— by Qiaira Riley MFA '21, Socially Engaged Studio Art

Qiaira Riley is a first-year Socially Engaged Studio Art MFA candidate at Moore College of Art & Design. Below, she describes a day in her life as she does her school work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Along with the rest of my cohort, I’ve been adjusting to the new challenges of life at home as we transition to online courses. This is a breakdown of an average Tuesday in my life as a grad student.

8:30 am - Wake up! After I get up and get dressed, I try to be sure to take a morning walk around my neighborhood, before heading back home to make breakfast, check emails, and write my daily goals. 

10:30 am - For my Independent Studio class, we normally meet in person with each of the course’s three professors on a weekly basis. In place of the in-person meeting, I took a call with one of my professors to talk about setting new goals for the semester as we complete our independent projects from home. Together we discussed some creative ways to continue the community cooking series, where I recreate each recipe from the Princess Pamela cookbook 12 times with 12 different people, through virtual platforms.

12 pm - I hopped on a video call with the folks from Moves, a collective of queer and trans creatives of color, to chat about volunteering to help with some of their upcoming projects that involve community coordinating and curating. This was an opportunity I was really excited about, because I wanted to practice the facilitation and management skills I’m learning throughout the MFA program, while also helping build some really cool programming in Philly!

2 pm - For my Project Management class, my classmates and I attended one of the Creative Placemaking Leadership Webinars, hosted by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. We virtually chatted with civic artists, arts administrators, and urban planners all across the country about how to contextualize community based art projects for possible collaborators before I had to dash to another Zoom session. This webinar made me begin considering what values I look for in people and organizations that I might collaborate with in the future.

3 pm  In Technologies of Art II, we are currently learning how to use Adobe Premier to make video art. We spent this Zoom session playing around with some of the basics of the program. I’m currently making a video art piece where I take a road trip using google maps, so I’m pretty excited to get better at using Premier! 

5 pm - Decompress time! I use this time to have dinner on my porch, before I take another walk around my block, and then cozy up on the couch and watch some tv. I’m currently watching Little Fires Everywhere.

8 pm - I do a bit of reading for my classes before I look over my planner and see what tasks I need to finish for the next day. I have a cup of tea and head off to bed.

To learn about my projects and work, click here.
To learn more about the Socially Engaged Art programs, click here.