School for Cross-disciplinary creativity

An experimental artist-run school in portland, oregon

The School for Misfit Creatives helps creative individuals establish and sustain small studio and independent practices. The school offers a series of workshops that add up to a larger educational program centered on independent practice. These workshops can be viewed on-line, attended independently, or taken as part of a program. The best results come from taking them together as a complete program in person.

The workshops have evolved over nearly seven years and have been delivered in a variety of contexts from conferences to schools and professional programs. The complete program was first incubated at NYU ITP Camp in New York City as "The Unschool For Creative Applications." The program is taking on a second incarnation this winter in Portland as "The School for Misfit Creatives."

A positive attitude and a commitment of time.

Expectations of participants: 
Participants are expected to attend the welcome session and at least three workshops. Participants are expected to participate in sessions and engage in a positive, constructive, and creative manner with other participants.

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SFMC Winter 2018 Application


The following sessions are planned as part of the Winter 2018 session.

Lifestyle Engineering - Sunday 1/7/2018

Satisfying professional opportunities for cross-displinary creatives are often limited. Most jobs and work opportunities are for specialized workers. Academic hierarchies are oriented around advancing within a specific discipline. Hiring managers are trained to see cross-disciplinary as "jack of all trades, but ace of none." As such it often becomes necessary for creatives who wish to operate this way to design their own lifestyle to support their creative work.

This session will broadly cover how to transition from a life where you have a day job and do projects on the side to a life where your side projects are your focus and financially support your lifestyle. This includes a variety of practical topics like managing finances, handling health insurance, meeting people, managing relationships, planning, establishing goals, and dealing with failure. This workshop provides the operating basis for the two workshops in creative capitalism.


Seeing Across Disciplines - 1/14/2018


Unschooling & Self Education - 1/25/2018


Creative Capitalism #1: Studio & Client Practice - 2/11/2018

The most common way for cross-disciplinary creatives to function at a small scale is with a small studio or client practice. In such a practice the creative handles some number of clients over the course of the year generally on a time scale of 1-3 months. This session explores the how to establish and maintain a client based studio practice doing this kind of work. This includes how to find clients, manage clients, partners, subcontractors, stakeholders, budgets, and more. Special attention will be paid to sustaining and growth.

Creative Capitalism #2: Tiny Products - 2/18

One of the most exciting ways to apply your creativity in a commercial context is through the creation of products. Unlike working with clients, creation of consumer products involves engaging with everyday customers. This requires a fundamentally different approach from client practice as you now have to handle potentially millions of customers 24/7. In this session we will cover creating products ranging from productized consulting to apps and services. We will attempt to give a big-picture view of what is involved in running a small products business without overwhelming you. This includes learning how to identify opportunities for products in a market and pursue their development.






The program and sessions are being organized by Josh Michaels with support from friends. The organization is similar to the Diode Gallery for Electronic Art which operated in Portland from 2014-2015. You can learn more about Josh on his personal site or check out his studio Jetson Creative.

Costs & Finances

The program is free but requires a commitment deposit of $200 which will be returned at the end of the session.