Conor Macdonald

2nd year Public Humanities MA Student

I’m interested in the impact of humanities-driven institutions on the shape, health, and prosperity of our cities and places. What is the role of a mission-driven organization in civic life, and what are the tools available to engage in it?

I’ve dedicated more than a decade of work to organizations dedicated to the shared exploration of the intersections of history, arts, culture, and society, working with the Boston Society of Architects/AIA in a variety of roles for ten years, and working for a year and a half with DESIGNxRI. I have seen people and organizations come together around these issues, engage in dialogue--through projects, panels, ideas competitions, articles, exhibitions, festivals, and play. From these activities, a stronger sense of community and mutual understanding develops, more voices are heard, ideas are generated, and a stronger future emerges.

I believe that the humanities--and the organizations which promote them--play a critical role in citymaking. Through graduate study, I hope to broaden my understanding of the various approaches and models of the public humanities, explore historic, existing and potential opportunities for humanities-led dialogues, and ultimately clarify pathways where organizations have supported their mission both programmatically and financially through citymaking.

I have served on the board of the Community Design Resource Center of Boston and the architecture festival Common Boston, and currently serve on the Building and Grounds committee of the Providence Athenaeum as well as AIA Rhode Island.