compass that develops new mapping abilities and an unerring sense of direction, allowing students to explore sense and perception from a philosophical point of view.
Romance Languages and Literatures
French 178: Writing the Painter, Painting the Writer
This course explores the connections between painting and literature at the end of the nineteenth century in France, helping students understand better the concept of representation, by creating and making. Students are fascinated by Balzac’s “Le Chef d’oeuvre inconnu,” a short story/short novel which was also one of Picasso’s favorites, and which he tried to illustrate. At the end of the story, the artist burns his art; but before that, the reader is provided with a description of the piece, making it impossible to understand what is really represented, and in what sense the painting is a work of art. Students reproduce, adapt, create, and imagine this impossible and elusive image, which is at the heart of the Balzac story. Bringing back “the hand” and the act of creating into the classroom, students better understand the complex question of representation.
MS 159: Intro to Computational Photography
Core 003: Art, Ecology, and Fieldwork
This course includes interdisciplinary workshops that use real-time energy consumption data from energy meters to create dynamic real-time visualizations of energy usage on the Scripps campus. Students learn how to work with a live datafeed, thermal imagery, and use these inputs to make a visualization or artwork. How can we use data from the energy meters to make predictions, deepen our understanding of our individual footprint, and build a more sustainable future? The demonstration project presents a slow, colorful animation that reveals the interplay of heat and climate control that takes place in the building. These visualizations are rear-projected through windows and allow passers-by to see energy being used by the building, hopefully sparking conversations about sustainability and architectural environments. The project illustrates the relationship between thermal loss and energy consumed by the heating and ventilation systems, and also makes a beautiful projection that will promote ecological thinking and inspire positive interventions.
Tessa Hicks Peterson
School of Education
EDUC 566: Community-based Education and Social Change: Focus on Transformative Organizing and Healing Justice
With community activists and co-educators, students explore theoretical frameworks and approaches of Organizational Development (restorative and alternative organizational structures that provide methods for values alignment in the operations and governance of justice-oriented organizations and schools), Transformative Movement Organizing (the ways social movements and community-based organizations exercise personal and organizational transformative practices for social change), and Healing Justice (use of restorative practices of mindfulness, embodiment, creativity, healing, and self-awareness/reflection as part of social justice work). Students experience these ideas in action, through interactive, experiential workshops that bring the topics from the abstract into the real, the applied, the engaged. Students and community partners will explore what they self-identify as challenging issues related to teaching, organizing, and building efforts for social change, as well as uplift practices honoring community care and assets as forms of resistance.
ART 143: Advanced Digital Art
Students learn to use WebXR/Glitch (an exciting new tool that links artistic practice with computer science/coding) to create interactive, web-based art experiences as they think about the physicality of virtual space, how to convey a sense of place, and what it means to create a spatial environment that exists on a browser. The spaces students create in Glitch are filled with audio, video, image files, 3D scans, GIFS and more, so they are extremely flexible and conducive to experimentation and conveying a sense of ambiance. Students also explore and discuss earlier forms of net art, such as interactive fiction, and how these artworks sit at the nexus of fine art, game design, and fiction.
MS 123: Body Media
What happens when the body is the medium is the message? The imbrication of embodiment and mediation is everywhere: from politics to biomedicine, to intimacy and surveillance, to lives lived on smartphones and Zoom. This course introduces phenomenological theories of the body, explores bodies in media (including sports, acting, performance art, dance, videogaming, and pornography), and turns to bodies as media (as cellular biology; as cultural, genetic and computational code; and as interwoven with nonhuman beings). Students learn with practitioners who embody media within media industries (motion capture artists and foley artists), somatic practitioners who treat the body as a mediator of the past (memory and trauma therapists) in the present, and movement practitioners (dance and performance artists, breathwork specialists, and qi gong masters). Using the body as the central means of expression, students explore topics such as impairment, disability, illness, trauma, and practices of transcendence and healing.
Total Proposals Submitted = 11
Total Grants Awarded = 8
Total Faculty and Staff Awarded = 13
Total Grant Awards = $14,770
Scripps and Pomona
Music and Theatre
THEA 51H: Theatre Performance and Pedagogy
MUS92: Voice for Musical Theatre
Art has an important function in a crisis: it must express and address contemporary issues and explore ideas that are most relevant to its contemporary moment, both in form and content. Students rehearse and perform their individual student-created libretti and commissioned musical pieces, creating a staged livestream performance that can be delivered remotely, as a recorded video, or in-person, building infrastructure and resilience for performing arts projects in the future.
Psychology and Asian American Studies
Psyc 193: Global Mental Health Seminar
Students consider how to effectively communicate their ideas to a broad audience in simple terms. The course engages student learning in a variety of ways, including mindfulness practices, reading children’s books, student-led discussions, in-class writing and peer-review, writing a research paper, and drafting an original children’s book. The children’s book will be approached as a social act, as the students navigate between understanding, doing, and making.
Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld
Pomona and Pitzer
English and Studio Art
Ovid's Metamorphoses is an iterative, almost compulsive, attempt to capture the very moment at which one body ceases to be itself by transforming into something else. The course asks: How does one body, one constellation of matter, assume another shape? What is the relation of the human body to the plants and animals and minerals that it can become? These questions are answered both verbally and visually by a literary critic, who specializes in poetry and poetic theory and a painter, who specializes in figure drawing; requiring students to both analyze and create, write and draw, describe and make.
Pomona College and Claremont McKenna
Physics and History
Optics and Dutch Visual Art of the 16th and 17th Century
The collaborators develop a team-taught art history, science, and studio art class that focuses on 16th-17th century Dutch painting through hands-on, experiential learning, exploring the role of optics in painting through building and using optical devices such as the camera lucida and camera obscura. Students share their expertise such that the artist and art historian learn the formal theory of optics and optical devices, while students with a science background grapple with the challenge of putting these theories into practice and appreciate what it means to make art.
Pomona and Pitzer
Theatre and Psychology
Mindfulness and Play: An Inside-Out Course
Students examine how mindfulness (rooted in psychology and cognition) and play (rooted in theatre and ensemble games) co-mingle, interact, and intersect. Students study the key foundations, concepts, and practices of mindfulness and play, then develop mindfulness practices in performance and theatricalize the concept of mindfulness, culminating in an original, collaborative production.
Scripps and Pitzer
Africana Studies and English and World Literature
Africana Studies Journal and New Media
This course establishes an Africana Studies journal to showcase the scholarship of undergraduates working in the field. The journal includes blogs and podcasts in addition to traditional article formats. Advancing practices of Black feminist theory, the journal encourages contributions that include authorial experience and positionality.
Jeffrey D. Groves
Harvey Mudd and Pomona
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts; and Environmental Analysis
Building Los Angeles
This sustained course explores the complex network of urban communities in which we live in order to think deeply about the relationship of the built to the natural environment.
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts & Biology
STS 179G: Microbiome and Fermentation
Students grow microbial companion species and think about our relationship to microbial life (cheese, kombucha, kimchi).
Pitzer and Scripps
Inside the Artist’s Studio
Students “travels” (via Zoom) to artists’ studios around the world, where each artist formally presents their work or gives a less formal tour of their studios and talks about works-in-progress. The course seizes the opportunity to make the most of distance learning and discover the benefits of technology currently being used to meet an array of international artists and see inside their studio process.
Wallace “Marty” Meyer
Harvey Mudd and Pomona
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts and Biology and Bernard Field Station
Art179F: Art and Biology
This course surveys and discusses cutting-edge art-science theories, practices, practitioners, and institutions in seminar; and in studio, explores art and life science in hands-on experiments, leading to finished projects. Students share and employ their own knowledge and skills in art, science, and technology. Biology's ideas, images, and methods are a treasure trove for contemporary art. Beneath the surface, biology has radically shifted concepts of self, nature, and society, and contemporary artists are often inspired to address genes, evolution, cognition, behavior, and new technologies that modify human reproduction, health, and the environment.
Pomona, Draper Center, and Fremont Academy for Engineering and Design
Physics and Astronomy
Physics 128CP: Electronics with Laboratory
Students in this class partner with the Fremont Academy of Engineering and Design’s Fremont Femineers, 32, 10th - 12th grade girls, who are aspiring engineers. The students work together to design and implement a creative electronics engineering project focusing on wearable electronics.
Art and Political Studies
The Surfboard as Art and Culture
Students study the designs and materials used to make surfboards and become familiar with surfboards and wave-riding, as well as research the history of surfing, from ancient Hawaiians to the contemporary era. Students come to understand how the shape and size of a surfboard corresponds with wave breaks, heights, riding styles, and surf conditions, and test the functionality of their work in different surf breaks and surfing conditions.
Physics 155: Experimental Optics
This course explores anamorphosis in painting in collaboration with Los Angeles-based artist, Krysten Cunningham. Anamorphosis is a technique that uses extreme perspective to render objects that are only recognizable from severely oblique angles.
Pomona and Pitzer
PE 115W PO-01
The Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Soccer team develops a program focused on team building, interpersonal communication, identity development, leadership development, and shared responsibility to create a positive, powerful culture of engagement and success as competitive college student-athletes. Using the book, “Designing Your Life” and its related materials, the team puts their own spin on that framework with two new angles: “Designing your PPWS Life” and “Designing Our Team.”
PHY 165: Physical Hydrodynamic
This course applies the intuition students develop about surface tension and fluid flows to make suminagashi, the Japanese art of paper marbling through the transfer of dyes floating on water.
Teresa Sabol Spezio
Pitzer and Pomona
EA 10: Introduction to Environmental Analysis
Students analyze environmental issues through the lens of the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities; then work together to create an art piece that communicates and educates the public about the effects of climate change.
Pomona, Draper Center, and the Fremont Academy for Engineering and Design
Physics and Astronomy
Physics 128CP: Electronics with Laboratory
This course supports community partnership by working with Femineers (Fremont Academy for Engineering and Design Latina students) to design and build electronic-enabled built-from-scratch Lego bricks that can be interfaced with Arduinos for additional functionality.
Intercollegiate Media Studies
CORE003 SC-19: Bodies in Motion: Representation and Simulation
Students work with an artist who creates Action Coding and answers the question, “What if computer coding was an embodied and visible practice?”
Intercollegiate Media Studies
MS57: Introduction to Game Design
Students explore game design through clipping, ripping, hacking, and burning, using Super Mario as a medium for making art.
Students create unique graphic novels that focus on aspects of contemporary social life.
Marianne de Laet
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts
HSA 10: Critical Inquiry, STS 179F
This course explores the wonderful world of trash by developing a scratch and sniff sensory monitoring tool, taking a field trip to the solid and water waste facility, and conducting a workshop at Hive on sensorial mapping.
PO MUS 74
Students learn the history of work songs, specifically sea chanties. The class sings and performs the work associated with historical sea chanties, all while sailing on a traditional ship.
Math 145B: Geometric Modeling
This course understands math through 3D printing. Students program the 3D printing of a series of math equations that create astounding works of art exhibited at the Hive.