Faculty Biography


Sarah Buie, M.F.A.


Professor Emerita and Research Scholar, Department of Visual and Performing Arts B.A., Wellesley College, 1971 M.F.A., Yale University, 1978.



Director, Northeast Cluster, Humanities for the Environment (CHCI/Mellon grant)
Director, Mindful Choices initiative (Mellon grant)

Phone: (508) 793-7560
Email: sbuie@clarku.edu
Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Professor Buie received a BA from Wellesley College in art history (1971) and an MFA in graphic design from Yale University (1978). She has been at Clark since 1981.

Professional work

Sarah Buie is Senior Associate / Past Director of the Higgins School of Humanities, and Professor of graphic design in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. She served as Director of the Higgins School from 2004 to 2012.

While at Higgins, Buie initiated the expansion of the School’s physical spaces to Dana Commons, launched and directed the Difficult Dialogues initiative with funding from the Ford Foundation, received a major grant from the Mellon Foundation for innovative campus-wide initiatives, and co-founded an international network on Humanities and the Environment through the CHCI.

She co-founded the Difficult Dialogues initiative at Clark, funded by a major grant from the Ford Foundation; she directed the initiative for seven years. Innovations include dialogue symposia, dialogue seminars, courses taught with a DD emphasis throughout the curriculum (now over thirty each semester), the DD undergraduate fellows program, the publication of Inviting Dialogue (an account of the DD initiative), and a regional Inviting Dialogue conference. She continues to serve on the DD executive committee, and teaches a dialogue seminar almost every semester.

She led a widely collaborative planning effort for Humanities Present, a proposal for major funding submitted to the A.W. Mellon Foundation; in 2012, the School received a $600,000 grant from Mellon to support dialogic public programming, faculty fellowships, and innovative team-teaching (The New Commons), an arts-based curriculum initiative (Mindful Choices), three faculty research collaboratives, and core support for the humanities center. She currently directs the Mindful Choices initiative, a guided, intensive arts immersion experience in which students engage in creative practice and critical reflection as they consider their future commitments and direction.

During her Directorship, Buie served on the Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) for four years, and co-founded, with Sally Kitch of ASU, the Humanities for the Environment (HfE) initiative of the CHCI. Through the CHCI, that network received a grant of $600,000 from the Mellon Foundation to further collaborative work on the environmental humanities between humanities centers internationally.

As Director of the Northeast Cluster of that project, she is convening a Council on the Uncertain Human Future in relationship to climate change over the course of 2014. For further information, see the project webpage here.

The Higgins School moved to its current home in Dana Commons during her tenure, providing it with a public event space, and making an ongoing exhibition program possible as well. The power of design (through publications, posters, exhibitions, campus installations, interior spaces) to create community and facilitate conversation and learning was a significant dimension of her work at Higgins.

As an award-winning museum exhibition designer for 25 years, she designed more than 100 exhibitions for art, natural history and history museums, including the Yale University Art Gallery, the RISD Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, among others.

She has studied the design of traditional sacred architecture in Nepal, India, Tibet, Bhutan and Japan, and teaches and writes on Sacred Space, with spatial archetypes as a guide to holistic understandings of our relationship to the environment; the course was initially developed for Clark's Environmental School, and has been taught in the graduate program at Rhode Island School of Design. The current version of the course (2014) incorporates the threat of climate change as a central thread. Buie is at work on an anthology developed from the course.

She serves on the board of the Public Conversations Project in Watertown, MA.

Selected Exhibitions

Art for Yale, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 2001

From Paris to Providence, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, 2001

Tree, Ecotarium, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1999

Selections from these and other exhibitions designed by Professor Buie.