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We started our DIY PhD program post-graduate school in 2014, seeking a rigorous and creative higher education program that met our  embodied, spiritual and intellectual thirst for knowledge. An answer to Western and mind-centered institutional learning, we meet weekly at different sites around Los Angeles, in our studios, and in our homes to tap into the programs that constantly reshape to meet their personal, spiritual, academic and artistic growth.

We began sharing our methodologies through workshops and cohorts in Southern California and online. Though each one of us has our own unique learning paths and fields of interest (see below!), we start every class with a check-in and a calling-it-in to create a present and sacred place of learning for whomever we are with. Your DIY PhD is Your's! We wish you brilliant light and deep soils to cultivate your own unique path on this planet.


David is creating Your Art Is Yours, a space dedicated to you. It's monthly assignments are designed to support you in identifying and practicing your art. It's a community of artists, sharing their art, & a sacred space of learning, exploration, & love where we can be vulnerable with ourselves and each other to cultivate that which is most dear to us.

Sarita is leaning into a cosmologia curativa; one that is healing connection to self, community, and ecosystem. She is gathering ethnoecological research and sharing it in chispas of writing, incantations, portraits of habitat, daily life practices for living off-griddish in an urban environment, and how people can begin to draft visions of their own Living Cosmologies that can shift our collective consciousness back towards the Earth-as-Sacred, earth as teacher.


The DIY PhD was started in 2014 by artists Sarita Dougherty and David Whitaker as a higher education program that would meet their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs in addition to their academic and creative ones. The DIY PhD has inspired a Bay Area DIYMFA, a DIY Education cohort (2015), and now a Women’s Center for Creative Work cohort as part of Sarita Dougherty’s Fall 2018 Unschooling quarter residency.

The DIY PhD will share methodologies so you can kick-off your own DIY Education this Fall, irregardless of institutional or academic affiliations.

The program includes:
Physical, spiritual, emotional, academic & artistic “check-ins”
Creating a school-year calendar & ideal learning scenes for the near and distant futures
Tapping into spirit guides and ancestors who might help you locate your educations
Articulating the deep learning desires in our collective hearts and souls
Visiting the river to get present with the schools contained in local landscapes
Mapping next steps for your DIY Education to flourish
Q&A with DIY PhD Fall 2020 candidates David and Sarita

Come find out what your own DIY PhD might look like. Let’s Kick-Off the Fall Semester!

Your favorite sketchbook or journal to write and draw in
Any colored pens/markers you love!

** Sarita will facilitate the WCCW DIY PhD Cohort on Sunday afternoons during the Unschooling Fall quarter. The weekly program starts Sunday, Sept. 30, 2-5 PM. Please register to join! Enrollment is Limited **

DIY PhD Back 2 (un)School Night

Sunday, September 23, 2-5pm
@ Women's Center for Creative Work

Hosted by artist-in-residence Sarita Dougherty & David Whitaker, free!

Kick off your personal Fall Semester at the DIY PhD Back 2 (un)School Night!