Exchanges and Conversations


The RiDE Riffs invited curators/coordinators of specific RiDE episodes to launch dialogues and interactions with participants around the very meaning of risk-taking, experimentation and daring within the art and design universe. They were invited to conduct an email or audio interview or roundtable discussion or utilize any other mode or platform for exchange with participants regarding the content of their presentation and/or the notion of risk/experimentation.

Before Wearing

Panel Discussion and Conversation

October 28, 2015, 5 PM
Pratt Manhattan Gallery

Nick Battis, Pat Madeja, Amir Parsa

Presenters and participants:

Kipp Bradford, Lauren Kalman, Marzena Marzouk

Departmental participants:
Fine Arts (Jewelry), Department of Exhibitions

In Conjunction with the exhibition After Wearing: A History of Gestures, Actions and Jewelry, this panel discussion expanded upon the question posed by the curators: “What can I do to a piece of jewelry, and what can a piece of jewelry do to me?” Panelists discussed the ways that various dimensions of design construct the symbolic landscape, shape individual choices, and affect personal and cultural relations. They further explored the role of art jewelry as a means of generating critical discourse about the relationship between objects, technology and the body.

Documentary Practices Group

Interdisciplinary Research/Practice Hub
Screenings and other events

Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer
Screening & Panel Discussion
Feb 17, 2016, 5-8 PM 
Screening Room, Film and Video Building (550 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn Campus)

Kara Hearn, Ann Holder, Kathleen Kelley, Jacki Ochs, Amir Parsa, Jennifer Telesco, Sasha Sumner

Presenters and participants in Feelings Are Facts screening and panel discussion:

Noel Carroll, Patricia Hoffbauer, Judy Lieff, Deb Meehan, Jennifer Miller, Jorge Oliver, Jack Walsh

Departmental participants:
Film, Photography, Social Science and Cultural Studies, Humanities and Media Studies, Fine Arts, History of Art and Design

The Documentary Practices Group constituted a RiDE Interdisciplinary Research/Practice Hub, where faculty from multiple Pratt departments organized screenings, panels, exhibitions and conversations, and collectively reflected on the theoretical and practical dimensions of documentary practice across mediums (photo, film, writing). Members of the group also shared research and continue to reflect on the relationship of new forms to the concept of the documentary. The group was also involved in the conceptualization of a cross-departmental minor dubbed Documentary Practices.

Museum Futures

A speculative investigation of museums past, present and future

Publication, Research, Conversations
November 2015-June 2016
Pratt Institute


Christopher Kennedy



Kate Clark, Pablo v. Frankenberg, Christopher Kennedy, along with  the contributors to publication

Departmental participants:

Art and Design Education, History of Art and Design, School of Information

Museum Futures is a transdisciplinary platform and journal for research on the dynamic ways a museum can perform. Initiated by artists and researchers Kate Clark, Christopher Kennedy and Pablo von Frankenberg, the first iteration of Museum Futures took the form of a publication collecting interviews, essays and ephemera from around the world. This RiDE episode extended the Museum Futures project as a digital web platform and cross-disciplinary think tank at Pratt Institute, bringing together students and faculty in the departments of Art and Design Education, History of Art and Design, and the School of Information’s Museum and Digital Culture program.

A second issue of Museum Futures explores the peripheries of the museum and considers how practices pioneered by those outside its thresholds could inform its future. The editorial team asked contributors to look toward the overlooked and varied spaces of museums: the street next to the museum, the entrance and lobby, the coatroom or bathroom.  They asked contributors to question what museums could and should be: a hub, a school, a memory holder, an architectural experiment. And to consider the people that interpret and maintain museums: the art handler, “outside specialist”, café worker, security guard, conservator, visitor, curator and educator.

Through playful inquiry and experiments in digital and print publishing the project offered an expanded global and critical view of what museums should and could be; a space to question, rethink and reimagine the future of museum discourse and culture. Occasional workshops hosted at Pratt invite Museum Futures contributors to share their submissions and speculate on the future of the field alongside a diverse community of artists, designers and museum professionals.


Women Writers of Color


Mahogany L. Browne, Christian Hawkey

Tina Chang, Rachel Liza Griffiths, Daniel Jose Older, Gregory Pardlo

Departmental participants:
Humanities and Media Studies (MFA in Writing)

Women Writers of Color (WWOC) focused on spearheading a nuanced investigation of the artistic and social contribution made by women writers of color by providing a lens through which critical conversations can inform and grow our communities. WWOC is a woman-run and operated, multi-faceted reading room and library that offers access to literature by women writers of color, and creates community engagement.

This readings series and following discussions introduced the WWOC to the broader Pratt and Brooklyn communities, encouraged collaborations between the mission of the MFA Writing program and student organizations, and showcased authors who promote writing and activism at a professional level.


Interdisciplinary Research/Practice Hub
+ various events

Russ Abell, Amir Parsa

Saul Anton, Adeena Karasick, Kyle Olmon, Robbin Ami Silverberg

Departmental participants:
Fine Arts, Communications Design, Humanities and Media Studies, Social Science and Cultural Studies, Pratt Libraries

The BookPub constituted a research and practice hub, a figurative space, and a circle of interested faculty, administrators and students at Pratt Institute who are engaged in various matters related to the book as object, idea, artwork and cultural artifact. The BookPub intertwined research and practice on campus with ongoing conversations around the past, present and future of the book through exhibitions, unique and innovative events, conversations, lectures and workshops with artists, designers and experts. Theoretical, historical and praxis-based problematics and inquiries were explored, while adventurous programs and actions are integrated into the fabric of the group’s work.

The BookPub was launched through conversations around the creation of a Book minor at Pratt. Participants in this working group have all been involved in creating/writing/making various types of books, and continue to integrate questions around the form and functions of the book within their evolving works.

Changeover’s Dilemma +

The Museum Innovators’ Collective

Museum Collaboration + Projects

Spring 2016

Rebecca Armstrong, Trish Kaiser, Amir Parsa, Brittany Sauta, Carley Snack, Shina Yoon

Jessie Braden, Rachel Ropeik

Departmental participants:
Art and Design Education, History of Art and Design

Outside Partner:
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Changeover’s Dilemma was  a project undertaken with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Education Department, specifically with Rachel Ropeik, the Manager of Public Engagement in the department. The Museum Innovators’ Collective was borne of the interests and the engagements of students involved in innovative museum education, which included team-based collaboration among all students to reflect upon and find solutions to the problematics associated with the Guggenheim’s changeovers. The Guggenheim Changeover Project—dubbed Changeover’s Dilemma—was thus the group’s first museum challenge. The Collective remains active however, and is open to practitioners from across museum studies and practices. It hopes to remain a vibrant and constructive collective of thinkers, artists, designers, actionists in tune with the possibilities of museums and their role as social and cultural designers.

Mapping Outcomes & Learning Initiative

Spring 2016-ongoing

Coordinators: Jessie Braden, Amir Parsa, Adriana Beltrani, Donna Heiland, Fareen Islam, Craig MacDonald, Jonathan Marable, Isha Patel, Chris Sula, Eugenia Tang

Departmental participants:
SAVI, Office of the Provost

The Mapping Outcomes & Learning Initiative sought to create a nimble, fluid and useful mapping of learning outcomes as they are articulated within Pratt’s academic departments and other relevant institutional units. The product visualizes the connections between disciplines and departments as well between learning outcomes themselves. Overall, the Mapping Outcomes and Learning Initiative is an ongoing tool that can help administrators, faculty, students and their families, along with the Pratt community, provide a productive and helpful perspective on the curricular and learning landscape at Pratt, while helping to identify areas of improvement and needed operations to create an adaptable learning environment.

Crit the Crit

Interdisciplinary Research/Practice Hub
Faulty Learning Community
Cross-departmental discussions + Presentations on Critique

Spring 2016 

Kelly Driscoll, Heather Lewis, T. Camille Martin, Amir Parsa

Faculty from across the Institute

Departmental participants:

Art & Design Education, Fine Arts, Foundation, Interior Design, Foundation

Crit the Crit constituted a cross-departmental research project and an ongoing discussion around the nature, functions and forms of critique at Pratt and beyond. Conceived and implemented as a space for reflective practice that will aid professional development for faculty, Crit the Crit integrates the observations and analyses of critique as performed in various departments and follows it up with conversations around how best to transform and improve this most crucial component of learning at schools of art and design. The Crit the Crit circle is a group of faculty and administrators that continues this reflection with the community at large, both as an outgrowth of the work on outcomes, evaluations and assessment, and as an umbrella group that hopes to continue to widen the conversation within the Pratt community.

Translation Innovation Ensemble


Translate This! #1

Interdisciplinary Research/Practice Hub
Reading and Discussion Series

Amir Parsa, Christian Hawkey

Participants in Translate This! #1:
Per Bergström, Ida Börjel, Jennifer Hayashida, Jenny Tunedal, Uljana Wolf

Translate This! #1
Humanities and Media Studies, Office of the Provost

The Translation Innovation Ensemble is a core group of poets/writer/translators first formed at Pratt Institute. The Ensemble was conceived concomitantly with the first Translate This! event. The main focus of the ensemble—which remains open to interested literary translators from across the world—and the Translate This! series was to provide a space for reflection and action on the challenges and possibilities of poetic translation, as well as the inescapable political and social dimension of translatory practice as a whole. Innovative gestures at micro- and macro- levels are infused with the constant reflection on the impossibility-yet-necessity of poetic translation. 

Poetic translation has a long, varied and contentious history. The Translate This! series provided a platform for debate and discussion around the possibilities of literary translation, as well as the presentation of work from innovative poets and translators engaged in the investigation of the problematics at the heart of this enterprise. Poetic translation was examined from a formal and stylistic level, as well as within the social and political contexts and within the linguistic and literary traditions within which it operates.

The Translation Innovation Ensemble then, along with the Translate This! series, allows for an ongoing critical examination of the very possibilities of poetic translation, through theoretical articulations, discussions, and actual translatory practice on various platforms, and in different mediums and spaces.

Making RiDE: On

Creation of the RiDE book

Fall 2015–Spring 2017

Creative Services, Pratt Institute

Eric Cave, Mats Hakanson, Amir Parsa

Pratt Divisions:
Creative Services and Office of the Provost


Rafaella Castagnola Pollarolo, Erica Dagley, David Dupont, Jaime Eisen, Ryan Goldberg, Rory King, Sing-Young Lien, Isha Patel, Frances Pharr, Johanna Riess, Kara Schlindwein, Daniel Terna, Brandhi Williamson, and all RiDE participants

This episode is two-fold. The first aspect is evident: the creation of the RIDE book. The second aspect is an extension of the first: each designer within Pratt’s Creative Services (students and full-time staff included) contributes to the creation of the book, opening the book to greater collaboration and risk.

Each designer (six in total) is given a page from the RIDE book to design as they wish—no restrictions. The newly designed pages are consciously distributed throughout the book to provide a pleasant interruption to its already playful organization.

The designers have a limited amount of time to design and no forewarning. Each modified page is a visceral experience derived from the individual’s personality with not overthinking.




Amir Parsa

Perhaps the last word on RiDE should be that the entire vision of the program remains true to the code and the core of its mission: the entire RIDE venture itself is an audacious undertaking. An adventurous path. All of RiDE is a demonstration of daring to bring to the fore the exciting (re)search of thinkers, writers, artists, designers, architects, makers of all sorts, agitators, activisits, fusionists, on campus and off.

All of RiDE is a tribute to the spirit and the fact of rethinking the world, reimagining relationships, recreating the types of environments and spaces one inhabits.

All of RiDE is a tribute to the thirst for radical ideas that take us into unchartered territories, into unnamed, territories.

All of RiDE, is a RIDE episode!