Announcing the Ph.D. in Creativity program, for advanced interdisciplinary research in all fields

We are pleased to share information about a new Ph.D. in Creativity at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, directed by University of California Press author Jonathan Fineberg. Launching in June 2018, the program is unique in that it will offer an individually tailored, low-residency degree for advanced interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The program begins with a deep immersion in the intuitive practices of the arts in order to seed more creative working practices in students who come already prepared with conventional methods, knowledge, training and proficiency in any field.

“Creativity is at the center of innovation in every field,” said University President David Yager. “By training these professionals how to think differently, they’ll be able to use that knowledge to become the next generation of revolutionaries in their respective fields.”

“The arts can teach a practitioner in science, in medicine, in business, engineering, health care, the social sciences, innovators in the non-profit world, and even in the arts to think more creatively,” says Fineberg, chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Ph.D. program. “We are looking for students who have already achieved a professional mastery in some discipline and we prepare them to go to another level. We are doing this in an art school because artists are better than anyone else in breaking down conventional thinking. Our graduates will take a more creative approach to whatever path they have chosen and return to the work world equipped with deep expertise in an area they have helped to define.”

The Ph.D. Advisory Council includes influential thinkers in a wide variety of fields, including:

  • Christo, the artist, partner of Jeanne-Claude, in such temporary art projects as The Gates (NYC), Running Fence, Wrapped Reichstag, and The Mastaba, Abu Dhabi (currently in process).
  • Henry Lewis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University’ recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award, as well as an Emmy and a Peabody Award for his television series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.
  • David Campbell, Professor of Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering and former Provost, Boston University.
  • Jack Flam, President of the Dedalus Foundation and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Flam is the series editor for UC Press’s acclaimed series Documents of Twentieth-Century Art, and the editor of numerous UC Press books, including Matisse on Art and Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings.
  • Fred Tomaselli, Artist, NY; best known for detailed paintings of birds, plants, and transparent human forms in a combination of unorthodox materials, and for his fantastical reimaginings of the pictures on the front page of the New York Times. Represented by James Cohan Gallery and White Cube in London, with solo exhibitions in New York at the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Deborah Willis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is an artist, photographer, curator, photo historian, and author. She is also recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award, among many other accolades.
  • Emilia Kabakov, artist, and pioneer, with Ilya Kabakov, of installation art, with recent retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum in N.Y., The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, and the Tate Modern in London.
  • Semir Zeki, professor of Neurobiology and Neuroesthetics at University College London and FMedSci Fellow of the Royal Society, among others.

Learn more about the Ph.D. in Creativity program.


Jonathan Fineberg is University Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is the author of many books and catalogs on modern art, including A Troublesome Subject: The Art of Robert Arneson, When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child, and Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being. He is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of Illinois and a Trustee Emeritus of The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., where he was founding Director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art. He has curated more than a dozen museum exhibitions.