FAQ & Resources for Students: NEXT in 2021

When is NEXT this year?photo of student saudering

NEXT this year will be a virtual, online experience, with a website launching the evening of May 10, 2021. NEXT is an official GW bicentennial event which means that thousands of people will see your work. The final material for the website is due on April 16, 2021. Read below for more details, including all the requirements for your submissions.

What is NEXT?

Over the last decade, NEXT has been held every spring as an end-of-year thesis and capstone show that gives D.C. the opportunity to see the latest in contemporary art and scholarship. Visitors get to see student work in the fields of studio arts, art history, interior architecture, design, dance, theatre, music, museum studies, and more. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Corcoran from hosting NEXT 2020, but many student artists still found creative ways to complete or rework their projects. In 2021, for the first time in its history, NEXT will be a virtual experience, with a website and online performances and shows, launching on May 10, 2021 and staying up for at least two years, until May 2023.

This is also NEXT’s tenth anniversary. NEXT started in 2011 at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The school had thesis shows before but this was the first time it was branded as NEXT. When it first started, it included just a few degrees in studio arts.

The branding for NEXT 2021 was created by graphic design students in a year-long class called DesignLab in 2019-2020. Corcoran students voted on the winning concept in fall 2019. This year, the professor that teaches DesignLab, Matt Guastaferro, as well as 2020 alumni Maddie Goldstein and Emily Recko, are the designers that are bringing the branding to life via the NEXT website, outdoor banners on the Flagg Building, and animation on social media. Another alumna, Danielle Coates (Exhibition Design ’19), is coordinating the show, and Academic Director Susan Sterner is working with your thesis advisors. The NEXT team is also creating a graduation care package for students which will be mailed to you over the summer with a t-shirt, NEXT booklet, Corcoran artistic license and poster.

We are planning to showcase the NEXT website at our virtual graduation celebrations.

Who are my contacts at NEXT?

Your thesis professor is working closely with Danielle Coates, this year’s exhibition coordinator. If you and your advisor have questions, please email her at [email protected]. Ann Norton ([email protected]) will be handling all of the NEXT performances for music, dance, and theatre. For other questions, please reach out to your advisor first!

When is the “opening”? Is there something going up in advance?

The full NEXT website will launch the evening of May 10, 2021. The website (next.corcoran.gwu.edu) will be live around March 1, 2021, directed to a page where your friends and family can sign up to get an email when the site goes live.

How can we promote our work in “NEXT”?

After the website launches, each student will have their own website page which you can use to promote your work. Before the website launches, you can still share details about your work via postcards, social media, etc., designed by DesignLab. You can access these assets via this link and use them in any way that follows the brand guidelines:


A note: these were originally designed for 2020 but we are using and celebrating the work in 2021. We will be updating elements and text on these templates in March 2021 but if you would like to create something before then, please feel free to use the material in these folders and swap out the information for this year.

This year’s hashtag is #NEXT2021 – and people also use #CorcLife and #OnlyAtGW

There is an optional opportunity to also submit content to be featured on Corcoran’s social media after NEXT launches. You can submit this info in the final submission form.

How do you show your work in NEXT 2021? What are the deadlines?

To be a part of NEXT, in December 2020, current students filled out the following form: NEXT Participation Form

If you have not filled out the form yet, please contact your thesis advisor and Danielle Coates ASAP.

The final material for the website is due on April 16, 2021. This is a hard deadline! The website is launching on May 10, 2021.

Due April 16 (FINAL):

Form: NEXT Final Submission Due April 16, 2021

  • Text about thesis project - artist statement (150-300 words)
  • At least one image or video of your work, 1080 x 1080 pixels. Up to 5.
  • Captions of all images
  • Headshot
  • Mailing address (for graduation package)
  • Language about sharing your work on social media
  • Instagram Handle or any other contact information (website, etc.) - optional

Note: Art History students have a special submission form. You can access the form here. Please contact Andy Johnson with questions.

Here are the requirements for the images, videos, and PDFs.

Note: The only kinds of materials that we can host on the website are images, videos and PDFs, but we can link to your website to show more kinds of work.

Video Guidance

Please send your file via the form above or to Danielle Coates at [email protected]. All videos must have caption files - it’s an accessibility requirement for our website. We cannot post videos without this! The videos will be put on Corcoran’s vimeo account, so we also ask you to submit titles and descriptions.

Videos should be 1080p H.264 compression, no less than 8/10mbps. We won’t have to worry about a max mbps because H.264 will naturally compress it to a proper max limit. Students should/need to know that QuickTime has a very easy [Export As –> 1080p] feature that is a one click compressor. It’s better than just about anything else out there - Media Encoder is not great!

Image Guidance

We ask that you submit your files as JPG with a MINIMUM resolution of 1920 x 1080. Ideally we’d prefer 3840 x 2160 px. These numbers can also be swapped to form portrait-oriented images (1080x1920 and 2160x3840). 72ppi. The file size doesn’t matter as much because JPG is already a compressed format.

PDF Guidance

PDFs should come in at under 50MB in file size so that users with slow internet or mobile devices can download them easily enough.

If you have a truly image-heavy PDF that is over 300MB, please try compressing it. Or provide a compressed <=50MB version AND the original 300MB version and we can have links to both (low resolution for mobile and slow users and a high resolution for regular users). Email these versions of the files to Danielle at [email protected].

PDFs must be accessible. The Corcoran will spend resources after students submit the work to make sure that people with disabilities can read the PDFs, but there are a few steps that you can take to prepare work to cut down on this expense and make sure your materials are accessible. The guidelines are in great detail here and here. A few toplines:

  • Text should be searchable - if saving from a Word doc, you can save it in a certain way (outlined here).
  • The fonts in an accessible PDF must contain enough information for Acrobat to correctly extract all of the characters to text for purposes other than displaying text on the screen.
  • Use of text instead of images of text
  • Use of color combinations that provides a sufficient degree of contrast (we understand some of your work is art and interpretation, but be mindful especially around text)

Are we able to update material after launch?

Any updates to your work or materials should be on your personal website. We want to honor the material that you submit at graduation is a snapshot in time and a moment in your artistic journey, so we aren’t able to accommodate any revisions to your work past the submission deadline.

Unless you have given us permission to share your work on social media or elsewhere, the Corcoran will not share your work outside of the website. No individual student work will be showcased by Corcoran or its partners outside of the context of the website without your permission. When you provide us with materials, we assume you have already secured full rights and clearances for those materials.

Exhibition Design Project

Exhibition Design Project (NEXT 2020) by Veera Pfaffli, M.A. '20