Mapping Meaning: 2018

(re) Surveying the Source: Entanglements of Water, History, and Form

The Taft-Nicholson Center
Centennial Valley, Montana

June 24-29, 2018


Theme: (re) Surveying the Source: Entanglements of Water, History, and Form

Dates: June 24-29, 2018

Location: The Taft-Nicholson Center, Centennial Valley, Montana                          



Mapping Meaning invites women artists, scientists and scholars from all disciplines to participate in a unique summer workshop, “(re) Surveying the Source: Entanglements of Water, History, and Form.” Inspired by a photograph from 1918 depicting an all-female survey crew, Mapping Meaning supports the creative work and scholarship of those working at edges, who are pushing against traditional disciplinary boundaries. Since 2010 this multi-generational collective has been gathering together around experimental knowledge practices.

The 2018 workshop will be held at the Taft-Nicholson Center, in Centennial Valley, Montana. Near the headwaters of the Missouri, this critical ecological region includes the largest wetland complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with over 260 species of birds. It is also just north of the historic Minidoka Project in bordering Idaho. This large-scale irrigation and powerplant project dramatically transformed the land, water, and history of the region and was surveyed in part by the all-female crew that inspired Mapping Meaning approximately a hundred years later.

And so, we are all entangled; a complicated mix of forms, histories, species and stories. Through these often messy and surprising encounters we “want to start over, with an imagination adequate to the possibilities and the strangeness and the dangers on this earth in this moment.” (Rebecca Solnit)

We are looking for proposals that (re)survey and explore the friction, shadows, and entanglements of our time. All forms of submissions are encouraged (including presentations, field sessions, performances, film, sound, etc.) Experimental, interactive and field-based approaches are highly sought.

Our schedule will include outdoor sessions, group discussions, and selected participant presentations or artwork. This year there will also be an interdisciplinary studio space specifically set up for creating artworks, exploring forms, writing, and so forth. Participants are encouraged to use this space all week for individual or collective explorations. Some basic materials will be provided but please plan accordingly if you have specific material or equipment needs. Pop-up workshops and exhibitions in any form are encouraged. If you would like to facilitate something specific please include this in lieu of the project proposal.

A $250 confirmation/registration fee covers all food and lodging for 5 days as well as any activities scheduled at the center (such as canoeing). Selected participants are expected to cover personal travel expenses to/from The Taft-Nicholson Center in Montana. We are happy to work on a sliding scale for those currently in graduate school, without research funding, or where cost is prohibitive. Please contact us directly for details.

For information on the Field Station:

Please note that space is limited to approximately 16 women. Mapping Meaning is committed to long-term collaboration and dialogue. Therefore, priority will be given to past participants, but we always welcome and invite a number of new applicants as well.

Applications are due March 31, 2018

Notifications: April 15, 2018 and confirmation/registration fee will be due April 30, 2018. 


To apply, please e-mail the following items to:

Unless specified, materials should be submitted in either MS doc or PDF format.

  • Contact information (see below)
  • Resume/CV
  • Proposal (250-500 words)
  • For artists and/or writers please submit work samples (1-3 written samples, 6-8 images (JPEG, 72 dpi, and not to exceed 1500 x 1500 pixels) or 5 minutes of video or sound (mov, mp4, mp3, aac, wav) -- interdisciplinary artists should combine as you see fit. Please include a correlating list of works, including title, media, dimension, and year.

CONTACT INFORMATION (please cut and paste below and include with project proposal)

  • Name:
  • Address, City, Zip, Country
  • Phone:
  • E-mail:
  • Website: