Photo: Lydia See

Imagine you’re peering at a fascinating scene through a telescope, but the detail that really intrigues you is at the very edge of your field of view. When you try to show it to someone else, your favorite part is quite literally sidelined. This is what has historically happened to thinkers who wish to engage critically with craft in an academic context. Art historical traditions and museum taxonomies can reinforce ideas about which practices are worthy of serious study, and which ones get secondary attention. Craft practice touches nearly every material endeavor—those which have long been favored by scholars, and those whose intellectual champions are emerging.

What happens when an academic program transforms the telescope into a panorama? One very promising outcome is taking shape at Warren Wilson College’s new Master of Arts in Critical Craft Studies. Here, students can connect their academic and life experience to histories and narratives of craft. Launched in 2018, the MACR is low-residency, so students can meet their inspiration where it lives, while continuing to learn and work where they’re rooted. Students might explore the intersections of history, anthropology and material culture, look at connections between craft and labor, clothing, food cultures, and climate change, or bring a new archive into view. Here, craft’s interdisciplinarity is a superpower. Students can flexibly move through approaches, pushing the boundaries of a particular topic, and moving important ideas from the periphery to the center, where they belong.

Application deadline: March 1, 2020.

For more information, visit or our Instagram @macraftstudieswwc.

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