michele gorman appointed director of parsons mfa interior design program

Michele Gorman

New York, January 5, 2022 - The New School’s Parsons School of Design today announced that Michele Gorman, Assistant Professor of Interiors, Objects, and Technology at Parsons, has been appointed Director of the MFA Interior Design program in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons.

As Director of the MFA Interior Design program, Gorman will oversee one of the country’s top interior design programs, which is housed within Parsons, one of the world’s leading art and design schools. Gorman is a designer and technologist who has designed and built a number of award-winning objects, exhibitions, and spaces, and is committed to addressing social and environmental justice within the profession and academy.

“We are thrilled that Michele is continuing her bold and collaborative work at Parsons, where as Director of our MFA Interior Design program, her innovative approach to education will help evolve the program,” said David Lewis, Dean of the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons. “Michele’s vision for the future of interior design exemplifies the Parsons mission, and we’re so excited that she will be bringing innovative approaches around equity, representation and ecology to the discipline.”

As a design activist and technologist, she is regularly engaged in work that aims to decolonise design curricula and facilitate the democratization of technologies, which have been heightened since the global pandemic and pivot to online learning. She is also the co-author of a forthcoming chapter titled “The Radically Inclusive Studio: an open access conversation on radically inclusive practices in the design studio” with newfound colleagues in South Africa and Australia for The Routledge Companion to Architectural Pedagogies of the Global South, edited by Dr. Harriet Harriss, Ashraf Salama, and Ane Gonzalez Lara. 

“I am so excited to be expanding my role at Parsons and SCE to Director of the graduate Interior Design program, collaborating with brilliant graduate students, alumni, and faculty who are challenging the boundaries of our discipline and leading in design research within a radically inclusive pedagogy,” said Gorman. “Addressing social equity and climate justice within a leading integrated school of design positions this program to reconsider who our interiors are for and the impact our spaces and materials have on our community. As program director, I will expand on our program’s mission of design as a force for change, proposing new interior futures that understand how the practice of interior design can create a more joyful and just environment. I’m eager to work with this community of designers committed to socially just approaches to the reduction of global warming, circular economies and decarbonizing interior practices, and to create the next generation of interior design leaders.”

Throughout the past year, Gorman has introduced new inclusive design pedagogy through the launch of the Radically Inclusive Studio, which has been brought into the MFA Interior Design curriculum through non-hierarchical design review formats. The studio also addresses issues of power and agency in the design syllabus (IDEC), and includes a pilot of gradeless assessment.

Gorman’s plans as Program Director include working towards a decarbonized and decolonized interior future with graduate student voices at the center. Decoloniality is a process of shifting power and making space for other intelligences and practices. The cohort is composed of a culturally diverse student body that brings new global communities and relationships to the interior into their research. Using ethnographic tools to listen and to heal through new participatory design frameworks, puts focus on how we design, shifting the designer’s role in the design process. Through design workshops this Spring, Gorman is collaborating with MFA Industrial Design Director Yvette Chaparro, Healthy Materials Lab, and student organizations such as El Colectivo, to bring attention to global warming and its intersection with our impacted NYC communities. The workshop embodies a material practice that works towards the mitigation of carbon through the design process, and materials we use.

Gorman will be part of a group of programs at Parsons united by the material basis of its design disciplines. Encompassing a specialized confluence of design disciplines, the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons fosters and guides designers towards socially just, environmentally sustainable, and technologically innovative buildings, interiors, lighting, and products. With New York City as an urban laboratory, SCE is at the forefront of leveraging design to reimagine an equitable and just world.

Parsons School of Design at The New School is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.

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:

Will Wilbur
The New School

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