OCAD University
Michael Prokopow
Associate Dean
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies

Area(s) of Expertise

Material Culture / European and North American history 1600 onwards, Design History, Craft History, Aesthetic and Cultural Theory, Museum Practice / Curatorial Practice


Dr. Michael J. Prokopow is a cultural historian and curator. His areas of expertise include material culture, aesthetics and design history. He has written widely about material life and domesticity and is currently working on a project on middle class taste in North America between 1940 and 1975. Between 2004 and 2008, he was curator of the Design Exchange, Canada's only museum of 20th century industrial design. In 2012, he was co-curator of –Museum for the End of the World"The Monumental Project, Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche, in Toronto. In addition, in 2011 he curated an exhibition on the work of architect and theorist George Baird at the Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture and Design and he was co-curator of the Leona Drive Project, a site specific installation in Willowdale, Ontario. Currently he is working on an exhibition on the roles of Scandinavian aesthetics in Canadian design culture between 1920 and the present and a project for the New York Times on prison architecture and the aesthetics of incarceration.


1996 Ph.D. Harvard University, Department of History 1986 A.M. Harvard University, Department of History 1985 M.A. University of New Brunswick, Department of History 1982 B.A. University of Victoria, Department of History

Professional Experience

2009- OCAD University (Associate Professor) 2003-2009 Ryerson University (Assistant Professor) 2004-2007 Design Exchange (Curator) 2004-2007 University of Toronto, Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (Instructor) 1997-2003 Simon Fraser University (Assistant Professor)

Selected Exhibitions

2012 Co–curator –Museum for the End of the World"The Monumental Project, Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche, Toronto, ON 2012 Curator –Meanings in Architecture: The early work of George Baird, 1957-1993 Eric Arthur Gallery, The Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 2011 Curatorial Advisor, 'sTITCHES,"WORKShop / Larry Richards, Director, Toronto, ON 2009 Co-curator, with Janine Marchessault, (York University) The Leona Drive Project, WIllowdale, ON 2006 Curator, –Canada in the Making,"Design Exchange, Toronto, ON 2006 Curator, –Circa 1955 / Circa 2005: The Domestic Landscapes of Canada,"GTAA Museum Exhibition/ Royal Ontario Museum, Terminal 1 Toronto, ON, 2006 Curator –By Design: Historical and Contemporary Objects from Canadian Collections,"The Design Exchange, Toronto, ON 2005 Curator –Plastic: Chemistry, Commerce and Culture in Canada, 1945-present,"The Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, Toronto, ON,

Selected Publications

2014 –Above It All: Society, Politics and the Photography of Christoph Gielen"Hazlitt (Summer 2014) 'shelf Life: or Museums, Mission and Issues of Collecting Craft and Design,"Part II, STUDIO Spring/Summer 2014 –Coupland's True North Strong and Free,"Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything, edited by Diane Augaitis and Emmy Lee, (Black Dog: Toronto, 2014) 'shelf Life: or Museums, Mission and Issues of Collecting Craft and Design,"Part I, STUDIO Spring/Summer 2014 2013 –Out of the Ordinary: An Te Liu's MONO NO MA,"Exhibition catalog essay, Gardiner Museum, Toronto, ON [Catalog descriptions] "Modern Furniture", The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' collection, Vol. 2, Decorative arts & design, Rosalind Pepall, and Diane Charbonneau, (New York: Abrams). 2012 –Object Lessons: Creativity and Boundlessness in the Contemporary Field"Exhibition Catalog essay: 40 Under 40: Craft Futures, The Smithsonian Institution: Washington DC/ Yale University Press). 2011 –Decoding Douglas Coupland,"Catalog essay, Trepannier Baer Gallery, Calgary, Co-Editor (with Janine Marchessault and Steven Logan), –PUBLIC 43: SUBURBS, (Toronto, ON) Co-Editor (with Janine Marchessault), The Leona Drive Project Catalog, Toronto, ON Review of Dag Widman, Karin Winter, Nina Stritzler-Levine Bruno Mathsson: Architect and Designer Bokfloraget Arena /Bard Graduate Center Yale University Press, 2007, The Winterthur Portfolio 2009 –A Scenic Tour: [A remembrance of Arthur Erickson,]"Canadian Architect.

Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

2013- C Magazine Executive 2012- Executive Committee, Ontario Crafts Council, Toronto, ON 2012- Collection Committee, Design Exchange, Toronto, ON 2012- Editorial Board, Studio: The Magazine of the Ontario Crafts Council, Toronto, ON 2009- Board Member, Arthur Erickson Foundation, Vancouver 2009 Advisory Board, Arthur Erickson Conservation Trust, Vancouver, BC 2009- Contributing Writer: Studio: Journal of Craft, Toronto, ON