NEH Fellow

The center hosts one National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow every year. The NEH/HAC Fellow hosts a series of lectures and other events at Bard College. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed on this webpage do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

NEH Fellow

Tania Bruguera

2017 National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Tania Bruguera
Tania Bruguera was born in 1968 in Havana, Cuba. Bruguera, a politically motivated performance artist, explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change in works that examine the social effects of political and economic power. By creating proposals and aesthetic models for others to use and adapt, and implement, she defines herself as an initiator rather than an author, and often collaborates with multiple institutions as well as many individuals so that the full realization of her artwork occurs when others adopt and perpetuate it. She expands the definition and range of performance art, sometimes performing solo but more often staging participatory events and interactions that build on her observations, experiences, and interpretations of the politics of repression and control. Bruguera has explored both the promise and failings of the Cuban Revolution in performances that provoke viewers to consider the political realities masked by government propaganda and mass-media interpretation. Advancing the concept of arte útil (literally, useful art; art as a benefit and a tool), she proposes solutions to sociopolitical problems through the implementation of art, and has developed long-term projects that include a community center and a political party for immigrants, and a school for behavior art. (

Photo Credit: Claudio Fuentes
Bruguera's Projects

    The Institute of Artivism Hannah Arendt is located in Habana, Cuba. The opening performance which marked its creation coincided with the date of Cuba's Declaration of the Republic, May 20th, and consisted of a 100-hour reading and discussion of Arendt's "The Origins of Totalitarianism" by over 50 participants. At INSTAR, the mission is to work with “cubanos de a pie” (everyday cubans) from housewives to professionals, from activists to students. The idea is to have a sample of Cuban society, people coming from different political spectrums and educational levels. INSTAR wants to work with the people who will be building democracy in Cuba every day, by asking for their rights and fighting for social justice in their schools and their jobs; transforming audience into active citizens. Art enables one to transform a chaotic view into an encounter with an unexpected order, or new order, to articulate a new future. It is about creating bridges of trust where there is no fear of each other, to create a peaceful and responsible response where there is violence, to create a place where people from different political views can come together to build a better country.

  • Thursday, October 12
    5:30 pm  Tania Bruguera in conversation with Galit Eilat at the Hannah Arendt Center Fall Conference: "Crises of Democracy: Thinking In Dark Times." Location: Olin Hall. 

  • Reading Group
    The Hannah Arendt Center offers a short-term, limited-capacity reading workshop with National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow Tania Bruguera. This not-for-credit Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 workshop will explore topics of nationality, nation/state and immigration. The group will explore texts by Hannah Arendt, Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen.