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Sam Lavigne, Omayeli Arenyeka, Ilona Brand
March 15, 2022 to May 19, 2022 (10 classes)
Section 1: Tuesdays 5-8pm ET Section 2: Thursdays 6-9pm ET
Online (Zoom)
$1200 Scholarships available learn more...
Applications closed on February 25, 2022

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Web scraping is the process of automatically downloading and manipulating web content. It's a common practice in silicon valley, where companies large and small transform open html pages into commodified datasets. As an alternative, "Scrapism" is the practice of web scraping for artistic, emotional, and critical ends. By combining aspects of data journalism, conceptual art, and hoarding, it offers a methodology to make sense of a world in which everything we do is mediated by internet companies. These companies surveil us, exploit and financialize our experiences, and attempt to vacuum up every trace we leave behind. But in turn they also leave their own traces online, traces which when collected, filtered, and sorted can reveal or even intervene in power relations. In this class participants will learn how to scrape massive quantities of material from the web with Python, and then use this source material in projects that probe the politics and poetics of the internet. We will cover multiple web scraping techniques, as well as different techniques for manipulating and presenting textual content.


Course of Study

Technical topics will include:

  • Intro to Python
  • Intro to HTML/CSS
  • Web scraping
  • Intro to natural language processing


  • There will be 3 to 4 projects throughout, with time for crits in class.
  • Participants will benefit from some basic knowledge of python, command line, and html/css.
  • Web scraping experience would also be a plus, but is not a strict requirement.

Is this class for me?

This class may be for you if:

  • I am interested in the ways power structures reveal themselves on the internet
  • I want to learn how to navigate and manipulate data on the web using python
  • I’m here to be critical and I’m here to have fun

This class may NOT be for you if:

  • I’m looking for a class to teach me how to develop apps
  • I think highly of the CEOs of most major tech companies

Meet the Teachers


Sam Lavigne

Sam Lavigne is an artist and educator whose work deals with data, surveillance, cops, natural language processing, and automation. He has exhibited work at Lincoln Center, SFMOMA, Pioneer Works, DIS, Ars Electronica, The New Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and his work has been covered in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Motherboard, Wired, the Atlantic, Forbes, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, the World Almanac, the Ellen Degeneres Show and elsewhere. He has taught at ITP/NYU, The New School, and the School for Poetic Computation, and was formerly Magic Grant fellow at the Brown Institute at Columbia University, and Special Projects editor at the New Inquiry Magazine. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at UT Austin.

he/him · website · twitter · instagram


Omayeli Arenyeka

Yeli is a Nigerian artist, writer, and technologist based in Brooklyn. She primarily makes things that live on the internet. She is interested in the creative and critical possibilities of the web and data: its potentials for personal expression, solidarity and fostering disillusionment.

she/her · website · twitter · instagram


Ilona Brand

Ilona is an artist, extrovert, teacher and technologist who sees their work as love notes to themself, the world, and others. They work across mediums using music, poetry, code, drawing, and their jewish practice as tools of expression both publicly and privately. These days they are particularly interested in trans narratives of liberation, judaism as a site of ritual, visibility on and offline, and how we present ourselves and our work to the world.

he/they · instagram


Our programs are conducted in spoken English with audiovisual materials such as slides, code examples and video. Online programs are held over Zoom.

Please take care and be well. We hope you are comfortable in your housing, living, and working situation in general. Never hesitate to ask us for advice and reach out if you have accessibility requests or need any assistance during your time at SFPC. We will work closely with you towards co-creating the most accommodating learning environment for your needs.

reach out with questions about access...

How do I apply?

Apply Now

What, to you, is the most interesting website, and why?

Applications open until Applications closed on February 25, 2022.

You can expect to hear back from us about the status of your application on March 7, 2022. Please email us at with any questions you have.

more about what we look for in participants...

How much does it cost to attend?

For 10 classes, it costs $1200 + processing fees, for a one-time payment. We also offer payment plans. Participants can schedule weekly or monthly payments of the same amount. First and last payments must be made before the start and end of class. *Processing fees apply for each payment.

SFPC processes all payments via Withfriends and Stripe. Please email if these payment options don't work for you.

Upon payment, your space in the class will be reserved. We offer scholarships for those who cannot pay full tuition. Read more about scholarships below.

I can’t pay for SFPC. Can I come at a reduced rate, or for free?

If you can’t pay full tuition, we really still want you to apply. Our application will ask you how much you can pay. We will offer subsidized positions in all of our classes, once each one has enough participants enrolled that we’re able to do so.

We have also started a scholarship fund, and we will be offering additional scholarships as community members redistribute their wealth through SFPC. We direct scholarship funds towards participants who are low-income, Black, Indigenous, racialized, gendered, disabled, Queer, trans, oppressed, historicially excluded and underrepresented.

Right now, tuition is SFPC’s main source of income, and that is a problem. It means that we can only pay teachers, pay for space, and organize programs when participants pay full tuition to attend. Tuition is a huge barrier to entry into the SFPC community, and it disproportionately limits Black participants, indigenous participants, queer and trans participants, and other people who are marginalized, from participating. Scholarships are not a long term solution for us, but in the short and medium term we hope to offer them more while we work towards transforming SFPC’s financial model.

How can I help others to attend SFPC?

For SFPC to be the kind of place the community has always meant it to be, it needs to become a platform for wealth redistribution. If you are a former participant, prospective participant, or friend of the school, and you have the financial privilege to do so, please donate generously. There is enough wealth in this community to make sure no one is ever rejected because of their inability to pay, and becoming that school will make SFPC the impactful, imaginative, transformative center of poetry and justice that we know it can be.

What if I can’t go, can I get a refund?

  • Yes, we can give you 100% refund up to 10 days before class starts
  • 50% refund after 10 days, until the first day of the class
  • No refunds can be given after the first day of the class

Interested in more learning opportunities at the School for Poetic Computation? Join our newsletter to stay up to date on future sessions and events, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Support our programming through scholarships. Get in touch over email.