Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red
Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

Research Initiative

Master of Arts in Critical Craft Studies

This low-residency graduate program is the first of its kind to focus on craft through American studies, anthropology, art history, and material and visual culture studies.

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The Center for Craft is the founding partner of Warren Wilson College’s Master’s in Critical Craft Studies—the first and only low-residency graduate program in craft history and theory.

During a joint Craft Think Tank in June 2016 an international group of thought-leaders met with Warren Wilson College faculty to discuss and make recommendations concerning the content, format, approach, audience, and resources needed to create a relevant and successful program. A report summarizing the retreat recommendations may be found here.

About the Program

First program of its kind in the U.S.

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.

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Students investigate research methods from archives to oral histories, public modes of presenting craft, forms of writing, 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.

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. 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.

Meet the Director

Namita Gupta

Namita Gupta Wiggers was hired by Warren Wilson College in 2017 as the first program director to build the inaugural critical and historical craft studies degree program, a new masters-level, low-residency program.

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She is responsible for developing the vision, leadership, and administration of the program. 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.

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