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

Research – SVA MA Design Research


Culture Crunch

Capture the moment

Three days after we leave Israel, my sister announces that they will be coming to NYC in October. It is the holiday season in Israel so they can have a long vacation and visit us.  We are so happy to hear the good news and when we check their actual vacation dates, we are even […]

Culture Crunch

War, what is it good for?

On Oct 6, 2017 news broke about the ambush and killing of 3 US Special Forces soldiers  in the African state of Niger. That same week a new set of war game posters were spotted in the New York subway advertising the latest immersive video game to take your mind off — what else? — […]


Battle of “The Bride” and the Authentic Self

While watching my sister-in-law walk down the wedding aisle, I noticed guests pulling out their phones and snapping photos, as though she was an object needing to be captured and shared beyond the limited audience. It bought me back to my wedding day, walking down the aisle, a strange disembodying experience itself, but further complicated by […]

Culture Crunch

Artificial Memory

The long-anticipated Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to the Ridley Scott 1982 dystopian classic, currently showing at the cinemas grapples with the idea of artificial consciousness. Throughout the film one continuously questions what is real and what is not. In the movie, the protagonist, officer K (Ryan Gosling), has the same job Rick Deckard […]

Culture Crunch

Bikini’s Rise and Fall

  Historically, exposing a women’s navel has been considered taboo. In many cultures around the world, the area has been associated with fertility and was considered too sacred to show deliberately. In the Western world, specifically, the navel was seen as an erogenous zone that should be covered to thwart sexual provocation.   In 1946, […]

Culture Crunch

Freedom From

They survey me, but I walk past the first group of men without incident. As I pass the second, one of them chooses to concretize his ownership over the moment by saying to me, “Damn, girl, gotta shave those legs!” The words enter the air and carve out a shared space between the two clusters […]

Culture Crunch

Subjugation Sofa

The term “producer” as used by the American film industry is a curious thing.  What, exactly, do these people produce?  They do not create anything that appears onscreen, and the function is generally acknowledged as that of a “shepherd” on a film project.  Would anyone call an actual shepherd a producer?  In what other realm […]

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, […]