Civic Design Lab

The Civic Design Lab at Parsons Paris actively champions The New School mission which encourages students to engage with the vital issues of our time, such as democracy, urbanization, sustainability, migration, and globalization. Under the direction of the Dean’s office, faculty, students and staff are invited to participate in cross-disciplinary initiatives to address social justice with particular attention to the refugee crisis in Europe.

Civic Design Lab Projects

Memories of Politics and Exile/Mémoires et Politiques d’Exil
October 6-7, 2016
A symposium at the George C. Marshall Center jointly organized by Parsons Paris, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and The New School for Social Research will focus on the intellectual history of artistic and scholarly migrations during the Second World War, commemorating the Ecole Libre des Hautes Etudes (1942-46). Participants will equally explore the potential for design and the humanities to address today’s refugee crisis.

MA in Fashion Studies Fall 2016 event will focus on the relationship between Clothing & Refugees.
December 7, 2016
Parsons Paris will host an afternoon talk with keynote speaker Lucy Orta and a small roundtable with other artists and scholars. Students from the ‘Fashion Systems and Global Perspectives’ in collaboration with the artist Olfa Ben Ali will curate an exhibition on this theme in the Parsons Paris Gallery.

AMT + Techfugees
The Art, Media & Technology program is planning a hackathon as part of the annual Refrag festival that will include one of the 5 focus areas where new technologies can help refugees: Infrastructure, Education, Identity, Health, Inclusion.

Past events:

The Urban Refugee Project photography exhibition and film screening with the work of Guillaume Lavit d’Hautefort was shown in the Parsons Paris Gallery, which was proposed and coordinated by BFA Art, Media & Technology student Maureen Muse. During her final year MFA Design and Technology student Jaime Hamadi also worked with the organization Urban Refugees, which seeks to raise the voice of the invisible. Her final thesis project was around refugees.

Humanities in Action & Parsons Paris

In collaboration with the Humanities Action Lab, Parsons Paris MA History of Design & Curatorial Studies Program Director Emmanuel Guy and MFA Design & Technology graduate student Shawné Michaelain Holloway (’15) participated in the  Humanities Action Lab (HAL) project States of Incarceration which focused on the past, present, and future of incarceration, exploring the explosion of prisons and incarcerated people in the US — including immigration detention centers — and its global dimensions. The Parsons Paris’ project introduced the pioneering work of Michel Foucault and original archival material presenting the Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons, a prisoner support group committed to collecting testimonies of French prisoners and their families and making them public in the early 1970s.

Parsons Paris Assistant Director of Academic Affairs / Gallery & Events Manager Alison Carey traveled to the NY campus to talk about the COP21 show during the Tishman Environment & Design Center (TEDC) Earth Week 2016 event: Irresistible Resistance (April 2015). This event celebrated the idea that designers, artists and young people are the very heart of the struggle for resistance and resilience and that creative expression makes resistance irresistible. [Alison‘s introduction starts around 14:30, but watch the video from the start which gives a nice context for The New School and TEDC.]


Futurographies (April 2016) explored how the shared histories of Cambodia, U.S.A, and France are ones of violence: colonial repression, war, bombing campaigns, genocide, migrations of refugees, deportations, and forced “repatriations.” This exhibition traveled from our New York campus to be exhibition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and finally in our Parsons Paris Gallery. The student curators were from ParsonsLang and the New School for Social Research, and come from backgrounds in Design, Liberal Arts, and Anthropology.

Learn more about our Research Labs at Parsons Paris.