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Askwith Essentials: What is Project Zero?

On October 13, Askwith Forums and HUBWeek kick off Project Zero’s (PZ) 50th anniversary celebration with the panel, “Changes in Mind: Five Decades of Insight into Intelligence, Thinking, and Learning.”


What you should know about PZ before the forum:

PZ Askwith

Note: This event will be live-streamed here on October 13 at 5:30 p.m.


Project Zero is a research center founded in 1967 that explores topics in education such as deep thinking, understanding, intelligence, creativity, and ethics. Through its varied projects, including Agency by Design, Making Learning Visible, Cultures of Learning, and Teaching for Understanding, Project Zero shares best practices in education throughout the academic community and beyond.


Cofounder Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art provided the main blueprint for PZ’s founding group of researchers, which also included psychologist Paul Kolers, philosopher Israel Scheffler, and literary analyst Barbara Leondar. HGSE Professors Howard Gardner and David Perkins were research assistants on the founding team and went on to make substantial contributions to the field of education, including Gardner’s groundbreaking theory of multiple intelligences and Perkins’ influential work on the nature of creativity.


When building a team for Project Zero, Goodman found the support he needed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Then Dean Theodore Sizer was also contemplating a way in which to encourage deeper emphasis on the arts in education, and like-minded Goodman provided the vision for what was to become Project Zero.


At the time of PZ’s founding, there was little knowledge about how arts learning contributed to cognitive development — “zero” knowledge, in Goodman’s opinion, which is why he named the organization Project Zero. As Gardner and longtime PZ researcher Ellen Winner write in the recent Education Week article, “The Arts Have Much More to Teach Us,” “The philosopher Nelson Goodman christened the interdisciplinary team, ‘Project Zero’ to convey that while there was plenty of useful lore in education in the arts, there was little systematic knowledge.” With its emphasis on the role of the arts in education, Project Zero focuses on finding best practices to implement in teaching curriculum and shares those through numerous resources, as well as professional development events and online courses.

Event Information:

Friday, October 13, 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Longfellow Hall
13 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138


  • Drew Gilpin Faustpresident and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University
  • James E. Ryan, dean and Charles William Eliot Professor, HGSE
  • Howard Gardner, co-founder and co-director, Project Zero (1972-2000); Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, HGSE; adjunct professor of Psychology, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • David Perkins, co-founder and co-director, Project Zero (1972-2000); Pforzheimer, Jr. Research Professor of Teaching and Learning, emeritus, HGSE
  • Steven Seidel, Ed.M.’89, Ed.D.’95, director, Project Zero (2000-2007); Bauman and Bryant Senior Lecturer on Arts in Education, HGSE
  • Shari Tishman, Ed.D.’91, director, Project Zero (2007-2014); lecturer on education, HGSE
  • Daniel Wilson, Ed.M.’94, Ed.D.’07, director, Project Zero (2014-present)

RSVP required for all attendees:

PLEASE NOTE:  Seating for this forum will be available on a first come, first seated basis. Advance registration does not guarantee a seat inside Askwith Hall. Askwith Hall is expected to fill up quickly and we encourage participants to arrive early in order to obtain a seat. Seats may not be saved for those pending arrival. Additional seating will be available in satellite spaces on campus once Askwith Hall fills to capacity.

The queue for Askwith Hall seating will start at 4 p.m. Out of respect for the academic and classroom environment, we request that you do not arrive prior to 4 p.m. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m.