2021 College Winterfest

Dear Students in the College:

For the 2021 Winter and Spring Quarters, the University of Chicago College will draw on our most distinctive campus traditions to foster community and joy during the cold-weather months and continuation of COVID-19 with the 2021 College Winterfest – an inclusive program of co-curricular events and activities that encourage undergraduate students to create, connect, and bond with friends.

Developed in accordance with the UChicago Health Pact, and in collaboration with such University partners as the University’s art departments (TAPS, DOVA, Music, Creative Writing, CMS), the Smart Museum, the Court Theatre, the Weston Game Lab, UChicago Arts, and the Chicago Studies Program, the 2021 College Winterfest will feature innovative, arts-focused programs that invite your participation, both individually and through the work of creative teams. Reflecting the College’s unique culture, these programs will use humor, imagination, and collaboration to come together as a community.

College Winterfest programming will be offered in a variety of formats. Local health conditions permitting, students attending the 2021 Winter and Spring Quarters in Hyde Park will have the opportunity to participate in a range of events and activities, including collaborating as creative teams in the design and construction of creative projects – of course, always in compliance with health and safety protocols. Students learning remotely can participate in the many events and activities that will be conducted entirely online.

As a preview, the 2021 College Winterfest will include large-scale signature events as well as smaller-scale projects and activities. Offerings will include:

Large-scale Signature Events & Activities:

  • Light Fantastic & Sound Fantastic: Two public art projects will bring light into the darkness and sound into the silence of the winter months, by engaging students in the design and construction of light and sound installations which will be displayed in prominent locations across campus.
  • Spring Forward: A hopeful collaboration between creative teams of students, art faculty, and prominent artists for the design and construction of large-scale masks.
  • UChicago Puzzle Hunt: A large-scale, trans-media puzzle hunt during Spring Break, with asynchronous activations in the physical world, for students to perform.
  • Decameron Redux: An online writing game that features weekly prompts inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron.
  • Chicago Futures Design Challenge: A series of lectures and panel discussions on the future of urban spaces and communities (post Covid-19 and otherwise) leading to an event in which creative teams of students present proposals for addressing challenges facing cities today.
  • Media Art & Design BrowserFest: Borrowing from the format of the demoparty, BrowserFest invites the tinkerers, hackers, poets, musicians, and artists among our students to build their own designs in and of the internet browser. Novices of browser art will have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills in a series of asynchronous, interactive, and hyper-media workshops.

Smaller-Scale Art Projects & Activities

  • Story-Telling Workshops
  • Virtual Dance Classes
  • Rhythms ’Round the World Music Workshop
  • Plein Air Drawing Workshop
  • In the Common Room: Improv Comedy Classes
  • Drawing Through It: Comic & Cartoon Drawing Workshop
  • T41 Theatre Writing Workshop
  • Digital Art Workshops

Specific details and timing of Winterfest activities will be available in January. In addition, students will receive information at January’s start for a virtual College Winter Quarter Update at 5 p.m., CST, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, that will include an overview of the Winterfest.

My continued best wishes to you and your family for a happy, healthy holiday season and new year.

John W. Boyer
Dean of the College
The University of Chicago