Parsons Paris

Student Profiles

  • Student

    Oliver Graney ’16

    Why did you decide to study at Parsons Paris?
    I’m originally from New York, so when I was looking for graduate school opportunities, I knew I wanted to study somewhere completely different. Parsons Paris guaranteed some semblance of familiarity because it is an American school, but I would be able to study in an environment completely new and foreign to me.

    Favorite classes:
    Cold War Material Culture
    Survey of Decorative Arts 2
    French Graduate Reading

    What activities did you participate in at Parsons Paris?
    While at Parsons Paris, I participated in several of the exhibitions in the school gallery. Last year, I presented at our Student Symposium, and I also began a reading circle for graduate students to discuss design history and theory. This year, I organized the second iteration of our Student Symposium, entitled “Bread, Politics, and Other Polemics,” at which I presented a chapter of my thesis.

    How did living and studying in Paris affect your experience?
    Living in Paris has been great because it has forced me to be more self-aware. It has allowed me to access some amazing libraries, and the museums are a constant source of inspiration when I’m looking for new avenues of research. It also helps that Paris is such a central hub of Europe, because it means that I can see exhibitions or travel to libraries in other countries with much less difficulty than if I was back in the States.

    Did you have any internship experience?
    While here, I have had two internships. Last summer, I interned with Juliette Pollet, the curator of design at the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP), which is a national collection of contemporary art and design. Currently I am interning at Domaine de Boisbuchet, an arts and culture center in the southwest of France, where I am helping to curate the summer exhibition.

    How would you describe your experience at Parsons Paris?
    One-of-a-kind. It’s unlike any other school I’ve been to, because of the close relationships you can establish with faculty, and the intimacy of a small school allows you to really get to know all about your fellow students (and future colleagues). Last year, we took a trip to Milan for the Salone del Mobile, which was an amazing opportunity to see the largest and most important fair for the design industry. This year, we travelled to Brussels to see the opening of a new design museum, the Art and Design Atomium Museum (ADAM), where one of our professors gave us a private tour of the collection and the opening exhibition, which she curated.

    What unique opportunities have you had studying at Parsons Paris?
    The faculty have put me in contact with professionals in the field with whom I never would have otherwise been able to meet. Additionally, the school has facilitated some amazing opportunities for my MA thesis, including staging an exhibition and participating in the MFA senior thesis show. I recently returned from a research trip to the British Library in London which was generously funded by a travel grant through the program.

    What is the subject of your MA thesis?
    My MA thesis looks at the 1890 utopian novel News from Nowhere by the British designer William Morris and uses it as a lens through which to understand contemporary expanded definitions of design. I’m also looking at the contemporary relevance of Morris’ specific brand of design-influenced revolutionary socialism and how designers are engaging with and interpreting his legacy.  

    What are your plans after graduation?
    This summer, I’ll be moving back to New York to begin an internship at the Museum of Modern Art in the Architecture and Design department, working under the supervision of Paola Antonelli. I’ll be conducting research for an upcoming exhibition called Items: Is Fashion Modern?

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