Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art (Creative) and Art History with a concentration in Critical and Curatorial Studies, MA

Committee Chair

Morrin, Peter

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Begley, John

Committee Member

Bauder, Debra

Committee Member

Reitz, Chris

Author's Keywords

disability studies; contemporary art; socially engaged art; carmen papalia; tactility; curatorial studies


Let’s Keep in Touch: Conversations about Tactility, a project collaboratively organized by social practice artist Carmen Papalia and curator Whitney Mashburn, presents conversations between Papalia and artists selected by Mashburn, in regard to tactile access of the chosen artists’ works. The project aims to challenge visual biases in museum engagement, through dialogue with living artists.

Carmen Papalia takes social practice in a new direction as he applies it to the topic of accessibility. Using the tool of conversation, he creates strategic infrastructural activism and prompts exploration of non-visual perception.

In this thesis, Papalia’s work will be examined and discussed with particular emphasis on the burgeoning field of tactility studies and Papalia’s use of conversation within social practice to critique the accessibility of institutions and societal barriers. Additionally, relevant foundations and examples in social practice, institutional critique, and disability studies will be presented.