About - Center for the Arts and Humanities



Your big ideas drive the work we do in the Center for the Arts and Humanities. Through annual humanities themes and labs, we inspire discussions and challenging conversations around campus. Through our internships, research grants, and events sponsored by and focused on students, we raise and amplify the intellectual might and passion of the Colby student body. We empower you to chart your own course inspired by the transformative experience of work, play, and collaboration in the arts and the humanities.

Team | Origin | Testimonial | Pillars | Past Events


Dean Allbritton


Christopher Walker

Associate Director

Read bio | Contact

Megan Fossa

Assistant Director

Portia Hardy

Program Coordinator

Executive Committee

  • Dean Allbritton, Director
  • Christopher Walker, Associate Director
  • Audrey Brunetaux, French & Italian
  • Kevin Smith , Libraries
  • Jacqueline Terrassa, Museum of Art
  • Natalie Zelensky, Music

Student Advisory Board

  • Giang Pham ’25
  • Robin Hoang ’25

Learn about the Student Advisory Board

Faculty Coordinating Committee

Laura Saltz, American Studies
Marta Ameri, Art
James Taylor, Classics
Chris Walker, Creative Writing and English
Hong Zhang, East Asian Studies
Valérie Dionne, French & Italian
Arne Koch, German & Russian
Kelly Brignac, History
Kevin Smith, Libraries
Jacqueline Terrassa, Museum of Art
José Martínez, Music
Annie Kloppenberg, Performance, Theater, and Dance
Jim Behuniak, Philosophy
Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, Religious Studies
Ana Almeyda-Cohen, Spanish


2022-23 Humanities Theme Sponsors

  • Audrey Brunetaux, French & Italian
  • Danila Cannamela, French & Italian
  • Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, Religious Studies

Medicine and Race Public Humanistic Inquiry Lab Leadership

  • Tanya Sheehan, Principal Investigator
  • Jay Sibara, Associate Principal Investigator

Margaret T. McFadden Fund for Humanistic Inquiry Committee

  • Dean Allbritton
    Megan Cook
  • Russ Johnson
  • Adrianna Paliyenko
  • Gianluca Rizzo
  • Debra Spark

Our Community

The Center is able to carry out the work that it does thanks to the energy and commitment of the many people, programs, and departments it serves. From coming up with new events, designing courses, sponsoring themes, and more, your departments and your students keep the Center thriving.

How did it all start?

The process which would eventually lead to the development of the Center was started by former Director Kerill O’Neill in 2009. At the time, he was serving as the Humanities Division Chair, and had become alarmed by the decreasing amount of apparent interest in the humanities at colleges across the country. Less funding was offered, fewer tenure track faculty positions were available, and it seemed that the humanities were being pushed further and further to the periphery. Kerill wrote a letter to his colleagues in the division arguing that they had to work together to come up with something big, something that would draw attention back to the humanities. In the ensuing discussion, the idea of the Center was born. With the help of many other humanities faculty members, Kerill applied for and received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund the initial development of the Center. The Center for the Arts and Humanities opened in fall of 2012, and has been a part of the fabric of Colby’s identity ever since. Over the years, it has grown in size and scope, incorporating a wide range of programs which impact every aspect of life at Colby.

"It's theater students interacting with philosophy students, interacting with social studies students, and it's this huge fluid group of students bringing all these different fields of through together to create something very beautiful."
Hiya Islam

Theme: Freedom and Captivity

Nikole Hannah-Jones
Keynote Speaker

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist


Theme: Boundaries and Margins

Baratunde Thurston
Keynote Speaker

Naomi Klein
Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Humanities

Ibram X. Kendi
“Not Racist or Antiracist: What’s the Difference”

Theme: Energy/Exhaustion

Dr. Craig Santos Perez
Decolonial Eco-poetry

Dans L’Engrenage with Compagnie Dyptik
French Hip Hop Performance

Carolina Caycedo
“BE DAMMED: Art as Resistance to Environmental Destruction”

Theme: Presence of the Past

Roxanne Gay
Keynote Speaker

Liberal Arts and the Humanities:
Case Studies from Liberal Arts Colleges and Small Universities
A Conference

Mark Dion
Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Humanities

Theme: Origins

Dr. Cornel West
Keynote Speaker

Kim Stanley Robinson
Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Humanities

Dr. Andreas Weber
Matter and Desire: An Erotic Ecology

Theme: Revolutions

LaToya Ruby Frazier
Keynote Speaker

Winona LaDuke
Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Humanities

Regina Jose Galindo
Guatemalan poet and performance artist