Public Engagement

  • Faculty

    Elizabeth Ellsworth

    Professor of Media Studies

    Office Location:

    79 Fifth Avenue


    Professor, Media Studies. Research and teaching areas include theories of 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.

    She is author of Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy (Routledge, 2004) and 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 fuse learning with aesthetic experience and public pedagogy. Elizabeth translates results of her research and writing into media forms, exhibitions, and projects. Since 2000, she has co-designed web-based media and content for a number of interdisciplinary online learning environments. She has served as a consultant on pedagogical design for museums and design schools.

    Elizabeth is co-founder, with Jamie Kruse, of a nonprofit media arts collaboration: smudge studio (; Their recent and upcoming collaborative media production 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.

    In her previous role as Associate Provost for Curriculum and Learning (2009-2011), her work focused on cross-divisional and university-wide programs, with particular emphasis on new pathways and opportunities to both broaden and strengthen the academic experience through innovative ways of learning.

    Recent Publications:

    • Practices for Turning into the Anthropocene," Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse, in The Geologic Imagination, Sonic Acts, Amsterdam, 2014 (forthcoming).

    • "Messages Across Time and Space," in collaboration with Dodolab,  Made Up: Design's Fictions, eds.Tim Durfee and Mimi Zeigler, JRP | Ringier, 2014. (forthcoming)

    • “Stability/Instability,” Speculation Now: Essays and Artwork, eds. Vyjayanthi Rao, with Prem Krishnamurthy and Carin Kuoni, Vera List Center for Art and Politics Duke University Press, 2014.  

    • Creative Response in the Anthropocene: Knowing at the Edges of Feasibility,” in Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies, eds. Heather Davis and Etienne TurpinOpen Humanities Press2014.

    • "Geologically It’s Now," in Landscape Futures, ed. Geoff Manaugh, Actar and the Nevada Museum of Art, 2013

    • Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life, eds. Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse, punctum books2012 (

    • Wicked Problems, Novel Modes of Behavior, and the Power of Pedagogical Design, Invited Colloquium presented at the Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM, June, 2011.

    • Touring the Nevada Test Site: Crossed Sensations and Perceptions, with Jamie Kruse, in Public Pedagogy: Education and Learning Beyond Schooling, Routledge, 2009.

    • Shelters of Exposure: Giving Form to Interdisciplinary Exchange, with Jamie Kruse, in Chris Drury: Mushrooms | Clouds, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

    • Spatial Theories of Education: Policy and Geography Matters, Book Review, Teachers College Record, June, 2008.

    • Becoming Human I Artist: Moving in Accord with the Change that Makes the World, with Kruse, J.,  Performance Paradigm #4, 2008.

    Research Interests:

    • Theories of change and media-based pragmatic action
    • New materialisms and media practice
    • Media and public engagement
    • Emerging documentary practices
    • Design of innovative media-based learning environments

    Awards And Honors:

    • Research Council of Norway, 2013-15.  Guest Researchers, Granted for Future North.  Project manager: Janike Kampevold Larsen, Oslo School of Architecture and Design
    • Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 2012: Research and Development Category
    • New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Architecture Planning and Design Program 2012
    • Provost's Faculty Development Grant (with Shannon Mattern), in support of Project Media Space][Public Space, a cross-divisional, interdisciplinary curriculum project.
    • Provost's Faculty Development,submitted with Kit Laybourne, in support for an innovative online learning environment:
    • Named the John and Rosa Sachs Distinguished Lecturer, Teachers College, Columbia University.
    • Invited Keynote Speaker, Prairie Learning Center Teacher's Institute, Val Marie, SK (Canada), October.
    • Invited lecturer in residence, Educational Leadership Academy, Massachusetts College for the Liberal Arts.
    • Invited Noted Scholar, Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.