Collaborative Residency Requirement

What is the Collaborative Residency?

The Collaborative Residency (or “Collab”) (IMA 781) has been a core requirement since the IMA Program’s inception. Under the new IMA Program requirements (effective spring 2015), Collab remains a requirement but will no longer be a 3-credit course with associated tuition charges. But, the pedagogical goals of Collab remain unchanged, deeply rooted in the IMA’s mission of fostering integrated media making and socially focused collaborative projects.

The Collab catalog description reads: Collaborative Residency: Students are required to complete a Collaborative Residency, which can be an in-house project or external creative residency that must be defined in conjunction with the graduate adviser and must involve collaboration among different media makers.

The description, while brief, highlights a key distinction between a Collab and a typical internship. The Collab must involve “collaboration among different media makers,” an element absent from traditional internship arrangements. Collab is not designed for students to get general experience working in a media organization or to serve as CV filler. We encourage you to pursue internships if they fit your needs and goals. However, we do not give credit for internships and in most cases internships will not satisfy the Collab requirement.

Collab also differs from an employment situation, where it’s your “job” to do as instructed. In an employer-employee relationship, you do not necessarily have the opportunity to genuinely collaborate. Although Collab does require a resident supervisor to help define the Collab parameters and goals prior to Collab approval, and to evaluate the student’s work upon Collab completion, this does not create the same dynamic that exists in an employment setting.

Collab should be project based, not oriented around general tasks. Collab requires working with others to make something. We define that something broadly. It could be a film, or a website, or an interactive application. And it could also be curating a show, programming a screening series, planning a conference, or creating an issue oriented outreach campaign.

Your work should be substantive and incorporate a creative component or skill set that would otherwise be missing from the project. And your role should build upon a theoretical and technical base connected to your IMA studies. Collab is an opportunity for you to apply what you’ve learning in your IMA courses to a non-classroom context. Collab should complement your work in the program and help you forge connections outside it.

Is Collab a 3-credit course or a non-credit degree requirement?

For students matriculating in Fall 2014 or later, Collab is a non-credit requirement. In other words, you must do it to graduate, but it doesn’t count towards the 48 credits required for your degree. That also means you don’t have to pay tuition for it.

For students matriculating prior to Fall 2014, you get to choose whether you want to do Collab as a 3-credit course or as a non-credit degree requirement. You must make this election at the time you submit your Collab proposal.

What is the Collab approval process?

You must submit a written proposal, signed off by the Collab supervisor, in advance of undertaking the Collab. The Program Director, in consultation with the Graduate Committee, will evaluate Collab proposals. The proposal must be submitted and approved prior to your undertaking of the Collab. The Program does not retroactively approve Collab projects.

What are the Collab deliverables?

Upon completion of the Collab you must submit a written project summary and have a project to show or one that you have documented. We will include Collab projects, project excerpts, and/or project summaries/documentation in the Collab section of our website. We also plan to introduce an annual Collab event in the spring semester with project presentations and Collab partnership involvement. Submission of materials for the website and participation at this event are components of the Collab requirement.

What is the Collab evaluation process?

Your Collab supervisor writes a letter to the IMA Program Director evaluating your performance. Under the current program requirements, when Collab is taken as a 3-credit class, the supervisor must also submit a letter grade with the evaluation letter. The program then enters that grade. Under the new program requirements, Collab supervisors write an evaluation but do not assign a grade. During your degree audit, the program will confirm that you have both completed your Collab satisfactorily and participated in a Collab presentation and/or show.

Do I have to do Collab during the semester?

Collabs can be completed at any point during the year and need not conform to the academic calendar. Many students use the summer to complete Collabs.

Can I complete Collab while on leave from the program?

Yes, provided you submit a compelling rationale supporting your request.

How long does the residency last?

There is no standard residency period. Residencies vary by project. The Collab workload should be comparable to that in a 3 credit graduate course, whether completed in less than a semester or over a longer time period.

At what point in the program should I do my Collab?

We advise that students undertake Collab after successfully completing the 1st Crit. This gives you an opportunity to solidify your foundational technical skills and develop an integrated media making approach. The further you have progressed in your IMA studies, the more substantive your Collab project will be, increasing the educational and experiential value of the residency.

Can you complete your Collab in the IMA Program?

On some occasions, students have completed Collabs within the program. For instance, planning a conference or developing visiting artist programming have qualified as Collabs. Other than the Teaching Mentorship Program (described below), we encourage students to look outside the program for residency opportunities.

Are Collabs available at Hunter?

Yes. Students have completed Collabs at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, the Institute for Sustainable Cities, and other college and CUNY institutions.

Can I get paid for a Collab?

Collabs do not typically involve compensation, because that often creates an employment relationship. However, under limited circumstances students have been paid for their Collab work. Based on your proposal, the program determines whether getting paid for a particular Collab is appropriate. A number of students have proceeded to paying work with their Collab sponsor after the completion of their residency.

Can several IMA students work on the same Collab project?

Potentially. Each student would need distinctive, defined, and substantive roles. Another student in the program can’t supervise those roles. Each student would have to fill out a separate Collab proposal, and make their own Collab presentation focusing on his or her particular role and specific contribution to the project.

What are some prior Collabs?

Examples of Collabs include video production assistantships, research and writing, online/web development including mapping and coding, media content for community organizations and social justice initiatives, and curatorial fellowships.

We are building a database of Collab projects and sponsors. Students and alumni should forward information about potential Collab opportunities and Collab partnerships to us so that they can be included as resource for all students.

What is the Teaching Mentorship Program?

Recently, students have sought to satisfy the Collab requirement through an undergraduate departmental “teaching residency” working under the guidance of a full time faculty member. IMA students run the production sections of Media 150 and 160, lead discussion sections of Media 180, and periodically teach undergraduate courses; similarly, IMA alumni have increasingly found success in academia. Creating a teaching residency as a Collab option improves the quality of IMA student teaching and attracts applicants to the program who are interested in combining media making with teaching.

The Teaching Mentorship Program will be formally launched when the new program requirements activate in spring 2015.

Information on how to apply for a spot in the Teaching Mentorship Program will be available in January 2015. The number of student slots available will depend on the courses offered the following semester and the number of faculty interested in participating as mentors. We cannot guarantee that all interested students will be able to participate in the Teaching Mentorship Program.