MA in Social Engagement


Hear from MA in Social Engagement candidate Rachel Wallis about her Moore experience. 

This specialized masters program will prepare candidates to critically examine the effectiveness and impact of socially-engaged art practices and explore the ethics, authorship and the history of community-based art. Candidates will also explore the historical, theoretical and cultural influences that inform social practice and engagement.

Candidates will study under the guidance and direction of experts currently working on socially engaged projects in the public sphere. Throughout the program candidates will have access to a diverse range of faculty and visiting artists, including through our partnership with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and summer symposium.

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Art today is boundless – the skills of image-making, the crafting of material into new forms, the framing of ideas and focal points, the research that exceeds the limits of disciplines, the gestures that make experiences and objects beautiful, the poetics that capture and then release such complexities – and it is exhilarating. And yet so many aspects of how it is taught, where it takes place, and who facilitates it remain stuck and bounded.

I was drawn to art because I want to undo that stasis in the world and in the imagination through crafting, formulating and even answering challenging questions. Doing that as part of a unique learning community at Moore is one of the ways I have chosen to go about that. In many ways that makes running a graduate department much like an art project – assembling the people, framing the ideas, transforming the raw material. In terms of people, we have hired some of the most thoughtful and talented people in the city and nation to work in this program as faculty, we’ve created partnerships with public art organizations in Philly and artist residencies beyond the city limits, and found ways to bring additional thinkers, organizers and artists together with our candidates through symposia and visiting critics. But one crucial element of this project remains in flux – keeping us agile and dynamic - and that is you, the potential candidates, who have to decide if Moore is right for them.

Deciding to go to graduate school is bound up with many of life’s most challenging questions: what is a graduate education worth; am I ready for the intensity of school after years away from school; what will happen to my other responsibilities and commitments when I am in class all day; what will I do after school; what art worlds do I want to be a part of; how should I navigate concepts like ‘the creative economy’; is my work serious enough; am I committed enough?

Making art today is, similarly, bound up with many of life’s most challenging questions: What can art do; what audiences should I address; what are the limits of art; can art save lives; what is contemporary; what is universal; what is useful; what is pleasurable; what is ethical?

At Moore we will do a great deal of growing, asking, making, learning and asking together – I look forward to it and to working with you and your questions.

In Tandem,

Daniel Tucker, Assistant Professor & Graduate Program Director Social & Studio Practices department

Above photo by Steve Weinik

Learn About Moore's Social & Studio Practices Department