In an interview with The New School, the new Dean of Fashion, Ben Barry, discusses changes that he wants to make and more.
When asked what attracted him to The New School/Parsons, Barry said, "When I was in graduate school, I’d regularly email the Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons and inquire about job opportunities. He always generously responded, even though there were no open positions at that time. To me, The New School and Parsons represented a place of radical possibility in art and design education. I would read about the experimental and creative approaches to teaching that connected theory and making, welcomed-in community and industry collaborators, and grounded social and climate justice. I wanted to be part of that!"
When asked if there have been any prior experiences that have prepared him for the role of Dean of Fashion, Barry said, "I joined Parsons from X University (formerly Ryerson) in Tkaronto (Toronto), Canada where I began my teaching career. I was most recently Chair of their fashion department where I worked with colleagues to develop a curriculum and culture that prioritized inclusion, decolonization and sustainability. Working to bring about this systemic transformation taught me about the necessity of academic leadership that is grounded in humility, community and love, as well as about the possibilities and challenges of navigating change within the colonial university system."
When asked if there are any things he hopes to change about the School of Fashion, Barry said, "I am completely inspired by the legacy of many School of Fashion colleagues and students who have grounded equity and justice into their work and often in the face of resistance and obstacles. As Dean, I hope to honor, amplify and continue their pathbreaking vision and practices. I am currently working with the faculty, staff, students and alumni to develop a revised vision, guiding principles and actions to realize them for the School of Fashion. Our VisionSoF: Reimaging Our Purpose project will articulate and set into motion a philosophy and politics of fashion education at Parsons that redresses the harm caused by the continuing legacies of settler colonialism and trans-Atlantic slave trade and that grounds transformative justice."
Information originally sourced from The New School.