Visiting artists are an integral part of the ongoing interdisciplinary dialogue at the University of Chicago, frequenting classrooms, lecture halls, screening rooms, and exhibition and performance venues across campus. Lasting as short as a day and as long as several years, these intimate exchanges feature such world-renowned artists as the GRAMMY winning ensembles-in-residence eighth blackbird (2012, 2008) and Pacifica Quartet (2009).
Visiting artists are integrated into the curriculum throughout various programs and graduate workshops, which may be open to the public. Some of these programs are highlighted below. Please visit the department websites and the UChicago Arts Calendar for complete and up-to-date event schedules.
Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
The interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture brings outstanding Chicago-area artists whose work addresses issues of race and ethnicity to campus to teach courses and present public talks, readings, performances, and exhibitions. Participants have included artists Bukari Kitwana, Natsu Onoda, Coya Paz, Charlotte Sáenz, and Bibiana Suarez. The center also supports and sponsors film and documentary screenings, panel discussions, and poetry readings.
Committee on Creative Writing
The Committee on Creative Writing has been proud to host readings and lectures by such writers as Daniel Alarcón, Charles D’Ambrosio, Eula Biss, Alan Burdick, Michael Earl Craig, Lydia Davis, Ben Doyle, Darcy Frey, Neil Gaiman, Danny Hoch, Denis Johnson, Nick Laird, Karen Russell, Elif Shafak, Zadie Smith, Dawn Turner Trice, Sam White, Scott Wolven, and Steve Yarbrough. Ongoing programs include the Robert Vare Nonfiction Writer-in-Residence Program, the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture, the Dedmon Writer-in-Residence, and the Kestnbaum Writer-In-Residence.
Department of Visual Arts (DOVA)
Visiting lecturers, such as DOVA's faculty members, cover a wide range of disciplines and intellectual interests that reflect the interdisciplinary spirit at the University Chicago. They are both internationally celebrated artists and serious scholars, committed to the rigorous investigation and production of art. In addition, the department collaborates with other entities on campus, particularly the Open Practice Committee, to bring in visiting artists each quarter.
Taking its name from the Wallace Stevens poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” eighth blackbird has been hailed as “virtuosic” and “polished” by the New York Times. A cultural mainstay in the greater Chicago area, this two-time GRAMMY award-winning contemporary ensemble has a growing national and international reputation.
Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often daring repertory choices, the Pacifica Quartet is known worldwide for its brilliant ensemble work and impassioned interpretations.
In residence at the Newberry Library and Northwestern University’s School of Music in addition to the University of Chicago, the Newberry Consort is a distinguished early music, original instrument chamber ensemble.
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra began its second three-year residency at the University of Chicago in 2008–09. As the nation’s only full-time professional chamber orchestra, the SPCO has earned worldwide accolades for its artistic excellence and strong commitment to the performance of new works.
Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry
The Gray Center’s signature initiative is the Andrew Mellon Residential Fellowship for Arts Practice and Scholarship program, designed to foster intensive, experimental, and interdisciplinary collaborations between artists and scholars. The program aims to enliven the intersection of academic theory and artistic practice, bringing artists to campus for groundbreaking collaborations with Chicago scholars and bringing scholars to campus for inventive collaborations with our arts faculty and practitioners.
International House Global Voices Programs
Under the Global Voices umbrella, International House brings leading figures on the world stage to campus to exchange ideas on the major issues of the day. Scholars and journalists consider major news stories in the World beyond the Headlines public lecture series. The film series and performing arts series showcase a wide range of Chicago-area cultural institutions and artists.
Theater & Performance Studies / University Theater
The University’s academic and performance programs in theater draw from the rich expertise of the Chicago area theater community for adjunct lecturers, artists in residence, and visiting playwrights and performers who collaborate with students in workshops and productions. Each summer, several small but bold theater companies develop new pieces in the Summer Inc residency program at University Theater.