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  • Elizabeth Ellsworth

  • Elizabeth Ellsworth

    Elizabeth Ellsworth is a professor emerita of the School of Media Studies. Her research and teaching areas include theories of change and social change, new materialisms and media practice, documentary media forms, and public pedagogies. Her scholarship addresses how media design creates possibilities for people to construct, share, and assess diverse ways of knowing and acting within the emergent material realities of contemporary life. 

    Ellsworth is the author of Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy (Routledge, 2004), Teaching Positions: Difference, Pedagogy and the Power of Address (Teachers College Press, 1997), and Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life, co-edited with Jamie Kruse (Punctum Books, fall 2012). Her recent journal articles focus on projects that combine learning with aesthetic experience and public pedagogy. 

    Elizabeth translates the results of her research and writing into media forms, exhibitions, and projects.  She is a co-founder, with Jamie Kruse, of the nonprofit media arts collaboration smudge studio. She and Kruse pursue what they take to be their most urgent and meaningful tasks as artists and humans: to invent and enact practices capable of acknowledging and living in responsive relationship to forces of change that make the world. Through installations, performative research, micro-productions, and interactive field guides, they attempt to support humans in paying sustained, nuanced attention to intense material realities rapidly emerging on a planetary scale without inciting further distraction or despair. Their projects include Repository: A Typological Guide to America's Ephemeral Nuclear Infrastructure (2012); Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York (2011); The Anthropocene Islands, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, January 2013; Ambiguous Territory: Architecture, Landscape and the Postnatural, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York (2018); and Tea at the Tilt of the Earth, Henry Art Gallery, hosted by the Cross-disciplinary Research Cluster on the Anthropocene, Washington University, 2019.

    From 2009 to 2011, Ellsworth served as the associate provost for Curriculum and Learning, focusing on cross-divisional and university-wide programs, particularly on new pathways and opportunities to both broaden and strengthen the academic experience through innovative ways of learning.

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