MASKS is an initiative that constructs a framework for young practitioners, theorists, and historians in design and its intersecting disciplines to foster pedagogical experimentation.

The project provides an opportunity to address lingering interests, or to discover intersections with previously unrelated research. It is a chance to venture into an other, to don a mask and become a different character, to disguise or reveal, to empower what would have otherwise remained silent. Masks itself is formless, but rather particular to the media it enlists as tools of realization. Contributions and collaborations are orchestrated in two zones: AD (essays, fictions, illustrations, ...) and AB (events, exhibitions, lectures, performances, ...).

Design education is often divided into research/writing or studio-based design programs. Such divisions into separate tracks often carries through into similar professional divisions. In school, students are often expected to only engage in one or the other while substantial crossover between the two is often made difficult either by institutional norms and prejudice or by the demands of the respective program making anything outside of what’s prescribed difficult to attain. Masks is meant to counter this void in pedagogical training through academic experimentation.

Masks feels there is a desire for those who are inundated by design and making to explicate a thought further through the process of critical writing or perhaps a theatrical performance, as well as a desire for those library-destined research students to express an idea through a medium other than pen and ink. Not wanting to merely recreate new boundaries nor disregard the benefits of existing ones, Masks simply hopes to allow for them to be blurred in the often constricting academic trajectories students may find themselves in. Each contribution to Masks hopes to be thoughtful and productive though perhaps not otherwise seen in the typical course of a design education. Consequently, each contribution ought to be expressed in a media fit for the idea itself regardless of what may be expected. Masks offers a zone in which this is possible.