All the works related to museums (The Musies) and universities (The UNI3s). New TYPES of work.
I have been a key player involved in momentous shifts at Pratt Institute, working on projects that established the groundwork for academic renewal, the opening of the curriculum, new paradigms for programs, and the creation of systems and the implementation of concepts that allowed interdisciplinary and cross-departmental work to take place—and that also allowed departments and disciplinary explorations to flower. On top of the teaching… The very nature of most of the work I’ve been involved in for the past ten years has been the kind of innovative (even pioneering) work that has contributed to the Institute’s overall academic transformation. I would categorize my contributions in several ways: 1/Systemic Institutional Transformations–transforming foundational academic systems at the institute level; 2/Structural Programmatic Creations—fashioning projects that involved structural considerations, including, for example, the creation of a new taxonomy of minors; 3/Mechanisms and Processes Revisions—reviewing and changing mechanisms and dealing with atomic-level issues related to programs and projects; 4/Conceptualization and Implementation of New Programs—from the creation of new minors (The Book) to the Individualized minor and the overall implementation of new type of courses, the PICs; 5/Leadership Contributions—from serving on multiple crucial steering committees to contributing to accreditation efforts and creative working groups (Crit the Crit and MOLI); And perhaps most interestingly: 6/Creative and Critical Curricular and Pan-Curricular Design and Curation! Throughout the years! All along… Overall, along with colleagues, I’ve overseen the creation of an entire terrain of inter/trans-disciplinary programming, research and practice, one that has been cultivated and created, built and constructed, expanded and deepened, implemented, solidified and brought to ‘national model’ level, and again re-energized and reconfigured to continuously be at the forefront of the creative institution. Below, official titles and selected responsibilities associated with them. I call the Collected Works here, The University Ninja’s Innovations, Interventions and Instigations (or, I3), and for short, The UNI3s.
The Musies: For more than ten years, I worked at some of the most prestigious museums in the world, creating innovative, renowned programs that were emulated at museums across the globe. I worked as an Educator and Lecturer at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Met, Queens Museum, and along the way, was invited to museums across the country and the world, doing trainings for colleagues and education staff of all sizes and scales, and in multiple languages—including in Spain, Italy, Mexico and India. My full-time work at MoMA brought our team international attention–including for The Alzheimer’s Project, which has been replicated whtoughout the world–and we won several major museum prizes. (After the pandemic decimated museum education departments, we now refer to those years as one of (not ‘the’) ‘golden ages’ of museum education, and I personally think we generated what could be called New and Avant-Garde Museum Education.) I became a ‘leader’ of sorts in museum education circles, and continued this work at Pratt, specifically in the art and design education department where I developed, then taught, and then passed on two key courses—Contemporary Museum Education and Avant-Garde Museum Education (now dubbed Museum Education and Innovation) to new faculty. I also instigated and co-created the Museum and Gallery Practices minor. I’m still occasionally invited to museums to work with staff, or to conferences that pertain to innovation in museum practices or to the fields in which we developed related museum programming, namely, aging and the arts, creativity and museum education, community practice, museums and social practice etc. I also developed the Kadenze MOOC on museum education. Around 2014, I sensed that I had accomplished all that was relevant to me, and with my focus at Prat shifting, I finalized some of the remaining work until 2019. I officially branded my “collected works” in the museum field as The Musies, ending it all with a conversation with the deputy director of education and programs of the Transit Museum in an old subway car in the museum! A finissage still awaits.
Like the ‘movies’, yes, for both. And the long years that it took to actually see this type, and conceptualize and NAME it, finally, are well worth it. The naming, though, is key: in fact, is EVERYTHING: creating the new category under which one creates. A new type of critico-curatorial venture. That: is the step to fashioning the category; that is the biggest find, the most relevant ACT. They generate new experiences. Aesthetic, critical, poetic, political. The Musies and The UNI3s: new types of creative endeavors, new types of experiences.