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





(212) 592-2228

Cultural Theory – SVA MA Design Research

Cultural Theory

This course will address key issues in cultural theory and criticism, with a view to the study and interpretation of designed space and objects. Special consideration will be given to the development of critical positions that serve as a lens for reading the complexity of the built environment within a larger context. Sessions will focus on key texts drawn from disciplines including philosophy, critical theory, art criticism, cultural studies, anthropology, and media studies. These readings offer different perspectives on cultural economies, politics, and systems of meaning.

The fundamental questions that will be discussed in this course include:

  • What are the relationships (social, economic, political, cultural) that link objects, spaces, and subjects?
  • What are the systems that make objects desirable or valuable, and how is power exercised through them?
  • What does it mean to “read” an object or a space in a textual manner?
  • What does it mean to identify, or write of “culture” in a world of complex local and global cultural conditions?
  • Where is the writer/critic positioned in this set of relationships? What are the implications of writing from a perspective of immersion, distance, judgment, or approval?