D CRIT Summer  Intensive

June 3–14, 2024

Join us on-site in New York City for our renowned two-week Summer Intensive, aimed at those who would like to refine their skills as thinkers, reporters and storytellers.

Skip to information on how to Apply

This program offers methods and insights for understanding and writing compellingly about images, objects and spaces. Clear thinking, deep research and engaging expression are vital skills in any creative industry.

By the end of the two weeks, participants will have completed several pieces of writing, formulated ideas for stories, and garnered a robust set of tools and approaches for writing authoritatively and imaginatively about design.

We are excited to announce that we will be back on-site for this year's Summer Intensive. In addition to in-person instruction from our renowned faculty, on-site participants will receive desk space in our bright and airy studio in the heart of Manhattan. So if you’re in the New York area or would like to be, we invite you to take up residence in the department this June.

On-site perks include: 

- 24/7 studio desk and printer access

- In-person studio visits to New York design firms

- Roundtable talk with DCrit faculty member and design writer Steven Heller

- Opportunity to observe editors of publication-in-residence The New York Review of Architecture produce their Summer issue #36

- Meet fellow in-person participants and explore the city

- Free access to SVA-partner museums


A range of writing genres and imaginative approaches will be introduced in seven workshops spread over two weeks.

Working individually and in small groups, participants will experiment with essential techniques such as interviewing, archive research, close observation, analysis and critique. Students can expect approximately two workshop sessions per day, for the duration of the program.

Read work from last year's Summer Intensive here.

Rob Walker will lecture on how to develop narratives around objects. Students will engage in close observation, archive research, and other means of data gathering, and then experiment with strategies to illuminate an object’s significance through storytelling.

In this workshop, you will learn some of the essential basics for creating audio journalism. Your options for subject matter will be wide-ranging; what you will learn is how to communicate those ideas most effectively through sound. You’ll learn how to write for the ear rather than the eye; how to deliver a story conversationally through narration; how to create narrative arcs and effective pacing; and how to use sound to elevate a story.

For this workshop, you’ll be looking for examples of the ways in which habitats built for human beings (cities, suburbs, parks, highways, etc.) have been claimed by other creatures: insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, microbes… We won’t be looking at the skills that enabled humans to transform the natural world to suit their needs, but the way that other animals have borrowed those transformations. How have the places and things we’ve fashioned to satisfy our requirements been co-opted by other life forms? If animals, wild and domesticated, are at home in an urban environment, what are the boundaries between the natural and artificial worlds? Do such boundaries truly exist?

The Speaking of the Streets Project is a two week assignment that will culminate in the production of a piece of theater built from scenes and scraps written by students. You’ll be asked to produce both a monologue and a duologue.

Our study of dialogue will serve as a training exercise to sharpen skills of observation and will eventually help us build this work of collaborative art. The project will allow us to present, in a kaleidoscopic view, an array of voices commenting on our current crisis from different parts of the country and the world.

We’re living through a period of upheaval and transition. We’ll examine how current events leave their mark on our conversations, our interactions, and our language.

A successful profile is an artful interpretation of a subject’s life. It can reveal the processes, inspirations, and biographical background of your interviewee—be it a graphic designer, a painter, or an architect. An effective profile makes implicit motivations explicit. It tells the story of someone’s life with accuracy and nuance.

Past profile subjects have included: John Wilson, Julio Torres, Leo Porto, Felipe Rocha, Natasha Jen, Eddie Opara, Adam Rigg, Alisa Grifo, Marco ter Haar Romeny, Mike Eckhaus, Sarah Zapata, Ti Chang, Craig L. Wilkins, and Mimi Zeiger.

This two-part workshop helps students see pitches from the POV of the editor, who in turn is dedicated to seeing things from the POV of the reader. A successful pitch needs to persuade an editor that the proposed piece will be relevant and of interest to the publication’s audience. Relevance means answering the question “So what?” The most compelling design story pitches have a timely news “hook” or are connected to urgent social, cultural, or political issues. To better understand this connection, we’ll approach design stories from the inverse direction, looking for a design story within a current news story. In the second session, we’ll turn those stories into pitches, to be reviewed by guest editors.

Guest editors: The New York Review of Architecture

For your project you want to look for something in this moment that intrigues you, that you see and are curious about, that maybe you can’t quite let go of. It might be a statue you see on the one walk you do each day. Or, if you can’t go outside, the singular tree out your window and your need to understand that species. It could be a scrap of language, or a piece of infrastructure, the company’s name emblazoned on the elevator you take to your apartment. Or, just something you’ve spotted in this time, in your place. This project is about seeing anew and then digging deep, about bringing the wonder one might to nature, to the woods, to wherever you are.

You will be working in a group of three to research one object. You will all share your research in your group, but you will work individually on your outline. The idea is to see how you pull together the research.

In this new workshop, you will identify and practice the skills that sit at the heart of good criticism. You will craft a short critical essay—using analysis, concision, description, accuracy, and persuasion—that focuses on a single piece of media or art you experience in the city that you believe to be singularly impactful. Your final piece of cultural criticism will present a clear, well-reasoned, and thought-provoking argument for the significance of the work, given the state of the world today.


2024 Participants


Deadline extended to April 15th!

How to Apply

Option 1

Complete your free application using Submittable

Apply Onlineusing our online application form (external link)

Option 2

Use our department google form. Fast and easy!

Apply Onlineusing our online application form (external link)


Participants must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree or demonstrate commensurate professional or publishing experience.

International Applicants

International applicants are welcome, however, the College cannot provide any I-20 or other forms to nonmatriculated students. SVA cannot provide you with a visa, nor assist you in obtaining one. Applicants are expected to have fluency in English sufficient for engaging in meaningful dialogue with other participants.


1950 USD

Further Information

Find further details about applications, enrollments, refunds, and housing at the SVA Special Programs webpage.