Doctoral Careers in the Humanities and Social Activism: A Discussion with Dr. Paul M. Farber

November 29, 2018 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
ania Bruguera, Monument to the New Immigrant, Monument Lab 2017 (Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Philadelphia)

Doctoral Careers in the Humanities and Social Activism: A Discussion with Dr. Paul M. Farber

Artistic Director of Monument Lab
Lecturer in Fine Arts and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

PhD students and graduate faculty are particularly invited to participate in a discussion with Paul Farber, artistic director of the nationally renowned Monument Lab in Philadelphia.
Dr. Farber is a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan (2013), who wrote his dissertation on “Boundaries of Freedom: An American History of the Berlin Wall” (the basis of his forthcoming book with UNC Press, A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall).

Since graduating Dr. Farber has done a mix of writing, teaching, and curating. He is now best known for co-founding and directing Monument Lab, a national public art and history project based in Philadelphia that comprises a team of curators, artists, scholars and students. In 2017, Monument Lab teamed with ten municipal agencies including Mural Arts Philadelphia to produce a citywide exhibition organized around a central question: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? Over 250,000 people engaged with the exhibition across the city, which featured twenty prototype monuments imagined by leading public artists focused on themes of social justice and solidarity. Additionally, Monument Lab opened adjacent learning labs, operated by teams consisting of local educators, high school fellows, and college students enrolled in a Civic Studio course, which gathered 4,500 speculative public monument proposals from participants. These were analyzed and compiled into a Report to the City presented to the Mayor and all the city commissioners.

Our discussion with Dr. Farber will focus on how he made the transition from PhD program to public engagement and social activism, what he has learned along the way, and what insights and advice he can offer to current PhD students at Pitt.


Location and Address

Martin Room, 4th Floor, Sennott Square