Our Common Purpose: Voting by Design with Danielle Allen, Michael Murphy, and Sarah Whiting

Two headshots placed side-by-side. The headshot on the left shows Michael Murphy, who has short brown hair and wears a green button-up shirt and a black coat. On the right is a headshot of Danielle Allen, who has short brown hair and wear a silver necklace with a dark blue shirt and sweater.

(c) MASS Design Group (left), (c) Laura Rose (right)

The GSD is pleased to present a series of talks and webinars broadcast to our audiences via Zoom.

*This lecture will be ONLINE ONLY. For security reasons, virtual attendees must register. Scroll down to find complete instructions for how to register.

Event Description

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, will come together with Michael Murphy, Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, and Dean Sarah Whiting for a conversation about the 2020 American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, Our Common Purpose. They will discuss voting as both a civic issue and a design issue.


Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a former Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Follow Danielle Allen on Twitter.

Michael Murphy is the Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, an interdisciplinary architecture and design collective. As a designer, writer, and teacher, his work investigates the social and political consequences of the built world. MASS’s work has been published in over a thousand publications, from the New York Times, Domus, the Washington Post, to Log. MASS was awarded the 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, the 2018 Arts and Letters Award, and the 2020 Wall Street Journal’s Innovator of the year award. Michael has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, The University of Michigan, and Columbia University, MIT and Cornell. Michael is from Poughkeepsie, NY, and holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago.

Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture, joined the GSD as Dean in July 2019. She is a design principal and co-founder of WW Architecture, and served as the Dean of Rice University’s School of Architecture from 2010 to 2019. [more]

How to Join

Register to attend the lecture here. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. This link will also be emailed to you.

The event will also be live streamed to the GSD’s YouTube page. Only viewers who are attending the lecture via Zoom will be able to submit questions for the Q+A. If you would like to submit questions for the speakers in advance of the event, please click here.

Live captioning will be provided during this event. After the event has ended, a transcript will be available upon request.

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics logo

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].