Dean Milton S. F. Curry to Lead Critical Panel at Design Miami

School News

Dean Milton S. F. Curry to Lead Critical Panel at Design Miami

November 21, 2017

Nov. 21, 2017—Los Angeles—The University of Southern California School of Architecture, the journal CriticalProductive, and Design Miami/ have partnered to sponsor “Spatializing Blackness,” a three-part panel discussion on contemporary thinking and creative work related to black aesthetics, urbanism and the lived experiences of black bodies. This three-part panel is part of Design Miami/’s Design Talks 2017 program. Design Talks are organized to catalyze conversations on the critical issues that impact the contemporary production and reception of design, architecture and art.


Organized by USC Architecture Dean Milton S. F. Curry, “Spatializing Blackness” will feature a diverse array of distinguished participants including artist Hank Willis Thomas, artist/designer Amanda Williams, and architects Sir David Adjaye and Marshall Brown, among others. Panels will address key issues including the cultural work of blackness as an aesthetic catalyst and product in the contemporary design arts landscape. They’ll also highlight the hybrid design practices necessary to create impactful works of architecture and design installations as well as the political and social tensions embedded within these same practices.


“The USC School of Architecture challenges students to think beyond the classroom and explore topics such as politics and space, the status of the cultural and academic institution, and the role of the public sphere,” said USC Architecture Dean Milton S.F. Curry. “The ‘Spatializing Blackness’ panel series is an extension of the school’s ethos of asking foundational cultural questions, and we’re pleased to partner with Design Miami/ to create a dialogue surrounding key cultural issues.”


The three panels, taking place Wednesday, Dec. 6, Thursday, Dec. 7 and Friday, Dec. 8 at 1:30 PM ET each day, include “Rethinking the City Through Blackness,” “Performative Representation and Black Aesthetics” and “Concept, Abstraction and Blackness.”  


How do creators navigate the institutional levers of power in trying to project complicated intentions onto the space of viewership and experience? How do these creators operate between the structures of museum, public sphere and community? How does the cultural work of blackness get undermined by cultural appropriation of it as mere product? Each Design Talk interrogates the context for complex intentionality and reception, and the institutional provocations that give art and design work momentum and sustainability. For more information, visit



USC established architecture as an academic discipline within its College of Liberal Arts in 1914. By 1919, the University had established a Department of Art and Architecture under the leadership of Arthur Weatherhead, and had begun to graduate such renowned alumni as Paul R. Williams (the 1st African-American member of the American Institute of Architects). By 1925, a stand-alone School of Architecture was established, and a full professional Bachelor of Architecture curriculum was put in place in 1928. The first of several Master of Architecture programs was approved in 1932. The School quickly became known for offering one of the foremost architecture programs in the country. Today, the School of Architecture is organized around four key disciplines: architecture, building science, heritage conservation, and landscape architecture. Collectively the School’s programs aspire to support design excellence, technological innovation, sensitive urbanism, inspired professionalism, and intelligent globalism. With an enrollment of over 750 students, the USC School of Architecture grants several undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a BArch, MArch, and MLA.



Founded in 2008 by academic and designer Milton S. F. Curry, CriticalProductive, Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing theoretical inquiry and social activism in the areas of architecture, urbanism, cultural theory and criticism. Through print publications, exhibitions, public and academic programs and online platforms, CriticalProductive, Inc. disseminates innovative, culturally-informed scholarship and design work to a wide audience. CriticalProductive Journal(CP) is an independent academic journal/magazine whose mission is to: 1) publish emerging and mature scholarship and creative work that examines the frontlines of global urbanization; 2) publish radical work that is rigorous, culturally-informed and culturally-engaged; and 3) publish interdisciplinary work that produces more impact due to its proximity to other works published alongside it. CriticalProductive BlackCities - is a CP research platform that will have a print presence in each issue of the print journal and an online presence with virtual linkages to other related websites and blog sites.



Design Miami/ is the global forum for design. Each fair brings together the most influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators and critics from around the world in celebration of design culture and commerce. Occurring alongside the Art Basel fairs in Miami, USA each December and Basel, Switzerland each June, Design Miami/ has become the premier venue for collecting, exhibiting, discussing and creating collectible design.

Design Miami/ is more than a marketplace for design, where the world’s top galleries gather to present museum-quality exhibitions of twentieth and twenty-first century furniture, lighting and objets d’art. Each show balances exclusive commercial opportunities with progressive cultural programming, creating exciting collaborations with designers and design institutions, panels and lectures with luminaries from the worlds of design, architecture, art and fashion, and unique commissions from the world’s top emerging and established designers and architects.