The New School at SXSW
The New School returns to SXSW this year, sharing innovative projects and perspectives that embody the university’s human-centered approach to technology and design-inspired solutions to pressing social issues.
Our world needs the kind of multidisciplinary critical-thinkers that study at The New School now more than ever. Below, get to know three of the faculty members who help shape these incredible minds before they lead specialized talks and workshops at SXSW: Interactive on metagaming, digital equity, and democratizing historical narratives. Not going to be at SXSW? You can Livestream both Maya Wiley’s and Lauren Walsh’s talks from our Livestream channel.
Parsons Fashion Activations at SXSW
Students, alumni, and faculty members from Parsons School of Design will also share wearable technology designed for social good (Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and Sunday, 3–6 p.m. at TheCurrent Mansion, 1309 Meriden Lane). An exhibition of wearable technology projects and experiences that address wellness needs, including sleep and social interaction, by teams of Parsons students and innovators from Panasonic Corporation (demos held Saturday through Monday, March 11–13, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. and Tuesday, March 14, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Panasonic House, Parkside, 301 E 6th St.).
Meet the Faculty
Maya Wiley (@mayawiley)
Senior Vice President for Social Justice
SXSW Talk: “Digital Equity as Public Policy in the Trump Era” | Wednesday, March 15, 12:30–1:30 PM
Livestream Maya’s talk here.
On Her SXSW Panel: “Technology has the promise to disrupt, but what is it that we are disrupting? My great hope is that viewers walk away with a greater sense of opportunity and engagement in disrupting inequality, particularly racialized poverty created by decisions that ignore these realities but with renewed recognition that unfairness is not inevitable and equity is achievable.”
Teaches: “The New School’s Digital Equity Lab, a transdisciplinary, experiential learning lab where graduate students work on real world questions of digital equity including wireless corridors for public housing residents, data sovereignty strategies and digital sanctuary questions. In addition, I teach Race, Policy and Discourse, which examines the way race is socially constructed through policy and how it impedes or produces greater racial equity.”
Favorite Class to Teach: “I love both classes I’m teaching equally. What is special about the New School is the opportunity for intellectual rigor coupled with real world problem solving. Both my classes incorporate these elements in real time and with students of diverse backgrounds and skill-sets. It creates an engaging and generative space where we all learn from each other, from history and from current discourse, decisions and debates.”
Currently watching + reading: “The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, a fantasy by one of my favorite fantasy authors. I am between binge watching obsessions at the moment. I’m waiting for a new season of Kill Joys. Black women kicking butt or struggling in a fantasy world is a theme here.
Positive + Negative Effects of Technology: “Technology has greatly improved the speed and amount of information we can generate and receive. That is exciting and expansive. It is also built on and driven by a history of decisions and assumptions that normalize the experiences of a set of thinkers and doers who do not represent the majority of experiences of many of the people of the world. The business models and applications have both the opportunity and the challenge of promoting more inclusion and community generated innovation than we area fully realizing.”
On “Fake News”: “Conspiracy. Fake news isn’t accidental. Its orchestrated by people driven by ideology to “win” by any means necessary. These means are a fundamental threat to democratic practice. This should trouble all of us no matter our partisan affiliations.”
Currently Working On: A Digital Equity Symposium at the New School.
Colleen Macklin (@colleenmacklin)
Associate Professor of Media Design at Parsons School of Design
SXSW Workshop: Metagaming The Future: A Workshop to Provoke Social Discussion | Sunday, March 12, 10:15–11:15 AM
On Her SXSW Panel: “Play is a great way to shake up how we think, break out of established patterns, and be creative.”
Teaches: “Game design at Parsons. Much of my work focuses on using games and play as a way to understand systems and humanity! I am currently leading an MFA in Design and Technology Thesis studio, and teaching a University-wide Lecture called Gaming the System: The Political Potential of Play. It’s currently got 100 undergraduates enrolled in it, and we’re going to be playing, studying and making games that explore political issues!”
Currently Doing: “I just returned home from the Game Developer’s Conference, so I am currently recovering from a week full of exciting talks, events and socializing. This week, I’m playing a game I am working on, Losswords — a mobile game that plays with classic literature! I’m also playing Casual Games for Protesters, a series of physical games you can play while protesting: protestgames.org.”
Positive + Negative Effects of Technology: “I think the positive/negative effects are all mirrors of each other. We’re able to find like minds, but this leads to an echo chamber.”
On “Fake News”: “Propaganda — I don’t think we should call it by any other name.”
Lauren Walsh (co-presenting with Ron Haviv)
Professor at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
SXSW Talk: “The New Archive: How Tech Democratizes Historical Narratives” | Monday, March 13, 4:30–5:30 PM
Livestream Lauren’s talk here.
On Her SXSW Panel: “I hope viewers take away the understanding that their personal photos—those iPhone or Instagram pics—can have meaning that goes beyond the individual. Photography is hugely important in the creation of historical records and can allow individuals to literally be a visible part of historical narratives.”
Teaches: “Visual culture studies and journalism courses. In addition, I specialize in the photojournalistic coverage of wars and humanitarian crises. This semester at The New School, I’m teaching Urban Journalism. I love all the classes I teach. In fact, I love teaching. It’s a privilege to get to work in a space where you’re constantly engaging with ideas and with smart young minds.”
Currently Reading/Watching: “I need to see Moonlight! And I’m just starting a book called The Public Image by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites.”
Excited to See at SXSW: “There’s a ton of great stuff. I’m excited to check out Austin Merrill’s “Tech Activism: More than a Hashtag” and Becci Manson’s “Photography: Still an Agent for Change,” to name two.”
Positive + Negative Effects of Technology: “Not sure I can boil this down to the most outstanding positive/negative. The democratization of historical narratives through new technologies (which I’ll talk about in my SXSW session) and having immensely greater access to information are both significant positives. At the same time, as the next question anticipates, falsified information, which can be generated more rapidly and disseminated more widely via social media and other digital platforms, can have hugely serious negative consequences.”
On “Fake News”: “I just spent the past 3 weeks of my syllabus on “fake news,” looking at how this concept has evolved over the decades, to what it means today. Once upon a time, not too long ago, “fake news” referred to the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live. What comes to mind now, in light of contemporary events and the new meaning of “fake news,” is that we’re facing a threat to the democratic process.”
Please Check Out: “Lost Rolls America (LRA). This is the site my co-presenter, Ron Haviv, and I will be using as an example of democratization of historical narratives. I’m Project Editor for LRA, and Ron Haviv is the founder of Lost Rolls America, and an Emmy-nominated, award-winning photojournalist.”
Currently Working On: “Haviv and I are also co-directing a documentary film called Biography of a Photo. Additionally, I’m photo editor of a photo book coming out next month called Macondo: Memories of the Colombian Conflict. And my forthcoming book is Conversations on Conflict Photography.”