Michael has exhibited grant funded work at Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair in NY; with Qatar Museums at Historic AlKoot Fort in Doha as part of the Tasweer Festival; W+K+Gallery (Wieden+Kennedy) in Tokyo, Japan; Doha Fire Station in Qatar; Dubai Design Week; OFFF Market in Barcelona, Spain; and Tasmeem Doha International Art & Design Festival in Qatar. He has participated in the letterpress Typographic Summer Program with Dafi Kühne in Näfels, Switzerland; and the Gamma Music Institute in Torino, Italy. He is a member of People of Print.
Michael graduated with an MFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2006 and completed coursework in association with Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments program at Brown University. Prior to his MFA, Michael was enrolled in post-bacc study at the University of Oregon School of Art+Design. He is currently an Associate Professor at VCUarts in Qatar — an international division of VCU Richmond and part of Qatar Foundation — for over 12 years with 16+ years of academic experience. Michael grew up in Minnesota (USA) and has worked as a freelance designer and digital/analog graphic artist for 25+ years in Minneapolis, Portland and Doha. He currently resides in Doha and Barcelona where he maintains a rigorous creative practice.
Michael has participated in various academic conferences and speaking engagements — the Design Research Society (DRS Bangkok), AIGA Design Educators (Nashville, TN), TypeCon (Buffalo, NY), Design Principles and Practices (Institute Without Boundaries, Toronto, and St Petersburg University, Russia), and the College Art Association (CAA Los Angeles), among others.
In addition to Michael’s creative practice, his scholarship investigates student-centered teaching and making through pedagogical-based examination. Domains of inquiry revolve around curricular development, modes of student engagement, cultural production, processes & tools for experimental image making, playful interactions, sound design, and 'extra-disciplinary’ design praxis. He has taught 20+ distinct art & design courses at a university level.
In 2019 the Graphic Design Department at VCUarts Qatar implemented a new curricular model that allows more flexibility for students to direct their own educational experience. The model flattens the student-faculty hierarchy and enables a more dynamic studio exchange. The aim is for students to initiate their own creative practice in order to pursue topics relative to their own personal and cultural inquiry, especially given the diverse international setting. The new curriculum is based on four key pillars — research, making, collaboration & cultural literacy. Michael worked with a team of colleagues from Qatar and Richmond between 2016 and 2019 to develop and test ideas for the curricular model.
As part of the new curriculum, Michael was instrumental in restructuring the ‘History of Graphic Design’ course as ‘Precedent Inquiry’. This new framework allows more flexibility to move away from a traditional timeline and genre-based delivery of content, and expand into dynamic non-linear approach from a multinational and multidisciplinary perspective. The course also moved away from test taking as a form of assessment, and instead uses weekly critical writing assignments as a component of ‘making’ relative to design practice.
During his tenure at VCUarts Qatar Michael initiated and co-developed a digital print-lab for all students & faculty; he co-developed an analog printlab in graphic design (for block printing and post-digital letterpress); he consulted on and co-devoloped a platform for faculty & administrative reporting; he has been actively involved in the co-creation of multiple Tasmeem art & design conferences; he has assisted with the curation of speakers for the Crossing Boundaries Lecture series; he has assisted with Technology Services to improve classroom experiences and integration of technology into teaching; he serves annually on MFA review committees and faculty promotion committees; he has lead multiple community-based design outreach projects in partnership with local government institutions; and he is currently co-developing an exploratory sonic lab to integrate sound within a visual art & design practice.
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