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Nick Tobier

Professor, School of Art & Design
Senior Counsel to the Provost on Civic Engagement


Photograph of Nick Tobier


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, Brussels to Medellin, in exhibitions at MOMA, The Smithsonian, The Queens Museum Kunsthalle Nikolaj/Copenhagen, at The Edinburgh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia Fringe Festivals and, upcoming at the Prague Quadrennial (2019 with Roland Graf). Project sites include bus stops, flea markets, Laundromats and car washes, and include the entrepreneurial design ventures, F.O.O.D. (Field of Our Dreams), Brightmoor Bikes and the Brightmoor Maker Space. He is also the author of a series of critical and speculative writings on design, and city space, including, with Juliane Stiegele, the forthcoming Utopia Toolbox (2016) and Looping Detroit, 2017.

In his current research and teaching, Tobier focuses on collaborative projects in the public realm. These efforts have included partnerships with furniture designers, bakers, farmers; critical and celebratory involvements between artists, designers and broad communities; and a commitment to lasting partnerships working with creative individuals and communities from Detroit to Ishinomaki.