New Project: Artists Helping Artists

119 Gallery and AstroDime Transit Authority are now initiating a new campaign. We call it AHA! (Artists Helping Artists). We are modeling it on a wonderful campaign for musicians called Sweet Relief.

We believe that artists in the United States contribute a lot to their communities. Of course they contribute to culture, but in addition, many are teachers, mentors, and community activists. They often volunteer their time in order to make their community better through their work, teaching, and activism. To that end, we are initiating occasional pop-up fundraisers to help artists who have been affected by age, sickness, and financial crisis, so that they can get back on their feet and continue their work and contribution to their communities..

Here’s our first campaign:

and our working logo. We hope you will consider our causes. They will make a lot of difference.



A Higher Road to Higher Ed

On Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the JFK Library & Museum in Dorchester, Massachusetts, AstroDime Data collectors took part in an action as part of Adjunct Action/SEIU’s conference for adjunct faculty from around the United States. The conference was called “A Higher Road for Higher Ed: Expanding the Movement in America’s College Town” and the agenda and web site can be found here:

It was a very moving symposium. Faculty member after faculty member talked about their experiences in teaching for many years, and their work not being appreciated or honored by their institutions. What was most interesting was that this symposium was doing the work of honoring these faculty..the work that Universities and Colleges should be doing.

AstroDime Transit Authority made an appearance with our data collecting team. We asked faculty to “doodle” during the conference, and we collected the doodles during the length of the conference. There are many more wonderful doodles but here is some documentation of our action, which we called DoodleDadaData. The Dada is in reference to the Dada movement..and AstroDime was honoring the feminist principle of “invisible work”. So we were in fact doing a sort of Feminist Dada art project.

Here are some images below. More to come!

This one is outstanding!

This one is outstanding!

A really cool idea about doodles

What are thoughts? Doodles are thoughts. Things are thoughts. This is by….

Help support our adjuncts!

Help support our adjuncts!

Data being processed.

DadaData being processed.


One of our data gathering specialists.

Poetic Inquiry (Discard and Replace)

AstroDime is occasionally asked to do arts based qualitative analysis. The work below was for a questionnaire an outside investigator sent to adjunct faculty to one private North American college in 2014,  initially to assess the adjunct faculty needs at that institution. AstroDime noticed the survey was mostly quantitative in nature, and advised the outside investigator who was doing this survey to add an “essay response” in one of their sections. They don’t usually do that because it’s hard for them to analyze. But they took a chance with this.

We used a qualitative coding method called “in-vivo” coding to analyze the response. From that we made a poem. AstroDime recommends poetic inquiry as one means of analyzing these texts. The result of the analysis carries the evocative (Leavy 2008) qualities of QABR (or qualitative arts based research) into the public and outside the ivory tower.

The prompt question we used to code from was this:
What is your primary motivation for supporting a union at [name of university not posted here for confidentiality]

here’s the process and poem below.


After 10 years I remain a non-entity.
I do a lot of unpaid work in this position.

Nobody has ever set foot in my class to observe my teaching.

I think that adjunct like all faculty deserve a living wage and respect for what we deliver.

I want to be treated like something other than a person to discard and replace at the whim of deans and administration.

I think the exploitation is unconscionable and must be stopped.

I am tired of being treated as an interchangable part.

We are treated like servants.

We are not just cheap labor.

We are training teachers, not babysitters!

We are permanent, not just additional positions.

I would simply like an ounce of security implied in the position despite the fact that I am only an adjunct.

I want pay for teaching.

I want to sense more inclusion and respect from the full time faculty.

I want to be treated as a knowledgeable and respected colleague.

I want inclusion in the community.

I want a greater voice in my department.

I want to see that generations of professors after me are treated with respect and justice.

I do not want to be invisible.

Compiled and coded by AstroDime Transit Authority
DATA POEM TITLE: Discard and Replace
Source: Private College in North America. Third Party questionnaire surveys to adjunct faculty. 115 questionnaires received by the date of the coding process.
Coding Category: “Respect for Adjuncts”
Coding Strategy: We highlighted phrases which to me resonated with the ideas of respect for the teaching profession.
Technical Stuff: Another party uploaded all the data from the survey into SaturateApp ( AstroDime created the codes. There are many more codes, more nuts and bolts, but from a poetic perspective, this turned out to be the most compelling to draw out for us. We are not including raw data out of respect and privacy of the participants.


support/on campus
support/professional development

Course models
models/face to face

respect for adjuncts
Intellectual property
job security

compensation/supplies for class
compensation/health insurance

Bike Stencil paintings!

Here’s a little DIY from AstroDime Transit Authority member sam smiley. Somerville Massachusetts is a great biking community, and smiley took pictures of the bike stencils which are everywhere throughout Somerville. Then she made stencils out of them and created Bike Stencil paintings! A lot of inspiration for this project has been from a wonderful book called Stencil Nation.

Here’s a link to this amazing book:


Beyond Yosemite

Astrodime members sam smiley, Bebe Beard, and KumaLisa attended a talk of a group who shares the same spirit as AstroDime with respect to their performances and research. It was part of an MIT Seminar on Environmental and Agricultural History. The talk was called “Beyond Yosemite! A Three-part Guide to Reimagining the American Landscape” Jenny Price, of the “Los Angeles Urban Rangers” and a research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women posed these questions:

“How are artists reimagining widespread and historically powerful iconic American landscape images? How do they challenge these images to envision nature not as an unpeopled refuge but as places we inhabit? I look at three kinds of art works: paintings and photographs that comment on well-known images; participatory public art events that act out new understandings of landscape; and a project, on the L.A. River (think Grease, Terminator 2), that reimagines a landscape by literally remaking it.”

Here is their truly awesome web site.:

Protest “Protect IP Act”

Check out upcoming U.S. legislation concerning internet censorship based on copyright. For more info go to

Back in time..Occupy Boston Oct 13

Greetings from AstroDime Correspondant sam smiley

NOTE: This post is a little late (I wrote it October 13)  but in some ways it still applies because it is cold and rainy in Boston today too on October 20. As of today, Thursday Oct 20, Occupy Boston is in need of bales of hay. Probably to stem the tide of a lot of rain in the past few days.

I was taking the ferry from Provincetown, and it was a windy and rainy day. I biked off the ferry bringing some tarps from the hardware store and a loaf of portuguese bread. When I told the staff at the hardware store about this they were all thumbs up for Occupy Boston and were very supportive.

bike basket wtih a loaf of bread and tarp

astrodime delivery of tarp and portuguese sweetbread

I talked to Andy at the Logistics tent and asked him a few questions about his role. I asked him what the most challenging part of his role was and he said “the rain”. I asked him what they might need more of, and he said “good weather”. But he did say moms in minivans have been dropping off food and much needed necessities.  This weekend, Occupy Boston did get better weather on the weekend, but now the rain is back. Word is that they need raincoats, not the poncho that Andy is wearing because those don’t work that well.

andy to the left, "logistics" sign to the right

Andy at Logistics, Occupy Boston

In addition I took some other pictures which I am sharing. Below is a picture of “main street”. I was standing next to a reporter for New England Cable News Network (NECN) and he was preparing his copy..”the road to main street is lined with plywood”. He seemed pretty supportive.

wood sign with "main street" written on it

main street, Occupy Boston

sign saying Massachusetts Teachers Association Supports Occupy Boston

the sign says it all

I know that the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association supports Occupy Boston, but you can see from the sign that it is pretty rainy..anyone out there in the rain is pretty supportive. I know that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) supports the Occupy movement as well.

As I walked around, I noticed there were so many reporters on the scene at the time..some dressed in suits, standing next to their cameras. Here’s one now looking for the media tent.

"Where's the tent?"

Below is a long shot of the encampment. if you want to read more about the protest this past weekend, look at AstroDime correspondant Gina Kamentsky’s post right before this one. And hope for some sun later today for Occupy Boston!

-sam smiley

wide shot of encampment oct 13, 2011

wide shot, oct 13 2011

Design and Activism

Gina Kamentsky reporting from Boston: I attended the “March and Rally to Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad” today from Park street to South station and was excited to see fellow members of the MTA ( Massachusetts Teachers Association) including a lovely woman who teaches at Sharon High school and several students from my design and animation classes at Mass Art.

One Minute for Peace

Some of the graphics that are being produced as this movement grows are wonderful, the image above is a condensed version of a fold out ( it’s 36″ long” and hard to scan!) that I was given by a member of the American Friends Service Committiee. The impact of this was immediate and powerful. Another image I love is this flag which is popping up all over the place.
march flag

Finally, here’s an interesting juxtaposition caught near South Station at the end point of the march. I love the multi layered meaning which emerges here.


Occupy Boston Oct 10 2011

sam smiley reporting from AstroDime..
I went Monday October 10..around 4pm to the base’s really well organized. It reminds me a little of the way Burning Man is set up..less art, but very clear where to go. It has a library, “spirituality tent”, postermaking tent, logistics tent, and more. I brought stencils and chalk and left them at the library tent. I wasn’t there later in the evening for the protests and ensuing arrests.

trusty bike basket with stencils and chalk

trusty bike basket with stencils and chalk

I thought a lot of the impact of social media on this gathering..lots of hand held signs but very few flyers. A media tent. And despite what the mainstream media says, a pretty coherent message..i really don’t think “anarchy” is a good way to describe this, although it is the word that mainstream media and “spinners” of the story are saying. Not everyone is holding the same sign but they generally seem to be there for the same reason..the effect of the economy problems of the U.S. on the largest groups of people, while the ruling class emerges unscathed from any financial disasters.

Here is where I am getting my information:
Twitter is most up to date:

A great news site, I love how they “occupied” the Globe concept.

And the Occupy Boston web site proper

various posters on a tent

various posters on a tent

nurses poster: heal america tax wall street

I saw lots of these posters

wagon with memorial

Dewey Square Oct 11 4pm

Dewey Square Oct 11 4pm