fruitful.school is an independently-run learning initiative for making “fruitful websites” founded in 2020 by Laurel Schwulst and John Provencher.
fruitful.school is dedicated to exploring new ways of publishing together using the www.
For our Fall 2020 workshop, participants will hang out and work together online to self-publish a piece to the www over the course of 6 weeks.
Well... what is a
fruitful web requires seeds. We ask participants to apply with a proposal of their seed, their idea, their content to publish.
fruitful web requires soil. Good soil is a point of view, specific perspective, or story. Prior coding experience is a plus, but it’s not required.
fruitful web is handmade. By learning some basic HTML, we will build a website by hand. (+)
“In today’s highly commercialized web of multinational corporations, proprietary applications, read-only devices, search algorithms, Content Management Systems, WYSIWYG editors, and digital publishers, it becomes an increasingly radical act to hand-code and self-publish experimental web art and writing projects.”
— J.R. Carpenter
fruitful web studies the histories and materiality of the web to understand “the web’s grain” and often works along with it. (+)
“I believe every material has a grain, including the web. But this assumption flies in the face of our expectations for technology. Too often, the internet is cast as a wide-open, infinitely malleable material.”
— Frank Chimero
fruitful web is visually diverse. We like seeing things we've never seen before. We will learn how to add a presentation layer to our content with CSS.
fruitful web aspires to be light, fast, and accessible. We will use only as much energy as we need to. We recognize websites are connected to limited physical resources.
“Just because things are digital doesn’t mean they’re more sustainable. There are servers that are powered by fossil fuels that serve up these digital documents.”
— Marie Otsuka speaking on the design of the solar-powered version of the Low Tech Magazine website
fruitful web can be written. Maybe you can build a text-only website.
“There is a renaissance underway in online text as a medium.”
— Venkatesh Rao
fruitful web can be a utility. Perhaps we can make tools for our daily lives.
fruitful web can be performative. Maybe we can make sites with a purpose and life that’s brief but beautiful. We also recognize that the web is inherently a performative medium by its design.
“Like theater, CSS is contextual. As a playwright, I know the actors are going to say the lines I wrote in the order I wrote them in the script. But when I write stage direction (like how I think the stage and actors should look and behave), they’re all suggestions. The production company will make their own decisions because they’re working with specific constraints.”
— Miriam Suzanne
fruitful web can be archival. Perhaps we plant the seed and let it grow, let it collect.
fruitful web can be an alternative to corporate social media. Let’s evaluate what’s not working for us.
“Anyone can set up a web site and point to all the other web pages. Everyone is a publisher. Everyone is a peer. That’s why it’s called a web. Individuals knit themselves together by linking to one another. Everyone tends his or her own little epistemological garden, growing ideas from seed and sharing them with anyone who comes by.”
— Paul Ford
When and where are classes held?
Starting in Fall 2020, the workshop is 100% virtual. It happens wherever you are as long as you have a computer with a stable internet connection. The workshop will run for 6 weeks total and will meet synchronously twice a week: Wednesday evenings 7–9pm EST and Sunday afternoons 1–3pm EST.
Dates: 10.14, 10.18, 10.21, 10.26, 10.28, 11.1, 11.4, 11.8, 11.11, 11.16, 11.18, and 11.22.
Do I need any coding knowledge prior?
No ... and it’s never too late to start! We view learning as a lifelong process, and we are excited to see how your previous experiences will inform what you create.
What's Fruitful School’s approach to remote learning during the global pandemic?
With care, optimism, and realness.
We think it is up to us (the students, teachers, and guests of Fruitful School) to accept that the pandemic and remote learning is hard but also as an opportunity to be a portal to some new world. we are truly living and breathing the medium (websites!) in new and important ways with more people around the world.
We also want to continue to remember that we’re in a public health crisis. Let’s be empathetic to each other since none of us are truly "ok." We want to cultivate a caring, understanding, and supportive learning environment.
We'll be limiting prolonged screen time in the workship itself. We'll be splitting up our meetings into two shorter sessions that re-occur weekly for 6 weeks. We'll be providing just as much synchronous work as asynchronous work. See you with your fruit and water ( stay hydrated! )
What will we do during each synchronous session?
Lectures, discussions, demos/exercises, class workshopping and guidance.
What will be provided for asynchronous time?
references, links, videos, readings and more!
How much does it cost?
$1,500 — with the exception of limited scholarships
Why does the workshop cost money?
We're interested in building a sustainable school — one that can continue over the years.
We have dreams for Fruitful School to be a place for many different ways to learn beyond the workshop. In the future, we would like to grant more people access to our materials — both free and paid versions. By taking a workshop, you support us to continue Fruitful School.
Will there be future workshops?
Yes. Subscribe for more updates.
Will there be other ways to get involved?
We're currently working on ways for people to get involved outside the workshop. We'll be making guides for our asynchronous learning materials. Think “class without the class” — a digital publication you can follow at your own pace.
We are currently working on the guides. Subscribe for updates.
(+) Why did you start this school?
We love talking about, teaching and making websites! We’re hoping this can be a home to cultivate new ways of publishing to the www.
We think this skill is even more needed than ever before. We are excited the workshop can be more accessible to those around the world through remote learning.
Since we all come from different backgrounds and want to create a safe and open environment for collaboration, we've created a code of conduct to better interact with each other as students and teachers.
Fruitful School’s Code of Conduct
As we talk to each other at Fruitful School, we are:
we do not tolerate:
- open and free
- suspending judgement
- not afraid to share an honest opinion or risky idea
- building on each other’s ideas
- sharing often while respecting others’ time to share
- always trying to help each other create their best work
As we present our work, we:
- sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, religious discrimination or otherwise discriminatory actions
- violence in any form
- unwelcome physical contact or hostile attention
- deliberate intimidation or stalking
- advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior
When we offer feedback to others during critique, we:
- communicate in a clear and concise manner
- describe where we’re at in the process
- don't self deprecate our own work
- leave lots of room for others to speak
- state the facts
- describe what you see
- describe what you hear
- describe how *YOU* feel
- share any associations…
original blog post for more info.
our code of conduct is a work in progress. it was inspired by others and continues to evolve through use. see
We planned to do our second workshop over the summer, but, like everything else, things ended up getting pushed back.
Instead we noticed an exciting energy emerge around publishing online simply by the sheer quantity of new web projects published from the beginning of the pandemic till now. We wanted to take some time to reflect on what we saw this paradigm shift (of sorts).
Over the past few years, a handful of designers, developers, and educators have been likening web design to architecture (...)