An Interview with Ben Barry, University of Fashion’s New Dean

Barry is influenced by the legacy of the University of Vogue, and hopes to honor, amplify and continue on the school’s pathbreaking eyesight and techniques

An Interview with Ben Barry, College of Fashion’s New Dean

Ben Barry is an educator, writer, researcher, and activist who has expended additional than 15 a long time advancing inclusive fashion pedagogy and investigate to make a upcoming in which bodies that are presently stigmatized and excluded are instead valued and preferred. Last July, he joined the College of Manner as Dean, wherever he prospects and oversees all spots of the university including an impressive curriculum that encompasses the BFA in Style Design and style AAS diploma applications in Vogue Structure and Manner Internet marketing MFA in Style Design and style and Culture MFA in Textiles and MPS in Manner Administration.

New School Information recently spoke with Dr. Barry on a variety of matters, including his eyesight for the University of Manner, the explanations he was captivated to becoming a member of Parsons, and the leaders who encourage him.

What captivated you to The New University / Parsons?

When I was in graduate college, I’d routinely electronic mail the Dean of the Faculty of Vogue at Parsons and inquire about position prospects. He generally generously responded, even however there have been no open positions at that time. To me, The New University and Parsons represented a place of radical risk in art and style and design schooling. I would study about the experimental and resourceful techniques to instructing that linked idea and earning, welcomed-in local community and field collaborators, and grounded social and local climate justice. I wished to be aspect of that!

How have your earlier roles/ordeals ready you for your existing part as Dean of Vogue?

I joined Parsons from X College (formerly Ryerson) in Tkaronto (Toronto), Canada the place I started my training career. I was most recently Chair of their fashion division exactly where I labored with colleagues to develop a curriculum and society that prioritized inclusion, decolonization and sustainability. Functioning to carry about this systemic transformation taught me about the requirement of academic management that is grounded in humility, community and appreciate, as effectively as about the alternatives and issues of navigating alter inside of the colonial university method.

What are some of the items you hope to modify about the College of Trend and what do you hope to introduce to the university?

I am wholly encouraged by the legacy of quite a few University of Trend colleagues and college students who have grounded equity and justice into their get the job done and typically in the face of resistance and obstructions. As Dean, I hope to honor, amplify and carry on their pathbreaking eyesight and tactics. I am at present functioning with the college, employees, pupils and alumni to build a revised eyesight, guiding rules and steps to notice them for the University of Trend. Our VisionSoF: Reimaging Our Reason venture will articulate and set into motion a philosophy and politics of fashion training at Parsons that redresses the damage brought on by the continuing legacies of settler colonialism and trans-Atlantic slave trade and that grounds transformative justice. 

Are there any leaders or artists from the previous or present that you change to for inspiration and whose terms or operate you believe encourage other folks?

My comprehension of the planet, my location in, and how I can add to far more just futures is indebted to Black feminist thinkers and activists. In distinct, the brilliance of bell hooks and adrienne maree brown have formed my ways to pedagogy, leadership and just getting human.  As I get the job done to assistance carry about institutional alter, adrienne maree brown has been my guidepost in navigating its messiness by grounding interdependence, humility, accountability and satisfaction. 

From a style viewpoint, I am continuously motivated by these who use trend historical past and layout as a political tool for re-producing worlds grounded in transformative justice. Sky Cubacub and Rebirth Clothes, Theresa Stevenson and Iskwew Climbing, and Kimberly Jenkins and the Vogue and Race Databases all exhibit how trend can be in the company of collective liberation. 

What excites you most about doing the job / instructing on campus?

I’m instructing a new elective this semester named Trend and Disability Justice. We’re exploring how trend style can articulate drive for disability and how access opens up aesthetic prospects. In the course, we discover about the knowledge made by queer and trans disabled individuals, specifically all those of shade. We then work interdependently with multiply marginalized disability communities to structure clothes that give entry of their intellect-bodies and specific their desired identities. Even though the training course is on campus, we’re using our ordeals of understanding and fostering relations digitally more than the earlier two a long time to picture how collaboratively building by means of several mediums can provide obtain for much more physique-minds in trend.

What textbooks are on your bedside desk suitable now? And which Television set exhibits are you at present binging?

Ideal now I’m finishing up Crip Kinship by Shayda Kadai that tells the story of the disability justice overall performance group Sins Invalid. This reserve not only evokes my latest training and investigate exercise, but it aids me to link with the histories and knowledges of my group as a incapacity-identified queer person. I have been binging “We Are Here,” as very well as the continuous new seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, regardless of the tragic elimination of my fellow Canadian Jimbo from “UK vs The Entire world!” Each instant of queer pleasure nourishes my remaining!