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

unMute – SVA MA Design Research



The 2020 Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive Publication

Take a moment to think about how strange a video chat is. You can see and hear someone, but all the nuance of body language is lost—flattened into two dimensions and reduced in resolution. Conversation starts and stops, unaided by technology cuts and lags. How do you even know when someone is about to speak?

Now take that single moment of video chat and multiply it by sixteen, each tiny square on the screen filled by a student hoping to mentally escape the 2020 pandemic. Norms need to be created so that everyone feels comfortable contributing, and group dynamics have to be explicitly established so no ideas or experiences—indicated sometimes by only the slightest wave—go unshared.

On the surface, a large group video conversation seems unwieldy. It morphs into something entirely new when the meeting happens every weekday for two weeks, pressurized by rapid-fire lectures, readings, and assignments. It’s hard to imagine, but what if—in the midst of a global health crisis and nationwide protests over racial inequality—those sixteen people created bonds so deep and discovered things about themselves so profound that they left the meeting changed? What if they wrote prose so revealing you stole a glimpse into who they are?

If you’re curious, please unMute.

Summer Intensive Class of 2020

Table of Contents:

For Rob Walker‘s Narrative Strategies for Objects:

Alyssa Blank, B-F-FitBit

Danielle Foushée, What’s in a Mailbox?

Ian Reagan, Eight Steps Up

Marco Rathjen, The Can Opener

Marisa Paz, The Hummingbird Dance

Rachel Harris-Huffman, In Appreciation of the Bobby Pin

Sarah Bonnickson, Permeable Barriers

For Karrie Jacobs‘ Engineered Nature:

Caye Burry, Engineered Nature

Kate Long, Under

Amélie Lamont, An Ethical Dilemma of Faux-mage

For Adam Harrison Levy‘s Art of the Interview:

Chrissie Muhr, “Natasha Jen: Craving Diversity—A Messy Process

Lucie Parker, Walking America’s Factory Floors with Chris Payne

For Craig Taylor‘s Speaking of the Streets:

Kim Burgas, Dialogue

Mary Yang, A Pre-Wedding Exchange

Michelle Duncan, The Cornologist

Patricia Madeja, The Panicked Pandemic Call