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Announcement
October 29, 2018

MA in Craft Studies announces partnership and public programs

Warren Wilson College

Farm-to-Table Dinner in Garden Shed. Courtesy Warren Wilson College.*

Craft has received an unprecedented level of academic attention during the past two decades. This burst in scholarship, historical study, theoretical investigation, and curatorial attention connects to parallel interest in the material, labor, and cultural practices in the visual arts. The MA in Craft Studies is the first program in the US to focus its curriculum on craft history and theory. It brings together a rotating faculty from multiple disciplines and varied cultural and global locations to broaden understanding of craft as a field of study. Students investigate research methods from archives to oral histories, public modes of presenting craft from street fairs to museum exhibitions, forms of writing in the field from exhibition reviews to academic journal articles, and alternative forms of documenting and communicating histories, such as podcasts, symposia, online platforms, and curricular development. The program challenges the boundaries of craft and spans media-specific work to craft-like contemporary art, folk art to artisanal explorations. Research as an applied practice is the principle that connects students’ project work in the Swannanoa/Asheville area to that in their own hometowns, offering training in primary and secondary source analysis and experience while studying and shaping a new field.

Students begin each semester in intensive on-site residencies alternating between July on the Warren Wilson College campus and January in downtown Asheville. Residencies initiate a semester study of craft history, research methods, and materials lab. The program consists of 2 years plus one additional residency in which students share their Practicum Projects. Final projects may take a number of forms, from a formal thesis to a curated exhibition, curricular development to creating a scholarly symposium, a collection of short-form critical writing to a series of podcasts.

Partnership
January’s residency, with a focus on “Craft in Public Spaces,” takes place in downtown Asheville. All classes and public programs are held at the Center for Craft, Warren Wilson College’s Founding Partner in the development of this new MA in Critical and Historical Craft Studies. Warren Wilson College’s longstanding partnership with the Center for Craft led the development of craft crews, and curricular development including a craft minor for Warren Wilson College undergraduates, and to the “13th Craft Think Tank: Supporting the Future of Craft in Academia” in 2016. The international group of scholars discussed and made recommendations concerning a master’s program; those insights have been integrated into this new master’s program to ensure relevancy in this emerging field. With special thanks to the Windgate Foundation, this third collaborative grant and partnership support the partnership and graduate program, and additionally extends Warren Wilson College students and faculty an opportunity for curatorial experience in collaboration with the Center’s Auxilliary Gallery. This newly renovated downtown space will be shared by UNC Asheville, the Center for Craft and Warren Wilson College, with exhibits starting in fall 2019.

Public programs
All programs will take place from 6:30–8:30pm on the 2nd floor, the Center for Craft, 67 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC. Free and open to the public; rsvp requested through Eventbrite

January 5: T’ai Smith + Namita Wiggers
January 8: Lisa Vinebaum + Linda Sandino
January 10: Judith Leemann + Ben Lignel
January 15: Christina Burke + Marilyn Zapf
January 16: Program Information Session with Faculty and Students

During the first hour of this open classroom, each presenter shares their research and process for 30 minutes; this is followed by a second hour of active discussion with students and attendees.

Prospective MA students are invited to observe classes anytime between 3pm on January 10 through 5pm on January 11. To schedule a visit, please contact Nathan Wyrick, Graduate Admissions Counselor at nwyrick [​at​] warren-wilson.edu or T 828 771 5824.

Warren Wilson College
This master's in craft joins our first rate MFA in creative writing as one of only two graduate programs at Warren Wilson. Warren Wilson is an independent, liberal arts college in Asheville, North Carolina, and is the only national liberal arts college with integrated work and service components.

All of Warren Wilson's degrees are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Council on Colleges.

*Image above: Farm-to-table dinner at Garden Shed, Warren Wilson College. Meal prepared by faculty and staff with 90% produce and meat from the WWC farm. Tableware courtesy of East Fork Pottery.

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