IDSVA Core Faculty | Institute For Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts

Meet the IDSVA Core Faculty. Core faculty teach seminars, direct independent studies and dissertations, and serve as student advisors.

Core Faculty

Core faculty teach seminars, direct independent studies and dissertations, and serve as student advisors. While the librarian serves on the core faculty, she does so as a part-time research advisor and also provides mini-seminars introducing students to IDSVA's virtual library. 


George Smith
Founder and President
Edgar E. Coons, Jr., Professor of New Philosophy 

GEORGE SMITH has long been a leader and innovator in American education. As Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at the Maine College of Art, Dr. Smith designed and founded one of America’s first low residency MFA programs. The first MFA curriculum to combine equal studies in art theory and studio practice, the MECA MFA has served as a model for change in American graduate education in the visual arts.

In 2006 Dr. Smith founded the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. IDSVA is the first and only school in the world to offer a PhD in philosophy for visual artists, curators, and creative scholars. Supported by a worldwide faculty of renowned scholars and artists, IDSVA offers low-residency multi-media digital instruction and holds residency intensives and conducts fieldwork in Rome, Spannocchia Castle (Tuscany), Siena, Florence, Berlin, Venice, Paris, Athens, and New York City.

Professor Smith serves on the IDSVA Core Faculty and writes on literature, the visual arts, visual culture, psychoanalytic theory, and philosophy of education. He is the author of The Artist-Philosopher and New Philosophy (Routledge 2018). Forthcoming books include The Artist-Philosopher and Poetic Hermeneutics and The Artist-Philosopher and Neo-Shamanism.

Simonetta Moro

Simonetta Moro
Director of School & Vice President for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of Art and Theory
Director of Topological Studies

SIMONETTA MORO is a visual artist and theorist, with a focus on painting, drawing and mapping practices. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally; recent exhibitions, presentations and publications include: Intangible: How Do Artists Draw the Undrawable? Lesley Heller Gallery, New York, 2014; Contemporary Cartographies, Lehman College Art Gallery, New York 2013; “Mapping Heterotopian Spaces: Affective Cartography as Artistic Practice,” paper for CAA 2013; “Peripatetic Box and Personal Mapping: From Studio to Classroom to City,” chapter for Mapping Cultures, ed. Les Roberts, Palgrave 2012. Moro graduated with a PhD in Fine Arts, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK; MA European Fine Arts, Winchester School of Art, UK; and BFA Painting, Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna, Italy. Before coming to IDSVA she was Assistant Professor at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, and Parsons The New School for Design. Born in Italy, Simonetta Moro currently lives in New York City.

Christopher Yates

Christopher Yates
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
and Art Theory

CHRISTOPHER YATES received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston College in 2011. His academic areas of focus include the history of philosophy, aesthetics, and 19th-20th century Continental Philosophy. Having trained primarily in the phenomenological tradition, Yates’ scholarship focuses on movements such as historical ontology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, and post-structuralism, and on thinkers such as Kant, Husserl, Heidegger, Ricoeur, Derrida, Levinas, and Foucault. His book, The Poetic Imagination in Heidegger and Schelling, appeared in 2013 (Bloomsbury) and he co-edited Philosophy and the Return of Violence in 2011 (Continuum). Prior to joining IDSVA in 2014, Yates’ teaching experience included courses in areas such as aesthetics and art theory, ethics, 20th century philosophy, existentialism, and environmental ethics. He is currently working on a research project that explores the question of meaning in the artistic image, and is contributing to an interdisciplinary project concerning the significance of the arts and architecture for urban revitalization. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

Howard Caygill

Howard Caygill
Professor of Philosophy, Aesthetics
and Visual Culture

HOWARD CAYGILL is a philosopher and cultural historian who was educated at Bristol, Sussex and Oxford Universities in the UK.  Most recently serving on the faculties of Goldsmiths, Kingston and Paris VIII Howard Caygill is the author of several acclaimed books including A Kant Dictionary, Walter Benjamin: The Colour of Experience, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance and most recently Kafka: In Light of the Accident. He is currently working on the philosophy and aesthetics of the anthropocene and the role of philosophy in curating and interpreting the art of produced by inmates of mental hospitals during the first half of the Twentieth Century. He lives between Athens and Barton-on-Sea on the coast of England. 

Laura Graveline

Laura Graveline
Library Director

LAURA GRAVELINE earned her MLIS from the University of Rhode Island, and a BA from the University of Massachusetts in Art History, with a minor in Studio Art. Her reviews are published in Art Libraries Journal, and Art Documentation, and her most recent article is “Uncommon Partners: Facilitating Creative Collaborations in the Arts Across Campus,” College & Undergraduate Libraries, 2009. Laura is also the Visual Arts Librarian for Dartmouth College.

IDSVA: The World-Class Low-Residency PhD in Visual Arts