The podcast explores and examines materials found in interior spaces and how those materials affect our bodies, our culture, and our history.


New York, April 1, 2020 -- On April 8th 2020, The Parsons Healthy Materials Lab at The New School is launching an innovative new podcast called Trace Material that explores the convergence of our lives and the lives of the materials that surround us. 

Today, more than ever, we are reflecting on our homes and families. The hope for the podcast is that it will inspire new, healthier opportunities for designing and building the places where we live. 

Each season we will examine a material that you might find in your interior environment to discover what it can tell us about our history, our culture, and our bodies. 

The first season will focus on hemp––one of the two main ingredients found in the superstar healthy material, HempLime, often called Hempcrete. Although hemp has become extremely popular in the U.S., Trace Material considers hemp in a more critical way.   We look into the history of American agriculture, the 2018 farm bill, and hemp’s potential to right some of the social and environmental wrongs of the country’s past. 

In Colonial America, you could pay your taxes with hemp. In 1941, Henry Ford introduced a car that was both built out of and could run on hemp. Today, you might be drinking a CBD latte, while wearing a hemp t-shirt, sitting in your HempLime house. Or, you may not be aware that any of this exists because you believe that hemp is still illegal.

Over the course of six 20-minute episodes, the first season of Trace Material investigates hemp’s storied past and contested future. In the first episode, available to stream April 8, we visit the fields of Farmington Historic Plantation in Louisville, Kentucky, where hemp was farmed by enslaved African Americans and features interviews with its Executive Director Kathy Nichols and docent Cassandra Sea, whose family are descendants of people who were enslaved at Farmington.

 In later episodes, Trace Material interviews noted cannabis historian Emily Dufton, New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, and environmental activist and two-time Vice Presidential nominee Winona LaDuke.

Trace Material is hosted by faculty, researchers and staff from Parsons Healthy Materials Lab (HML)–– a design-led research lab at Parsons School of Design at The New School. HML is dedicated to placing people’s health at the center of all design decisions and committed to raising awareness about toxics in building products and creating healthier places for all people to live.

The first episode of Trace Material is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Visit to find out more.

For more information about Healthy Materials Lab, please contact: or 212.229.8970 x2385

Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through our online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.




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Media Contacts:

The New School
David Koeppel
1 646 909-4684


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