Boston Book Festival 2020 Boston Book Festival 2020

Architecture Keynote

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Michael Murphy
Justice Is Beauty

Michael Murphy is the co-founder and executive director of MASS Design Group, a nonprofit architecture and design collective that leverages buildings, as well as the design and construction process, to become catalysts for economic growth, social change, and justice. His work as a designer, writer, researcher, and teacher investigates the social and political consequences of the built world and advocates for a new empowerment by calling on architects to consider the power relationships of their design decisions, while simultaneously searching for beauty and meaning. He was awarded the Al Filipov Medal for Peace and Justice in 2017, sits on the boards of the Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Committee, the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Board, the Center for Healthcare Design, and is an Expert in Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab. MASS Design Group's work, which includes the widely acclaimed National Memorial for Peace and Justice, has been collected in a new monograph, Justice Is Beauty, co-written with Murphy’s MASS Design Group co-founder and chief design officer, Alan Ricks, and with a foreword by Chelsea Clinton.

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Jared Bowen is executive arts editor for GBH and  the Emmy award-winning host of GBH 2’s weekly series Open Studio with Jared Bowen, an exploration of the creative process through a lively mix of local and national artist profiles, performances and exhibitions. He is a contributor to GBH 2’s nightly news magazine program Greater Boston and appears regularly on GBH 89.7, where he covers the region’s arts and culture scene. He moderates the Boston Speakers Series at Symphony Hall and is a member of the Boston Theater Critics Association and the Boston Online Film Critics Association, and he serves as a trustee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Bowen also contributes to the PBS NewsHour and Art New England magazine. For GBH 2 he produced five news documentaries and the first three seasons of the Eye on Education initiative. He has won two New England Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his arts reporting and is a recipient of the Commonwealth Award, recognizing achievement in the arts, humanities and sciences. Bowen began his career at Dateline NBC in New York and is a graduate of Emerson College.

Founder and principal of MASS Design Group, Michael Murphy, writes in the introduction to the firm’s beautiful monograph, Justice is Beauty, that “architecture is not agnostic about ethics.” While Murphy was still a student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, he was hired by Paul Farmer to design a hospital in Rwanda. MASS has gone on to design many hospitals and schools in Africa and Haiti, and their partnership with artist Hank Willis Thomas produced the winning entrant for Boston’s MLK Memorial. Murphy may be best known, however, for working with Bryan Stevenson to design the enormously moving and monumental National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. He and his partners at MASS, which stands for Model of Architecture Serving Society, believe that good design is not solely for the wealthy—that the search for beauty is the search for justice. Join Jared Bowen, host of Open Studio on GBH, for an inspiring conversation with Michael Murphy. This session is sponsored by Ann and Graham Gund, with media sponsorship by GBH.