WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY AT THE JUNIPER INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS LOOK LIKE?
A day at Juniper begins with breakfast, followed by an informal writing session led by Program Assistants (PAs). Morning workshops with Young Writer faculty run from 9:00 until 10:30. After workshops, participants attend Q&As with writers from the adult Institute, or craft sessions led by Young Writer faculty. After lunch, participants have their afternoon workshop, followed by a studio course focusing on bookmaking or performance. From 4:00-6:00 p.m. participants may choose to read, work on their writing, or relax. Dinner is at 6 p.m., followed by an evening reading by acclaimed faculty and writers in residence from the Juniper Institute for adults.
Following the reading, PAs facilitate evening activities for participants in the residence hall. Activities may include everything from film screenings to open-mic readings. This is also an opportunity for participants to read and write, or to work on their bookmaking or performance pieces. In the past, participants have used free time to share their writing informally with their peers and PAs. We enforce a mandatory curfew of 11:00 p.m.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO HAPPEN IN A WORKSHOP? WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME?
The workshops are designed to help young writers gain insight into their own creative process and explore the possibilities of their chosen genre, either poetry or fiction. They are grounded in the belief that building a community in which we can share, discuss, and receive feedback on our work—and be exposed to the work of our peers—can be enormously helpful and rewarding for our writing process. The specific style and parameters of each workshop will be determined by the workshop leader, but a few basic expectations are consistent for all groups:
Each participant is responsible for sharing his or her creative work and for giving thoughtful feedback on the work of others. The goal is to learn from a wide range of writing styles and approaches, and to continually go deeper into exploring the craft of writing. Workshops are based upon an understanding of and respect for each other as writers and as individuals; during workshops it is of the utmost importance that participants treat others’ work as they hope their own will be treated—with care, attention, and thoughtfulness.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CRAFT SESSION AND A STUDIO COURSE?
Craft sessions are taught by Young Writer faculty and address a specific aspect of process, technique, form, or inspiration. Participants may be led in writing exercises or guided readings, and can expect to look at writing (their own and others’) from a different perspective. Some craft sessions are paired with tours to local museums, with the intention to illustrate how writers integrate inspiration from “out in the world” into their work.
Studio courses are taught by local writers and artists. Focusing on either bookmaking or performance, these courses allow participants to expand their sense of the creative process, to mix media, and to experiment with new ways of reaching an audience. At the end of the week, participants have the opportunity to present their studio course work to their peers.
WHAT KIND OF WRITERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
We are looking for dedicated young writers interested in exploring and advancing their craft and participating enthusiastically in a community devoted to writing. We particularly seek those who would benefit most from the Institute setting: one of intense focus, creative curiosity, community-building, and exposure to many writing styles. Each participant is an essential part of the Institute experience and is relied upon to share his/her own unique perspective and voice as we create an environment that both supports and challenges its members to reach new artistic heights.
WHAT KIND OF ACCOMMODATION IS OFFERED?
Most participants elect to stay in a designated University residence hall, which becomes a hub for informal activities and events. In the residence hall, each participant will have a roommate and use shared bathrooms and common areas. Program Assistants are housed on each floor, as well as a Residence Hall Director who is on duty from 7:00 p.m.–8:00 a.m. In addition, the residence hall is staffed 24 hours per day by University Housing staff. The cost of a shared room is $26/night.
WHAT KIND OF SUPERVISION DOES JUNIPER PROVIDE?
The Juniper Institute for Young Writers is a creative academic program for mature, self-motivated high-school writers. The Institute provides direct supervision during the following scheduled activities: workshops, Q&As, craft sessions, studio courses, readings, and field trips. During free time and evening activities in the residence hall, participants may choose whether to engage with the group or spend their time independently. Participants are assigned a “pod” and accompanying Program Assistant (PA) that act as their main point of contact/supervision for the week. A Residence Hall Director lives in the residence hall all week and is on-call at night. The Residence Hall Director is a trained member of the UMass Res-Life program and offers support, guidance, and night-time supervision.
At all times, participants will have access to a program staff member as needed. The ability of participants to follow program, university, state and federal laws, and to act independently in a supportive college setting is required.
HOW AND WHEN DO I GET TO AMHERST? AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING MY OWN TRAVEL PLANS?
Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements, including shuttles to and from Bradley International Airport. That said, we are happy to answer questions about the area and best travel options (see below for a few suggestions). The Institute begins on Saturday June 22nd with an orientation at 5:00 p.m. Please arrive between 3:00-4:30 p.m. to check in to your room in the residence hall (If you are staying elsewhere, please confirm check-in with your accommodation directly). It’s worth noting that Amherst is a small town! We recommend you make all reservations, including the shuttle and the taxi service, well in advance of your arrival.
GETTING TO AMHERST
By car: Visit the UMass website for best routes.
By air: Amherst is served by Bradley International Airport (Hartford/Springfield) in Connecticut. We recommend using the airport shuttle Valley Transporter, which runs from Bradley or Logan (Boston) directly to the campus. Reservations for the Valley Transporter must be made well in advance; to schedule a ride, call (413) 253-1350 or 1-800-872-8752 or visit www.valleytransporter.com. Be sure to indicate that drop-off and pick-up is to/from Butterfield Hall dormitory, not Haggis Mall (the default drop-off point for UMass).
By bus: Peter Pan Bus Lines and Megabus have regularly scheduled buses directly to the University of Massachusetts campus. If arriving by bus, stay on through downtown Amherst until you reach the campus. Peter Pan: (800) 343-9999; Megabus: (877)462-6342.
By train: Amtrak has limited service to Amherst and more frequent service to Springfield, MA. From Springfield, you can take a bus for the remaining 20 miles to Amherst. If you take the train into Amherst, it is a 5-minute taxi ride (costing $8 or $9) to the University campus. Amtrak: 1-800-872-7245; TikTak Taxi: (413) 256-4500. Gotta Go Taxi: (413) 461-3070.