A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

AICAD 2018 Symposium



Hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), the 2018 Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Symposium, Artists/Designers/Citizens, takes place November 7–9, 2018, in Chicago, on the Art Institute of Chicago’s school/museum campus. Artists/Designers/Citizens positions the practice and study of art and design as central to the meaning, acts, and affinities known as citizenship.

Around the world, citizens have come together to correct historical and ongoing inequities through protesting, organizing, volunteering, standing for election, and standing up for one another with, as George Washington described it in his presidential farewell address, “jealous anxiety” for self-governance. In his own farewell address, Barack Obama built upon this notion, saying, “It falls on each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy…. Because for all our differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.” As the premier consortium of art and design educators in North America, AICAD’s member schools are well-positioned to reveal the diverse ways that creative practices can offer ways of seeing, intervening, and belonging as a citizen.

Artists/Designers/Citizens seeks to define values, share strategies, and set goals for being a citizen artist, a role that SAIC President Elissa Tenny says, “is not about possessing a particular nationality. Rather, being a citizen artist is about the interconnectedness of people and an acknowledgment that the work of the studio and classroom is not discrete from the world at large. Citizen artists recognize that their contributions to art, design, and scholarship can reflect society back to itself, withstand injustice and oppression, innovate new ways of being, and show humanity a path forward.”

The 2018 AICAD Symposium will see presentations from AICAD schools’ constituencies that reflect and develop the themes of Artists/Designers/Citizens. A special emphasis is placed on exploring how a range of practices—from the most solo, studio-based practices to the most community-based collaborations—contribute to notions of citizenship. Programming will include performances, field trips, interventions, and other experiences.

Artists/Designers/Citizens also serves as the North American component of Dimensions of Citizenship, an exhibition commissioned by SAIC and the University of Chicago for the US Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice.

View the schedule

Call For Proposals

SAIC seeks proposals for presentations to be delivered at the 2018 AICAD Symposium, Artists/Designers/Citizens, which will be held in Chicago from November 7–9, 2018. The overarching topic of the symposium concerns how the practice and study of art and design are central to the meaning, acts, and affinities known as “citizenship.” Throughout the symposium, citizenship will be conceived broadly, including, but not limited to, the ways in which citizenship is both social (how individuals interact with one another) and political (how individuals and groups interact with government); that habits of citizenship and demands for enfranchisement often precede an official or legal status; how citizenship exists at a range of scales, from the local to the global; and examples of studio-based or academy-focused contributions to art, design, and scholarship that draw inspiration from and/or have genuine impact within the larger world. Presentations from multiple perspectives are encouraged so that, as a whole, the symposium will feature a range of art and design ideas, practices, and curricula that participate in a culture that bends towards liberty.

All calls for proposals are currently closed. 


Registration for the 2018 AICAD Symposium, Artists/Designers/Citizens is currently closed.

Hotel Information

SAIC has secured a special rate at the Palmer House Hilton for the symposium. Reservations at the special rate are currently closed. 

For booking rooms for additional dates or at the regular rates please call 1-877-865-5321 and indicate if you have an existing reservation and you need to make an additional consecutive reservation. By indicating this, the reservation agent should be able to make a note on the reservation in order to link both reservations.


AICAD—the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design—is a nonprofit consortium of 42 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. It was founded in 1991 by a group of 25 presidents who felt a need for the similarly structured art schools to come together so as to mutually develop their schools and programs. Our mission is to help strengthen the member colleges individually and collectively, and to inform the public about these colleges and the value of studying art and design.


For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman.


AICAD 2018 Symposium Team

Allie Beck

Taykhoom Biviji

Maria Carrasquilla

Fabiola Tosi

Music and Entertainment


Sadie Woods

A Brand New Day

Song by Cole DeGenova

Performance by Cole DeGenova and Courtney Cintron

A Taste of Chicago

Keren Díaz de León

Patricia Frazier

Rachel "Raych" Jackson

H. Melt

José Olivarez

Victoria Chávez Peralta

Luis Tubens