Newsletter Issue:

Student Insights: Kate Farrington

Since its founding in 2006 IDSVA has become internationally recognized as a world-class humanities PhD program without walls.  Students' individual and collective accomplishments are many, as can be found on our Student Achievement page on our website. But some have asked, "What does an IDSVA PhD mean to a students' professional and personal life?" Here is one student's answer.

"IDSVA has been a gift in my life.  It has changed the way I think and how I approach my work. The IDSVA experience is so different from that of an art history PhD - it fueled me with a body of knowledge and ideas about how the dialogue of art can contribute to the world.  I see new ways of integrating myself and my work into local and international art and philosophy worlds."

Kate Farrington, Cohort ‘11


IDSVA has allowed me to contribute to national publications and participate in national conferences. I have published three long essays in the past two years in important arts journals. I have presented papers at three national conferences - one on activist art, one at the CAA (College Art Association) national conference, and one at a national philosophy conference (PACT - the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition). I am a contributor of a chapter for a book that is under consideration for publication. I was recently a finalist in a national search for a faculty position teaching contemporary art and theory. I never dreamed of being able to accomplish these things so quickly!

This program required us all to read philosophy at a philosophy PhD level. As a result, I am now writing my dissertation on the topic of "place" using the theories of Martin Heidegger, Giorgio Agamben, and Jacques Rancière, among others. I am writing about art that I saw in Germany in 2012 during my second year at IDSVA. Without the program, I would not have been exposed to art at the international level, and I would not have had the depth of knowledge of the history of ideas to be able to take on an analysis of contemporary art at this scope.


Since enrolling at IDSVA, I have grown in so many ways - as a writer, a presenter, a teacher, and a student. The biggest personal transformation for me has been in the way I think, though. I think about ideas in relation to the history of philosophy. I also think about art in the context of global practices in relation to the history of philosophy.

Because I have a much broader view of my own potential to contribute to the broader trends in art and now philosophy, I'm in a better position to progress into new leadership and teaching roles across disciplines. As importantly, through IDSVA, we find a powerful and lasting intellectual and artistic community between and among student peers and faculty.

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