Harvard Design Magazine #50 Issue Preview and Conversation

A central figure stands with their fist raised in a crowd of people.

Smriti Azad protesting at a rally at Shahid Mina, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1994. © Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World.

Event Information
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Event Description

“Today is global” is a rather banal truism, but what really is today’s globalism? In a conversation with contributors from across the globe, Harvard Design Magazine introduces Issue #50: Today’s Global, guest-edited by Sarah M. Whiting and Rahul Mehrotra.

Today’s world has entered a phase of critical backlash against globalization, which is for some a critique of international integration, for others a critique of global and local inequalities produced by neoliberal extremism, and for many, a shared global concern over climate change. Increasingly, the inevitability of globalization has been called into question. This issue of Harvard Design Magazine eschews a simple and ineffective binary swing back to a mere celebration of the local or the regional. Instead, it presents a nuanced understanding of where design “sits” vis-à-vis our planet and advances a more productive discourse on globalization. In doing so, we celebrate the emergence of new resources that have made broader global design talent more visible and reject the stultifying categories—such as “first world” and “third world”—defined by contemporary boundaries.

The event will be introduced by Harvard Design Magazine’s Editorial Director, Julie Cirelli, and it will feature a conversation between Sarah Whiting, Rahul Mehrotra, and a group of contributors to the issue: DAAR (Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Christopher Lee, Nicolai Ouroussoff, and Anel Du Plessis.


Anél du Plessis is the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) Research Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability and Professor of Law at the North-West University, Faculty of Law, South Africa. Her research focuses on urban law reform and development, sustainability, climate change and transitional local governance in the South African and African regional contexts.

Christopher C. M. Lee is the principal of Serie Architects, and the Arthur Rotch Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

The artistic research practice of Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti is situated between politics, architecture, art and pedagogy. They are co-director of DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) an architectural studio and an art residency in Palestine and Stockholm.  Alessandro is professor of Architecture and Social Justice at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and Sandi is visiting professor at Lund University. Their recent publications are Refugee Heritage (Art and Theory 2021) and Permanent Temporariness (Art and Theory 2019).

Nicolai Ouroussoff is a writer and critic living in New York. Currently adjunct associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, he is formerly the architecture critic of The Los Angeles Times, where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

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