Dialogues in Public Space: ACT and Tsinghua University

Beijing advertisement

During this year’s spring break, ten MIT students traveled to Beijing as a part of the ACT course Dialogues in Public Space taught by Professor Antoni Muntadas. This course focuses on examining a given society’s cultural identity as expressed through public spaces. The trip to Beijing offered a point of comparison with Boston’s public spaces and cultural identity, allowing students to re-interpret what cultural identity can mean. While much of the trip included visiting major public sites and attending lectures by architects and artists, one significant part of the program was a day of academic exchange with Tsinghua University. Students from a variety of discipline backgrounds including visual arts, media lab, architecture, urban planning, and engineering, from both MIT and Tsinghua, participated in a two-hour PechaKucha event. The academic setting offered a unique platform for testing, questioning, and probing ideas of Beijing’s cultural identity in the public sphere and allowed for an uncensored dialog. The students from both institutions found that the new connections laid the foundations for collaborative opportunities for future projects that would require and foster cross-national and cross-disciplinary engagement.


Participating MIT Students:

Ana Vargas, Architecture and Urbanism, SMARCHS
Arfa Aijazi, Materials Science and Engineering, Undergrad
Denise Cheng, Civic Engagement, Media Studies, Masters
Georgios Samartzopoulos, Architecture, SMARCHS
Jesse Laurent Austin-Breneman, Mechanical Engineering, Phd
Laurel Gabrielle Donaldson, Urban Planning, Masters
Mariam R AbdelAzim, Aga Khan Program, SMARCHS
Ryan Kuo, Program in Art, Culture And Techonology, Masters
Sooyoung Kwon, Program in Art, Culture And Techonology, Masters
Xiao Xiao, Media Lab, Phd


Written by Jenine Kotob
TA for 4.367/8 Dialogues in Public Space – Spring, 2013
SMARCHS Student in the Aga Khan Program at MIT