The MIA Scholars Program is student-centered resource in which notable thinkers in the creative fields such as interior design, industrial design, architecture, landscape architecture work directly with MIA students in their final year of the program. The intention is that MIA Scholars provide a high level of expertise in an area of research that aligns with that of the student they are working with. The context for this pairing is the MIA student’s thesis project, a significant moment in the education of a designer. Scholars may be drawn from among Woodbury faculty, or from local, national, or international locations.
Partner, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners
Billie Tsien was born in Ithaca, NY and received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Yale University and her Master of Architecture degree from UCLA. She began working with Tod Williams in 1977; they established their architectural practice in 1986. Located in New York, their studio focuses on work for institutions including schools, museums, and not-for- profits—organizations and people who value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty. They are devoted participants in the cultural community and lecture worldwide. As both educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to making a better world through architecture.
Publisher and Editor in Chief, METROPOLIS
Susan S. Szenasy is Publisher and Editor in Chief of METROPOLIS, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design at every scale. Since 1986 she has lead the publication and its other media platforms through decades of landmark design journalism, achieving domestic and international recognition. She is a pioneer in connecting environmental stewardship with design, and a tireless advocate for human centered design. A book of her writings and talks, Szenasy, Design Advocate, was published in 2015 by Metropolis Books/DAP.
Former Director of Communications for The Pritzker Architecture Prize, Architectural Communications Consultant
Edward Lifson is an award-winning journalist, architecture writer, and former Director of Communications for The Pritzker Architecture Prize. He writes on architecture, urbanism, and culture and hosted a Public Radio arts program called “Hello Beautiful!” He was a war correspondent and bureau chief for NPR; a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and then a Visiting Fellow; and a Getty Arts Journalism Fellow. As a USC Annenberg Fellow he received a Masters in the Specialized Journalism of Architecture. Lifson is former Chairman of the Mies van der Rohe Society at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Raymund Ryan is Curator of the Heinz Architectural Center at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art. Pittsburgh exhibitions include Michael Maltzan: Alternate Ground (2005), Frank Lloyd Wright: Renewing the Legacy (2005), Gritty Brits: New London Architecture (2007), Laboratory of Architecture: Fernando Romero (2009), White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes (2012), and Building Optimism: Public Space in South America (2016). A graduate of University College Dublin and Yale, Ryan was first Irish Commissioner for the Venice Architecture Biennale (2000; 2002). He is the co-author ofBuilding Tate Modern (2000), author of Cool Construction (2001), and a frequent contributor to The Architectural Review (London), The Plan(Bologna), and Architecture Ireland (Dublin).
Professor of Cinematic Arts, USC
Bruce Block has over forty years of experience in the production of live action and animated motion pictures, television programs, commercials and Imax films. His producing and consulting credits include: The Holiday, How Do You Know, Something’s Gotta Give, Christmas With The Kranks, What Women Want, Father Of The Bride, The Parent Trap, Stuart Little, As Good As It Gets, Some Kind Of Wonderful, and Pretty In Pink.
Mr. Block is a tenured professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts where he teaches visual structure. He has presented seminars at Pixar Studios, Disney Animation, Dreamworks, Hasbro Interactive, Activision, Nickelodeon, Hewlett-Packard, Treyarch, AFI, and UCLA.
Mr. Block is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and the Art Director’s Guild.
Professor of Design Media Arts, UCLA
Méndez is an artist, designer, and professor at UCLA, Design Media Arts, where she is director of the CounterForce Lab, a research and fieldwork studio dedicated to using art and design to develop creative collaborations, research, and projects around the social and ecological impacts of anthropocene climate change. Her research and practice investigates design and media art in public space, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. Méndez’s art is driven by her interest in perception and embodied experience. Her diverse works—photography, 16mm film, book arts, and architectural scale sound and video installations—have been exhibited widely at significant institutions and biennials worldwide.
Professor of English, UCLA
Mona Simpson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles as a young teenager. Her father was a Syrian immigrant and her mother, the daughter of a mink farmer, was the first person in her family to attend college. Simpson went to Berkeley, where she studied poetry. She worked as a journalist and an acupuncturist’s assistant before moving to New York to attend Columbia’s MFA program. She stayed in New York and worked as an editor of The Paris Review while writing her first novel, Anywhere But Here. Her work has been awarded several awards: The Whiting Prize, a grant from the NEA, a Guggenheim, the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize and most recently, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Architectural photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Over 6 years of experience with residential, commercial & educational structures. Clients include acclaimed architects, interior designers and real estate agents. Services range from staged, lit & retouched architectural photography to motion vignettes that feature narratives surrounding the architecture.
In 2012, he became head of Film Division at Funbuilt, a Silicon Valley backed social media company, for which he produced short documentaries around the world. In 2013-2014 Nils shot his first film entitled “ECHOES”. The supernatural thriller deals with perspectives and personal duality and showcases the surreal and cinematic style that can be found throughout Nils’ work.
Craig Tolliver is a developer for virtual and augmented reality. He specialized on the development of environmental design, virtual reality and next generation sustainable systems. His work occupies the thresholds between film, gaming, architecture, and interior design.
The Master of Interior Architecture (MIA) program provides an education in interior environments that elevates and reinvents the discipline of interior architecture by mining and re-imagining the range of our human experiences. In doing so, this graduate program cultivates scholars, academics and critics, while generating emergent and alternative approaches to the profession, specifically in the Southern California region.
The Unmentionables Symposium was an inaugural two-day event hosted by the Department of Interior Architecture at Woodbury University School of Architecture and held at Helms Design Center in Culver City, April 7-8, 2017. Coinciding with the 85th anniversary of the university’s Interior Architecture program, the event brought together many of the MIA Scholars and highlighted the critical changes happening within the discipline today. Unmentionables explored new narratives for interior architecture and precedents for welcoming previously unmentioned ideas in spatial practice and theory. The symposium served as a provocation for marginalia, taboos, illicit ideas, and undertheorized issues such as critical interiority, the scale of the body, and physical and virtual constructed environments.