About President Barrett

Dawn Barrett, president of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, provides executive leadership for all college initiatives and operations. Barrett is the college’s eleventh president and took office in August, 2011.

President Barrett most recently served as Dean of the Architecture and Design Division at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Prior to her appointment as Dean, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Graphic Design at RISD and lived and worked in Europe for many years as Head of the Department of Design at the Jan van Eyck Akademie, a post-graduate and research center for Fine Art, Design and Theory in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

In addition to her administrative and faculty experience, President Barrett contributes to the field of design through research and practice. She has an active design and consulting practice, with professional commissions and assignments which have included Duke University; Maryland Institute College of Arts; Imaging Research Center-UMBC, Studio Dumbar-The Hague, PTT Nederland, and the Royal Post in Denmark. Ms. Barrett's curatorial work includes research and co-curation of a number of design exhibitions for such venues as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Barrett is editor of the book Interface: an approach to design, by Gui Bonsiepe (1998, Maastricht), and co-editor of the anthology, Infinite Radius: Founding Rhode Island School of Design (2008, Providence). Her critical writing connects the disciplines of visual culture, history, design and architecture and has appeared in a number of journals including Parallax, Zed, Visible Language, Archis, and Aspect.

President Barrett studied Fine Art at Smith College and UNC, Chapel Hill and received a Bachelors degree in Art History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Masters degree in Design from the School of Design, NC State University, Raleigh.

President Barrett currently serves on the board of trustees at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina; is a visiting evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the American Landscape Association Accreditation Board (LAAB). She is also a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) Commission on Accreditation.