Shaping: Identities and Objects

Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 quarters

Taught by

development/learning, abnormal psychology, multicultural psychology
Robert Leverich
visual arts, architecture
  • UG

Becoming is superior to being.  –Paul Klee

In this interdisciplinary program, we will explore shaping of the self and the world from the perspectives and processes of psychology and art. We will consider how these two practices can inform, shape, and express our past, present, and future identities.

Psychological perspectives will examine questions such as: How do my culture, society, institutions (e.g. schools, houses of worship), and family influence my identities? Do my ingrained beliefs limit or expand who I am? Do I dare to find my authentic self? Paradigm shifts in thinking (from dichotomous and hierarchical to holistic) and learning (from conceptual to transformative) will be emphasized through lectures, workshops, reflective and expressive writing activities, and mindfulness practices. In arts studios over the course of the program, we will learn drawing, crafting, and sculpture techniques as means to explore and express oneself. In a world full of stuff, what does it mean to be a maker of things? How can the things we make serve our need for self-expression even as they serve and enrich the cultures we live in? And how can making things itself be a practice of mindfulness? Beginning from a close haptic understanding of materials we use, and study of their environmental and cultural significances, we will make imagery and objects to develop our distinctive voices and handling, and to express ourselves and the selves of others. We will work to contextualize, write about, and speak for what we make in the world.

Individual and collaborative work, readings, and seminars will address the program's generative questions of identity, making, and materiality. Possible readings include The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Hyde) and The Thinking Hand (Pallasmaa). Field trips and visiting artists and lecturers will further enrich our perspectives. Engaged students can expect to gain deeper knowledge of both psychology and art, fuller awareness and understanding of their own identities in the midst of complex cultural and social worlds, and greater agency as creative artists and individuals seeking to make positive change through their thinking and actions.

Note: this program is designed for students new to the college experience.

Program Details

Fields of Study

communication psychology somatic studies sustainability studies visual arts

Preparatory For

visual arts, architecture, sustainable design, and human and social services (psychologists, counselors, social workers, teachers, etc.).


Fall Open Winter Conditional

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First winter class meeting: Tuesday, January 10th at 9am (Art Annex 2103)

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$40 per quarter for admission fees and studio supplies.