SVA MA Design Research

SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism1 is a one-year graduate program2
devoted to the study of design, its contexts & consequences.
Our graduates have gone on to pursue research-related careers in publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, entrepreneurship, & more.3

  1. Formerly known as D-Crit
  2. About the program
  3. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. All successful candidates awarded a significant scholarship!
SVA MA Design Research

136 W 21st St, 2nd Floor

New York, NY 10011


[email protected]




(212) 592-2228

Research – SVA MA Design Research


Culture Crunch

Products Of Material Culture

Products Of Material Culture   As socialized people who live in a globalized world community, we are all part of the infamous consumption culture. We buy all kinds of different commodities such as food, clothing, shoes, and accessories. The products one owns help to create an identity which represents personal preferences and point of view, […]

Culture Crunch

Ad Blocker

Ads seem to be everywhere. They’re on subway walls, in taxi cabs, on our phones, hidden in emails, in the refrigerator at work, at the bank, in the hospital examination rooms. In our closets. Out of sheer curiosity, I began to wonder just how many ads I’m exposed during a typical day.   According to […]

Culture Crunch

From Blue-collar to Blue Box

I never understood the obsession women have with Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. While arguably one of Hepburn’s most memorable roles, the character Holly is a runaway Texan child bride turned Manhattan gold-digger. The epitomal portrayal of a façade of sophistication. So, while passing by Tiffany & Co. on 5th Avenue the other day, […]

Culture Crunch

Deepening Desire

The exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern?  currently on at the MoMA celebrates 111 clothing and accessory items that shaped the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. These include items like Nike Air Force 1, the pearl necklace and Levi 501s. Before going to the MoMA I read the exhibition statement, it said the following: “driven […]

Culture Crunch

Sad Chips

Object comfort—different from creature comfort, different from retail therapy. The comfort of knowing that you have a hand and the hand can hold things. The friction, resistance, of material, that will remind you of your body as body—limited, delineated, squishy.   Object / comfort. Commodity / fetishism. What is an object that is not a […]

Culture Crunch

The Way We Live Now

I am reminded that in 2009 I felt sad for Farrah Fawcett, not only because of her tragic early death, or her overlong and overexposed relationship with a narcissistic man-child. She also had the bad luck to die on the same day as Michael Jackson.  He, being the bigger star and dying under more mysterious […]

Culture Crunch

Awash in Postmodern Patina

Since 2011 the New York City Metro Transit Authority has reminded subway patrons to watch for suspicious packages or behavior that may indicate nefarious plans are afoot. “If you see something, say something” the slogan suggests, “tell an MTA employee or police officer”. But how can we be expected to keep an eye out for […]

Culture Crunch

Virtual / Spiritual

What is money? What is the role it plays in our lives? We live in a material world. However, ironically the way we trade our material possessions by money or currency is a non-material one but rather a trust system. Money is a spiritual matter, similar to religion and tradition, its believers keep fulfilling orders […]

Culture Crunch

Body Negative / Body Positive

Notions of the body are not traditionally seen as in the political realm. The body is typically the site for the personal and private notions of the self. Yet, power dynamics on how the female body, especially, is perceived beautiful and how it is regulated are at the core of public discourse. Governments legislate the […]

Culture Crunch

Unpleasant Design in the Hot Seat

There are probably a few things as uncomfortable as seating in public spaces. In most cases, the frosty punctured metal, inconveniently placed armrest, curvature of the seating and absent backrest makes sitting for longer than a few minutes improbable and lying down impossible (Image 1). This type of design strategy in the design world is […]

Culture Crunch

An Emoji-based Economy

Venmo publicly displays social monetary transactions between friends and brings to light the different noncommercial exchanges coded by brief phrases and emojis. While the actual monetary amounts are hidden, through the frequency of posts and the content of the emojis, Venmo allows users to see how often their friends spend and with whom they spend. […]

Culture Crunch

Gowanus Canal

During a field visit to the Gowanus Canal this past week, the discordant relationship between urban development and nature became painfully clear. The waterway was conceived in a vacuum without any meaningful consideration of its relationships to its surrounding environment and community. Seemingly, from its inception, the Gowanus was considered merely as an artery for […]

Culture Crunch

Public Is The New Private

  The last couple of days were very good. It was a holiday weekend, and I was lucky enough to spend it with my best friends. We walked in the city, squeezed in the subway, ate huge bagels with cream cheese and laughed constantly. Oh, and we also took photos all the time.   Usually, […]

Culture Crunch

Monologue, Interrupted

“You don’t know me, this isn’t church, and don’t wave your hand at me.” This was the pointedly aggressive response from the man in the wine bar (I don’t know his name, but let’s call him Dick) at whom I had dared make a wincing expression and a hand gesture intended to convey a polite […]

Culture Crunch

These Boots Are Made For ‘Grammin’

  A woman stopped me in the subway to compliment my boots. I smiled, thanked her and went across the platform to wait for my train. A moment later, I felt a tap on my shoulder; the same woman holding her phone up to my face with a photo of my boots on her Instagram […]

Culture Crunch

Why Are We Waving a Flag?

Since arriving in New York, seven weeks ago, there is one question that seems to follow me around. Everytime I meet someone new I can expect to be asked a question along the lines of “What do you find most bizarre in the US in comparison to your home country?” Even though there are numerous […]

Thesis Research

How to Pronounce Design in Portuguese: Brazil Today

Alum Frederico Duarte’s first major exhibition as curator, “Como se pronuncia design em português: Brasil Hoje,” opens September 23rd, 2017 at the Museu do Design e do Moda in Lisbon.   Frederico began researching Brazilian contemporary design as a student at SVA Design Research in 2009 and this show is the largest manifestation of his research […]

Culture Crunch

Open / Closed

The city is crowded. People are Moving all the time. Walking. Almost running.Never stop. Skyscrapers are all around Casting a shade that creates a drama in the air. It is a typical view of Manhattan, in Times Square. Very local. But actually, it seems like the only thing that is local here, are the buildings. […]

Culture Crunch

Cleaning: Drudgery or Delight?

Of all the battles waged around the world, the battle against dirt is probably the oldest. The word ‘dirt’ represents not only the literal soil upon which agriculture is dependent, but it also stands for all sorts of physical, spiritual or moral defilements. Thoughts can be dirty. Speech can be dirty. And persons, can behave […]

Culture Crunch

The Chair

On Friday evening, I decided to take a much needed break from my current reality as an infant graduate student (two weeks filled with philosophical readings and having deep intellectual discussions with classmates) and immerse myself in the real world. On a whim my husband and I joined our friend Olivia at College Night hosted […]