Michael has exhibited grant funded work at Language as Machine in Qatar; Bangkok Design Week in Thailand; Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair in New York; with Qatar Museums at Historic AlKoot Fort in Doha as part of the Tasweer Festival; at the Anderson Gallery at VCU in Richmond, Virginia; the Qatar+America Institute for Culture in Washington D.C.; D’Revolution Gwangju Design Biennale 2021 in South Korea; Virgil Abloh “Figures of Speech” Doha Fire Station Jalsa Listening; ‘When the World Closed 2021’ London Shubbak 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. In collaboration with others, his work is part of special collections at the Thomas J. Watson Library at the MET in NY; the The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and with Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
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, completed his BFA at Minnesota State University Moorhead, and previously taught at RISD and Michigan State University. He is currently an Associate Professor at VCUarts in Qatar — an international division of VCU Richmond and part of Qatar Foundation — for over 14 years with 18+ years of academic experience. He currently teaches in the Department of Graphic Design, is the Honors Program Lead Administrator, and co-directs the Sonic Jeel Research Lab (a space to explore experimental sound making within a visual art & design practice).
Michael has participated in various academic conferences and speaking engagements — the Design Research Society (DRS Bangkok); AIGA Design Educators (Nashville, TN); Nuqat: State of the Elastic Mind Conference in Kuwait; 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.
Michael grew up in Minnesota (USA) and has worked as a freelance designer and digital/analog graphic artist for 29+ years in Minneapolis, Portland and Doha. He currently resides in Doha, Qatar and Barcelona, Spain where he maintains a rigorous creative practice.
In addition to Michael’s creative practice, his scholarship investigates design pedagogy through the lens of student-centered teaching within non-hierarchical and agile classroom environments. Domains of inquiry revolve around curricular development, modes of student engagement, collaboration, cultural production, critique and assessment, processes & tools for experimental image making, playful interactions, sound design, critical and contextual making, 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 & media 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 now named ‘Precedent Inquiry’. The new course framework and conceptual underpinning allows more flexibility to explore the influences and origins of contemporary design. The course moves away from a traditional timeline with a genre-based eurocentric delivery of content, and expands into dynamic non-linear and decolonized approach from a multinational and multidisciplinary perspective. The course also moved away from regurgitaing information via test taking as a form of assessment, and instead uses weekly critical writing assignments from personal & contextual point of view, employs a curatorial approach to investigate and learn content, and engages students in rapid research to spark dialogue and debate.
During his tenure at VCUarts Qatar Michael initiated and co-developed a digital print-lab & print-grid 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; and he has lead multiple community-based design outreach projects in partnership with local government institutions (such as the Year of Culture initiative highligthing cross-over culture beteween Qatar and other countries; and the One Second Campaign for safe driving habits and seat belt use, among others).
find me on: