Lydia Matthews

Professor, Co-Director MFA program

Lydia Matthews is a Brooklyn and Athens-based curator, writer, educator. She serves as MFA Co-Director in the Fine Arts program at Parsons School of Design and founding director of the Curatorial Design Research Lab, which spans various colleges across The New School in New York City. A dual citizen of the US and Greece, she trained in contemporary/ modern art history at UC, Berkeley and University of London’s Courtauld Institute, and has held academic positions in New York, California, and in Greece. Her work explores how contemporary artists, artisans and designers foster critical democratic debates and intimate community interactions in the public sphere, often in response to a variety of urgent global and local conditions in their daily lives. 

Matthews’ essays have appeared in numerous journals, books and exhibition catalogs, and she has lectured internationally on socially-engaged art, craft and design practices. Curatorial projects include art exhibitions, walking events, community-based urban festivals, and multidisciplinary pedagogical exchanges addressing ecological and social sustainability. Commissioned by Fulbright Foundation, NEON, CEC Artslink, Open Society Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Emre Senan Foundation and the US Embassy in Georgia, she has organized projects within Bienalʼ21 Fotografia Do Porto featuring Alfredo Jaar and Susan Meiselas, (Porto, 2021); Benaki Museum’s Patrick Leigh Fermor House (Kardamyli, 2021); ArtMill Center (Czech Republic, 2018/19); Artisterium International (Tbilisi, 2017, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008); Batumi Backyards Project (Batumi, 2013, 2012); Dietski Dom Orphanage and Tengri Umai Gallery, (Akkol /Almaty, 2015/16); Proteus Gowanus (Brooklyn, 2014); Souzy Tros Art Canteen (Athens, Greece, 2013); Kuad Gallery (Istanbul, 2012); Benaki Museum Pireos Annex (Athens, 2011); Byzantine Museum (Athens, 2008); and Art Caucasus International (Tbilisi, 2007, 2005).

At Parsons, she regularly teaches graduate/undergraduate seminars on “Walking as a Research Practice” as well as Socially-Engaged Art. Her participatory walking projects have been featured in “Walking Practices/Walking Arts/ Walking Bodies” (2019, Prespes); Ca Foscari University’s Porto Maghera Project (Venice, Italy, 2017), Colorado College’s Design Week (Colorado Springs, 2017), NeMe Arts Centre (Limossol, Cyprus, 2017), as well as in Milena Principle’s “Made of Walking Festival” (2016, Delphi, Greece). She is online at: www.lydiamatthews.com