September 14, 2018 Teston Researches, Teaches Abroad as Fulbright Scholar

Liz Teston in Romania

Liz Teston, assistant professor in the School of Interior Architecture, researched and taught abroad in Romania as a Fulbright Scholar in spring 2018.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is perhaps the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. Scholars are chosen based on their leadership and ability to teach, conduct research and contribute solutions for shared international concerns.

Teston spent seven months in Romania as part of the interior architecture faculty at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism. She taught 150 interior architecture and product design second-, third- and fourth-year students. Her classes focused on urban spaces, the way people use urban spaces and politics related to design.

“Many of students were independent thinkers and accustomed to working individually on their assignments,” stated Teston. “It was fun to introduce collaborative projects into this large-format lecture course and see the new connections made through the student teams.”

In addition to teaching, Teston used her award to further her research while in Romania. Teston’s research focused on Romania’s capital, Bucharest, and how its culture is translated into the built environment. She presented her work at two conferences, including Design Principles and Practices Conference in Barcelona and the Interior-Inferior-In Theory Conference in Berlin.

Teston’s research in Romania relates to her larger research efforts in Knoxville as the James Johnson Dudley Faculty Scholar. In her work, she compares public exterior places that feel like interiors, or public interiorities, in Knoxville, Nashville and Bucharest.

“My research, overall, is about people and observing how we engage with our built environment,” explained Teston. “I think of interiority as a human-scaled issue, rather than an issue of enclosure.”

Teston makes it a priority to bring her research into the classroom. “In my studios at UT, teaching design for the human-scale is my first priority. Another aspect of this research is to confront the notion of what interiority is, and I likewise encourage my students to challenge the status quo in their work.”

Teston’s experience as a Fulbright scholar also connected her with professionals in other cultures. She hopes to continue the relationship with her colleagues at UAUIM by forming an international student exchange program, conducting workshops or offering other study abroad opportunities.

Want to learn more about our faculty’s innovative research?

Read about Marshall Prado, who was chosen as a Design Research Fellow:

Read more about our student Fulbright Scholar, Dillon Dunn: