Parsons Paris

Student Profiles

  • Diva Helmy '15

    IMG - Diva Helmy

    Why did you decide to study at Parsons Paris?
    Originally, I was interested in The New School because my mother had attended Parsons in New York. Her education there had always given her the edge to cultivate out-of-the-box thinking in professional settings. I was seeking a university that inspired creativity at the intersections of humanity, technology, and fine arts. The Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) program explores art as transdisciplinary practice. Parsons Paris offers the unique opportunity to study new media at a prestigious university in a city that exemplifies rich European culture and artistic history. It was very important to me to build a career in Paris knowing that the international context would challenge me to grow culturally and creatively. Additionally, the professors at Parsons Paris are experienced and active in their fields.

    Favorite classes:
    Urban Hacking
    This Is Not an Object
    Interaction Design

    How did you take advantage of the Make Lab and Digital Lab at Parsons Paris?
    The Make Lab and Digital Lab at Parsons Paris allowed me to experiment with materials and create projects using professional techniques. I particularly enjoyed using the laser cutter and vinyl cutter for my street art and interactive tech projects. These resources helped me become fully immersed in my process. I had a lot of fun in these spaces; being surrounded by engaged students working directly with their pieces and assisting each other to reach new creative goals inspired me to always work with devotion.

    What activities did you take part in while studying at Parsons Paris?

    • Had my first solo exhibition as part of the open programming in the Parsons Paris Gallery
    • Participated in exhibitions in Paris and New York
    • Served as research assistant for Parsons Paris BFA/MFA Design and Technology program director Benjamin Gaulon in Berlin, Germany
    • Was a research assistant in Paris for Parsons Paris Director of Trans-Curricular Strategies, Bridget O’Rourke
    • Contributed media to Seymour Magazine.
    • Became a member of the Graffiti Research Lab France
    • Interned as an assistant for a professional artist
    • Attended lectures and participated in school workshops that brought artists, scholars, and curators to Parsons Paris
    • Collaborated with Sciences Po (SPEAP) students to design simulations for delegates of COP21 (Paris Climat 2015: Make It Work) climate accord

    How did living in Paris affect your experience and studies?
    Moving to Paris felt like being challenged to create new history. The saturated and elegant Parisian culture I experienced pushed me to trust my intuitions and think bigger. It was incredibly exciting to pursue a new media program in a city with a history of traditional fine art. My new passions for urban hacking, interactive technology, and experience design emerged from the dynamic relationship between emerging experimental tech practices and traditional forms of art. I believe that studying in Paris influenced my aesthetic and process in very sophisticated ways. The city inspired the evolution of purpose, ingenuity, and scale of influence in my work—I will always be grateful for that.

    Did you get any internship experience?
    I was an assistant for a professional artist based in Paris who also happens to be a Parsons alumnus. The work involved installation assistance, research, material sourcing and experimentation, and other tasks. This hands-on position helped me understand the behind-the-scenes work and management of a professional artist’s career. It strengthened my motivation to pursue such a path, something that I believe can only be fully realized through real life experience.

    How would you describe your experience at Parsons Paris?
    My experience was participating in the exchange of knowledge in a progressive lab of technologists, theorists, scholars, artists, curators, and designers.