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Nick Tobier

Nick Tobier

Professor, School of Art & Design

Senior Counsel to the Provost on Civic Engagement


Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Office: 2080 AA
Phone: (734) 936-0697
Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae

M.F.A., The Milton Avery Graduate Center at Bard College, 1997
Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, 1997 - 1999
B.A. (History and Art), Swarthmore College, 1989


Prior to his appointment at the School of Art & Design in 2003, Tobier spent four years as assistant professor at the School of Art at Alfred. From 1996 to 1998, he studied landscape architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and subsequently worked in professional practice at Landworks Studio/Boston and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation/ Bronx Division as a designer. He served as project manager for Storefront for Art and Architecture, writing critical essays, facilitating public projects and coordinating international competitions as he conducted broad-thinking explorations of architecture and urban space beyond expected function.

A native New Yorker, Nick Tobier is a participant-observer of street life and the social life of public places. These inherently layered scenarios are at the core of his work, and Tobier’s practice and pedagogy reflect his belief in the power of social dynamism and the fundamental role of the artist/designer as catalyst and conduit in this relationship.

Through individual and collective work, Tobier’s interest in the potential of public places has manifested itself in built public projects and actions in San Francisco, Detroit and New York, internationally from Toronto to Tokyo, and performances from Brussels to Paramaribo, Suriname and at The Edinburgh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia Fringe Festivals. Project sites include bus stops, flea markets, Laundromats and car washes, and include the entrepreneurial ventures, F.O.O.D. (Field of Our Dreams) , Brightmoor Bikes and the upcoming Brightmoor Maker Space. He is also the author of a series of critical and speculative writings on design, city space, itinerant entertainment, and forms of public interruption as radical social strategy, including, with Juliane Stiegele, the forthcoming Utopia Toolbox (2015).

In his current research and teaching, Tobier focuses on projects in the public realm, and actively challenges artists and designers to expand their self-definitions and scope. These efforts have included partnerships with artists and farmers; critical and celebratory involvements between artists, art students and broad communities; lectures as performances and vice-versa; and a commitment to lasting partnerships working with creative individuals and communities from Detroit to Copenhagen.


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