University of Indianapolis Social Practice MA Program

Jim Walker, co-founder of Big Car, will teach courses in Social Practice Art at UIndy starting in the fall of 2017.

At the University of Indianapolis, a new, intensive one-year MA program in Social Practice Art approaches the city as a studio for social practice and placemaking. The program is currently accepting applications for the Fall of 2017, and it will equip students who believe in transformative power of the arts within communities to turn those beliefs into actionable change.

Kevin McKelvey, an associate professor of English at the University, developed the program with assistance from Jim Walker, the founder and director of local arts organization Big Car. The result of their multi-disciplinary collaboration is a diverse program that encompasses courses in urban and community sociology, social entrepreneurship, and grant writing.

Through the program, students will have the chance to engage in hands-on experiences, hosting community art events and engaging the community. One such opportunity is at Big Car’s Tube Factory art space, which fills a massive, formerly vacant building and hosts cultural events and community meetings. Another possibility is working with the Artist and Public Life Residency, which transforms vacant homes into dwellings for artists.

The MA in Social Practice is a program that builds on existing University projects that partner with the local community, including the  Quality of Life plan for the Indianapolis south side and the Gene and Mary Ann Zink Poverty Institute. The goal of this graduate program is to supply students with the tools they need to become engaging and effective community leaders, so that they can harness artistic practice to improve lives in their local communities, both in Indianapolis and beyond.

Students with Art & Design, Theatre, Dance, Music, or Creative Writing backgrounds are welcome to apply.

Learn more about the program at, or request more information here.