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.

Co-Lead Convener, A new Earth conversation
Founding Convener, Council on the Uncertain Human Future
Professor, Department of Visual and Performing Arts (1981-2016)

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

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

Professional work

Sarah Buie is Co-Lead Convener of A new Earth conversation at Clark University, a climate change initiative funded by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation. The NEC is a transformative campus-wide process, aimed at re-envisioning the work of the University in these unprecedented times. Learn more about the work of the NEC here: https://newearthconversation.org

Buie is Founding Convener of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, an international initiative to encourage deep conversation on the climate challenge; it is funded by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Council is the foundation of the work of the NEC (see above). It is also a growing international network: https://councilontheuncertainhumanfuture.org

Buie served as Director of the Higgins School of Humanities from 2004 to 2012. During her tenure, Buie re-envisioned the role of the humanities center within the University. She 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 Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI).

She co-founded the Difficult Dialogues initiative at Clark, funded by a major grant from the Ford Foundation, and 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), https://www2.clarku.edu/difficultdialogues/documents/ClarkUnivInvitingDialogue.pdf and a regional Inviting Dialogue conference.

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 launched and directed for three years 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 convened a group of distinguished women in a Council on the Uncertain Human Future (CUHF), a conversation to address climate change, over the course of 2014. The project has grown into a wide-ranging international network including climate scientists, high school seniors, and Kathmandu-based environmentalists. Two films have been about the CUHF, and an anthology, A Reader for the Uncertain Human Future, is forthcoming. For links to those and further information, see the project webpage here https://councilontheuncertainhumanfuture.org

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 has taught and written 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 last version of the course (through 2016) incorporated the threat of climate change as a central thread. Buie is at work on an anthology developed from the course.

She currently serves on the board of the Natural Dharma Fellowship.

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.