Molly Wright Steenson

President/CEO of the American Swedish Institute

Dr. Molly Wright Steenson is a designer, author, professor, and international speaker. She is the president and CEO of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, starting in July 2023.

Molly’s research focuses on the intersection of design, architecture, AI, and ethics. At Carnegie Mellon University, where she has been on faculty since 2015, she is Vice Provost for Faculty, the K&L Gates Associate Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies and an associate professor in the School of Design (courtesy appointment, School of Architecture). From 2018–21, she was Senior Associate Dean for Research for the College of Fine Arts.

She is the author of Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press, 2017), which tells the radical history of AI’s impact on design and architecture, and Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press, 2019), co-edited with Laura Forlano & Mike Ananny. A web pioneer since 1994, she’s worked at groundbreaking design studios, consultancies, and Fortune 500 companies.  She holds a PhD in Architecture from Princeton University, a Master’s in Environmental Design (architectural history) from Yale School of Architecture, and a BA in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with honors and distinction.

From 2013–15, Molly was an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught digital studies, data visualization, and large lecture courses, and led Mellon-funded research projects in the digital humanities. She was a professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy in 2003–04, where she led the Connected Communities research group, and an adjunct professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in the Media Design Practices Program from 2010–12.

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