• Faculty

  • Marisa Jahn

    Assistant Professor of Design Strategies


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    Parsons Faculty Hotseat

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    Marisa Jahn


    An artist, filmmaker, and transmedia producer of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn’s work “exemplifies the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum) and explores “civic spaces and the radical art of play” (Chicago Tribune).  “[Jahn] introduces a trickster-like humor into public spaces and discourses, and yet it is a humor edged with political potency,” notes MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, characterizing her playful approach. Codesigned with youth, new immigrants, and working families, Jahn’s civic-scale projects have engaged millions both on the street and at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, the United Nations, Tribeca Film Festival, and Obama’s White House. Her public artwork, civic media tools, films, architectural and urban-scale collaborations have been supported by The New York Times, the BBC, PBS, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Univision Global, Hyperallergic, Art in America, Architectural Review, CNN, and hundreds more. She has received grants and awards from National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Creative Capital, Open Society, Tribeca Film Institute, Anonymous Was A Woman, Joyce Foundation, and more. 

    In 2008, she embarked on creating the artwork / literacy movement “Bibliobandido” (in English, ‘story eater’) with a community in rural Honduras. This project centers around the eponymous character, a bandit who EATS stories and whose fame rivals Santa Claus. As a living legend still active today, Bibliobandido has transformed the lives of 20,000 young believers in Central and North America. In 2022, Jahn and award-winning filmmaker Benjamin Murray began shooting their Sundance-supported documentary film chronicling the impact of the beloved, story-hungry villain. 

    For another civic-scale artwork called “CareForce” (2010-present), Jahn collaborated with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) to create a social practice artwork including a PBS film that amplifies care workers' voices. This movement for domestic workers’ rights has contributed to new laws in 10 states and a federal bill underway. NDWA co-founder Ai-jen Poo writes, “CareForce harnesses the catalytic power of art, architecture, and storytelling to dream bigger, dream futures into being that we’ve never experienced and create new protagonists.” In 2020, “CareForce” informed the creation of “Carehaus,” an artwork that is also the U.S.’s first care-based co-housing building designed with architect Rafi Segal. The Biden administration and U.S. Congresspeople interviewed Jahn regarding the possibility of proliferating the “Carehaus” model across the country. With Segal, Jahn co-authored the related book “Design & Solidarity” (Columbia University Press, 2023). 

    Jahn has taught at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (her alma mater), and Parsons/The New School, where she is the Director of Integrated Design. 

    She was a 2022 Sundance Fellow, a Senior Researcher at MIT, and an artist in residence at the National Public Housing Museum.

    Degrees Held

    BA, UC Berkeley

    MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    Recent Publications


    Design & Solidarity: Conversations on Collective Futures. Columbia University Press (2023)

    Authored by Marisa Morán Jahn and Rafi Segal in conversation with Mercedes Bidart, Arturo Escobar, Michael Hardt, Greg Lindsay, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Ai-jen Poo, and Trebor Scholz.


    Performances and Appearances

    Exhibitions and Presentations: The United Nations, Obama’s White House, Venice Biennale of Architecture, Tribeca Film Festival, Mextrópoli Architecture and City Festival (Mexico City), Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montréal), Boston Museum of Science, The New Museum (New York), Asian Art Museum San Francisco, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, Center for Contemporary Art (Kaliningrad, Russia), ArtBrussels Art Fair, Aedes Architectural Forum (Berlin), Van Abbemuseum (Einhoven, NL), Pérez Art Museum Miami, Bay Area Now 4 (San Francisco Triennale), The New York Hall of Science, Zero One Biennale, and public spaces in Armenia, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Honduras, Uganda, and across the United States.

    Research Interests

    public art, socially engaged art, design, graphic design, transmedia film, interactive media

    social justice, activism, immigration policy, low-wage workers, working families, women

    Awards And Honors

    Creative Capital, Sundance, Tribeca Film Institute, Joyce Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Visible Project, Open Society Foundation, Ford Foundation


    Personal Website



    Future Courses

    Social Practice
    ULEC 2270, Spring 2025

    Past Courses

    PSDS 3530, Fall 2023

    Integrated Design Studio
    PUIC 3501, Spring 2024

    Social Practice
    ULEC 2270, Fall 2023

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