GREECE TO UNITED STATES
Invigorating education with design thinking and the maker movement
Marianthi Liapi (Fulbright Student, 2003–2004) is an architect specializing in the qualitative upgrade of learning environments and the up-skilling of teachers across all levels of education. Influenced by her long-term collaboration with developmental psychologist Edith Ackermann at MIT, she developed an interdisciplinary methodology titled Educational Pla(y)ces (Εκπαιδότοποι in Greek) which combines participatory practices with design thinking and the contemporary maker movement. Currently, she is the Research Program Director of the Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory (TUC TIE Lab) at the Technical University of Crete, running Applied Research & Innovation programs funded by private and public organizations. Her projects are grounded in architecture and technology and, from there, they branch out in learning places and maker spaces, cultural settings augmented with projection mapping, transformable intelligent environments, extreme environments, as well as in visual communication.
As a Fulbright Student to the U.S., Marianthi studied Design and Computation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003–2005), after receiving her Professional Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. In March 2004, she was selected to participate in the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar in New York, organized under the theme The Role of the Individual in Civil Society. Upon her return to Greece, Marianthi, together with her husband Kostis Oungrinis, embarked on a mission to create an academic research environment with the dynamics, outreach, and openness to creativity and experimentation similar to the ones they experienced in the U.S. This successfully resulted in the establishment of TUC TIE Lab, home to more than 150 students and researchers so far. As the lab's Research Director, her most known programs are the awarded Designed for Better Learning and the Athens Municipal Maker Space, in collaboration with the City of Athens, as well as the Desire for Freedom visual narrative created for the "Greece 2021" Committee. Throughout this time, she has maintained a close relationship with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, having participated in Graduate Studies Outreach presentations as well as in the 2017 TEDxAthens event as a Fulbright speaker, together with Katerina Anghelaki-Rook.