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Photograph courtesy of Dave Gillespie, 2010

Designing the Future with Bruce Mau

“We live a designed life,” Bruce Mau argues. “Our health and medical system, our products and our experiences, our media and our sports, our energy sources and our movement of people and goods, our leisure, our culture—we design it all.”

In 2010 Mau and his wife Bisi Williams founded the Massive Change Network. Its core mission is to bring design-thinking principles and methodologies into wider use and ensure that our collective “designed lives” are as creative and sustainable as possible.

In concert with the exhibition Work on What You Love: Bruce Mau Rethinking Design, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has partnered with local organizations to host public design-thinking workshops focused on issues specific to Philadelphia. In three workshops offered during the run of the exhibition, Bruce Mau will present his Massive Change methodologies and demonstrate the potential of design to combine aesthetic with ethical and social considerations. Intended to introduce a wide audience to the power of design thinking and to bolster the efforts of Philadelphians to foster positive change in our city, the workshops will offer living examples of the principles Mau has integrated into his own practice.

The Museum’s partner organizations—rooted in the shared interests of creativity, community, and ensuring a bright future for Philadelphia—are: Fleisher Art Memorial, the Penn Institute for Urban Research, PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and Taller Puertorriqueño

Founded in 1898, Fleisher Art Memorial is the nation’s oldest community art school. Every year, at its historic campus in South Philadelphia and through the reach of innovative community programs, Fleisher enriches the creative lives of more than 17,000 people. Fleisher believes, as founder Samuel S. Fleisher did, that art is one of society’s greatest equalizers. This organization continues to elevate his vision of making art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience, through contemporary exhibitions, mobile artist workshops, and affordable studio art classes taught by esteemed faculty.

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is a university-wide body that informs urban decision-making and public policy on issues of sustainable urban growth and development based on multidisciplinary research, instruction, and outreach. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels. Affiliated with all twelve schools of the University of Pennsylvania and with the world of practice, Penn IUR fosters collaboration among scholars and policymakers across disciplines to address the needs of an increasingly urbanized society. By providing a forum for collaborative scholarship and instruction at Penn and beyond, Penn IUR stimulates research and engages with urban practitioners and policymakers to inform urban policy.

PennPraxis is the outreach, practice, and professional arm of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. Its mission is to extend design excellence and innovation beyond the classroom and into communities by creating opportunities for students, faculty, and partners to collaborate. PennPraxis pursues this mission by helping faculty take on practice opportunities that match their interests and provide real-world opportunities to work with clients on design challenges; by providing fee-for-service consulting in design and research assignments; and by convening events and communicating the practical work of the School. PennPraxis’ activities draw on the talent of the School of Design’s five departments and programs (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City & Regional Planning, Historic Preservation, and Fine Arts), cultivate multidisciplinary work, and serve to extend the educational and research missions of PennDesign. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, PennPraxis is committed to public service.

Taller Puertorriqueño (Taller) has been “Building Community through Art Since 1974.” Known as “The Cultural Heart of Latino Philadelphia,” Taller is a community-based, multidisciplinary arts organization whose work bridges European, African, Caribbean, and Latino societies and cultures. Taller’s programs work at the nexus of arts, culture, human rights, and social advocacy to catalyze social change toward community advancement. Taller offers programs for youth and adults, art galleries featuring Latino artists, the region’s only bilingual bookstore, musical and theater events, and a range of engaging art-education opportunities. Education programs for at-risk inner-city children and youth offer unique art and educational experiences as an effective vehicle to build creative and competent community members. Taller has thrived in a community struggling with high unemployment and dropout rates, drugs, prejudice, and violence. This stands as a testament to the role Taller plays in celebrating this community’s strength, resilience, diversity, and cultural richness.


Thursday, January 28, 2016
5:00–9:00 p.m.
Location: Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Sign up for waiting list or contact Magda Martinez at or 215-922-3456 ext. 323.

Monday, February 22, 2016
5:00–9:00 p.m.
Location: Penn Institute for Urban Research and PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design
University of Pennsylvania campus
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Reservations are now full. Contact Julie Donofrio at or 215-573-8719 with questions.

Saturday, March 12, 2016
Noon–4:00 p.m.
Location: Taller Puertorriqueño
2721 N. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19133
Reservations are now full.