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The Political Power of Interiors

Parsons Roundtable Series. March 4th, 2021.

This roundtable brings together designers Jacqueline Carmichael, Maria Linares Trelles, who, in conversation with MFA ID thesis student Ashley Cloud, will discuss the political implications of mapping and community-led participatory design approaches to projects of urban renewal and redevelopment. Although working in different contexts, the works presented in this roundtable introduce interior design discourses to conversations on urban/territorial planning, policymaking, and spatial justice.


By expanding the notion of interior beyond the architectural container, these interior designers foreground social and cultural dynamics, the interaction between agents, sense of belonging, maintenance, and care as conditions of interiority. In this way, they seek to promote inclusive practices and grassroots initiatives as sustainable urban development mechanisms through the redistribution of power and agency in the design process.


Furthermore, these practices present ways to effectively learn, engage, and navigate the vocabulary and framework of politics. As we question the role interior designers have played in perpetuating structures of injustices, heightened by the unfolding crises of COVID-19, racism, and climate emergency, this roundtable presents itself as an opportunity to imagine and articulate alternative forms of practice centered on the interior in the attempt to achieve significant, enduring change.

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