MA in Critical Craft Studies

MA in Critical Craft Studies

Warren Wilson College

Judith Leemann workshop, 2019. Photo: lydia see.

December 7, 2020
MA in Critical Craft Studies
Application Deadline: March 1, 2021
Warren Wilson College
701 Warren Wilson Rd
Swannanoa, North Carolina 28778
United States

T +1 800 934 3536

Building a field 
The MA in Critical Craft Studies brings together a rotating faculty from multiple disciplines and varied cultural and global locations to develop 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 from exhibition reviews to academic journal articles; and alternative forms of documenting and communicating history, 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. We work to shape an inclusive field: our approach is non-canonical and anti-racist. 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: craft studies.

Program design
The graduate program follows a low-residency model. Students begin each semester in intensive on-site residencies alternating between July on the Warren Wilson College campus and January in downtown Asheville at the Center for Craft, the program's Founding Partner. Residencies initiate independent semester study of craft history, research methods lab and materials lab, with regular online and off-site meetings with faculty and mentors.

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 an exhibition, curricular development to creating a scholarly symposium, or a collection of short form critical writing to podcasts.

To apply
The MA in Critical Craft Studies accepts new students once per year for the semester starting in July. Application to the program includes: a personal essay, an object response to one of two objects provided on the website, up to three additional materials, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs, and a phone interview with the Program Director. Applications are available online; contact Nathan Wyrick, Director of Admissions at nwyrick [​at​] for program questions.

Applications received by March 1, 2021 will be considered for a limited number of merit-based scholarships. 

Faculty 2020–21
Core Faculty: Namita Gupta Wiggers, Program Director, Jeff Keith, Ben Lignel, Tom Martin, Mara Holt Skov, and Leslie Roberts. Core faculty teach courses throughout the year.
Workshop Faculty: Sara Clugage, Lisa Jarrett, Kareem Khubchandani, Tim May, Mirzoeff, Tiffany Momon, Melissa Potter, and Jay Roberts. Workshop Faculty teach during our fall (July) and winter (January) residencies. 

Visit our online residency in January 
Join us to learn more about how the program fits your interests during an information session or during our Winter Semester Residency in January. For more information and to register, contact Nathan Wyrick, Director of Admissions, at

Learn more
To learn how we are building craft programming, link to the Faculty Webinar Series at Warren Wilson College presentation by Namita Gupta Wiggers, Program Director: Building a Craftscape: What is a Field and Who Does it Include?

To learn about student research, visit our program website at to access and purchase Mapping Craft: This is How We Meet, a student-led publication from the Class of 2020, and Paired Conversations under the Projects tab to listen to students discuss their research with artists, curators, scholars and writers from multidisciplinary backgrounds. All purchases of the publication support scholarships for students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the program. 

Warren Wilson College
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 undergraduate and graduate degrees are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Council on Colleges. 

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