Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo, smiling and wearing glasses, standing in the middle of a street with a mountain behind her

Photo by Alejandra Quintero Sinisterra

Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based Colombian digital artist, designer, and educator. She is Dean of the School of Design Strategies, Associate Dean of Parsons, and Associate Professor of Integrated Design at The New School in New York City. She has held a variety of leadership roles including Interim Vice President and Associate Provost for Open Campus. An academic-activist at heart, Cynthia has collaborated on important boundary-crossing university initiatives including, most recently, the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Business Design for Social Impact non-credit certificate.

An internationally exhibited artist, her current research focuses on the Parsons DEED Research Lab, which she co-founded in 2007 and currently directs. DEED Lab brings together students, faculty, and external partners from business, design, development, and policy to model more equitable ways for designers to work with artisans, and for artisans to sustain their livelihoods. Her work with DEED has been featured in the NY Daily News and the TV show LatiNation. She has written many papers on this topic including an article in the peer-reviewed journal Visible Language.

Cynthia has lectured internationally on design, education, technology, and social practice, including keynote talks at the Global Fashion Conference in Madrid and the Festival Internacional de la Imagen in Manizales; and a TEDx talk on redesigning education. In September 2011 she helped found Occupy University, and in 2013 she was honored with a Fulbright Scholarship for the inaugural Higher Education Administrator’s Program in France.

Prior to Parsons, Cynthia worked as an educational technologist in Bogotá and at Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. She is an active member of the design education networks of AIGA and the Future of Design in Higher Education, and a co-organizer of the annual conference Digitally Engaged Learning. As a consultant Cynthia has worked with international organizations such as CARE and the World Bank.

Her artwork, centered around themes of time and transience, has been internationally exhibited and performed, including at The KitchenUCLA Hammer Museum, Point Éphémère (Paris) and the Museums of Modern Art in Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia). Cynthia self-published “Of and In Cities,” an academically framed art book about five of her photographic projects, and three books about “Cross Urban,” an eight year long collaboration with artist Klaus Fruchtnis. In the early 00s, she collaborated with Stephanie Strickland on two award-winning digital poetry works – slippingglimpse and Vniverse, which are often cited by scholars and creators of electronic literature. In the late 90s, she helped start the media arts curriculum at Universidad de los Andes, and with this expertise has presented at ISEA, FILE Symposium, and Cumulus. In 2012-13 she served on the advisory board of ISEA’s Latin American Forum.

Cynthia received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) and a Master’s in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University’s ITP. The daughter of expats, she was raised in five different cities in Latin America and abroad, and now lives in possibly the smallest neighborhood in Brooklyn – Greenwood Heights.

You can connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Instagram.