University of Michigan
Cities Studied

Detroit, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro,

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Milton S. F. Curry
Associate Dean, University of Michigan A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Matthew Biro
Chair of Art History, University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and the Arts

The Michigan/Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis is a 4.5-year academic and research initiative focused on architecture, urbanism and humanities research in Detroit, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.  It is made possible by a $1.3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The project allows design theory and practice to inform and be informed by questions of social justice, social movements and transformative creative arts movements—both past and present.  The emphasis on cities and their specificity will focus humanists on linking theories of human interaction and collective life with the physical space of a city and its histories.  The increased expertise in urbanism allows for humanists to better understand the market forces and economic constraints that inform design decisions that directly affect human life.


Sample Projects

High School Academic Enrichment

Michigan Architecture Prep is a one-semester architecture enrichment course offered to 48 students per term from Detroit high schools twice per year, for high school academic credit.  Students are trained in architecture, math, visual arts, and writing in the Michigan Research Studio.  Michigan-Mellon Fellows are the primary instructors of the program. 

Public Programs: Conferences and Symposia

Annual symposia highlight the work of eminent scholars, designers, theoreticians, and public activists on the following themes: “Rethinking Modernist Orthodoxies,” “Privatization and the Commons,” "Capital and Justice,” and “Political Space of Media.”  Symposia are held in one physical location and interactively live streamed to each of the two other cities of focus.                                                

Symposium 1: The Egalitarian Metropolis  

Presented in Detroit and Ann Arbor, this symposium featured participants from the USA, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Singapore: Johana Londoño (SUNY Albany), Ronald A. Judy (University of Pittsburgh), Wallace Turbeville (Demos), Arturo, Ortiz Struck (Mexico: Taller Territorial de México), Nanda Eskes (Mexico: Atelier 77), Jose Castillo (Mexico: arquitectura 911sc), Gustavo Lipkau (Mexico: Architect), Sarah Mineko Ichioka (Singapore: The New Intentionals), Toni L. Griffin (CUNY), Paloma Vera (Mexico: Cano Vera Architecture), Erika Robb Larkins (University of Oklahoma), Reighan A. Gillam (University of Michigan) Anya Sirota (University of Michigan), Fernanda Canales (Brazil: Arquitectura Fernanda Canales), Livia Corona Benjamin (Mexico City / New York: Photographer).  The symposium was live-streamed to LIGA Gallery in Mexico City. All collateral material was available in English and Spanish.

Symposia 2: Common(s) Sense City 2016

Common(s) Sense City brings together designers, scholars, humanists and cultural workers to examine the conceptual and lived experience of the public commons and the multidimensional task of theory and design to articulate ideological forces at work in our individual and collective coherence of the city.  Presented in Ann Arbor and live streamed to Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City, this symposium will feature the following participants: Teddy Cruz (UC San Diego / Estudio Cruz + Forman), Fonna Forman (UC San Diego / Estudio Cruz + Forman), Arturo Ortiz Struck (Architect, Mexico City), Laura Janka (Mexico City), Gabriel Duarte (Arquiteto and Professor CAU-PUC-Rio),Pedro Évora (RUA Arquitetos, Rio de Janeiro), Ronald A. Judy (English, University of Pittsburgh), Wallace Turbeville (DEMOS), David Alade (Century Partners Detroit), Hector Zamora (Artist, Mexico / Brazil), Heather Thompson (University of Michigan), Amanda Alexander (University of Michigan) Lester Spence (Political Science, Johns Hopkins University), Tania Aedo Arankowsky (Laboratorio Arte Alameda Mexico City), Jaki Irvine (Artist, Dublin ), Melanie Smith (Filmmaker, Mexico City), Luis M. Castañeda (Syracuse University).

Public Programs: Exhibitions / Publications

Exhibitions  will showcase research and creative work from Project participants and others—in Detroit, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro.  Through major exhibitions (2017 and 2018), project themes will be explored from the perspectives of designers and humanists working in tandem.  Publication—including one major publication and smaller pamphlet publications—will be produced in concert with the exhibitions. 

Design and Humanities Fellowships

Design and Humanities Fellows are provided 1-2 year research / teaching fellowships to pursue their research, interact with a vibrant faculty and university, and teach courses.  Fellows are fully engaged in an academic unit of their choosing, receive research stipends, and receive a workspace in Ann Arbor or Detroit.  All Fellows have some teaching responsibilities in the Michigan Architecture Prep program in Detroit. Fellows 2014-2015: Corina Kessler (Humanities), Nathan Holmes (Humanities),Missy Ablin (Design) Allen Gillers (Design).  Fellows 2015-2016: Michael McCulloch (Humanities), Michael Stauch (Humanities), Missy Ablin (Design), Paulina Reyes (Design).

Research Colloquia

Research Colloquia are held eight times per academic term in fall and winter terms.  Colloquia are organized around 1-2 presentations by faculty and fellows on their current research work.  Discussion of current research works is combined with reflection on aspects of the Project theme.  Presenters have included: Elizabeth Anderson (Philosophy, University of Michigan), Mitch McEwen (Architecture, University of Michigan), Daniel Nemser (Spanish, University of Michigan), Nathan Holmes (Humanities Fellow), Missy Ablin (Design Fellow), Allen Gillers (Design Fellow), Corina Kessler (Humanities Fellow), Paulina Reyes (Design Fellow), Eric Swanson (Philosophy, University of Michigan), Maria Arquero de Alarcon (Architecture, University of Michigan), McClain Clutter (Architecture, University of Michigan), and Heather Thompson (Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan), Meena Krishnamurthy (Philosophy, University of Michigan), Ana María León (Art History, University of Michigan), Michael McCulloch (Humanities Fellow, Michael Stauch (Humanities Fellow).

High School Enrichment: Michigan Architecture Prep

Michigan Architecture Prep—a college-level architecture enrichment program offered to high school juniors from 4-6 high schools in metro Detroit—assists in the intellectual development of students motivated to learn architecture.  The program is administered by University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and is taught at the College’s Michigan Research Studio in midtown Detroit.  The program brings together Taubman Architecture faculty, alumni, practitioners and community partners to support up to 84 students per year.  Students are trained in architecture, math, visual arts, and writing, and receive high school credit for the program.

Courses

Experimental Courses will explore political philosophy and egalitarianism; architectural and urban histories and theories; and cultural theory in Detroit, Mexico City and/or Rio de Janeiro.  The courses will combine humanities and design-based perspectives and open up new ground in addressing the complexity of urban issues in varying contexts.

Resources

Michigan-Mellon Fellowships on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis

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Michigan-Mellon Fellowships on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis

Category:

Funding

Locations:

Detroit, Mexico City,

The University of Michigan offers up to four fellowships per year for architects, designers, or scholars in the humanities whose research explores the intersection of architecture, urbanism and the humanities, with particular emphasis on the role of egalitarianism in shaping metropolitan regions. 

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Michigan-Mellon Project Courses

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Michigan-Mellon Project Courses

Category:

Syllabi

Locations:

Detroit, Mexico City,

Experimental courses explore political philosophy and egalitarianism; architectural and urban histories and theories; and cultural theory; urban economics and social inequality; aspects of egalitarianism, post-industrial cities in the United States, and/or megacities of South America. 

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Michigan-Mellon Symposium on the Egalitarian Metropolis

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Michigan-Mellon Symposium on the Egalitarian Metropolis

This inaugural Michigan-Mellon symposium explored the following themes as a way of opening up a new integration between contemporary urban design and humanities discourse: Rethinking Modern Orthodoxy; Privatization and the Commons; Capital and Justice; and Political Space of Media.

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All auh Resources  >