Hear from Pratt faculty and alumni in podcast episodes exploring far-ranging fields from architecture and construction to television set design and literature.

The Forgotten Early History of Central Park

Sara Cedar Miller, MFA Photography ’83, historian emerita of the Central Park Conservancy, delved into the early history of Central Park on an episode of The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast. Miller and host Greg Young discussed the park’s farmland origins, the design of its 150-year-old Bethesda Fountain by Emma Stebbins, the first woman to receive a public sculpture commission in New York City, and the research that informed Miller’s new book, Before Central Park.

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“For years I’ve given tours of the park and as I would start I would always say, ‘Who has questions?’ and invariably the hands would go up and the question always was, ‘So what was this before it was a park?’”

Sara Cedar Miller, The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast

Charting a Creative Life

Chair of Fine Arts Jane South joined Brian Alfred on his Sound & Vision podcast, which features conversations with artists and musicians about their creative processes. South recalled her upbringing in England, her undergraduate studies in theater, and coming to New York in the eighties. South and Alfred also discussed the role of higher education in today’s artistic landscape.

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“It’s so amusing, I think, to a lot of us, that we’re still talking about the need for interdisciplinary education, because our students are already doing it. The great thing about the Fine Arts Department at Pratt is we’re big; we have all of these different areas of emphasis.”

Jane South, Sound & Vision podcast

What Makes a Sofa Iconic?

Anita Cooney, dean of the School of Design, Sheryl Kasak, adjunct professor-CCE of interior design, and Chen Chen, BID ’07, joined the podcast Sofa, Looking for Togo, a playful investigation into the rise and enduring popularity of the Togo sofa, designed in 1973 for the French furniture company Ligne Roset. Host Aurélie Sfez visited Pratt to speak with Cooney, Kasak, and Chen about the origins of the concept of “design,” the Togo’s visual and ergonomic appeal, and whether a sofa can be political.

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“Design is a combination of beauty, form, and utility, addressing competing agendas in an elegant or compelling way.”

Anita Cooney, Sofa, Looking for Togo podcast

Reckoning with the Garment Industry’s Deadly Toll

Minh-Ha T. Pham, associate professor of humanities and media studies, joined the podcast Don’t Call Me Resilient, produced by The Conversation, on the tenth anniversary of the catastrophic Rana Plaza garment factory collapse near Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than one thousand garment workers. The episode explores what has changed for garment workers since the collapse, the spotlight that the COVID-19 pandemic placed on the industry, and exploitative conditions faced by garment workers internationally and in the United States.

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“When we think of these things as ‘illegal’ or as ‘exceptional’ then what we’re missing is that these are the everyday conditions. This is the norm and that is actually the problem.” 

Minh-Ha T. Pham, Don’t Call Me Resilient podcast

The Future of Reality Capture in Building Construction

Lennart Andersson, a faculty member in the Department of Construction Management, Facilities Management, and Real Estate Practice, kicked off the first episode of Scanning Realities, a new podcast from the land surveying instrument company NavVis. Reality capture technologies transform the material world into digital models that generate new insights with far-ranging applications. 

Listen on Apple.

“Reality capture moves beyond the traditional role of a surveyor, and it’s much more than geometry. It is a position in space. It really opens a lot of possibilities.”

Lennart Andersson, Scanning Realities podcast

The Joy and Business of Fiction Writing

Professor of Writing James Hannaham sat down with the hosts of the podcast Books Are Pop Culture for a conversation about his career and his latest novel, Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta. Hannaham discussed his reading habits, being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, finding early support from the author Jennifer Egan, and taking pride in being a mentor.

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“Having a mentor, I think, is one of the most important things that can happen for an emerging writer.”

James Hannaham, Books Are Pop Culture podcast

Advocating for Architecture as a Form of Labor

Quilian Riano, dean of the School of Architecture, was featured on the Future of the American City podcast produced by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Riano discussed his advocacy with the grassroots group The Architecture Lobby, shifting away from unpaid internships and competitions, and the growing labor movement among professional fields.

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“There’s a movement of younger people working in highly specialized fields that are beginning to notice that their labor creates a lot of benefits for a lot of people… It’s important to think of it not just in our field but seeing what is happening across similar fields in the broader economy.”

Quilian Riano, Future of the American City podcast

The Art of Television Set-Building

Production designer Jamie Walker McCall, BFA Communications Design (Advertising/Art Direction) ’02, spoke with host David Voigt on In The Seats With …, a podcast that features entertainment industry professionals. McCall is a 2023 Emmy nominee for her work on the second season of the musical comedy television series Schmigadoon! She shared her thoughts on how her background as a graphic designer informs her work, world-building on a TV set, finding inspiration in the Lord of the Rings films, and the future of production design in today’s digital age.

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“The art department is a mediator between all. We have to work with everybody. We have to work with special effects and visual effects, stunts, rigging grips, electric, set design. That’s one of the parts of my job that I really love, is that I feel like I have a hand in every single aspect of the production.” 

Jamie Walker McCall, In The Seats With… podcast

Imagining a Future Without the Prison-Industrial Complex

Organizer, educator, and curator Mariame Kaba, MSLIS ’22, was a guest on From What If to What Next, hosted by climate activist Rob Hopkins. Kaba and Hopkins explored the past and present of the prison abolition movement, the act of radical imagination, and reshaping social relations to address harm in peaceful and generative ways.

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“I don’t think that an abolitionist horizon is determined by singular visions or individual people. I think that that horizon is going to be shaped by a collective project of imagining and collective visioning.” 

Mariame Kaba, From What if to What Next podcast

A Taxidermist’s Dedication to the Afterlife of Animals

Divya Anantharaman, BFA Fashion Design ’06, joined the podcast Mortality and the Morgue for a conversation on their path to becoming a taxidermist, appreciating animals through museum dioramas, common misconceptions about the taxidermy field, and more.

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“Between the death and the preservation there’s a person that comes in, there’s a person who cares about that animal, who loves animals … someone took the time to turn the animal from a deceased animal to a piece of art or a representation of something.”

Divya Anantharaman, Mortality and the Morgue podcast