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Prof. Dr. Markus Miessen

Markus Miessen

Associate Professor in Urban Regeneration

Department Department of Geography and Spatial Planning
Postal Address Université du Luxembourg
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette
Campus Office MSH, E02 35-260
Telephone (+352) 46 66 44 5709

Markus Miessen (*1978) is an architect, researcher, writer, and Professor of Urban Regeneration at the University of Luxembourg (Department of Geography and Spatial Planning), where he holds the Chair of the City of Esch. Supervised by Eyal Weizman, he received his PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths (London, UK). He is best known for his books “The Nightmare of Participation” and “Crossbenching – Toward Participation as Critical Spatial Practice” (both Sternberg Press and Merve Verlag) that form part of his “Participation tetralogy”, interrogating normative forms of participation while developing new models of institution building, spatial politics, and cultures of assembly.

Last updated on: Friday, 09 July 2021

Academic Career

Prof. Dr. Markus Miessen MRes AADipl(Hons) BArch

Markus Miessen studied at Glasgow School of Art (BArch with distinction), graduated from the Architectural Association in London with Honours (AADipl Hons) and received a Master in Research degree from the London Consortium (MRes). He presented his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, London, in 2015.

Prior to his tenure at the University of Luxembourg, Miessen was holding a Full Professorship in Spatial Design at HDK-Valand Academy of Art & Design, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2016-2021). In 2011, he received a call to Los Angeles, teaching as Distinguished Professor of Urban Practice at the University of Southern California (until 2016). From 2011-14, Miessen has also been a guest professor at the post-graduate visual arts program work.master at HEAD (Geneva). In parallel, he held a Stiftungsprofessur for Critical Spatial Practice at the Städelschule (Frankfurt). From 2009-11, he was Visiting Professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (Karlsruhe), Visiting Professor at the Berlage Institute (Rotterdam, 2009-10), and a Unit Master at the Architectural Association (London, 2004-08). He has been a Harvard GSD Fellow in 2010. In 2008, Miessen founded the Winter School Middle East (Dubai, now Kuwait, ongoing), focussing on post-public urban spaces.

Studio Practice

Interested in the deployment of Critical Spatial Practice as a methodology, Studio Miessen collaboratively works and consults on conceptualizing and implementing projects on all scales, ranging from the urban all the way down to the 1:1 and social scales. At the studio, we work on projects that include architecture, urban design, strategic frameworks, research, curatorial approaches, and discursive activities. With an international network of distinguished experts covering diverse practices, the studio can react to each project with a bespoke approach.

Studio Miessen works with individuals, collectives, institutions and (non)governmental organizations and specializes in spatially rethinking, redesigning and promoting urban frameworks, (cultural) institutions, and socially relevant projects. The studio also works closely and regularly with artists – such as Hito Steyerl or Flaka Haliti – through project-specific collaborations realizing small-to-large-scale projects placed in the urban fabric, realizing exhibitions, one-off artworks, and large-scale institutional exhibitions and installations. The studio’s portfolio also includes self-initiated activities and projects that span from urban scale festivals to physical construction, research, writing, and criticism.

Studio Miessen is currently working on projects with the Urban Planning Authorities and the Cultural Council of Kuwait City, EACC Castellon, Artsonje Seoul, the Istanbul Biennale, Bergen Assembly, Performa Biennial, Witte de With, Kosovo National Gallery, and the artists Flaka Haliti and Hito Steyerl.


The initiator of the Participation tetralogy, Miessen’s work revolves around questions of critical spatial practice, institution building, and spatial politics. He is the author of “Crossbenching” (Sternberg Press & Merve Verlag, 2016) and “The Nightmare of Participation – Crossbench Praxis as a Mode of Criticality” (Sternberg Press, 2010), which is now available in English, German, Turkish, Chinese, Polish, Italian, and Spanish (Dutch, French and Korean editions forthcoming 2021). In various collaborations, Miessen has edited and published books such as “Para-Platforms: On the Spatial Politics of Right-Wing Populism” (Sternberg Press & Merve Verlag, 2018 & 2020), “Spaces of Uncertainty: Berlin Revisited” (Birkhäuser, 2018), “Xenoarchitecture” (Sternberg Press, 2018) “The Archive as a Productive Space of Conflict” (Sternberg Press, 2015), “Actors, Agents and Attendants – Caring Culture: Art, Architecture, and the Politics of Public Health” (Sternberg Press/ SKOR, 2011), “Waking Up From The Nightmare of Participation” (Expodium, 2011), “When Economies Become Form” (Berlage Institute, 2009), “Institution Building – Artists, Curators, Architects and the Struggle for Space” (Sternberg Press, 2009), “East Coast Europe” (Sternberg Press, 2008), “The Violence of Participation” (Sternberg, 2007), “With/Without –Spatial Products, Practices and Politics in the Middle East” (Bidoun, 2007), “Did Someone Say Participate? An Atlas of Spatial Practice” (MIT Press, 2006) and “Spaces of Uncertainty” (Müller+Busmann, 2002).

Book series

Together with Nikolaus Hirsch, Miessen is the editor of the “Critical Spatial Practice” book series at Sternberg Press, which has published authors and artists such as Beatriz Colomina, Keller Easterling, Chantal Mouffe, Eyal Weizman, Mark Wigley, Felicity Scott, Rabih Mroué, Armin Linke, and Trevor Paglen.

Editorial Boards

As an editor, Miessen has advised the boards of Volume (Amsterdam), Bidoun (New York) and Archive journal (Berlin/Turin). As an editor, he is responsible (with Nikolaus Hirsch) for the book series “Critical Spatial Practice” at Sternberg Press.


As a spatial consultant, Miessen has worked with the Government of Slovenia during Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council, advised The European Kunsthalle (Cologne), the Dutch Foundation for Art and Public Domain “SKOR” (Amsterdam), the Swiss think tank “WIRE” (Zurich), the Serpentine Gallery (London), the European Commission (Brussels & Pristina), and the Kosovo National Gallery. He has researched and proposed government policy for “General Public Agency” (London), and has written policy papers for the Think Tank for everyday democracy “Demos” (London). In 2016, Miessen performed as one of the curatorial “attachés” to the Sydney Biennale. He is a member of the “European Cultural Parliament” and has been on many academic search commissions including at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm.


Apart from multiple international group exhibitions, Miessen’s work has been published and exhibited widely, including at documenta 14 and the Venice, Manifesta, Istanbul, Lyon, Gwangju, and Shenzhen Biennials.


Miessen has lectured at institutions such as Columbia University (New York), The Vera List Centre for Art and Politics (New York), Cooper Union (New York), MIT (Cambridge), Harvard (Cambridge), The Graham Foundation (Chicago), Rice University (Houston), Artspeak (Vancouver), Tijuana Cultural Centre, CCA (Kitakyushu), Artsonje (Seoul), Kuwait Cultural Office, The Third Line (Dubai), Mardin Artuklu University (Turkey), Palace of Culture and Science (Warsaw), iaspis (Stockholm), Democracy Club (London), NAi (Rotterdam), Jan van Eyck Akademie (Maastricht), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Bauhaus (Weimar), TU Berlin, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Strelka (Moscow), Artissima and GAM (Torino), MEXTROPOLI & UNAM (Mexico City), and The Art Institute (Chicago).


Miessen’s work has received numerous awards including from the Flemish Government (Brussels), Stimuleringsfonds voor Architectuur (Amsterdam), Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Berlin), Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Chicago), the Henry Saxon Snell Prize (London), and was nominated for the RIBA Silver Medal (London).

In 2008, the British newspaper The Independent listed his book “Did Someone Say Participate” (MIT Press) as one of the ten best architecture and design books of all time. In 2015, the Spanish language edition of “The Nightmare of Participation” (published by dpr editorial) received the special price for “Critical Thinking” at the prestigious “FAD Pensamiento y Crítica” awards in Spain.






Last updated on: 09 Jul 2021

Most important teaching positions

Previous Appointments

  • November 2016-January 2021: Full Professor in Spatial Design (100%) (Full Professor, equivalent of W-3 standard in Germany), HDK-Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, MA-level and post-graduate research cluster on and around questions of spatial design, urban assembly, agonism, crossbenching, and modes of contemporary spatial practice(s). Co-Founder of the newly developed MA-programme “Embedded Design (EmDes)”
  • August 2011 until September 2016: Distinguished Professor of Urban Practice (Full Professor), University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, USA, Directing post-graduate architecture research centre, focusing on alternative roles and formats of urban research practice. Devising and directing a long-term research project on the militarization of the desert in the American South-West
  • September 2011 until July 2013: Stiftungsprofessor für/ in Critical Spatial Practice (Heinz und Gisela Friedrichs Stiftungsprofessur (temporary)), Städelschule, Frankfurt/ Main, GER, Devising, setting up and implementing new program that sits between the art and architecture school. Setting up new research cluster, developing and implementing research projects, exhibitions, and publication series
  • September 2011 until February 2015: Guest Professor for Research Design (Guest Professor (annual contracts)), Haute école d'art et de design (HEAD), Geneva, CH, Directing studio in the postgraduate “work.master” program. Devising, developing, and implementing Swiss state-funded international research projects and exhibitions
  • September 2010 until June 2011: Research Fellow (One-year research fellowship at the Graduate School of Design), Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge (MA), USA, One-year research fellowship at the Graduate School of Design), Devising, developing, and implementing research project in Kuwait. Products: documentary-film, 3 exhibitions, publication
  • September 2009 until July 2011: Guest Professor for Critical Spatial Practice (annual contracts), Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, GER, Devising, developing, and implementing Graham-Foundation funded research project titled “The Archive as a Productive Space of Conflict”
  • October 2009 until July 2010: Visiting Professor for Critical Spatial Practice, (contract for one academic year), Berlage Institute, Center for Advanced Studies, Rotterdam, NL, Directing post-graduate research design studio with focus on micro-economic models as spatial prescriptions in Northeast Brazil. Product: local consulting; publication
  • August 2008 (ongoing): Director, Winter School Middle East, Kuwait, Devising, developing, setting up, and directing localized research institution, including international exchange and residency program in the Gulf region
  • September 2004 until July 2008: Unit Master (annual contracts), Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, UK, Directing academic research and design studio focusing on different formal and informal scales of urbanism and critical spatial practice as a driver for socio-economic change

Last updated on: 03 Feb 2022

Popular Writing

As a writer, Miessen contributes, edits and advises globally, and has delivered articles in newspapers, magazines and books, ranging from academic to scientific to popular culture. He frequently writes for periodicals such as ARCH+, Domus, Log, Yale Constructs, Artforum, Volume, Frieze, 032c, Metropolis M, or Die Zeit.

Last updated on: 09 Jul 2021

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See detailLuxembourg 2050 - A Guide on Repairing Commercial Zones : Report Phase 3
Becker, Tom; Gomes Costa, Diogo; Evrard, Estelle; Faber, Caroline; Ferreira Silva, Marielle; Floros, Christos; Hadji-Minaglou, Jean-Régis; Hansen, Joachim; Hesse, Markus; Jones, Catherine; Maric, Marija; Miessen, Markus; Popova, Simona Bozhidarova; Reckinger, Rachel; Schulz, Christian; Zarnescu, Diana Valentina; Viti, Francesco; Waldmann, Daniele; Zimmer, Céline; Benetto, Enrico; Braun, Christian; Daher, Elie; Gibon, Thomas; Hitaj, Claudia; Junk, Jürgen; Molz, Markus; Schneider, Norry; Zuang, Sophie; Kessler, Sabine; Coignet, Philippe; Monnier, Christelle; Hertweck, Florian; Coignet, Philippe; Gibon, Thomas; Hitaj, Claudia; Kessler, Sabine; Molz, Markus; Maric, Marija; Schneider, Norry; Schulz, Christian

Report (2022)

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See detailLuxembourg 2050 - Prospects for a Regenerative City Landscape : Report Phase 2
Abdullah, Aisha; Babic, Eldin; Becker, Tom; Cane, Francelle; Charitonidou, Marianna; Evrard, Estelle; Faber, Caroline; Ferreira Silva, Marielle; Hadji-Minaglou, Jean-Régis; Hansen, Joachim; Hesse, Markus; Katsikis, Nikolaos; König, Ariane; Maric, Marija; Miessen, Markus; Neupane, Saroj; Odenbreit, Christoph; Popova, Simona Bozhidarova; Reckinger, Rachel; Schulz, Christian; Swinnen, Peter; Viti, Francesco; Waldmann, Daniele; Weichold, Ivonne; Zimmer, Céline; Almenar, Javier Babi; Benetto, Enrico; Braun, Christian; Daher, Elie; Gibon, Thomas; Hitaj, Claudia; Junk, Jürgen; Kubicki, Sylvain; Leopold, Ulrich; Salazar, Lisette Cantu; Titeux, Nicolas; Fox, Katy; Molz, Markus; Paris, Karine; Schneider, Norry; Wengler, Jill; Kessler, Sabine; Coignet, Philipppe; de Gori, Lucie; Monnier, Christelle; Hertweck, Florian; Benetto, Enrico; Coignet, Philippe; Gibon, Thomas; Hitaj, Claudia; Kessler, Sabine; Molz, Markus; Maric, Marija; Paris, Karine; Schneider, Norry; Schulz, Christian

Report (2021)

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See detailMark Wigley - Konrad Wachsmann’s Television Post-architectural Transmissions
Miessen, Markus; Hirsch, Nikolaus

Book published by Sternberg Press (2020)

See detailNext Para-Plattformen Die Raumpolitik des Rechtspopulismus
Miessen, Markus; Ritts, Zoë; Bratton, Benjamin; Gillick, Liam; Grassegger, Hannes; Keshavarz, Mahmoud; Nagle, Angela; Power, Nina; Reed, Patricia; Renner, Konrad; Slavs&Tatars; Staal, Jonas; Steyerl, Hito; Tillmans, Wolfgang; Trüby, Stephan; Varvia, Christina

Book published by Merve (2020)

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See detailNINA VALERIE KOLOWRATNIK The Language of Secret Proof Indigenous Truth and Representation
Miessen, Markus; Hirsch, Nikolaus; STAMATOPOULOU, Elsa; PAUL TOSA, PAH-TOW-WEI

Book published by Sternberg Press (2019)

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See detailPerhaps It Is High Time for a Xeno-architecture to Match
Avanessian, Armen; Bauwens, Lietje; De Raeve, Wouter; Haddad, Alice; Miessen, Markus; Bratton, Benjamin; Ditzig, Kathleen; Falb, Daniel; Henning, Anke; Ivanova, Victoria; Parisi, Luciana; Reed, Patricia

Book published by Sternberg Press (2018)

See detail14 Tage. Ein Reisebericht
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Sorry Press (2018)

See detailSpaces of Uncertainty Berlin Revisited
Miessen, Markus; Cupers, Kenny

Book published by Birkhäuser (2018)

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See detailANDREW HERSCHER Displacements Architecture and Refugee
Miessen, Markus; HIRSCH, Nikolaus

Book published by Sternberg Press (2017)

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See detailKoszmar partycypacji + Niezależna praktyka
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Bęc Zmiana (2016)

See detailCrossbenching Toward Participation as Critical Spatial Practice
Miessen, Markus; Avanessian, Armen; Grassegger, Hannes

Book published by Sternberg Press (2016)

See detailCrossbenching
Miessen, Markus; Avanessian, Armen; Reed, Patricia; Vouillé, Ronald

Book published by Merve (2016)

See detailCaulfield, Cauliflower, and other vegetables
Miessen, Markus; Feldhaus, Timo; Haliti, Flaka; Slager, Henk

Book published by MaHKU (2016)

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See detailThe Archive As a Productive Space Of Conflict
Miessen, Markus; Chateigné, Yann

Book published by Sternberg Press (2015)

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See detailMOULD Cultures of Assembly
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Mould Press (2014)

See detailKoszmar partycypacji
Miessen, Markus; Choptiany, Michal

Book published by Fundacja Bęc Zmiana (2014)

See detailLa Pesadilla de la Participación
Miessen, Markus; Hernández Veliz, Alba

Book published by dpr-barcelona (2014)

See detailL’incubo della partecipazione
Miessen, Markus; Latronico, Vincenzo

Book published by Archive Books (2014)

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See detailKatilim Kabusu
Miessen, Markus; Doğan, Bülent

Book published by Metis Kitap (2013)

See detail参与的恶梦
Miessen, Markus; Zijian, Weng

Book published by 翁子健 金城出版社 (2013)

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See detailEine Zukunft nach der Zukunft
Miessen, Markus; Vogel, Felix

Book published by GfZK (2012)

See detailAlbtraum Partizipation
Miessen, Markus; Voullié, Ronald

Book published by Merve Verlag (2012)

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See detailWaking Up from The Nightmare of Participation
Miessen, Markus; Kolowratnik, Nina Valerie

Book published by Expodium (2011)

See detailActors, Agents and Attendants - Caring Culture: Art, Architecture and the Politics of Public Health
Miessen, Markus; Phillips, Andrea

Book published by Sternberg (2011)

See detailArchitectural Space as Agent
Miessen, Markus; Reed, Patricia; Cupers, Kenny; Pflugfelder, Ralf; Nilsson, Magnus

Book published by Fillip (2011)

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See detailThe Nightmare of Participation
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Sternberg Press (2010)

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See detailAlguien Dijo Participar
Miessen, Markus; Basar, Shumon; Baraona Pohl, Ethel

Book published by dpr-barcelona (2009)

See detailWhen Economies Become Form
Miessen, Markus; DiCarlo, Tina

Book published by Berlage Institute (2009)

See detailInstitution Building
Miessen, Markus; Hirsch, Nikolaus; Misselwitz, Philipp; Görlich, Matthias

Book published by Sternberg Press (2009)

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See detailEast Coast Europe
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Sternberg Press (2008)

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See detailThe Violence of Participation
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Sternberg Press (2007)

See detailWith/Without: Spatial Products, Practices and Politics in the Middle East
Miessen, Markus; Basar, Shumon; Carver, Antonia

Book published by Bidoun (2007)

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See detailBidoun
Miessen, Markus

Book published by Bidoun Issue 8 (2006)

See detailDid someone say Participate? An Atlas of Spatial Practice
Miessen, Markus; Basar, Shumon

Book published by MIT Press (2006)

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See detailSubstitune – A Manual
Miessen, Markus

Book published by AA Publications (2005)

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See detailSpaces of Uncertainty
Miessen, Markus; Cupers, Kenny

Book published by Müller und Busmann (2002)

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