Nisa Ari is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at MIT. She studies late-19th and 20th century visual practices, with a focus on artwork from the Middle East. Her research explores the relationships between cultural politics and the development of art institutions, specifically in Palestine and in Turkey. Her dissertation is provisionally titled "Cultural Mandates: On Art and Political Parity in Early Twentieth Century Palestine." Recently, she has written on photography during the British Mandate in Palestine, military painting practices in the late Ottoman Empire, non-profit art institutions in Turkey in the early 2000s, and on the histories and theories of "alternative" art spaces. Nisa received a B.A. with honors in art history from Stanford University and worked in contemporary art centers in New York before starting her doctoral degree. With fellow graduate student Christianna Bonin, she was the editor of the MIT Department of Architecture's peer-reviewed journal, Thresholds 44: Workspace (April 2016) and curated an exhibition, "The Contingent Space of Work," which presented creative responses from the issue that reacted to changing understandings of workspace within the contemporary rise of digital working platforms and immaterial products.
Nisa is a Fellow with Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) for the 2016-2017 academic year, and recently was named the 2017-2018 Fellow at Darat al Funan.