MFA in Public Action

The Master of Fine Arts in Public Action is a highly selective graduate degree program, designed to give accomplished artists working as agents of social change the time, space, and focus to conduct research and develop new work.

MFA fellows are expected to have substantial professional experience in socially or civically engaged public art or related areas, well beyond undergraduate studies. We recognize the achievements of artists who have had significant careers and encourage them to apply in order to continue their creative research.

In a supportive and challenging environment, fellows collaborate with expert faculty members and other students, including undergraduates, to deepen their artistic passions and to hone their skills. MFA in Public Action fellows have access to the College’s outstanding facilities whenever possible, in consultation with the faculty in the discipline of spaces or materials they are requesting.

Prior to applying to the MFA in Public Action and/or to receive more information, please email capa@bennington.edu

Click here to apply >>

Curriculum

The curriculum for the MFA in Public Action is largely self-directed: fellows work closely with faculty to design an education plan that best suits their individual strengths, interests, goals and creative process. 

Each year of Bennington’s program consists of a 14-week fall term and a 14-week spring term. The spring term begins in late February, after a 7-week undergraduate winter Field Work Term during which there are no classes. MFA fellows are able to use this time as well as the summer to continue their professional work. Short-term professional commitments during the school terms may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

Each term requires a minimum 16-credit schedule, which includes both research work in creative public action and other coursework. As a core requirement, fellows meet in a once-a-week tutorial with faculty to discuss and show the development of new material. This 6-credit course, Graduate Research in Public Action, is the basis of the individual’s studies. Throughout the term, all participants in the program are encouraged to show and discuss works-in-progress. 

Other courses may be elected from the full undergraduate curriculum with expectations of a higher level of engagement and performance (2-4 credits each) or in combination with tutorials crafted with individual faculty. Additionally, each fellow participates in a 2 credit advising and mentorship tutorial focused on teaching at Bennington College and related graduate level academic topics, which will be overseen by a Bennington faculty member. 

The application essay describing a fellow’s experience in the field and goals for their time at Bennington serves as an outline for initial discussions with a faculty advisor. During the first term, each fellow works with an advisor to further design a plan of study. Throughout the two years, each student will meet regularly with an advisor and have ongoing access to the teaching faculty. 

As integral members of the overall Public Action Program, fellows are expected to contribute to all aspects of the program, participate in meetings, attend workshops, lectures and performances. The program provides multiple opportunities for creating new work and encourages everyone to participate in an ongoing community dialogue that is fundamental to advancing one’s artistic practice.

Current MFA Fellows

Divine Bradley headshotDIVINE BRADLEY

Divine Bradley is a futurist that has dedicated decades to reimagining the experience of school, communal spaces and creating transformational programming for the demographics they serve. A serial ideator and social entrepreneur that loves to dream BIG, explore the impossible and collaborate with people with prolific creativity, imagination and discipline, to produce ideas.


Bradley is a creative consultant with 20+ years of experience across industries -- from fashion and entertainment to education and community engagement. He works with individual and institutional clients as a consultant, trainer, facilitator and strategic thought partner with out-of-the-box ideas that spark innovation. Bradley inspires audiences to lean into their personal passions and push past boundaries to explore what’s possible. He designs interactive workshops and events that take participants through unforgettable experiences that include real-life adventures and imaginative exercises in self-reflection.

He also works with organizations to co-design sessions to cultivate culture and creativity. His work delicately disrupts the status quo of team culture, supporting teams in reimagining their core values and fostering relationships through collaborative building. Bradley often partners with senior leadership teams to ideate around innovation by asking the provocative, thought-provoking questions that foster innovation. He self-identifies as a “Social Imagineer”.

At age 17, Bradley founded his first non-profit, Team Revolution. He has since worked with start-ups, 501(c)3s and Fortune 500 companies, including luxury brands like Polo - Ralph Lauren and national non-profits like The Future Project. While at Polo - Ralph Lauren, he began his career in corporate social responsibility. He scaled that work at The Future Project by growing the organization into 11 cities across the US. Bradley also co-founded Liminality, Inc., a creative studio that focuses on developing tools to help people design their lives. His earlier work has been featured in the award-winning documentary, The Hip Hop Project, executive produced by Bruce Willis and Queen Latifah.

Bradley's current focus is urban planning and development for the 22nd century and his dream is to democratize immersive learning and provide an equitable distribution of magic and awe in the places where we learn, dwell and work.

 

Elae MossElæ Moss

Elæ Moss is a multimodal artist-researcher, curator, and facilitator designing speculative human, institutional and ecological systems through the iteration of open source strategies for social and structural change.

Moss’s work invites the public to engage with what the artist terms “Speculative Solidarities,” employing adaptive, site-specific analog and digital media, research, performance, sound, archive and organizational design driven strategic possibilities for emergent human and post-human ecofutures. Their frameworks for considering and reconditioning human neuro-somatic, interpersonal and interspecies infrastructures offer protocols for preparing our bodies and systems for the coming crises and those already underway. Recent projects include: the APRIORI Field Station at STWST/Ars Electronica, the Speculative Resilience Radical Practice Library for Bushwick Open Studios and the Anarchist Bookfair at Judson Church, How to Human: Disruptor Mechanism Protocol for the Segal Center’s Performing Knowledge Festival, Building Interpersonal Infrastructures at SOHO20, and Collaborative Precarity Bodyhacking with storm budwig and Cory Tamler for the Exponential Festival. Recent curatorial projects include Liz Liguori: Light of Hand at La Mama Galleria, [Move Semantics]: Rules of Unfolding at EFA Project Space, and the ongoing 2022 “Year-Book: Autonomous Mechanics Radical Field Cohort,” for Liminal Lab. Publications include Vestiges, Big Echo, Tagvverk, Matters of Feminist Practice, The Transgender Narratives Anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, and many more. Books include: Ground, Blood Altas, Overview Effect, Sweet and Low: Indefinite Singular, Bodies of Work (in collaboration with painter Georgia Elrod), and The Precarity Bodyhacking Work-Book and Guide.

Moss is the developer / founder of The Operating System / Liminal Lab, as well as for its Open Resource Archive, Hub, and Project Protocol. They are an Adjunct Professor at Pratt Institute, where they will become coordinator of the First Year Architecture Writing Program in 2023. Moss is currently pursuing their MFA at Bennington.

 

Sal Randolph headshot


SAL RANDOLPH

Sal Randolph is an artist working between language and action, through performance, experimental publishing, and the creation of social spaces, at the intersection of attention, time, feeling, capital, and crisis.

 

Randolph's performances, performance lectures and social art projects have appeared internationally at spaces including Akademie der Kunst Berlin, Asian Arts Theater (South Korea), BüroFriedrich (Berlin), Centre Culturel de Cérisy, Chalet Society (Paris), Cooper Union, Göttingen Kunstverein, La Box Bourges, Live Biennial (Vancouver), Ljubljana Biennial, Manifesta 4, Mengi (Reykjavik), Mildred’s Lane, Museum of Jurassic Technology, New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, Palais de Tokyo, Pioneer Works, PPOW, Raygun Projects (Australia), Röda Sten (Sweden), and the Sao Paulo Biennial. 

She is co-founder of dispersed holdings, originally a listening and publication space in New York sited in the former apartment of sculptor Eva Hesse, continuing now as a publishing project. New language work is in Bomb, La Vague, Otoliths, Jubilat, Sound American, Txtobjx, and queer.archive.work. She is also a Zen practitioner and senior student of Roshi Enkyo O’Hara at the Village Zendo. 

 

Farzana WahidyFarzana Wahidy

Farzana Wahidy is an award wining Afghan documentary photographer best known for her photographs of women and girls in Afghanistan. She has been documenting the life of Afghan women for over a decade and recently established the Afghanistan Photographers Association.

Wahidy was born in Kandahar in 1984 and moved to Kabul at the age of six. She attended school during the Afghan civil war, and attended an underground school after the Taliban took power in 1996. After their defeat, Wahidy completed high school, then enrolled in a two-year program with AINA Photojournalism Institute. In 2004 she began working as a photographer for Agence-France Presse and later joined the Associated Press.

Wahidy is an award wining Afghan documentary photographer best known for her photographs of women and girls in Afghanistan and was the first female photographer in Afghanistan to work with international media agencies. Wahidy has been documenting the life of Afghan women for over a decade, and she recently established the Afghanistan Photographers Association.

Wahidy’s work has been published widely in international magazines and newspapers and she has done assignments for numerous NGOs. In 2014 she created a project to train Afghan photographers, to review copyright law, and to research the history of photography in Afghanistan. Her photographs have been presented in solo and group exhibitions in Afghanistan, Canada, United States, India, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, China, Finland, and most recently, France. 

Wahidy was a visiting faculty member at Bennington for Spring 2022 and is currently pursuing her MFA at Bennington.

Alumni

Marina Zurkow headshot
Marina Zurkow

'21 Fellow

Kenneth Bailey
Kenneth Bailey

'21 Fellow

Aaron Landsman
Aaron Landsman

'20 Fellow

Caroline Woolard headshot
Caroline Woolard

'20 Fellow

Guest speakers and participants in MFA seminars have included past graduates, as well as: 
Bayo Akomolafe
Hilary Clark

Arturo Escobar
Erin Manning
Brian Massumi
Michal Osterweil
Robert Ransick
Lauren Ruffin

Kriti Sharma