[The Artist Interview Project was directed by (and this post is written by) Dr. Stephanie Jenkins, Assistant Professor of the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion of Oregon State University, Phish.net user @askesis.]
The latest round of artist interviews, conducted by Philosophy School of Phish students, are available online! Read interviews with your favorite artists from the Phish community about art, philosophy, and music. The most recently featured artists include:
Dan Black, Landland
Michael Boyer, Boyer Art
Paul Camarata, Distilling a Dream & NFL Films Presents: Phish and Russell Wilson
Mike Hamad, Setlist Schematics
Ryan Kerrigan, The Art of Ryan Kerrigan
Michael Ryan Lawrence, We’ve Got It Simple and Philly Philms
Jeremy Lebediker, Lebediker Fine Art & Gratefulegos
AJ Masthay, Masthay Studios
Darren Rodney, Lawn Boys: A Tribute to Phish
Chris Weaver, Distilling a Dream & NFL Films Presents: Phish and Russell Wilson
Marco Walsh, The Mockingbird Foundation & The Phish Companion
David Welker, Welker Studios
Terry Werner, Werner Arts & Designs
The Artist Interview Project has run successfully for two years. The assignment involves two components. First, students are required to conduct the interviews. Second, they write reflective summaries of the interviews, which incorporate conceptual tools that we study throughout the term. The assignment includes quite a bit of flexibility to permit student creativity and incorporate artists’ preferences for interview formats. As a result, the final products vary in method, content, and organization.
Overwhelmingly, the students find this assignment to be highly rewarding. Specifically, interacting with the artists helps ground students’ understanding of abstract philosophical concepts and provides them with a deeper appreciation for Phish and the community the band’s music has inspired.
As the instructor observing the learning process of the interview projects, I continue to be floored by the time, attention, and consideration the artists offer to my students. These interviews––and the discussions they provoke in my classroom––represent our community at its finest. The careful, reflective responses from the artists make me proud to call myself a phan. While the Artist Interview Project creates unique, lasting learning experiences for my students, it is only possible because an amazing group of talented, dedicated, and thoughtful artists continues to offer their time and talents.
It’s worth noting that many of the students who enroll in the course are not Phish fans. In fact, some of them have never heard of Phish before enrolling in the course! The opportunity to introduce students to my favorite band through philosophy has been one of the most exciting, yet surprising, components of teaching the Philosophy School of Phish class.
I hope you will enjoy reading these interviews, especially the words of the artists themselves. As you read the assignments, please keep in mind that the blog posts are student work; undergraduates are not professional music journalists or academics. Please be respectful.
The Philosophy School of Phish is a special online section of PHL 360 (Philosophy and the Arts) that is offered each summer through Oregon State University. The Artist Interview Project will continue with the 2017 course. Stay tuned for announcements about this summer’s artist lineup on Facebook and Twitter.
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