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Eileen Silvers Visiting Professor in the Arts and Humanities

Through the generous support of UB alumna Eileen Silvers, the UB Humanities Institute invites an esteemed guest to be featured in the annual Humanities to the Rescue event series as the eponymous Visiting Professor in the Arts and Humanities. In 2018, with the enthusiastic support of Silvers, the former traditional visiting professor program was reimagined to become a vital component of the UB Humanities Institute’s public humanities initiatives with the inaugural Humanities to the Rescue keynote speaker Margaret Atwood.

2019-20 | Nick Cave

Photo courtesy of Nick Cave. ©Sandro

Nick Cave was born in Fulton, Missouri in 1959. He received a BFA from the Art Institute of Kansas City and an MFA in fiber arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions around the globe and has been collected by the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Museum of Modern Art, among other museums.

From Jack Shainman Gallery:

Nick Cave is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. He says of himself, “I have found my middle and now am working toward what I am leaving behind.” Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment.

Public collections include the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark, among others.

Cave has received several prestigious awards including: the Art in Embassies International Medal of Arts Honoree (2017), the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review Award (2014) in recognition of his Grand Central Terminal performance Heard – NY, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004 and 2005), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave, who received his MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, is Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Nick Cave has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2006 when he had a show entitled Soundsuits. Other solo exhibitions at the gallery include Recent Soundsuits (2009), Ever-After (2011), a two-part exhibition Made by Whites for Whites and Rescue (2014) and Weather or Not and If a Tree Falls, both 2018.

2018-19 | Molly Crabapple

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer whose inspirations include Diego Rivera and Goya’s The Disasters of War. She is the author of Brothers of the Gun, an illustrated collaboration with Syrian war journalist Marwan Hisham, which was a NY Times Notable Book and long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award. Her memoir, Drawing Blood, received global praise and attention.

Crabapple’s reportage has been published in the New York Times, New York Review of BooksThe Paris ReviewVanity FairThe Guardian, and Rolling Stone. She is a fellow at the New America Foundation, and has previously been the 2019 artist-in-residence at NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Brooklyn Library’s 2018 Katowitz Radin Artist-in-residence, and a Yale Poynter Fellow. She is currently a New America 2020 Fellow and a 2020 Bard Fellow at the Brooklyn Public Library.

She got her start as a journalist sketching the frontlines of Occupy Wall Street, before covering, with words and art, Lebanese snipers, labor struggles in Abu Dhabi, Guantanamo Bay, the US border, America prisoners, Greek refugee camps, and the ravages of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. She once confronted Donald Trump in Dubai about exploitation of the workers building his golf courses. As an award-winning animator, she has pioneered a new genre of live-illustrated explainer journalism, collaborating with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Jay Z, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and The ACLU.  Her animations are on permanent display at The Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. [Excerpt from biography from]

2017-18 | Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and grew up in northern Ontario and Quebec, and in Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in more than forty-five countries, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. Her latest novel, The Testaments, is a co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. It is the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series. Her other works of fiction include Cat’s Eye, finalist for the 1989 Booker Prize, Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; and Hag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. She lives in Toronto. [Excerpt of biography from]

From left to right: CAS Dean Robin Schulze, Margaret Atwood, and Eileen Silvers. Photographer: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki


In 2013, Eileen Silvers, BA ’70, pledged $500,000 to help establish a visiting professorship in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. Silvers graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from UB before earning a law degree from Columbia and becoming the most senior female administrator at Bristol Meyers Squibb. She pledged her gift through a bequest to UB. A longtime UB supporter, Silvers has served on the dean’s advisory council and the UB Foundation board.

Information about the former WBFO/Silvers Visiting Professorship can be found here.

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