Welcoming the next Director of the Parsons First Year Program

Beginning in Fall 2019, after directing the Parsons First Year Program since Fall 2016, Shana Agid will rotate out of the role and we will welcome Anette Millington as the next Director of First Year.

We asked Anette about what she enjoys most about working with First Year students, faculty and staff as well as what she looks forward to most as Director:

“I am honored to enter into the role of Director of Parsons First Year, as it is truly a place of discovery and collaboration. First Year Faculty have the pleasure of welcoming students to Parsons, introducing them to the transformative power of art and design, and together forming our community. What makes our curriculum unique is its commitment to expanding creative capacity, critical thinking, design practice and socially-engaged making. However, the best part of First Year- without a doubt- is our students. An exceptional group of people, from all around the globe, who in First Year define what it is to be a Parsons student. And I am continually surprised and thrilled by their invention, imagination and dedication.”

Anette Millington is a research-based artist, designer, and educator. She investigates the intersections of psychology, geometry, pattern formulation, and decorative arts in her textile and fiber works. Her studio practice engages museum collections to access information structures embedded within cultural objects. This inquiry has lead to her current research, developing a series of textiles based on digitally coded generative art, in which embellishment is related to language and natural systems. Anette has an extensive background in design education and curriculum development. She is an Assistant Professor of Fashion at Parsons School of Design for the academic year 2018-2019. She served in her prior role at Parsons as Part-Time Assistant Professor in First Year for 9 years and as Special Assistant to the Provost for Learning Portfolios. She has also worked in museum education at the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, and the Brooklyn Museum. Upcoming is her installation designed for the Tech Nomad Trend Space at Playtime New York. Recent exhibitions include Pattern, Surface Design Association Member Gallery, Formation, the Art Lot in Brooklyn, and New Legacies Contemporary Quilts, Lincoln Center, CO. She has been reviewed online by the blog Hyperallergic, and in print by the Boston Globe. Anette attended the School of Visual Arts for her MFA and received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art.

We also asked Shana about their time as Director of First Year and what they enjoyed most about leading the First Year Program:

“I’ve been lucky to direct the Parsons First Year Program for the last three years, after having been involved in early imaginings of the curriculum, conversations about the vision for teaching and learning in art and design, and the launch of the program in the years before that. In that time, I’ve learned that the students, staff, and faculty in the program are funny, kind, smart, intense, and committed people who ask good questions and make meaningful work as a means to engage, investigate, and share those questions. You’ve asked me to talk about what I have enjoyed most about this role. This is a hard kind of question to answer, but I keep coming back to the same thing: I like this work because it is work that matters. It matters to the people in it, to the school and university in which it happens, and to the larger world, as well, one that has shaped and is shaped by our students, faculty, and staff. One of my teaching partners this year introduced me to a quotation from the author Sandra Cisneros, which I, in turn, set in type and printed on some bookmarks and have shared from time to time with some of the many people without whom this work would not be possible. The quote is from the introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of her famous book, The House on Mango Street, in which she’s describing a time in her life when she gathered with other writers to workshop their writing. What these writers had in common, she said, was their sense that art should serve their communities. “We do this,” she wrote,” with no capital except our valuable time. We do this because the world we live in is a house on fire and the people we love are burning.” I think that making and engaging with art and design, that learning and creating systems and infrastructures, that building the power and capacity of people, but not at the expense of other people or non-human entities, can be work that serves our multiple, sometimes overlapping, communities. To me, this is why being a part of Parsons First Year Program has been – and is – energizing and grounding, as we learn to do this work together – through inquiry, experimentation, trial and error, debate, humor, and refinement. I feel lucky to have learned so much from so many in such a short period of time.”

From all of the students, faculty and staff – we thank Shana for their years of dedication and leadership of the First Year program, give an excited welcome to Anette and look forward to her leadership of First Year in the coming years.

Check back later in the summer for a more detailed glimpse into the art, design and teaching practice of Anette Millington, here on Parsons Notes.