Public Engagement

  • Faculty

    Elizabeth Ellsworth

    Ellsworth, Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Ellsworth is Emeritus Professor at 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. 

    She is 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 fuse learning with aesthetic experience and public pedagogy. 

    Elizabeth translates results of her research and writing into media forms, exhibitions, and projects.  She is co-founder, with Jamie Kruse, of a nonprofit media arts collaboration: smudge studio ( They 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, their works attempt to support humans in paying sustained, nuanced attention to fast and intense material realities emerging on a planetary scale without inciting further states of distraction or despair. 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); Tea at the Tilt of the Earth, Henry Art Gallery, hosted by the Cross-disciplinary Research Cluster on the Anthropocene, Washington University, 2019. (

    In her role as Associate Provost for Curriculum and Learning (2009-2011), Elizabeth's 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.