Martin Roth Symposium

What can culture do?


Giorgia Abeltino; Photo: private

Giorgia Abeltino is the Director of Public Policy of Google Arts and Culture as well as for France, Italy, Greece and Malta. Google Arts and Culture develops projects in partnership with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to host the world's cultural treasures online. Giorgia is deeply interested in the interplay between society, culture and technology. She is a member of the permanent committee of the Pontifical Council for Culture of Vatican focusing on women. She is also Board member of Assinform, the Italian association of Information Technology companies.

Portrait of Suay Aksoy

Suay Aksoy is President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). She initiated her academic career in the field of Political Science at the Istanbul University. Later she has taught courses in Museum Management and Cultural Heritage at Istanbul's Fine Arts University and Bogazici University. Aksoy headed museum projects and curatorial activities at the History Foundation of Turkey where she later functioned as Board member and Vice-President for consecutive terms. Aksoy also worked as a Director of Cultural Heritage and Museums at the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency.

Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani; Photo: private

Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is engaged in the fields of formal and informal education. She is Chairperson of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and Qatar Leadership. By serving her country in a multiple of fields – from culture, leadership, philanthropy and education she has been able to facilitate conversations across borders and fields. Through her public work, she is building an exciting creative future for Qatar. As a public servant, her objective is to invest in Qatar's local community, and celebrate Qatar's diversity using the visual arts as a vehicle for communication. Her current interests are in human development, cultural regionalism and economic growth, using culture as a catalyst for education, dialogue and exchange.

Ali Aslan is a TV presenter and journalist who has reported and hosted worldwide for global news networks such as CNN, ABC News, Channel News Asia and Deutsche Welle TV. As internationally sought-after presenter, Aslan regularly moderates at major conferences around the world and has shared the stage, among others with Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Bill Clinton. Aslan holds a master's degree in Journalism and International Affairs from the Columbia University in New York and has received his bachelor's degree in International Politics from the Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Portrait of Lazare Eloundou Assomo

Lazare Eloundou Assomo is the current Deputy Director of the Division for Heritage at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. He is trained as an architect conservator and town-planner specialised in earthen architecture and cultural heritage. Before October 2016, he was UNESCO Head of Office and Representative in Mali and main responsible for coordinating UNESCO's actions to rehabilitate Mali's cultural heritage and ancient manuscripts damaged by the armed conflict in 2012. Lazare Eloundou Assomo was also one of the key players for the establishment of the African World Heritage Fund, now a UNESCO Category 2 Centre. He is the author of the book "African World Heritage, a remarkable diversity"published by UNESCO in 2012.

Paolo Baratta; Photo: La Biennale di Venezia / F. Galli

Paolo Baratta in 2016 has been confirmed for the fourth time for a four year mandate as President of "La Biennale di Venezia". Currently he is also President of the Rome Philharmonic Academy (since 2007). In 2015 he was appointed by the Italian Minister of Culture as President of the Commission for the selection of the Directors of the 20 most important public Museums in Italy. Graduated in Engineering at Milan Politecnico and in Economics at Cambridge University, he carried out and published studies and researches on industrial and development economics and the financial system. He is a member of the Italian Economists' Society. 

Sarah Bergh; Photo: Steffen Bugs

Sarah Bergh works in the department of Political Education at the Pedagogical Institute for the city of Munich since 2015. She studied pedagogy, psychology and theater as well as marketing and cultural management in Munich. Initially, she worked for theater, dance and performance festivals. Since 2002, Bergh has been working freelance with her office for the conception and realisation of art and cultural projects. Since 2003, she has also been active in the development and realisation of educational formats and artistic projects. Her work focuses on political education, in particular on the topics of migration education, human rights, discrimination/racism and self-assertion/empowerment.

Andreas Beyer; Photo: privat

Andreas Beyer is Professor for Art History at the University of Basel, an art critic and curator. From 2009 to 2014 he was Director of the "Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art" in Paris. He is Speaker of the International Research Project "Bilderfahrzeuge – Aby Warburg's Legacy and the Future of Iconology", based at the Warburg Institute London and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This project sets out to explore the migration of images, objects, commodities and texts - in short: the migration of ideas in a broad historical and geographical context. 

Jennifer Sarah Boone; Photo: private

Jennifer Sarah Boone is a presenter and voice over artist. After working as a news presenter at Wack Radio in Trinidad & Tobago, Jennifer went on presenting for the online-TV channel Reelkandi TV. Her path then led her further to working as a moderator for numerous events and festivals. Today Jennifer, who has her roots in the UK and Trinidad & Tobago, works as a presenter, interviewer and reporter for events, TV, conferences and trade fares, as well as lending her voice to e-learnings, audioguides, imagefilms and commercials.

David Chipperfield; Photo: private

David Chipperfield established his architectural studio in 1985. With offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai, he has developed an international body of work including cultural, residential, commercial, leisure and civic projects. His cultural projects range from private collections such as the Museo Jumex in Mexico City to public institutions such as the revitalised "Neues Museum" in Berlin and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Ongoing projects in Berlin include the James Simon Galerie on Museum Island and the refurbishment of Mies van der Rohe's "Neue Nationalgalerie". 

Nico Daswani; Photo: private

Nico Daswani is Head of Arts and Culture at the World Economic Forum. He and his team collaborate with artists, cultural institutions, the media and leaders across sectors to produce films, tours, exhibitions and debates. These are intended to create a community of cultural leaders who can leverage the World Economic Forum's platform to create cultural change. Recently he commissioned the Emmy-award winning virtual reality documentary "Collisions" by Lynette Wallworth, and produced the first international tour of the Afghan Women's Orchestra. Nico previously produced festivals and residencies with organisations such as the Asian American Arts Alliance, the Smithsonian Institution, and the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance. 

Geraldine de Bastion; Photo: private

Geraldine de Bastion is a political scientist and advises public institutions, NGOs and the private sector on the strategic and innovative use of digital technologies and new media. She collaborates with bloggers and activists on issues concerning media and internet freedom. De Bastion is co-founder of Konnektiv – a Berlin-based agency working at the intersection of technology, collaboration, and social development, and founder of the Global Innovation Gathering – a global network for digital social innovation. Since 2012, she has been a member of the curatorial team for re:publica, Europe's largest conference on the digital society.

Mareile Flitsch; Photo: privat

Mareile Flitsch is director of the Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich and holds a chair in social anthropology where she is specialized in anthropology of technology and material culture. She is sinoligist and anthropologist trained in Germany, France and China. At the TU Berlin China Center she headed several research projects. Her research emphasis lies on everyday technologies and practical knowledge transmission. She directs the university museum with a holistic museum concept centred around skill, museum collaborating and sharing heritage. 

Catherine Flood; Photo: private

Catherine Flood is a Curator of Prints in the Word and Image Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum specialising in themes of design and politics. In 2014 she co-curated "Disobedient Objects" a ground-breaking exhibition at the V&A about the art and design of grassroots social movements. She has published on a range of topics from the history of the poster, to nineteenth century female illustrators. She is currently researching the ways in which artists and designers are engaging with the politics of food. 

Andreas Görgen; Photo: privat

Andreas Görgen is Head of the German Foreign Office's Culture and Communication Department. He first completed a law degree, before in 1996 beginning his professional career at the Berliner Ensemble theatre. For a number of years he had been working between Germany and France, in the field of culture as well as the industry. After accomplishing a scholarship at the École Nationale D'Administration in France, he changed sectors, working in the public financing of films. This was followed by consultancy roles in the managerial teams of the State Ministry for Culture and Media, the Federal Chancellery's Europe Department, and at the Foreign Office under Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier. Having gained experience and negotiating expertise on the complex international circuit, between 2009 and 2013 he occupdied senior roles in the energy sector with Siemens South West Europe. In 2014 he returned to the Federal Foreign Office. 

Dimitri Hegemann; Photo: Marie Staggat

Dimitri Hegemann considers himself an explorer of spaces. Stations of his work include the nonconformist Atonal Festival and the development of the legendary Techno Club Tresor. In recent years, he devoted himself to forgotten industrial spaces. His strategy is the process of transforming a technical structure into a living cultural space. His special commitment is the city of Detroit. There, Hegemann has successfully held many conferences regarding the influence of art and culture on urban development over the last 6 years. Today he is working on the initiative "Happy Locals", which develops concepts and strategies for small and large communities to decrease the exodus of young people. 

Michele Henery; Photo: privat

Michelle Henery is an American born journalist who has been living overseas for almost 20 years. She has worked for leading news organizations across Europe, from Reuters in Paris and The Times of London, to Al Jazeera English. Now she is presenter and news anchor for Germany's international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. Throughout her journalistic career she has sought to investigate the complexities of identity in contemporary society – in particular analysing representation and culture in the US and Europe. 

[Translate to English:] Markus Hilgert; Foto: Goetz Schleser

Markus Hilgert is the Secretary General and CEO of the Cultural Foundation of the German Federal States. As specialist in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Hilgert served as Director of the Ancient Near East Museum at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin from 2014 until 2018. From 2007 until 2014, he was Professor for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Assyriology) at Heidelberg University. Hilgert is the coordinator of the national trans-disciplinary research alliance ILLICID focusing on the illicit traffic with cultural property in Germany funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. He was inter alia the founding director of the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage at Heidelberg University and the Center for Digital Cultural Heritage in Museums (CEDICUM) at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. 

Kurt Hübner is professor in the Political Science Department at the University of British Columbia and holds the Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration and Global Political Economy. He received his PhD in Economics and Political Science from the Free University Berlin. His expertise is in the field of European integration in the context of the global political economy. In the last couple of years, his work also focused on trade policy issues. Kurt Hübner was visiting research professor at University of Birmingham, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, National University in Singapore, Science Po in Grenoble, LUISS in Rome and at Waseda University in Tokyo, among others.

Sunil Khilnani; Photo: private

Sunil Khilnani is Avantha Professor and Director, India Institute, King's College London. He was formerly Starr Foundation Professor at the John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C. Sunil Khilnani has been a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge; the Woodrow Wilson Center; the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and the American Academy in Berlin. Khilnani's publications include "Arguing Revolution - The Intellectual Left in Postwar France" (1993) and "The Idea of India" (20th anniversary edn. 2017). His most recent book is "Incarnations - A History of India in Fifty Lives" (2016), which accompanies his 50-part BBC Radio series.

Koyo Kouoh. Foto: privat

Koyo Kouoh is the founding artistic director of RAW Material Company. For Carnegie International, 57th edition, 2018, Kouoh is participating with Dig Where You Stand, an exhibition within the exhibition based on the Carnegie Museum of Art's collection. With Rasha Salti, she recently co-curated Saving Bruce Lee: African and Arab Cinema in the Era of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy at "Haus der Kulturen der Welt" in Berlin. Previously, she was the curator of numerous exhibitions among them the 1:54 FORUM, and the educational programme at the Contemporary African Art Fair in London and New York.

Portrait of Mateo Kries

Mateo Kries is director of the Vitra Design Museum since 2011. After starting his career at the Museum of Berber Art in Marrakech, he started working at the Vitra Design Museum in 1995. Kries has been responsible for many exhibitions and publications about major protagonists of modern and contemporary design. He was co-founder of the Berlin-based festival "Designmai" and has been a member of Jurys for the Design of the Year Award of the Designmuseum London, the Architizer Award and the Frame Award. In 2010 he published "Total Design – Die Inflation moderner Gestaltung". In 2017 Kries has been appointed as Honorary Professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe.

Portrait of Jonathan Ledgard

J.M. (Jonathan) Ledgard is considered a leading proponent of planetary writing and an influential thinker on technology, risk, and nature. He holds a master degree in history from the University of St. Andrews. Ledgard was a foreign political and war correspondent for The Economist from 1995 to 2012. From 2012 to 2017 he was director at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, heading a cross-disciplinary futurist lab. He has pioneered projects in the field of robotics and blockchain and lectured widely including at ETH, Imperial College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute of Advanced Studies. Ledgard invented the cargo drone and droneport concept for Africa together with Norman Foster as design lead, and presented the concept at the 2016 Venice Biennale. He is presently working on advanced technology and natural capital projects and is a visiting professor in artificial intelligence at the Czech Technical University in Prague.

Wayne Modest; Foto: privat

Wayne Modest is Head of the Research Center for Material Culture, the research institute of the Tropenmuseum, Museum Volkenkunde, Africa Museum and Werldmuseum. He is also Professor (by special appointment) of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies in the faculty of humanities at the Vrije Universeit, Amsterdam. Modest was previously head of the curatorial department at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. He was Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London, and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography in Kingston, Jamaica. His more recent publications include Victorian Jamaica, together with Tim Barringer (Duke University Press, 2018) and Anxious Politics in Postcolonial Europe, with Anouk de Koning (American Anthropologist). 

Mohsen Mostafavi; Photo: private

Mohsen Mostafavi is Dean as well as Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. As architect and educator, his work focuses on modes and processes of urbanisation and on the interface between technology and aesthetics. Mostafavi is the author and editor of many books, including Nicholas Hawksmoor: The London Churches (2015); Portman's America & Other Speculations (2017); and Ethics of the Urban: The City and the Spaces of the Political (2017). 

Wim Pijbes; Photo: Vincent Mentzel

Wim Pijbes is director of the philantropic foundation "Stichting Droom en Daad" since 2017. He is art historian, emeritus General Director of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. His initiatives there include the museum's transformation and reopening in April 2013. His strategy made the Rijksmuseum the largest museum on the web worldwide. In his tenure the Rijksmuseum became European Museum of the year. Wim Pijbes holds a position of the Humanitas Professorship in the History of Art at the University of Cambridge. He is Chair of the Supervisory Board of Droog Design, Board member of Museum Voorlinden, Trustee of the European Fine Art Fair and Board member of the Rembrandt Society. 

Chen Ping; Photo: private

Chen Ping is Counsellor for Culture at the Chinese Embassy in Berlin. At the beginning of the eighties he studied German language and literature at the Beijing Foreign Studies University and began his career in China's Ministry of Culture immediately after graduation. For many years he has been responsible for cultural relations between China and Western European countries, especially German-speaking countries, and has worked at the Chinese embassies in Switzerland and Germany for more than 15 years. He has recently curated and organised many major festivals about Chinese culture in Europe. Chen Ping received the Honorary Award of the Republic of Italy in 2007 and was honoured in 2008 as "Goethe-Kulturbotschafter" by the Goethe-Institut Beijing. 

Sophia Prinz; Photo: private

Sophia Prinz is visiting Professor of Theory of Design at the Berlin University of the Arts. Previously, she was a research associate at the Department of Comparative Cultural Sociology at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). She is the coordinator and scientific director of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) joint project "Mobile Worlds. On the Migration of Things in Transcultural Societies" (2015-2018). In addition to her academic work, she has been working as a research assistant at the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich since 2013. 

Ulrich Raulff; Photo: Constant Formé-Bècherat

Ulrich Raulff is President-elect of ifa. He studied philosophy and history and has obtained his PhD in 1977. From 1978 to 1993 he worked as freelance translator. In 1995 he became professor in Cultural Studies at the "Humboldt-Universität" of Berlin. From 1994 to 2001 he was literary editor of the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", from 1997 chief literary editor, and from 2001 to 2004 senior literary editor of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". Since 2004 until the end of 2018 he is the director of the German Literature Archive Marbach. He is among others a member of the Board of Trustees of the "Goethe-Institut" and of the "Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung".  

Portrait of Tim Reeve

Tim Reeve is Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A, since 2013. He is a graduate in Ancient History from Royal Holloway, University of London and studied at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and INSEAD on its International Executive Programme. Reeve led the V&A’s support of China Merchant's Group in the creation of the V&A Galleries within a new design museum in Shenzhen. He is closely involved in establishing V&A East, a dynamic new museum in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Before joining the V&A, Reeve was Director of Historic Properties at English Heritage. He is a Trustee of the Canal & River Trust and Paintings in Hospitals.

Zhao Rong; Photo: privat

Zhao Rong is the Deputy Director of the Design Society, Shenzhen, China. She is a graduate in art history from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Williams College and the University of Chicago in the US. The Design Society is sponsored by China Merchants Group, a major state-owned enterprise in China, as a pilot project to steer the company towards a new cultural focus. Since 2012, she has led the creation of the project and facilitated the partnership with the V&A Museum. In her current role she manages the partnership and programming of the Design Society. She is also Deputy Secretary General of Shenzhen Art and Design Alliance. 

Bill Sherman; Photo: private

Bill Sherman is Director of the Warburg Institute and Professor of Cultural History in the University of London's School of Advanced Study. He worked with Martin Roth at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he was Director of Research and Collections. He led the project to create the Mellon-funded V&A Research Institute VARI. Sherman's research has been driven by a love of libraries and archives, and by an interest in how objects speak across time and space. He is best known for his work on the history of reading. His current projects explore the interface between word and image, knowledge and power, and the Early Modern and the Modern.

Mikhail Shvydkoy; Photo: private

Mikhail Shvydkoy is the Special Envoy for international cultural cooperation to the President of the Russian Federation. He holds a Ph.D. in the history of theatre from the National Institute of Art Research at Moscow. Shvydkoy is a Professor at the Faculty of Foreign Theatre of the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts as well as a Professor and member of the Academic Council of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. His previous positions include: Head of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography (2004-2008), Minister of culture (2000-2004), Chairman of the All-Russia State TV and Broadcasting Company (1998-2000), Deputy Minister of culture (1993-1997). 

Stefan Simon; Foto: privat

Stefan Simon is the Director of Global Cultural Heritage Initiatives at Yale University. Trained as a conservation scientist, Simon earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. He served as Director of the Rathgen Research Laboratory at the National Museums in Berlin and as a member and Vice President of the Council of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). He is the current President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Simon is the founder and former Director of the private laboratory KDC "Konservierung & Denkmalpflege Cons." in Olching, Germany. 

Portrait of Christoph Thun-Hohenstein

Christoph Thun-Hohenstein assumed direction of the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art (MAK) in 2011. While working for the Austrian Foreign Ministry he held posts in Abidjan, Geneva, and Bonn. He was Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York from 1999 to 2007. Later he served as Managing Director of "departure", the Creative Agency of the City of Vienna, until August 2011. Thun-Hohenstein is furthermore Head of the Vienna Biennale, which he initiated in 2015. He has also curated exhibitions of contemporary art, and he regularly serves on selection juries.

Zelfira Tregulova; Photo: ifa

Zelfira Tregulova is an art historian and general director of the State Tretyakov Gallery. In the past she curated various international projects such as "Amazons of Avant-Garde", "Russia!", "Socialist realisms". Zelfira Tregulova was awarded with honorary diplomas by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. She also received the "Ordine della Stella d'Italia" for the organisation of the year of Italian culture and Italian language in Russia (2012) as well as the order Pro Merito Melitensi (Sovereign Military Order of Malta). 

Portrait of Pepe Serra Villalba

Pepe Serra Villalba is director of the "Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya", Barcelona since 2012. He holds a B.A. in Art History from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Among others, he has been Director of the Museum Picasso Barcelona (2006 to 2011) and Deputy Director of Museums and Cultural Heritage at the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia (2005 to 2006). Serra Villalba is also involved in several academic and educational programs regarding Museums and Cultural Management such as Co-director and professor of Museum Studies Graduate at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and Co-director of the two editions of the Museum Management Seminar organized by Johns Hopkins University in Barcelona.

Johannes Vogel; Photo: Hwa Ja-Goetz

Johannes Vogel is Director-General of the "Museum für Naturkunde" (museum of natural history) Berlin, a research museum of the Leibniz Association. He is also Professor of Biodiversity and Public Science at the Humboldt University Berlin. He studied genetics at the University of Cambridge and then worked at the Natural History Museum London, where he was Keeper of Botany from 2004-2011. He chairs the European Citizen Science Association and the European Commission's Open Science Policy Platform. In all these capacities, Johannes Vogel is committed to scientific transfer and opening up science and scientific organisations to society.

Benita von Maltzahn; Photo: private

Benita von Maltzahn is Volkswagen Group's Director of Global Corporate Citizenship. Being a qualified paper conservator and holding a degree in art history, she started her career as communication professional. In 2011 she moved to Volkswagen Group, to develop and further expand the cultural and social engagement of the group. Working closely with international institutions and players within the field of the arts and culture, she has helped to make Volkswagen a driving force behind various opportunities for the wider public to engage with culture. Among other cultural engagements, the Wolfsburg-based global company has been a strong partner for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and MoMA PS1 in New York for seven years.

Sigrid Weigel; Photo: private

Sigrid Weigel is former director of the Research Center for Literature and Culture (ZfL Berlin), which she transformed into a center of interdisciplinary Cultural Studies. Her research uncovers the cultural, historical, and epistemological preconditions of topical issues like the plurality of European culture, the "cultural nation", figures of martyrdom in different religions, dialectics of secularization. With projects on on empathy, heritage/inheritance et al. she builds bridges between natural sciences and the humanities. She is currently preparing an ifa-study on the question of "post-national" cultural policy. 

Mariët Westermann; Foto: Paul Hahn

Mariët Westermann oversees grantmaking and research at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since joining the foundation in 2010 she has launched initiatives that expand access to art and culture, encourage innovation, strengthen cultural heritage preservation, and support scholars and artists at risk of persecution. In 2015, she commissioned a study of diversity in art museums. Before joining the Foundation she was founding provost of New York University Abu Dhabi and director of NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. Westermann has published widely on the history of Netherlandish art and is among others a trustee of the Institute of International Education and its Scholar Rescue Fund. 

Gerhard Wolf; Photo: private

Gerhard Wolf is director of the "Kunsthistorisches Institut" at Max-Planck-Institut in Florence. He made his PhD in Heidelberg 1989 and his Habilitation 1994 in Berlin. After that he hold a chair of art history in Trier from 1998 to 2003. He had visiting professorships in Buenos Aires, Rome, Harvard, Chicago, Delhi, Istanbul, Zurich. Since 2008 he is honorary professor at the Humboldt University Berlin. He is a member of the "Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften" and the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat). He is curator of various exhibitions and he is co-director of a fellowship program with the Berlin Museums.

Portrait of Ma Yansong

Ma Yansong is currently a professor in Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, and Tsinghua University. He is a Beijing-born architect and founder and principal partner of MAD Architects. Many of Ma Yansong's designs follow his "Shanshui City" philosophy – the vision to create a new balance among society, the city and the environment through architecture. Exploring this idea through an international practice he has created a series of imaginative works, including the Absolute Towers, Chaoyang Park Plaza, Harbin Opera House, and Ordos Museum. In 2014, Ma Yansong was selected as the principal designer for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.