What You’ll Study

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 material, labor, and cultural practices in the visual arts.

The MA in Critical Craft Studies is the first program in the U.S. to focus its curriculum on craft history and theory, and 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 will 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 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. Research as an applied practice is the principle that will connect 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.

Degree Program Design

The graduate program will follow 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. Residencies initiate 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 exhibition, curricular development to creating a scholarly symposium, a collection of short form critical writing to podcasts.


Applications are accepted at any time, but priority consideration is given to application materials submitted by March 1st. Students will begin the program in July 2020 with their first Summer Residency.

Applicants to the program must submit an online application form that includes the following:

  • Personal Essay (1000 words max.)
  • Object Response (500 words max.)
  • Additional Materials (up to 3)
  • Letters of Recommendation (2 Required)
  • Official Transcripts from previous undergraduate/graduate degrees

The TOEFL is required for international students who have not graduated from an accredited college of university in the US and whose native language is not English.

Program Faculty

The strength of the program lies in the exchange between dynamic students and world-class faculty. Faculty for 2019-2020, includes:

Glenn Adamson
Karen Bell
Christina Burke
Jen de los Reyes
Dave Ellum
Anna Fariello
Louise Goings
Killeen Hanson
Lisa Jarrett
Faye Junaluska
Jeff Keith
Sarah K. Khan
Judith Leemann
Kevin Murray
Ezra Shales
Yasmeen Siddiqui
Mara Holt Skov
Jenni Sorkin
T’ai Smith
Lisa Vinebaum
Melanie Wilder
Marilyn Zapf
Warren Wilson College Work Crew Supervisors and students

Mentors connected to the program for current and future semesters are not limited to but include: Sarah Archer, Elissa Auther, Annabelle Campbell, Julie Caro, Sonya Clark, Anne Dressen, Daniel Duford, Pete Erb, Fabio Fernandez, Christian Frock, Bean Gilsdorf, Joshua Green, Dr. Cynthia Greenlee, Charis Gullickson, PJ Policarpio Gubatina, Gary Hawkins, Jessica Hemmings, Ayumi Horie, Suzanne Isken, Garth Johnson, Love Jonsson, Laura Kina, Stephen Knott, Caitrin Lynch, Kevin “Mc” McIlvoy, Aaron McIntosh, Jay Miller, Nicholas Mirzeoff, Alpesh Patel, Elizabeth Porter, Melissa Potter, Perry Allen Price, Aram Han Sifuentes, Dr. Lowery Stokes Simms, Tara Leigh Tappert, Jorunn Veiteberg, Anna Walker, and Emily Zilber.

Namita Wiggers

Meet the Director

Namita Gupta Wiggers

The founding director of the program is Namita Gupta Wiggers. Namita is a noted expert in the field of craft and led the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, from 2004-14. She is also director and co-founder of Critical Craft Forum, a growing online and on-site platform with more than 11,000 international members, a monthly podcast and a blog. Her writing and curatorial work on contemporary and historic craft are recognized nationally and abroad.

Contact Namita Wiggers: nwiggers@warren-wilson.edu