Melissa Q. Teng (she/they) is a Chinese American civic designer, multimedia artist, and writer living in the Boston area. She tries to work slowly and intentionally with people to explore questions around public narratives and imagination, care and systems, land and belonging. They work across a variety of media and scales, always interested in how people come together to bend, upend, and repair the world around them. She often uses participatory design, research, and storytelling methods.

She is honored to be a 2022-23 Artist-in-Residence at the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, doing a participatory action research project about co-creation within municipal government, alongside Karin Goodfellow. She is also a graduate student in the Dept. of Urban Studies + Planning at MIT and thrilled to work with the Data + Feminism Lab led by Catherine D’Ignazio.

You can find my CV here.

Summer 2023 updates

  • I’m thrilled to have my essay Between Fires published in this year’s Thresholds Journal. It’s about care and witnessing during overlapping crises, dedicated to my best friend and with thanks to the wonderful Garnette Cadogan.

  • This summer, I’ll be completing my masters thesis in urban planning, reflecting on our team’s experiences doing a public art project around participatory narrative-building with street-based or unhoused, drug-using, and/or care-giving community members and activists.

  • I’ll also be wrapping up my art + research residency with the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Arts + Culture, where I’ve been working closely with Director of Public Art, Karin Goodfellow, to learn about institutional practices + processes. We’re asking: What role artists can play when embedded in civic institutions, and how can government stewards do well by their resident artist partners?

  • Following the advice of a wise friend and mentor, Rashin Fahandej, I’ve been protecting my creative time and enjoying learning about video and audio production. I revisited an old video about my maternal grandparents to help me process and grieve. I shared it with my mom, and I’d love to share it with you.

Photo by Mel Taing