The PhD in Creativity
The PhD in Creativity is closed to applications until our next application cycle, which begins Fall 2024.
About the PhD in Creativity's Partnership with the Balvenie and Questlove
The Balvenie and Questlove are supporting emerging creative pursuits with an opportunity for an aspiring maker to begin their own quest through a pioneering scholarship program with University of the Arts. This scholarship program will give one aspiring creative mind, from anywhere in the U.S., the opportunity to undertake the university’s first-of-its-kind PhD in Creativity. University of the Arts’ scholarship program marks an exciting commencement of a long-term mission for The Balvenie and Questlove to expand and showcase the beautiful convergence of craft and creativity.
Read the official UArts press release here.
UArts is also grateful to the Majik Foundation – Westphal Family and anonymous private donors for their generosity and support of the PhD in Creativity.
We’re doing something no one else has done—we’ve radically re-conceived the PhD degree based on the premise that creative thinking lies at the heart of innovation in all fields.
The PhD in Creativity is a low-residency degree for advanced interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. This first-of-its-kind PhD offers unique features not found elsewhere: intensive immersion in creative thinking, cross-disciplinary workshops for dissertation development, and professionally accomplished advisors from outside the university whose selection is tailored to best serve each unique dissertation.
This program can teach a practitioner in any field—science, medicine, business, engineering, healthcare, the social sciences, the nonprofit world and even the arts—to think more creatively.
The Program's Philosophy
All PhD programs require a dissertation that makes “an original contribution to knowledge.” Yet after steeping the candidate in the existing literature and methods, they offer no guidance on how to move beyond them. At University of the Arts, our PhD is about fundamentally changing the way our students think. We seek students who have already achieved a professional mastery in some discipline, and we prepare them to go to another level. We show them how to be open to finding that moment when ideas that didn’t seem to have anything to do with one another suddenly come together to ask or answer a question, create a solution to a problem, produce a new invention. This immersion in the arts can teach a practitioner in any field—science, medicine, business, engineering, healthcare, the social sciences, the nonprofit world and even the arts—to think more creatively.
A Three-Year PhD
The PhD in Creativity is a three-year, dissertation-only program.
Most PhD programs require six or seven years to complete. Such programs begin with a thorough training in a field’s methods and base knowledge and administer a qualifying examination after this training is complete. The PhD in Creativity’s application serves as that qualifying examination; we examine an applicant’s MA or other training, professional experience and dissertation proposal to determine their readiness to enter our PhD and begin their dissertation.
The Two-Week Creativity Immersion
All transformative work—even in technology, science and social science—depends upon intuition and nonlinear thought. Yes, we need the rigors of the scientific method and the data base of knowledge. Yet to take innovation to another level, we also need to transcend the hierarchies of conventional training. And the arts offer the most consciously developed disciplines of nonlinear and integrative thinking.
The PhD in Creativity begins with creativity itself: Creative thinking is in the DNA of our faculty, and no university is better equipped to teach it. The PhD commences in mid-June with the Creativity Immersion. During this two-week residency, students are immersed in a curated sequence of arts experiences for an intense course in creativity. Each cohort presents their proposal for a group critique by their fellow students and faculty. They then reframe that proposal every day, through a wide variety of creative lenses. Since each cohort draws from a range of disciplines, candidates are forced to jettison disciplinary jargon and hone in on their ideas.
Informed by daily experiences in different creative practices, students revise their proposals into working drafts. After the Creativity Immersion, students use these revised proposals to build their dissertation committees, in consultation with the program director.
PhD candidates at a studio visit with contemporary visual artist Buzz Spector.
The PhD cohort visits the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for a tour and drawing session.
PhD candidate James Brandon Lewis performs at Dizzy's Club in New York during the Creativity Immersion.
PhD candidates in seminar.
The PhD cohort visits the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for a tour and drawing session.
PhD candidates in seminar.
PhD candidates in seminar with program director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg and President David Yager.
PhD candidates engaging in improvisational theater at the Pig Iron Theater Company.
PhD candidates engaging in improvisational theater at the Pig Iron Theater Company.
The PhD cohort visits the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia for a tour and drawing session.
The Origins of the PhD in Creativity
UArts President and CEO David Yager and Program Director Jonathan Fineberg met in 2015 at a conference on cross-disciplinary thinking in art and science, sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine—part of the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative. The academies had asked David Yager, well known for his path-finding work in medicine and art, to serve on the steering committee. They also asked Jonathan Fineberg to speak about his book Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain, which crosses psychoanalysis and neuroscience with art criticism for a fresh perspective on creative thinking. At this conference, Jonathan and David began a conversation that led to their collaboration in creating this radically re-conceived PhD. On the premise that creative thinking lay at the heart of innovation in all fields, it seemed appropriate to offer this first-ever PhD in Creativity—irrespective of the field of inquiry—at an art school, and to begin with an intensive focus on creative thinking.
Applications to the PhD in Creativity for the 2022–2023 academic year are closed.
The PhD in Creativity is known for providing a tailored, personalized experience for each of its students and their unique, interdisciplinary dissertations. In service of this goal, the PhD in Creativity operates via a single-cohort model, accepting a new cohort every three years as the previous cohort graduates.
Read more about our application process below.
If you have questions about the application process, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application Timeline, 2021-2022
- August 25, 2021: Applications open for the PhD in Creativity.
- November 15, 2021: Application materials are due.
- January 2022: Finalists are invited to interview with the Director.
- Mid-February 2022: Final decisions are issued.
We seek students who have already achieved proficiency in an intellectual pursuit—it could be in any field—such that the candidate is prepared for the dissertation stage of a rigorous but out-of-the-box PhD. Our students will typically have found themselves wanting to transcend the disciplinary limits of their training with an interdisciplinary project. We will be looking for projects that may not easily fit into programs elsewhere. We actively encourage students currently enrolled in PhD programs elsewhere to enroll in the two-week Creativity Immersion to frame or re-frame their dissertations; leaving their current program is not required.
The application materials are as follows:
- A Research Proposal of about 1,000 words, outlining the dissertation you wish to pursue in the PhD of Creativity. This document should state the central question your research proposes to address. It should also discuss the need for your project, both personal and on the broader scale of scholarship; your project's relationship to previous scholarship in the field; the methods you propose to use; and a selection of works you consider central to your project.
- A Personal Statement of about 1,000 words, telling us why you’re interested in the PhD in Creativity. Topics you may wish to consider when writing this document: What led to your interest in pursuing a PhD of this kind? How has your prior training or work experience prepared you to undertake the writing of your dissertation? What other works or paths – books, articles, bodies of work, or other influences – do you want to explore during your time in the program? With what kinds of advisors would you ideally like to work? What do you envision yourself doing with this degree? Please note that these are only suggestions, and the personal statement is not intended to be a comprehensive document. Overall, it should give us a sense of your interests and who you are.
- Your Resume or CV.
- Application Form: The nonrefundable application fee of $60.00 can be paid by credit card, check, or money order. The fee must be payable in U.S. currency and all checks must be drawn on U.S. banks. University of the Arts graduates are exempt from the fee.
- Transcripts: From each graduate and undergraduate school from which you have earned a degree. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded at the application stage. After a candidate is accepted, their official transcripts should be sent directly from the Registrar’s Office at the college(s) or school(s) previously attended. All transcripts from outside the United States must be in English and must be official. In some cases, a transcript evaluation from a third-party credential evaluation service (such as WES or ECE) may be required to assess international credentials.
- Two Letters of Recommendation: These recommendations should come from professors or professionals in your field who are familiar with your capabilities and credentials.
- English Proficiency: International applicants must demonstrate fluency in spoken and written English as a requirement for this program. English proficiency will be assessed through writing samples. All candidates will be asked to complete an interview online or in person, and may be asked to submit test results from the TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo English Test.
- Standardized Test Scores: GRE scores are optional and not required. If you submit GRE scores, official test scores must be sent by ETS to the University. The correct institution code to use when requesting scores is 2664. You do not need a departmental code.
- Applicants are encouraged to submit a copy of their dissertation, thesis, or capstone project for their previous degree.
- Financial Aid: Domestic students may submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Submit the FAFSA to the Federal Student Aid Program by February 15 for priority consideration. FAFSA applications are available October 1. List the University of the Arts as the institution to receive your information. The Title IV Code for the University of the Arts is 003350. For additional information, see the Financial Aid section of the university’s website.
If accepted, a nonrefundable deposit of $600 (to be applied to the first-year tuition) will be required to hold a space in the program. In exceptional cases, this fee may be waived.
The PhD in Creativity is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Questions? Contact the program online.
The annual tuition for the 2022–2023 academic year is $49,060.
For more information on tuition, click here.
All applications to the PhD in Creativity are reviewed by the Admissions Committee, and applicants may also receive some fellowship funding from the University. Fellowships are granted based on a combination of merit and need; in order to be considered for fellowships, students who are able to fill out the FAFSA must do so. Students who have been accepted to the program will be notified of whether or not they have received a fellowship before the deposit deadline. University fellowships can help cover a portion of tuition costs, but full tuition fellowships are not available at this time.
If eligible, students who complete the FAFSA may also receive an offer of $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans. You can apply to borrow additional funds to cover your costs in the form of a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan or private educational loans. All students are strongly encouraged to seek fellowships from external sources in the forms of scholarships, grants, and fellowships from foundations and corporations. The Office of Student Financial Services at the University of the Arts can assist you in starting your funding search.
Please notify us if you have an outside company or agency that will be assisting with funding your degree. This will not disqualify you from being considered for University funds but will allow us to facilitate payment processing. As the majority of work is done remotely in this program, students are not eligible for university health insurance.
Housing & Calendar
Housing Options While in Residence
We encourage students to find housing within walking distance of the University of the Arts at nearby hotels or Airbnb residences. Students seeking assistance with housing options should contact our office by email: email@example.com
A two-week residency is held during the first summer of the program for each cohort of PhD students. This intensive Creativity Immersion includes ongoing seminars on methods and the revision of the dissertation proposals.
The June 2022 Creativity Immersion took place from June 20-July 3, 2022.
Current PhD Candidates
PhD in Creativity
PhD in Creativity
PhD in Creativity
The Advisory Council is comprised of distinguished professionals across diverse disciplines whose knowledge and expertise has contributed to the formation of this program. They will assist in the recommendation and selection of outside advisors to serve each dissertation.
President, University of the Arts, ex officio
Professor of Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering and former Provost, Boston University
Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Professor of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Author, television producer, and record producer. Founder of Funny Garbage, one of the first digital design companies in New York, and The Red Hot Organization, one of the first major AIDS charities. He teaches entertainment law at Columbia Law School.
Professor of Neurology, Psychology, and Architecture, University of Pennsylvania. Director of Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics and author of The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art
Artist and entrepreneur, Beijing. Associated with Cynical Realism in the 1990s, Fang is a leading vanguard artist. He is also a founder of the National Archives of Contemporary Art.
President of the Dedalus Foundation and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Kathleen A. Foster
The Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Senior Curator of American Art, and Director, Center for American Art. Curator and art historian, she has published on nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists such as Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, and Andrew Wyeth; most recently, she organized the exhibition and catalogue American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University; recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award as well as an Emmy and a Peabody Award for his television series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
Dean of the College of Fine + Applied Arts and Professor of New Media, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; co-author of Lookout America!: The Secret Hollywood Studio at the Heart of the Cold War
Hannah B Higgins
A Professor and founding Director of the interdisciplinary BA in IDEAS at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her books include Fluxus Experience (University of California Press, 2002), The Grid Book (MIT Press, 2009) and the co-edited anthology Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of Digital Art (University of California Press, 2012).
Artist, NY. A pioneer, with Ilya Kabakov, of installation art, with recent retrospectives at the Guggenhiem Museum in NY, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, and the Tate Modern in London
Leon M. Klein and Elaine Krown Klein Chair of Performance Studies in the Herb Alpert School of Music, University of California, Los Angeles. A leading authority on Beethoven and internationally known pianist, scholar and recording artist, he has received a lifetime achievement award from the Humboldt Foundation. He has published a dozen books, including Beethoven, The Creative Process in Music from Mozart to Kurtag, and studies of Mozart and Wagner.
Bon Ku, MD, MPP is the Assistant Dean for Health & Design at Thomas Jefferson University. An emergency medicine physician, he also directs the Health Design Lab which has featured in The New York Times, CNBC, and Architectural Digest. His book, Health Design Thinking, co-written by Ellen Lupton, was published in 2019.
Professor of Dance, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; choreographer of Virago-Man, in the 2017 BAM Next Wave Series and currently touring.
Larry Silver is Farquhar Professor of Art History, emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania and past President of the College Art Association. He specializes in Northern Old Master painting and graphics and his books include Peasant Scenes and Landscapes (Penn 2006), Marketing Maximilian (Princeton, 2008), and Jewish Art: A Modern History (2011, with Samantha Baskind).
Artist, NY; best known for detailed paintings of birds, plants, and transparent human forms in a combination of unorthodox materials, and for his fantastical reimaginings of the pictures on the front page of the New York Times; represented by James Cohan Gallery and White Cube in London, with solo exhibitions in New York at the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum
UArts BFA '75 (Photography); Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; she is an artist, photographer, curator, photo historian, and author. Willis is also a recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award, among many other accolades.
Jerry (Yoram) Wind
Lauder Professor of Marketing Emeritus at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Internationally known for pioneering research on organizational buying behavior, market segmentation, conjoint analysis and marketing strategy.
Artist, Beijing; one of the leading painters of the first generation of artists to emerge in China after the Cultural Revolution and an artist of global influence
Professor of Neurobiology and Neuroesthetics at University College London and FMedSci Fellow of the Royal Society
The members of the University Advisory Committee are Quinn Bauriedel, Erin Elman, Bill Gast, Emily Mattingly, Jesse Pires, Alan Price, Paul Schuette, and Jesse Zaritt.
The Admissions Committee remains anonymous. It includes a research physician, a professor of physics and engineering, a former Research 1 university administrator, a studio artist and administrator, an art historian specializing in American and African American art, a museum curator with degrees in anthropology, and the director of the PhD at the University of the Arts, as chair.
Here are some frequently asked questions about University of the Arts’ PhD in Creativity, the first of its kind in the nation.
The PhD in Creativity hosts one cohort at a time, in order to devote our full resources to each of our students. The current cohort will graduate in May 2025, and the next cohort will begin in June 2025. We will accept applications in the summer/fall 2024 for the next PhD cohort.
Yes. The program is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Read more about the program’s director and faculty on the “People” tab. Guest artists and lecturers for the 2022 Creativity Immersion included professionals working in culinary arts, design, museum curation, social justice, and visual and performing arts.
The PhD project is typically a written dissertation. However, it may also take other forms, as long as the final work may be publicly shared and the dissertation committee is satisfied by the depth of research and thought. If written, the dissertation is typically between 30,000 and 50,000 words or the equivalent as approved by the individual’s committee. Research projects in disciplines in which a book-length dissertation is not normal will conform to the standards in those fields. Students will present their work on a monthly basis to their committee and defend their dissertation in June of their third year, unless an extension is approved by their committee.
The dissertation committee will annually review the student’s progress on the dissertation and will determine if the progress warrants continuing in the program. We reserve the right to terminate a student in the program if there is insufficient progress.
Each cohort has between five and 10 students.
This is not a studio-based degree; rather, it is research-based.
We seek students who have already achieved proficiency in an intellectual pursuit in any field, such that the candidate is prepared for the dissertation stage of a rigorous, but out-of-the-box, PhD. Our students typically have found themselves wanting to transcend the disciplinary limits of their training with an interdisciplinary project. We look for projects that may not easily fit into programs elsewhere. We actively encourage students currently enrolled in PhD programs elsewhere to enroll in the two-week Creativity Immersion for a fee; leaving a current program is not required.
You can read more about the dissertation topics of our students and alumni by viewing their profiles above. You can also view alumni dissertations on the UArts Library website.
We prepare our graduates for a more creative approach to whatever path they take, and expect industries, as well as the academy, to set a premium on our degree. By redefining the underlying approach to their practice, our graduates return to the work world equipped with deep expertise in an area they will help to define and in which they are strongly invested.
The university does not offer assistantships, and fellowship funding from the university is limited. Fellowships are granted based on a combination of merit and need. If eligible, students who complete the FAFSA may also receive an offer of $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans. You can apply to borrow additional funds to cover your costs in the form of a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan or private educational loans.
Fellowships are granted based on a combination of merit and need. All students are also strongly encouraged to seek fellowships from external sources in the forms of scholarships, grants and fellowships from foundations and corporations. University of the Arts’ Office of Student Financial Services can assist you in starting your funding search.
Please notify us if you have an outside company or agency that will be assisting with funding your degree. This will not disqualify you from being considered for university funds but will allow us to facilitate payment processing.
The university does not offer assistantships, and fellowship funding from the university is limited. If eligible, students who complete the FAFSA may receive an offer of $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans. You can apply to borrow additional funds to cover your costs in the form of a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan or private educational loans.
You do not have to live in Philadelphia.
Students participate in three residency sessions over the course of the program. For those three sessions, students must reside on-campus in Philadelphia. For the rest of the program, students work remotely in concert with their dissertation committees, cohort and program faculty.
In mid-June of their first year, students come to University of the Arts for a two-week intensive residency. The cohort reconvenes in January for one week, and then again in the second summer of the program for one week.
Our program has several advisors for each dissertation. They are selected to be specifically suited to the project, and they are more actively involved than in most residential programs. This makes it possible to complete the degree in three years.
It is a good idea to have an idea of the specific advisors you would like to work with when you apply to the program. The director will take this into account as he builds your committee.
Your committee need not be UArts faculty and will be tailored for you.
We prefer the Chicago Manual of Style.
PhD in Creativity alum Dr. Jessica Hunter – who was recently promoted to Director of Creativity & Innovation at Colorado College! – will present “Dancing Paintings: Explorations in Art, Aesthetic Empathy, and Creativity” at the Future of Intelligence: A Multidisciplinary Vernon Lee Conference in Florence, Italy, on September 9, 2023.
Artist Vernon Lee’s multi-disciplinarity and ability to cross boundaries place her as a modern thinker, though she lived from 1856-1935. This conference aims to think about her life and works in ways that are responsive, playful, and multidisciplinary.
Learn more about the conference here: The Future of Intelligence at the British Institute of Florence
Congratulations to PhD in Creativity alum Dr. Cynthia Haveson Veloric on two recent publications!
The first, "Embodied Space: The Pollution Pods Experience" can be found as Chapter 7 in the book Perspective: Selected Essays on Space in Art and Design (Vernon Press). The book explores the ways in which visual and physical space have been designed and experienced in different cultures, and amplifies the significance of space as a design element by examining its implications in various contexts through a global perspective of art and design.
Veloric's second new publication is "Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land II, a Consideration of Strange Strangers," in Issue 61 of Antennae.
Tremendous congratulations to PhD in Creativity alum Dr. Abel Tilahun, who has been awarded a Guggenheim Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum! This one-year research fellowship will allow Dr. Tilahun to pursue his writing, documentary filmmaking, and a curation project in the heart of Washington, DC.
Please join us in celebrating Abel!
Frank Machos, who earned his PhD in Creativity from UArts in 2022 (and also earned his BM and MAT from UArts!), was profiled in Metro Philadelphia, alongside the "Mic'd Up" program at the School District of Philadelphia, which offers music industry-aligned experience for students.
Machos, executive director for the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of the Arts & Creative Learning, says of the program: “We want to make sure that we’re not only engaging them with the music that they love but preparing students across the creative industries – providing them the opportunity to learn about the careers across the board, get access and exposure to it, and connect them to the scenes."
Read the full article at Metro Philadelphia: "Philly schools ‘Mic’d Up’ program reaches new heights"
PhD in Creativity Alum Patricia Salkin's latest piece with the American Bar Association is live! "Minority Lawyers Contribute to the Swelling Number of College and University Presidents with JDs" reports on historical and growing trends around college and university presidents with JDs who also represent racial minorities. Salkin's book, May It Please the Campus: Lawyers Leading Higher Education, grounded in her dissertation work in the PhD in Creativity and named by Nancy Rapaport as one of the top four exemplary legal writing books in 2022, also examines trends around the number and demographics of lawyers who serve as leaders of higher ed institutions.
Read the ABA article here: "Minority Lawyers Contribute to the Swelling Number of College and University Presidents with JDs"
Congratulations to Zach Savich, visiting faculty at the PhD in Creativity and Chair of Liberal Arts and Associate Professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, on the publication of his latest book, The Motherwell Sonnets from Economy Press!
The Motherwell Sonnets consists of fourteen experimental sonnets, taking inspiration from Robert Motherwell's writings and artwork – looking at the world with a related sense of monument and ephemera, improvisation and pose.
Read more and purchase here: Economy Press | The Motherwell Sonnets
Congratulations to PhD candidate Lorna Boucher, who was recently made a member of the Board of Advisors for Markets Media Group's 2023 U.S. Women in Finance Awards! This program recognizes and celebrates "the best of the best" women in capital markets. Lorna has over 15 years of senior management experience in the field; her dissertation focuses on articulating the dynamics of the group creative process, and how communication and leadership behaviors at various stages of a project's life cycle can bring out creative ideas and enhance team performance.
Please join us in celebrating Lorna!
Congratulations to the PhD in Creativity's latest graduate, Rose Inez Benson!
Watch the full Commencement ceremony at commencement.uarts.edu.
James Brandon Lewis's upcoming show in Newport, MA is featured in the Boston Globe! In August, he’ll perform music from his new album “Eye of I” at the Newport Jazz Festival, joined by Chad Taylor on drums and Josh Werner on electric bass.
The piece also discusses Lewis's forthcoming tribute to Mahalia Jackson and Lewis's doctoral degree on his theory of molecular systemic music, right here at the PhD in Creativity at University of the Arts.
Read the piece here: "At Newport, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis will bring some buzz"
Please join PhD in Creativity alum Dr. Patricia Salkin at a free virtual event with the American Bar Association! Salkin will moderate as three lawyer presidents of colleges and universities – two with federal government experience, and one who worked at the local government level as well as with the military – discuss their experiences and career paths. This interactive panel will explore the skills that government lawyers develop and how that prepares one to lead in higher education. Government lawyers and lawyers who represent government and who have higher education clients, as well as lawyers in general considering future career options, will benefit from listening in.
Register in advance for the webinar: Lawyers Leading Higher Education: Former Government Lawyers Discuss their Career Paths and Experience as Campus Presidents
PhD candidate James Brandon Lewis, winner of the inaugural Balvenie Fellowship selected by Questlove, covers the June 2023 issue of DownBeat Magazine! Lewis talks about his tenth album Eye of I, his forthcoming project For Mahalia, With Love, and, of course, his doctoral degree on "molecular systematic music" here at the PhD in Creativity at University of the Arts.
Check out the issue here!
We look forward to seeing our alumna Dr. Susan Gordon at the Festival della letteratura del vino in the Prosecco hills of Italy! This is the region's first literature festival, organized by the editor of Civiltà del Bere, the Italian Wine Chronicle. Gordon will interview Mike Vaseth, author of The Wine Economist.
Learn more about the event here, in Italian: Co(u)lture Conegliano Valdobbiadene | Festival della letteratura del vino
PhD in Creativity student and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, winner of the inaugural Balvenie Fellowship, will perform his show "The Dead Lecturers" at the Philharmonie de Paris.
With "The Dead Lecturers," Lewis and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis – two influential heralds of African-American music – orchestrate a passionate flow of sounds and words as a tribute to the creativity of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Learn more about the event and buy your tickets here: James Brandon Lewis and Thomas Sayers Ellis: The Dead Lecturers
A second, expanded iteration of PhD in Creativity alum Dr. Cynthia Veloric's curated show Risky Beauty: Aesthetics and Climate change will open at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, PA, running from April 14-June 26. Please join the Center for the Opening Reception on Friday, April 14 from 6pm-9pm! Visit the Nurture Nature Center's website for more details.
Veloric will also present “Pollution Pods: Embodied Experience as Environmental Communication" at the 2023 conference of the International Environmental Communication Association in Harrisonburg, VA, from June 5-9, 2023.
And Veloric's essay "Embodied Space: The Pollution Pods Experience" will appear in Perspective: Selected Essays on Space in Art and Design (Vernon Press, 2023).
We're so thrilled to share our alumni's successes with you!
PhD in Creativity Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg presented via Zoom a lecture in honor of the 80th anniversary of Paragon Books in Beijing, China. The lecture, "Gifts of Seeing: Picasso and Klee as Children" was attended by 2,300 people.
Watch the lecture here: "Gifts of Seeing: Picasso and Klee as Children"
Congratulations to PhD alumna Dr. Susan H. Gordon, whose essay "Silvano Follador's Road of Understanding Prosecco" was just published in Forbes! Gordon's PhD dissertation also discusses the production of top-quality Prosecco, with an emphasis on language and region.
Read the full piece here: "Silvano Follador's Road of Understanding Prosecco"
Join the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the Government Law Center, and PhD in Creativity alum Patricia E. Salkin to celebrate the publication of her new book, May It Please the Campus: Lawyers Leading Higher Education. This book is the result of Dr. Salkin's PhD dissertation!
Dr. Salkin will discuss the book, which traces the history of lawyers serving as college campus leaders from the 1700s to present.
This free event is open to the public and includes a book signing and reception.
Learn more and register here: Albany Law School: Patricia E. Salkin '88 Book Talk
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg has reviewed the Barnes Museum's "Modigliani Up Close" in the Dec 22–Jan 23 issue of The Brooklyn Rail:
...The current exhibition of Modigliani Up Close at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia put me right back in that magical place between 1908 and 1919 (the decade in which Modigliani made all of his well-known works). That world comes flooding back the moment you step into the galleries and the conversation in your head begins between the paintings and sculptures in this beautiful exhibition... and the works on view in the Rodin Museum next door, in the modern galleries of the Philadelphia Museum, just a few steps up the street, and in the permanent installation of The Barnes itself. To have all this on the same street in Philadelphia is remarkable.
Read the full piece here: "ArtSeen: Modigliani Up Close"
Congratulations to PhD in Creativity alum Dr. Patricia Salkin on her recent book publication! Salkin's dissertation from the UArts PhD in Creativity, MAY IT PLEASE THE CAMPUS: LAWYERS LEADING HIGHER EDUCATION, was published December 13, 2022 by Touro University Press. This book has been called "original, engaging, provocative, comprehensive, and data driven... a must read for anyone who cares about academic leadership and the future of higher education."
Congratulations to alum Dr. Cynthia Veloric on her work with two recent exhibitions! Dr. Veloric served as the awards juror for "Art of the State" at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA. She also curated the group exhibition "Risky Beauty: Aesthetics and Climate Change" at the Main Line Center in Haverford, PA.
"Risky Beauty: Aesthetics and Climate Change" ran from September 6 through October 28, 2022. "Art of the State" opened September 11, 2022 and runs through January 15, 2023.
The College Art Association offers a hi-resolution free download of Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg's standard survey book, Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being in its most recent edition.
Art Since 1940 was the dominant book in the field for more than two decades; Dr. Fineberg is pleased to make it available for free for individual download for students, artists, and scholars who support CAA.
The PhD in Creativity has been profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer!
University of the Arts President David Yager says the program is the first of its kind in the country. It aims to teach participants to think in a different way, to walk a path that isn't there yet.
Welcome to the brand-new cohort of PhD in Creativity students! We're thrilled and honored to welcome these students to the University of the Arts. Their accomplishments are already outstanding, and we can't wait to accompany them on the next steps of their journey.
The PhD in Creativity has graduated its first-ever cohort! We can't wait to bear witness to the ways our brilliant alumni will impact their fields.
Read their dissertations via the UArts Library! (Note: Some dissertations may be embargoed for up to two years.)
James Brandon Lewis, a critically acclaimed composer, saxophonist and writer, has been named the inaugural recipient of The Balvenie Fellowship in University of the Arts’ PhD in Creativity program. The scholarship opportunity is supported by The Balvenie and informed by drummer, DJ, Academy Award-winning director, New York Times bestselling author and founding member of The Roots, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.
Read the full fellowship announcement.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin, who led a panel grounded in her PhD dissertation research, "From Legal Education to the C-Suite: Lawyers Leading Higher Education," at the American Association of Law Schools's 2022 Annual Conference! The recording of the panel, which took place on January 7, has just been released to the public.
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg reviews the Barnes Foundation's exhibition, Water, Wind, Breath: Southwest Native Art in the Barnes Foundation, in the Brooklyn Rail:
[The exhibition] shows us a glimpse of the cosmic scheme of the Navajo and Pueblo worlds. [It] also provides examples of living artists finding ways to configure their own individuality within those still evolving cultures. This helps us understand something about ourselves and our own culture(s) too.... The style of looking that permeates the Barnes collection, the deliberately perplexing discourses that Barnes set up in his “ensembles” of objects, pushes us to see his collections, like this exhibition, in a constant flux of fresh relationships between things. It aspires to promote a radical openness and prompts us to rethink how we see ourselves—our past and our present—and how we meet the world.
Read it here: "Water, Wind, Breath: Southwest Native Art in Community"
In the Brooklyn Rail, Program Director of the PhD in Creativity Dr. Jonathan Fineberg pays tribute to Bob Thompson, the Colonel John Trumbull Professor of African and African-American Art at Yale University. Here, Fineberg honors his dear friend, writing of being "fundamentally changed" by Thompson's African Art in Motion (1974), and calling his forty-one-year friendship with Thompson "one of the many gifts just for standing in the orbit of 'Master T.'"
Read it here: "In Memoriam: Bob Thompson"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Cythia Haveson Veloric on a number of upcoming publications and presentations!
Veloric will present "Sun and Sea (Marina), a Story of Ecological Survival (or Not?)" at the Washington University Graduate Art History Symposium, in February 2022, at Washington University in St. Louis. She will also present "Interrogation by Design: Michael Pinsky's Pollution Pods" at the College Art Association's annual conference in March 2022.
Veloric's work is also soon-to-be-published in Perspective: A Global Survey of Space Design in Art History. Her chapter "Controlled Space: The Pollution Pods Experience" will appear in the book, edited by Sarina Miller and forthcoming in 2022 from Vernon Press.
The PhD in Creativity is pleased to be featured in the latest issue of Prevention Magazine, with quotes from PhD candidate Patricia Salkin:
Creativity can even be taught, or at least fostered. That’s the whole idea behind the nation’s first Ph.D. program in creativity at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. Patricia Salkin, formerly a government lawyer and now provost at Touro College, is one of the nine students enrolled. The students’ backgrounds sound like the start of a joke, she says: “A lawyer, a filmmaker, and a psychotherapist walk into a classroom…”
The college’s immersion program asked enrollees to perform improvisational theater, use percussion instruments to make music, and discuss with artists the inspiration behind their works. “I don’t consider myself an artist in the sense of fine art, but every one of us can be an artist in whatever field we choose, as we create our own canvas,” Salkin says.
Read the full article here: "Creativity Is the Secret to a Vibrant, Healthy Brain—and It’s Easier Than You Think"
The University of the Arts is extremely proud to announce a new partnership with Philadelphia-based musician Questlove and Scottish whisky company The Balvenie, which will fund one student for all three years in the PhD in Creativity. The winning candidate will be selected by Questlove, in partnership with The Balvenie and the University of the Arts. The scholarship program is open to anyone over the age of 21 from now through November 15th, 2021.
Read a feature story on this scholarship program in Essence! "Questlove Launches Scholarship Fund For Students Interested In Becoming A Doctor Of Creativity"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Susan Gordon on her recent publication in the Cleveland Review of Books! In this piece, Gordon, whose dissertation examines the intersection between language, land, and Prosecco in Asolo and Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, Italy, reviews Rob Arnold's The Terroir of Whiskey: A Distiller's Journey into the Flavor of Place.
Read it here: "The Where of Grains: On Rob Arnold’s "The Terroir of Whiskey"
Congratulations to James Merle Thomas, who has been named the inaugural Executive Director of the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies at the Aspen Institute! The Resnick Center will research and exhibit the legacy and expanded contexts of Bauhaus artist and designer Herbert Bayer through exhibitions and public programming. Mr. Thomas also serves as a dissertation advisor for PhD in Creativity candidate Abel Tilahun.
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg was recently featured on ThinkTech Hawaii! Here, Dr. Fineberg discusses his book, Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain.
Watch it here: "Expert Opinions: Art without Borders"
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg reviewed the Barnes Foundation's exhibition Soutine/de Kooning: Conversations in Paint for the Brooklyn Rail. In this review, Fineberg writes, "Whereas Soutine’s work brings out emotional turmoil, de Kooning treats the ambiguities of perception as an exciting epistemological adventure."
Read the full review here: "Soutine/de Kooning: Conversations in Paint"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Susannah Eig-Gonzalez on her recent publication in the Cleveland Review of Books! Here, Eig-Gonzalez reviews Emma Smith's essay collection This is Shakespeare, which is, as Eig-Gonzalez says, "a swift but insightful guide to Shakespeare's plays."
Read the review here: "No Such Thing as a Stupid Question: On Emma Smith's 'This is Shakespeare'"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Jessica Hunter-Larsen on her essay in Visual Thinking Strategies! Here, Hunter-Larsen draws on her dissertation work to examine how visual thinking strategies can serve as "an alternative model of an effective problem-solving strategy that can be practiced in smaller increments and integrated across disciplines."
Congratulations to PhD candidate Cynthia Veloric on her recent publication in Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, from University of California Press! Here, Veloric discusses the notion of "rupture," via the lens of mining, in thinking about art and the Anthropocene.
This article draws directly from Veloric's dissertation work on the role of artists in driving social awareness of the climate crisis.
Read the article here: "Aesthetic and Industrial Rupture in the Work of Edward Burtynsky and Justin Brice Guariglia"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin on her essay in Best Practices for Legal Education! In this essay, Salkin argues for the deliberate inclusion of leadership studies in legal education.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin on her latest article in University Business! Here, Salkin examines the phenomenon by which increasing numbers of universities are realizing that the fundraising skills and fiscal management acumen of lawyers make them uniquely qualified to succeed as campus presidents. This article is based on Salkin's dissertation research.
Read it here: "Why Lawyers Make Excellent Academic Leaders"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin on co-authoring another publication in Bloomberg Law! In this article, Salkin and others explain how a disorganized response by bar examiners to the Covid-19 pandemic disadvantaged many prospective bar exam takers, revealing a need for the law profession to pay more attention to the licensing process.
Read the article here: "Pandemic Bar Exams Left Many Aspiring Lawyers Behind"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Cynthia Veloric on her upcoming presentation at the Art History Graduate Student Association Conference at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX! Veloric will present "Contaminated Distance in a Beautiful Shell: Michael Pinsky's Pollution Pods." The conference will take place from February 26-27, 2021.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin on her paper "Should I Stay or Should I Go: Student Housing, Remote Instruction, Campus Policies and COVID-19." The paper, which examines the legal and policy challenges that have resulted from congregate housing situations at colleges and universities during the pandemic, is currently available on SSRN and will be published in the February 2021 issue of The Urban Lawyer!
Congratulations to PhD faculty member Buzz Spector on his exhibit "Buzz Spector: Alterations" at the Saint Louis Art Museum! The exhibit, which opened on November 20, spans more than 40 years of the artist’s works on paper.
Read about it in ArtDaily: "Saint Louis Art Museum presents 'Buzz Spector: Alterations'"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Susannah Eig-Gonzalez for her poetry publication in the September 2020 issue of Beyond Words Magazine!
Read it here: "Crossing Lines, Playing Roles"
Save the date for the upcoming Critical & Creative Thinking Conference, hosted by the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg! PhD candidate Jessica Hunter-Larsen, whose dissertation work involves the scaling of creative process pedagogies across undergraduate education, will present on Colorado College’s Creativity & Innovation program.
The conference will take place virtually from Wednesday, September 30 through Friday, October 2, 11am-3pm EST each day. Hunter-Larsen's panel takes place on October 2. She is also featured on the closing plenary panel.
Read more about the conference and the panels here: Critical & Creative Thinking Conference
Save the date for PhD candidate Cindy Veloric's upcoming lecture at PAFA! "Although artists have been addressing climate change for nearly two decades, the pandemic of 2020 has reframed it as a parallel public health issue. This lecture will present a variety of multimedia and multimodal approaches that contemporary artists use to raise awareness and change our perceptions of human induced environmental damage."
The free lecture will take place virtually on September 23, at 12:00 PM Eastern time. Read more and register on PAFA's website: "Art at Noon: Art and the Climate Crisis"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Cindy Veloric on her upcoming session at the College Art Association's annual conference! Veloric will chair "From Wheatfields to Ecosophy: A Consideration of Women Artists in the History of Climate Change." Veloric's proposal was selected out of roughly eight hundred proposals.
CAA 2021 will take place February 10-13, 2021.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin for today's publication in JURIST! In this op-ed, Salkin commends the American Bar Association for their recent Resolution 10-G, which urges jurisdictions to cancel in-person bar examinations and adopt flexible emergency measures.
We are pleased to announce the PhD in Creativity’s first-ever virtual info session, which will take place Tuesday, August 18, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. EDT. The event will consist of a 30-minute panel, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg and PhD candidates Susan Gordon and Susannah Eig-Gonzalez will discuss the genesis and philosophy of the PhD in Creativity, how the program serves its candidates, and more. We hope to see you there!
Congratulations to Visiting Faculty Buzz Spector on his upcoming solo exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum! Per the Museum's press release, "Buzz Spector: Alterations spans the artist’s career from the 1970s to the present and includes drawings, altered books, postcard assemblages, collages, and more."
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg was recently featured in the New York Times, discussing the future of the artist Christo's work. In addition to his work as the Program Director of the PhD in Creativity, Fineberg is a renowned scholar of Christo's life and oeuvre.
The article also includes mention of the University of the Arts.
Read the article here: "It's Christo's Final Show. But Is It the Last We'll See of Him?"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin, for her recent publication in Bloomberg Law! Here, Salkin explains why a university campus's general counsel can be a prime candidate for the university presidency.
Read it here: "INSIGHT: Your Next College President May Be the GC Next Door"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Susannah Eig, whose essay "'But in this changing, what is your intent?' A Conversation with Sarah Enloe" was just published with the Shakespeare Association of America! Eig's dissertation work examines the ways in which American culture successfully uses Shakespeare as a teaching tool – particularly to teach emotional traits, like empathy and self-awareness. Here, she investigates those questions via a conversation with Sarah Enloe, Director of Education at the American Shakespeare Center.
Read the essay here: "'But in this changing, what is your intent?' A Conversation with Sarah Enloe"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Abel Tilahun, whose exhibition "Inner and Outer Space: Lalibela on the Moon" opens today in Lalibela, Ethiopia! The exhibition is part of an event for the Ethiopian Space Science Society, celebrating the Annular Eclipse, which will take place there on June 21. For those who cannot make the in-person show, Tilahun has set up a virtual exhibition, which you can see for yourself here.
The exhibition also echoes the themes of Tilahun's dissertation, a documentary film examining the mutual influence of art and space science – with particular focus on the burgeoning space industry of Ethiopia, the country where stargazing originated.
The virtual exhibition will be available until August 20, 2020.
PhD candidate Patricia Salkin, whose work examines the exploding phenomenon of lawyers serving as university presidents, was recently interviewed on Gold/Fox: Non-Billable, a podcast from the New York State Bar Association. Congratulations to her – and congratulations to the PhD in Creativity, mentioned at 4:18!
Listen to the podcast here: "How Billy Joel Explains the Suburbanization of New York with Patricia Salkin"
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg has published a new piece, "Remembering Christo's Profound Humanism," in The Wall Street Journal. This piece honors and memorializes Fineberg's dear friend Christo, who also served on the advisory board of the PhD in Creativity and continues to serve as a model for our program.
We at the PhD in Creativity are greatly saddened to note the passing of Christo, whose life and creative spirit – as well as that of his wife Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009 – serve as models to which our program aspires. Christo, a dear friend, served as a member on our advisory board. We will greatly miss him.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Susan Gordon for her essay in issue 20.2 of Gastronomica! This essay follows Gordon's search for language to encompass the way taste is tied to site in Italy. It also serves as a wonderful microcosm of Gordon's PhD work, which explores the relationship between linguistics, history, and place in Italy's Prosecco DOCG regions.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Cindy Veloric for her second essay in Ocean Archive, published today! This essay examines the oeuvre of American artist-activist Diane Burko, particularly her work capturing the beauty of the world's dying coral reefs.
Ocean Archive is an enterprise of the Thyssen Bornemisza Academy in Vienna.
Read the essay here: "Science, Sensibility and Metaphor in the Coral Reef Artwork of Diane Burko"
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg's latest essay, "Memory in the Year of Covid," which examines the work of the artist Zhang Xiaogang, has been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel. Like the work of Zhang himself, this essay explores the meaning of humanity, tragedy, and trauma – and the importance of art in processing and representing that.
Program Director Dr. Jonathan Fineberg was featured on NPR's "Here and Now," talking about the importance of maintaining creativity during the coronavirus pandemic. Here, Fineberg explores the social and physical elements of creativity, as well as the role of creativity in self-expression. He also explains how creativity drives human adaptability – which, as we can all imagine, is more important now than ever.
Listen to the interview or read about it here: "How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Art World"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Patricia Salkin, who yesterday was featured on a panel hosted by the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. On the panel, Salkin, alongside the Dean of Georgetown Law and the Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business Online, discussed the implications of COVID-19 on universities nationwide and the steps that schools have taken to adapt.
Read more here: "COVID-19: Testing the Limits of Universities Nationwide"
Congratulations to PhD candidate Cindy Veloric for her recent essay in Ocean Archive! Veloric's research explores how combinations of aesthetics in art can affect the public’s perceptions of environmental issues. In service of that aim, this essay reviews and explores Joan Jonas’s multi-media work Moving Off the Land II.
Ocean Archive is an enterprise of the Thyssen Bornemisza Academy in Vienna.
Congratulations to UArts PhD candidate Patricia Salkin on two recent publications! Salkin co-authored the paper "The Bar Exam and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for Immediate Action," as well as the Harvard Law Review Blog essay "Licensing Lawyers in a Pandemic: Proving Competence." These timely pieces examine the importance of licensing new lawyers, given the multitude of legal issues raised by the novel coronavirus – and they seize the opportunity to consider new ways we might license lawyers in the future.
Congratulations to UArts PhD candidate Patricia Salkin for her recent publication in the American Bar Association's Syllabus newsletter! This piece builds on Salkin's Washington Post article about the rise of lawyer candidates in higher education leadership, which is also the subject of her PhD dissertation.
PhD candidate Eugene Hughes, whose research examines how a relationship between nature and the creative self can be a potent tool for the analysis and restoration of the self, had the opportunity to work with Hamish Fulton, a walking artist whose work can be found in such museums as the Tate Britain and MoMA.
Congratulations to UArts PhD candidate Jessica Hunter-Larsen, whose work integrating creativity into the Colorado College undergraduate curriculum was profiled in a special brief from the Chronicle of Higher Education!
See the issue here: The Creativity Challenge
Congratulations to UArts PhD candidate Patricia Salkin for her recent publication in the Washington Post! Salkin's PhD research – and this article – examines the rise of lawyer candidates in higher education leadership.