Nexus Podcast | September 21, 2023

Nifemi Marcus-Bello and Curry J. Hackett

Title: Season 3, Episode 1: Nifemi Marcus-Bello and Curry J. Hackett engage in a conversation on designing narratives of place, with particular attention to practice grounded in mobility and empathy 

Podcast speakers


Nifemi Marcus-Bello, an industrial designer known for his community-led approach and Curry J. Hackett, a transdisciplinary designer, and public artist, explore the intricate relationships between culture, narrative, and place in design. They delve into the significance of mobility and its connection to Black identities, while also discussing their engagement with urbanism, landscape, and materiality. Through the lens of history and narrative, they share their methodologies and inspirations, shedding light on how their work contributes to reimagining Black experiences and fostering empathy, in this thought-provoking discussion on agency, audience, and the transformative power of design. 

Full Transcript

About Nifemi Marcus-Bello and Curry J. Hackett

Nifemi Marcus-Bello is an industrial designer based in Nigeria, known for his community-led, and ethnographic-conscious design approach. Marcus-Bello graduated from the University of Leeds with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Product Design and received the “Potential for Social Change” award from the University of Leeds School of Mechanical Engineering. In 2017, he founded nmbello studio, focusing on furniture, product, and installation design. In 2021 he received the “Life Enhancer of the Year” award by Wallpaper* Magazine and in 2022, the HUBLOT Design Prize. 

Marcus-Bello is also the founder and lead designer at nmbello Studio, currently based in Lagos, Nigeria, with a design ethos rooted in empathy. At nmbello studio, design is about believe in understanding what is available, without trying to force an ego on to the process. Over the years, the studio aims to rid itself of pre-existing ideas and allow its process dictate design output. As a design studio, nmbello Studio embraces the newness and lack of a true design process as it frees us up for an opportunity to be reintroduced to the familiar with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. 

Curry J. Hackett is a transdisciplinary designer, public artist, and educator. His practice, Wayside, synthesizes cultural and ecological narratives to envision meaningful work in the public realm. Noteworthy projects include the Howard Theatre Walk of Fame and the DC High Water Mark project. Hackett began his academic career in 2019 at his alma mater Howard University, and has since taught at Yale University, Carleton University, City College of New York, the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, and is a core member of the anti-racist design justice school Dark Matter U. 

Currently, Curry is completing his Master of Architecture in urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 2022, Hackett was named an inaugural Journal of Architectural Education fellow and a finalist for the Harvard GSD Wheelwright Prize. In 2023, Hackett won the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Creative Achievement Award for his “Subjective Waters” studio, which explored Black culture and water, and was named a grantee by the Graham Foundation for his ongoing research project, Drylongso, which explores relationships between Blackness, geography, and land. 

How to Listen

You can listen to all available episodes and find program notes here on our website, or subscribe to the series via one of these providers: iTunes, GoogleSpotify, iHeartRadio.

About the Show

Developed by the African American Design Nexus at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, The Nexus is a podcast that explores the intersection of design, identity, and practice through conversations with Black designers, writers, and educators. The Nexus is produced in conjunction with a commitment by the Frances Loeb Library to acquire and create an open-access bibliography of various media suggested by the GSD community on the intersection between race and design.

Show Credits

The Nexus Season 3 is hosted by Esesua Ikpefan, Doctor of Design Studies student and Tomi Seyi Laja, 2023 alum of the Master of Architecture II program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The show is recorded and edited by Maggie Janik, and the theme music is produced by DJ Eway.


For all inquiries, please email [email protected].