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 and Historical 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.

Program Design

The 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 1. Students begin the program in July.

Applicants to the program submit an online application form that includes a written response to a craft piece, a personal essay, letters of reference, and supporting materials. Applicants must also provide official transcripts for previous undergraduate/graduate degrees.

Read more details and submit an application.

Program Faculty

The strength of the program lies in the exchange between dynamic students and world-class faculty. Faculty for the Summer/Fall Semester, launching in July 2018, includes:

Faculty and Mentors connected to the program for upcoming and future semesters are not limited to but include: Elissa Auther, Maria Elena Buszek, Annabelle Campbell, Julie Caro, Sonya Clark, James Darr, Anne Dressen, Daniel Duford, Christian Frock, Bean Gilsdorf, Jessica Hemmings, Ayumi Horie, Suzanne Isken, Garth Johnson, Love Jonsson, Jay Miller, Nicholas Mirzeoff, Kevin Murray, Perry Allen Price, Paul Sacaridez, Aram Han Sifuentes, Lowery Stokes Simms, T’ai Smith, Shannon Stratton, Tara Leigh Tappert, Jorunn Veiteberg, Lisa Vinebaum, Marilyn Zapf, and Emily Zilber.

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

Namita Gupta 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 10,000 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