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

VITAL SIGNS: 2016 SVA MA Design Research Thesis Ideas Festival – SVA MA Design Research

VITAL SIGNS: 2016 SVA MA Design Research Thesis Ideas Festival

Vital Signs” was a half-day symposium and ideas festival held on May 17 2016, where graduating students presented final thesis projects and discussed future research directions, drawing from the multi-media portfolio developed over their course of study. Audience members and special guests were invited to respond to the work by participating in a public conversation moderated by IDEO design researcher and BBC journalist Alex Gallafent.

“Vital Signs” confronts critical issues in design today, grappling with thorny topics and shining light into previously uncharted research territories. Using maps, posters, experiences, cards, kits, props, renderings, sets, grids, and devices as starting points, these design researchers consider the implications of context, agency, money, politics, technology, risk-taking, and rhetoric. Their penetrating readings of design across its many manifestations reveal dynamic states and raise fundamental questions.



2:00 p.m. Introduction: Molly Heintz and Alice Twemlow, Co-Chairs, SVA Department of Design Research, Writing & Criticism.

Each session’s presentations will be followed by a conversation between students and the audience, moderated by Alex Gallafent

2:10–3:00 p.m. SESSION I

Derek Love on how the design of urban storefronts define place and value
Annie Drape on what’s been lost in the evolution of map design for US National Parks
So Youn Kim on how North Korean propaganda posters politicize design in multiple contexts

3:10–4:00 p.m. SESSION II

Ida Benedetto on the design of risk-taking experiences in the twenty-first century
Samira Jain on the efficacy of participatory design practices in social development and commerce
Lorena Canales Morales on why “design thinking” is ripe for a critical reappraisal

Coffee Break

4:20–5:10 p.m. SESSION III

Jenni Young on the “non-travel” qualities of the contemporary travel experience
Mark Dudlik on the value of characters and empathy in developing design fiction
Hortense Proust on how digitization impacts the practice and content of curating

5:20–6:00 p.m. SESSION IV

Alex Klimoski on how the values of architectural renderings shape the twenty-first century city
Lila Allen on what’s revealed by the design of children’s domestic spaces in contemporary America

Closing Remarks