Alumni Spotlight: Sakura Nomiyama

ADHT alumna Sakura Nomiyama has been very busy since graduating from the MA in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies Program in 2016! Since then, Sakura has been working as a freelance design researcher and curator, most recently contributing to the “Marcel Breuer’s Furniture” exhibit at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, which was on view March through May 2017. Sakura worked on developing the conceptual organization of the exhibit. She has also took on translation work, contributing to the translation of WA: The Essence of Japanese Design from English to Japanese, which was published in June of this year. Sakura also gave a talk at symposium “Graphic Design Archives: Today & Looking Forward” this past January.

Sakura entered into the MA HDCS program in 2015 after meeting Design Studies director Jilly Traganou at the MoMAT, where she was working as an intern at the time. After being encouraged by Jilly to apply to Parsons, Sakura enrolled in HDCS to gain a historical perspective on art and design.

While in the HDCS program, Sakura took many cross-disciplinary courses offered in the Design Studies program, which she credits for giving her the framework to apply design praxis to design history and theory. Sakura worked as a curatorial intern at the Cooper Hewitt’s Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design Department, where she conducted research on Japanese posters and contributed articles about the posters to the museum’s website. Sakura says that her intention in highlighting the posters was to elevate the medium of graphic design to a topic worthy of serious academic exploration. For her work at the Cooper Hewitt, Sakura was awarded the 2016 DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion Research Grants for Academic Studies Relating to Graphic Design and Graphic Art. Sakura also worked as a teaching assistant for HDCS director Sarah Lichtman’s Contemporary Issues in Design course, and as a research assistant for Jilly Traganou, conducting research on Japanese culture. Sakura’s final project in the program was a website called “Design History found in Contemporary Design” that serves as a useful and functional tool in the exploration of contemporary design issues.

Sakura has recently published two articles in IDEA Magazine, No. 378 about picnic posters produced by Herman Miller and a baking book by IKEA. Her article “Graphic works by Toshihiro Katayama for Harvard University(tentative title),” the research for which was conducted by a Parsons Alumni grant in 2015, will be published for an issue of IDEA Magazine this autumn.

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