MS in Archictural Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, deeply American in its history and mission and without the slightest sense of contradiction profoundly global in its composition and universal imperative, was a truly transformative experience. MIT’s motto “mans et manus” (mind and hand) reflects the Institute’s solid credo for rigorous academic knowledge with practical humanitarian purpose. Yet the same motto also stretches the paramount importance of the Humanities in defining this purpose and in challenging the social, ethical, and cultural implications of our technologies both in a national, as well as a global context. MIT is a unique academic environment that encourages collaborations, embraces the exchange of ideas and knowledge, and nurtures a strong sense of community amid its students, faculty, and researchers. It is in this sense that MIT embodies the Fulbright ethos. The same applies at a departmental level, at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.
The trust that was placed upon me by both MIT and the Fulbright Foundation, I tried to reciprocate during my time as a student at MIT through multiple teaching assistantships, mentoring of students, eager participation in student-faculty meetings, as well as the organization and coordination of events, studio trips, exhibitions, and publications. Among them, memorable are my experience as a teaching assistant for the 4.154 M.Arch Advanced graduate-option studio Invisble Kindergarten with professor Lorena Bello and visiting professor Takaharu Tezuka that travelled in Japan, the organization of the exhibition for the 4.021 Introduction to Architecture Design undergraduate-studio at the Keller Gallery in MIT, my involvement at the MIT Educational Studies Program where I
volunteered to teach high-school students during one day of intensive workshops.
During the past year of the post-academic training period, I had the opportunity to extend my experience at MIT, this time as a research assistant in various projects but all related to my area of focus. In this position, I was the chief-editor for the book: “The Data-Human: Who are we? Exploring the questions of our Identity in the Digital Age”, a 512-page exhibition proposal for the Canadian Center of Architecture (CAA) in collaboration with the MIT Museum that will be realized in the following years. Simultaneously, I was also involved in the conceptual development, production, and coordination of a forthcoming exhibition for the Sharja (UAE) 2019 biennial and an exhibition in Amman (Jordan), both exploring matters of art, culture, and technology vis-à-vis the cultural heritage of migrating
populations at the refugee-camps of the Middle-East.
Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the great influence of the Fulbright Foundation during my time in the United States. Fulbright’s commitment to the promotion of international welfare through the exchange of scholars between the United States and numerous countries renders the Fulbright program as a unique transdisciplinary platform that cultivates and facilitates the idea of a global community. It has always been a great pleasure to meet fellow Fulbrighters from all over the world, to attend the Fulbright Pub-Nights -a much-needed break from studying- and to witness in person how strong, supporting, and inspiring this community is. Further than that, the in-situ support and guidance of the IIE, particularly of my wonderful advisor Daaimah Dratsky, were of paramount help in facilitating a smooth transition and adjustment in the U.S. May 2019
Iris Giannakopoulou Karamouzi is a Fulbright Alumna of the 2016-2017 Graduate Student Program
Photo: Iris Giannakopoulou Karamouzi