Social Practice In Action


Two african women with air masks

Ghana ThinkTank

Program advisor and Assistant Professor Maria del Carmen Montoya is a core member of Ghana ThinkTank, an international art collective whose mission is to develop the first world. In 2013, they were awarded a Creative Capital grant in Emerging fields for a project that is meant to spark problem-solving collaborations between immigrants and anti-immigrant factions on the US/Mexico border. Their current ongoing project, American Riad, is revitalizing a section of Detroit´s North End with art and architecture. Check out some other Ghana ThinkTank projects.



Tu Casa Es Mi Casa

Exhibition Design Professor Andrea Dietz is co-curator (along with Mario Ballesteros, Sarah Lorenzen, and Mimi Zeiger) of Tu casa es mi casa. A presentation of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura, and the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences, Tu casa es mi casa connects two modernist houses in Los Angeles and Mexico City via the exchange of texts, objects, and installations by three contemporary writers and three architect/artist teams. If our contemporary political moment offers up a border wall as the primary architectural expression of connection between the U.S. and Mexico, Tu casa es mi casa suggests a more porous boundary between the two countries. The title, a riff on the welcoming “my house is your house,” offers the inverted “your house is my house”—an expression of the personal and political stakes of this transposition. Photograph by Monica Nouwens.


House on hillside at night



Kevin Patton teaching children sound design

Sound Installation at the Chrysler Museum of Art

Corcoran Assistant Professor of Interaction Design, Dr. Kevin Patton, teaches community members to make music with the interactive sound installation he designed as part of a collaboration with glass artist, Anjali Srinivasan, at the Chrysler Museum of Art.



Defend Our Future

Robin Bell, founder of Bell Visuals, is an award-winning editor, video journalist, and multimedia artist based in Washington, D.C. He is a part-time professor and visiting artist at the Corcoran, exhibiting his work at his show, OPEN, in February 2018. Bell uses projections to transform the facades of buildings into catalysts for discussions about current events. This projection on the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters protested the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. It was a collaboration with Defend Our Future, a project of the Environmental Defense Fund.


Robin Bell




African textile pattern

African Refugees Project

In 2014, Ghana ThinkTank was invited by ArtPort Gallery in Tel Aviv to collaborate with curator Maayan Sheleff to create an interchange between African refugees seeking asylum in Israel, and local residents who resented their presence. Program advisor and Assistant Professor Maria del Carmen Montoya participated in this interchange.

Working with Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers along with local Israelis, they organized think tanks that collected problems from residents of the neglected neighborhood of South Tel Aviv as well as African refugees living in that same neighborhood. They asked each group to solve the problems of the other. Community members, the organized think tanks, and local organizations created plans to implement the proposed solutions.

Solutions included an all-female civilian patrol outfitted in uniforms of African cloth (pictured above).