Head of Research, created and curated an international year long programme. Curriculum, Education, Hosting and Set design


In 2018, Nelly Ben Hayoun joined the at Mini/ BMW as their Head of Research and programmes. In her role she created a new curriculum, curated and hosted an international year long programme- providing both strategy, reports, programming development, audience participation and learning and set design.

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios worked to strengthen MINI/ BMW -and their Brooklyn‘s multidisciplinary creative space, A/D/O - as a design-leader by tapping into the desire within the design industry for a deeper connection to modern economic, sociological and political realms and meaningful forms of interaction between designers, their peers, philosophy, history, future thinking and inspirational heroes. Composed of 12 classes and associated programs, hypnosis radio sessions and other sublime experiments, the workshops—entitled “Homo Sapiens, I Hear You“—were framed as an expedition, or a live encyclopedia for all participants, that interrogated and criticized linear narratives while proposed new ones- so to best support innovation and future thinking into the creative industries.

​​A/D/O - A/D/O was developed by MINI to serve as an accessible co-working space, home for the URBAN-X startup accelerator and community amenity space.

Read about the collaboration in Core 77 ( Homo Sapiens, I Hear You: Why Designers Should Attend Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun's Research-Driven Seminars) and Cool Hunting (Dissecting Maslow's hierarchy of needs in a series of workshops at Brooklyn's A/D/O space)


Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios responded to the original request of capturing curators/known practitioners and the respect and credibility of the industry, by establishing a team and drawing from the expertise of both international and local collaborators (ie: Cabinet Magazine, a Brooklyn based publication that publishes quarterly on one theme through various viewpoints and genres (fiction, journalistic etc.); locally based radio host Elle Clay to produce a podcast each month on our research theme with exclusive interviews with our speakers and immersive narratives; Radio Wolfgang who initially worked on the dissemination of that content, and Amsterdam-based graphic designers Our Machine who produced all of the series’ graphics).

Ben Hayoun designed a programme geared towards plurality and multidisciplinarity- considering every topic, as designers and creators, in all their multiplicity. A live form of rhizome and masterclasses were offered to members of the public as a part of a year long international programme and curriculum, a concept developed by philosophers Guattari and Deleuze to consider knowledge as a part of a larger network and combination of disciplines.


Homo Sapiens, I hear you! - a monthly research programme, with world class partners such as the Metropolitan Museum, MoMA, Pentagram and Columbia University, 12 unique monthly immersive set designs and events.

Homo Sapiens, I hear you!:

  • secured 66.66% of female and non binary speakers
  • secured more than 25 affiliate partnerships, through our speakers
  • oversaw the creation of 12 individual podcasts and acted as editorial lead
  • invited more than 50 speakers- ranked A speakers and international cultural influencers including MOMA curator Paola Antonelli, cyborg Neil Harbisson, japanese artist Maywa Denki or Pentagram partner Paula Scher to mention a few.
  • presented 11 panels and workshops, personally hosted by Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun, bringing her signature ‘Willy Wonka’ style to NYC

Throughout this series we unravelled new perspectives on what motivates us and explored whether the modern practice of design addresses our essential needs – from the most basic functions (eating, sleeping, etc.) to the more fulfilling (self-improvement, practising sports).

Homo Sapiens, I hear you! Ran throughout 2018 with content released on a monthly basis. The 12-part series featured a diverse range of both major and local artists, designers and thinkers debating the issues most relevant to human nature in the spectacular setting of A/D/O Brooklyn, where we have been able to rethink and reimagine our material needs now and in the near future.