Course Meeting Times

Seminar: 5 sessions / week, 2 hours / session


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Description

This seminar facilitates the design and construction of installations and other community projects in conjunction with and beyond MIT’s celebration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the first half of the class, MIT and Wellesley students develop an in-depth understanding of the history of US racial issues, as well as past and present domestic and international political struggles. The issues of justice, equality and racism are addressed through videos, readings and writings, and class discussions.

In the second half, students work as a group to complete the installation and other projects which will serve as models for connecting academics with real life problems and struggle.

Course Background

February 2013 marked the 39th anniversary of MIT’s celebration of the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For many years now MIT has chosen to celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a breakfast in his honor. For more information, check out the website:

The MLK Design Seminar began in January 1999. Since then, MIT and Wellesley students have worked together to create artistic and political installations that have been placed in MIT’s Lobby 7 and Lobby 10 to coincide with the university’s celebration of Dr. King. Past years’ projects have included work with children and adults in the Cambridge Community Centers, original songs and performances, benefits for charities, various features in The Tech (MIT’s oldest and largest newspaper) and other publications, and special projects.

In 2013, the seminar was offered again to facilitate the design and construction of an installation, which was placed in Lobby 10 the dates of February 5—February 15, and other special projects, organized in conjunction with MIT’s annual celebration. MIT and Wellesley undergraduates are the main participants in this seminar. If necessary, various members of the MIT community serve as guest lecturers, artists and consultants to help resolve the design of the installation or the nature of the special projects.

Course Overview

In designing the installation or project, participants in the seminar may address aspects of the theme of the honored speaker and the celebration in addition to their thoughts on civil and human rights, justice, equality, race, racism and the principles of Dr. King. The installation and projects will serve as a model for connecting academics and education with real life problems and struggle. It is hoped that the seminar and the projects will encourage interaction and foster communication among members of the MIT community with diverse backgrounds.

There is a main facilitator and coordinator for this class. The role of the facilitator is to organize the meetings, help the group focus on the projects and take care of most of the administrative details. The facilitator is also responsible for advancing the project to ensure timely completion of the installation/project. The facilitator attends but does not participate in the brainstorming discussions and concept. Each member of the group (assuming everyone has participated in the sessions) has an equal amount of influence in determining the concept for the final project. There are 20+ undergraduate facilitators to lead the small group discussions every day.


All class meetings are mandatory. Each participant is allowed to miss only three sessions. Students are responsible for making up all the work missed in each excused or unexcused session.


Your grade will be based on the following:

  • Attendance and participation in all class sessions, particularly the small group discussions
  • Participation in the small group project
  • Participation in work on the installation or project
  • Attendance and participation in installation set up and break down
  • Completed reading and writing assignments
  • Viewing all assigned videos
  • Completed class evaluation form

You are also graded on your ability to stretch yourself creatively, intellectually and/or emotionally, try something different, work with people you are unfamiliar with, and move out of your comfort zone.

NOTE: Everyone who is receiving credit for this seminar is required to participate in the installation set up as well as the removal of the installation from Lobby 10. No student will receive a grade for the seminar until the installation is out of Lobby 10 and everything is cleaned up completely.

To be in the class you must be able to put substantial work into the last two weeks of the seminar, the set up of the installation in Lobby 10 on February 2 and the breakdown of the installation and clean up on February 11. If you are unable to do this you should not expect to receive full credit or an A in this class.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Activity Assignments
assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples