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Hello Prospective Students!

For those who have not yet received an email from me, my name is Karlyn Allenbrand and I am a second-year master’s student and the current Admissions Ambassador at BGC. Many of you have asked me about the Qualifying Paper or QP. The QP is the capstone project for the MA degree, which may be a research paper, an exhibition proposal, or a digital project. The topics for the project come from coursework, or other experiences such as internships or consortium courses. Today, I thought I’d share how my research interests have evolved and how I arrived at my QP topic.

When I began my studies, I was really interested in the history of textiles, specifically textiles exported from India and Southeast Asia during the 18th century. While I envisioned my research being about these textiles, I found myself gravitating towards modern design and the ways designers in the 20th century reimagined social and living conditions through furniture, graphic design, architecture, and new technologies. I then began tailoring my coursework towards design history. While searching for an internship, I came across an opening in the archives at R & Company, a twentieth-century design gallery based in Tribeca. After spending the summer processing the estate of émigré architect and industrial design Greta Magnusson Grossman, I knew that I would continue to focus on design in my future career.

Drawing on materials I processed while working in the archive, the subject of my qualifying paper is a prototype aluminum oven designed by Grossman in 1957. I am particularly interested in the design of this oven and the way it was circulated in popular magazines like Life and Popular Mechanics. BGC has been an incredible place to figure out my interests and work with the kinds of materials that reveal larger design narratives. If you haven’t quite figured out your research interests, don’t sweat it! There is always room to grow. 

As always, I’m here to answer any questions you may have about being a student at the BGC and I look forward to meeting many of you at the Tuesday Tours this Spring. Good luck with your applications!

Warm Wishes,
Karlyn Allenbrand MA ‘24
Admissions Ambassador