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

Cas Holman, “Designing for Play” – SVA MA Design Research

Cas Holman, “Designing for Play”


According to Cas Holman, designer and founder of company Heroes Will Rise, in play, “there are no right or wrong answers.” Her designs such as Rigamajig—a large-scale building kit made up of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope—encourage children to follow their curiosity through play. In this talk, Holman explains what it’s like to create designs that encourage open-ended imagination and allow children to develop habits of agency, independence, and self-determination.

Image: Kit of parts for Rigamajig, courtesy Heroes Will Rise.

Cas Holman has spent the last ten years immersed play, education and imagination. Through her company Heroes Will Rise, she designs and manufactures tools for the imagination. These materials are manipulable parts and pieces which inspire constructive play, imaginative forms, and cooperative interactions between people. Abstract in their identity, these tool/toys inspire children and adults to imagine the origin and story of the toy as well as how to use it. “What is it?” and “What does it do?” are answered in intuitive details, play prompts, and semiotic clues, making the instructions implicit in the tool/toy. She is a full time faculty at RISD in the Industrial Design Department and recently relocated from Brooklyn to Hope, RI where she prototypes her playthings on five acres known as Camp Fun.