Cultural investigations.
Hybrid specializations.

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Global Arts and Cultures

A new way of thinking about our complex world

Students in RISD’s Global Arts and Cultures MA program are invited to investigate cultural production through complex global-historical lenses and specializations. Working with inspiring faculty experts from wide-ranging backgrounds, they pursue self-directed research projects in such hybrid areas as aesthetics, politics and theory; display and exhibition cultures; material, visual and performance cultures; and modern and contemporary arts and criticism.

Graduates of the program will be well positioned to make vital contributions in the realms of cultural development and preservation, public policy, education, urban planning and more. They will also be poised to pursue advanced doctoral study in humanities and social science fields.

Making unexpected connections

Recognizing that the intersection of perspectives in the humanities and social sciences enhances understanding of the arts on a global scale, GAC emphasizes comparative and interdisciplinary models for research and scholarship. The program encompasses historical and contemporary arts and cultures broadly defined, with faculty offering a range of expertise in the history of art and design, visual culture, literary and performance arts, history, philosophy and the social sciences.

The program brings together a close-knit group of students encouraged to collaborate and broaden one another's understanding of global arts and cultures. And since GAC students engage in ongoing dialogue with fellow graduate students in the Nature–Culture–Sustainability Studies master’s program, the conversations become both broader and deeper. Exposure to RISD’s immersive studio culture further enriches the engagement with contemporary critical issues.

The curriculum culminates in the creation of a unique master’s thesis that presents the outcomes of hybrid research—an opportunity for students to generate radical new forms of intellectual idea sharing.

Liberal arts at RISD

RISD stands out among art schools for its emphasis on the importance of studies in the liberal arts. Comprised of three academic departments, the Liberal Arts division provides students with a strong foundation in the humanities and social sciences that deeply informs their creative work in the studio.

Faculty are recognized experts in their fields who challenge disciplinary assumptions and constantly discover new ways to innovate in both research and teaching. They come from around the world and frequently collaborate with studio artists and designers as well as with their colleagues teaching in a wide range of humanities and social science disciplines. In the classroom they encourage students to take risks, experiment with intellectual hybridity and produce work infused with meaning and relevance.