Colliding Scopes

Arete Xu
→BFA EFS 2026

Colliding Scopes is a fun and accessible platform bringing student perspectives to the ideas discussed in THAD-H102 Critical Introduction to the History of Architecture and Design. Created by my peers in THAD Sections 22 & 23 midway through the Spring, it is an attempt to break down academic barriers first-year students may feel—partic-ularly in Liberal Arts courses—and extend a sense of community beyond the classroom. The platform welcomes creative alternatives to written assignment submissions, criticisms of art history, and inventive interpretations of artworks, responding to the ideas discussed in the course. From the get-go, our focal point has been cataly-zing new ways of see-ing and amplifying diverse voices. Our manifesto reads: “Our mission is nothing short of a revolution. . . . We will explore ways of looking through various discursive lenses—cultural, historical, ideological, speculative, and fictional, opening up new relation-alities between ourselves and the world we inhabit.”

Colliding Scopes has far surpassed its initial vision. Beyond being a platform for digesting and extending the course content, it has become a thriving community space that breathes life into art criticism and history. Students have embraced the opportunity to expand their critical and analytic capacities and engage with the humanities in distinctive ways. The Discourse Petting Zoo section provides synopses of assigned read-ings, represented by student illustrations of critters inspired by key readings from the course; the student gallery features ongoing studio projects; and finally, the student writing folder includes in-class responses and reflections on the course material, for instance, a narrative piece titled “My Spectacle” by Daniel Yoon, inspired by Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle,” and a critical review of Craig Thompson’s Habibi by Ava Buccino. It also boasts a meme page, a curated class playlist, and various easter eggs relating to the course.

Colliding Scopes is a testament to the power of student initiative and the boundless potential of artistic exploration. Our biggest takeaway from this platform is seeing our peers connecting the dots between learned theories and histories with their making practices. Our next steps for this project are moving towards a multilingual version and destabilizing the “correct” ways to write and think altogether. We want nothing less than to radically change how art and design history is taught.

Behind the scenes, Colliding Scopes is led and managed by me and my remarkable peers, including the talented Shrume Zuo, Natalie Ho, Sagian Shaw, Meya Gao, Ava Buccino, Eileen Lee, Daniel Yoon, and our THAD instructor, Prateek Shankar, who is the star of many of our memes.

Visit the site at;