The Graduate Colloquium is a forum to discuss diverse topics in contemporary art production not necessarily addressed in the graduate curriculum. Typically, the colloquia include a panel consisting of professional artists, faculty, and students that explore timely ideas in the visual arts and art theory.

The SMFA at Tufts Graduate Colloquia are conceived, proposed, and coordinated by graduate faculty, SMFA Curators, advisors, and MFA students. The Graduate Steering Committee reviews and selects proposals. These all-day events, generated around a topic relevant to contemporary art and culture, take place at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Speakers include invited guests, Tufts University faculty, and MFA students. Colloquia are an important part of the Master of Fine Arts curriculum; attendance is required for all first and second year MFA students. SMFA at Tufts Graduate Colloquia are open to the general public.

Past Colloquia


Civic Practice

This graduate colloquium focused on the intersection of art and civic participation and featured practitioners who address citizenship, mass incarceration, and gentrification through public artworks, civic partnerships, and embedded practices, working through the lens of social justice. Civic practice addresses how a diverse set of artists are transforming the ways we understand the civic realm in collaboration with neighborhoods, city agencies, and public institutions. Guests included: Kade Twist of Postcommodity and Adriana Zavala, Professor of Art History; Sarah Ross and Damon Locks of the Prison neighborhood Art Project in Chicago; Dana Bishop-Root and Ruthie Stringer, Tranformazium, a collaborative in Braddock, PA that is embedded in the Carnegie Library stystem; and Antonio Serna, Artists of Color Bloc in New York City.

Co-Presented by SMFA at Tufts MFA Graduate Program, Tufts University Art Galleries with support from the Diversity Fund and Tisch College of Civic Life. Organized by Anthony Romero, Professor of the Practice at SMFA at Tufts and Abigail Satinsky, Curator of Exhibitions & Programs, Tufts University Art Galleries.


Drag Face

The colloquim presenters considered the complexities in which performance intersects with identity-forming discourse including gender, ethnicity, race and class. From the history of blackface in late nineteenth century vaudeville to drag in contemporary underground queer clubs, the speakers explored the social and political implications of masquerade. The event featured: Danielle Abrams, SMFA at Tufts faculty member and performance artist; Edgar Arceneaux, artist whose work includes drawing, installation and multimedia; Henriette Huldisch, curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center; Kareem Khubchandani, Asst. Professor in Drama and Dance at Tufts University; Laine Rettmer (MFA ’17); and Jeannie Simms, SMFA at Tufts faculty, whose work is rooted in photography and moving image.


For Giving Time

This colloquium featured Raqs Media Collective; Robert Sember of Ultra Red; Danica Arimany (MFA ’16); former SMFA at Tufts faculty member and curator Carol Stakenas; and was facilitated by artist-scholar, Dalida Maria Benfield. The program consisted of discussions of the following topics: Art practices regarding distressed landscapes in efforts to recover histories and narratives that are useful for mending and recuperation; and art practices that engage participatory and shared creativity from artists and non-artists to produce work.


Of Color

Color remains a vexed issue in contemporary art. Whether we mean the precise hue on which the artistic success or failure of a work of art depends, or the skin tone that may close or open doors in the cultural field, color is crucial. This Graduate Colloquium explored questions of color, from the aesthetic to the political, through the work of four visiting artist for whom color takes on a host of meanings. Guests included: Jan Mun who engages with nature and environmental science; Christina Seely, a photographer and assistant professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College; SMFA at Tufts professor, Ron Rizzi; Byron Ki, painter; and Mike Cloud, painter. Former SMFA faculty member Magda Campos-Pons moderated the discussion.